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Greg Smith

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Once upon a time, they were adversaries. The young idiot revelled in taking advantage of her distress. Casting barbs and insults, victory was achieved with the presence of tears. One summer morning, he was awakened: that they weren’t different at all. They were both in pain. From that moment on, he devoted himself to her. She became his first best friend, confidant, lover, soulmate. She stood out like no other, like a cardinal in the snow. It was 1979.

After high school they parted. Careers, marriages, children left their lives enriched and full. For him, though, remained the yearning. He was still in love with her, how she had touched his hard heart many years before.

One day he found her, a revelation in the wind. With no relationship status posted, he eventually asked for her number. When they spoke, their love came running back, washing over them like a warm spring rain. They agreed that they wanted to see each other again, wanting to know more, to look into each other’s eyes, possibly hold hands, maybe even kiss.

That weekend spent together was beautiful, mystical, magical, spiritual, surreal, life-changing, and bittersweet. For she lives in Florida and he in Durham. The wound suffered when she left can only be healed by her return until we’re where we belong: together, forever in love, just us against the world. It is 2011 and she’s my cardinal in the snow. — Greg Smith, Durham

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