That’s her real name.

She was twelve when they put a rod up her spine. The disease was taking hold, twisting her body and rendering her helpless.

First cousins, we were born two months apart in 1962 and were inseparable. We spent our summers together. Going to movies. Talking about who we’d marry. Devouring Deviled Ham sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies after many hours by the pool.

Things were rough the last year. She asked for morphine and to be let go. I was there at the end, as I’d always been.

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