The time she sat across from me with her hands open in her lap she said, “I am a health insurance bride.” She gestured as if she were going to run to the door, but she caught herself and sat back down.

The next time I thought of her I pictured her wedding frock in a pile on the floor, a black dress she’d pulled from her closet that morning. His socks lay crumpled on top of it.

When she sent me a Christmas card that winter, she’d signed the return envelope with just their first names. She used a smiley face, and drew it in black pen.

I kept seeing her in all the wrong places–online, in my dreams–but never in person. I wanted reality to bring us together, but was too afraid to reach for it myself.

They moved across the country with her wedding frock, his socks, and their health insurance. I had my Christmas card and the places at which I saw her.

The next day, I was fired from my job. “Welcome,” she said to me.

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