THE SECOND THIRD

Johanna was sixty five years old when she realized she was old enough to have gone at least three times around the world to every country, tasted every cuisine, felt every fabric, read a thousand books in at least three languages, none of them Spanish.  She thought she would go somewhere, at that right time, when she had the money, and a month’s paid vacation, but in her twenties she was raising a baby, then shedding herself of the husk of a man who was not the stuff of dream husbands.  Her thirties were somewhat adventurous with lovers and drunken, laughing nights in noisy restaurants, followed by  long weepy weekends doing laundry and scraping flower gardens out of patches of dirt around apartments.  She moved down valley from world famous Aspen, working at a bank, anticipating great adventures. There were beginnings, mind you, filled with soul soaring anticipation and friends enough to sing along on the trail up Mount Sopris, or Avalanche Creek.  There were people she would never forget; some who broke her heart, some she shrieked at, hating their binding restrictions.  Conferences in Philadelphia, visits to family in Florida, Massachusetts, expectations for more places to go, people to meet, missions to accomplish

In her forties, she moved back to the plains, jolly and excited and a little more selective about whom she took to bed.  Two husbands behind her, and plenty of time, surely.   Even in her fifties, there seemed no limits to the possibilities of life, even when her younger sister died, and her mom developed dementia, and long made promises came due.  Even then the skies shown blue, the roads stretched long, and she felt surely she would travel, taste and try it all.

Strangely, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age sixty one, she felt free.  She had her affairs in order.  She had the insurance to cover the expense of the bilateral mastectomy, and the time off to rest and recover with no worries.  She took writing classes, watched entire mini-series on Netflix, and generally felt better, freer, happier than she had in years; never mind the pain and fear. That could be managed. Family and friends checked in.  Books stacked high, and were read at leisure.  Life was damned good.

The next year was a total let down; lay offs from a couple jobs.  Younger, pretty, but stupid trainers for new companies left her crying and screaming to the door, preferring to be unemployed and worried, than tolerating blatant, pompous idiocy and nepotism.   The recover from then until now, age sixty five, was more difficult that she’d thought it could be, but she’d let the fatigue seep in, the sadness and unfairness of events found a hairline crack in her psyche, spreading insidiously like a water break in the walls, undetected until the mold grew, and the spongy sub-floor dripped uncontrollably.

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