A Christmas Card from Minneapolis


 knew this girl once. We met at a place where we were both regulars, and got to know each other. By the time I knew her well enough to talk about, I thought I’d better not. So I didn’t tell anybody about her. We were both kicking addictions and it would have caused trouble.

One morning she called, and invited me over. My kid was in school, and her husband was at work, so I went. Nice house. When I got there, she was fresh out of the shower, just wearing a bathrobe. She led me up a big curving staircase to the bedroom... and took the robe off.

A month or two later, she called again. She was staying at a dive motel, and needed help moving her stuff to a different dive motel. I didn’t ask what happened to the nice house. Addictions can make nice houses go away. I unloaded her suitcases and duffels into the pay-by-the-week motel room... and she paid me back by showing me how you use cheap motel rooms.

She went to rehab about a week after that. I wondered how long it would take, or if it would take at all. I wondered if she would call me again when she got out. And didn’t know if I wanted her to.

A couple of months later, someone asked me if I knew her. I only admitted we had met a few times, so I knew who she was... And he informed me that she’d died, and the rehab place was having a memorial service.

I didn’t go.