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By Jeanne Marie Laskas

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A stinkin’ cat. And Lois, jeezus, the life that lady has lived? With all those divorces and kids being born and a few dying and those men beating her up? Lois has lived fourteen lives in the time that I’ve lived just a third of one puny one, just me and Bob. And I know, Bob is dying. That is a fact I do not need to be reminded of. In fact, I would really prefer if we not discuss it at all. Well, then. Okay, then. I just wish this air conditioner had more oomph. And to tell you the truth, I’m starting to hate the way I have to have an air conditioner going in order to concentrate, in order to sleep at night.

And I had a farm dream, a fantasy swirling around in my head about moving to the country. Where in the world was this coming from? That’s what I wondered. It might have made sense if I was a miserable person, sick of my life. But I was not. I had a good life; it had taken me a long time to get it that way. A farm dream would have made sense, I supposed, if I was at least the farm dream type. A person with some deep personal longing to churn butter. A person who had had city life forced upon her and now was determined to go be true to herself and live among the haystacks.

I had my secret scrolls. I had things I would say to God. I had stories I would write about my life on the farm back in the olden times when there weren’t even any toilets. Perhaps most important, there were animals on that farm. There were horses and goats and rabbits and all those cows. These were my friends. My most trusted friends. In the real world, I had siblings, John and Kristin, a distant twelve and eight years older than me, and Claire, just two years older. Claire was my friend, but she was better than me at every single solitary thing I ever tried to do, so this friendship had its limitations.

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