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I turned the knob of her unsteady door. I thought, as I walked down the hallway to her apartment, how easily someone could break in. She was sitting on the couch waiting for me with a glass of wine. There were photographs covering every inch of her dirty white walls.  She liked to remember the darker times as if what she was living now was something to be proud of. There was a painting she had started that sat on an easel in the corner of the room. She had drawn the outline of a man’s face in black paint. Many of her pieces had similar features and I always wondered who he was, but she never told me. I sat down and poured myself a glass. As she began to tell me stories of her former life, I thought about how contradictory my feelings were when I was with her. I was frightened of her but she offered me comfort when no one else did. I didn’t want to feel connected to her. But, as I lit a cigarette, it occurred to me: in our own ways, we were both damaged…


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