She comes to me sometimes, tells me about the kids, hers and mine. She doesn't mention him. She knows I don't want to hear about him. That even though we made our decisions, even though they were friends, even though we were friends, there can be no bridge between me and him. But sometimes when she goes into the city with him, she comes to me instead of shopping or wandering or whatever mundane errand he has sent her on, or she has claimed. He has clipped the wings of my Mollybird. She doesn't fly anymore. I would never have done that to her. She knows that. That's why she comes to me.

Because I could have changed this, I think. I could have chosen differently, not a life with her, of course, that was never possible. We were foolish; we were young, more than we knew. But I could have chosen differently for us. I look over at my wife, and she is beautiful. Always. She saunters gracefully, and I love her. And I feel like I could have stopped this. I could have insisted. She loved me more. She would have done what I asked, but I never asked; I would be no better than him who clipped the wings of my Mollybird, wouldn't I, if I had asked?

My mother comes here often, especially since my father died, but even before. And she tells me how proud she is of me, of us, although she personally believes Ali was never good enough for me. She would have felt the same about anyone. If I had taken over Uncle John's shop and lived a quiet little life surrounded by plants, she would still have been proud of me. The Ali voice in my head reminds me of all the good we did before, all the lives we saved, including, for quite a time, our own. We lived hard and fast, Ali. So much for studious deliberation. She used to tell me all the time, she married me to weigh her down, my unbearably light Ali, and she lightened my load.

When she comes to me, and reminds me of what was, I don't always remember when it is. She doesn't have the body of a world-class quiddich player anymore, but she still looks like my Mollybird. I can remember so clearly laughing on the lawn with that picnic basket Bertha made for us. "Do you remember, " I try to speak, but my voice is stiff, and creaky, and so soft, I don't know if she hears me. It seems fair somehow. She doesn't know if I hear her. Ali has gone away. I can feel her absence like a hole in my mind. She doesn't like it when Molly comes to me. Reminds us of the things we could have done better. I understand, I don't like it when he comes to visit her. He says hello respectfully to me. I try to glare, just for old times sake. I have no idea what it looks like, but he usually turns his chair back to me and tells her what he doesn't know we have already heard from my Mollybird. I don't mind. We have so few connections to their world anymore. It's nice to know that someone still notices. Someone still cares. The pictures of their children are so beautiful. I wish my mother would bring us some recent pictures of our son. I wish I could ask. I wish I didn't have to. I sleep.