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Gwen’s eyes widen, then fill with sympathy.

We’re sitting across from each other at a small table in the Half Kaffe Café. It’s a regular haunt of ours—as Bohemian as Gwen can tolerate, and about as uptown as I’ll go. They make an excellent cup of regular coffee, but they also serve the fancy chi-chi drinks that she likes. Decaf soy lattes. Chai teas.

"Oh, Mary," she says. "That’s awful."

I’ve known Gwen forever. We were best friends from kindergarten all the way through to our final year of high school, when I made a sharp turn into garage rock-slash-punkdom, while Gwen suddenly became this responsible young woman aiming for university, whom I couldn’t recognize anymore. It felt like it happened overnight. One moment we were doing everything together—Girl Guides, piano lessons, messing about in the woods behind her house—the next we were strangers.

But while we drifted apart—I couldn’t care less about a house in the suburbs or worry about finding a good job, and the last thing Gwen would do is listen to the Clash or come to a Stooges concert with me—we made an effort to stay friends. Once or twice a month we had lunch or the occasional dinner, and caught up. Sometimes we even brought our husbands.

Okay, Edric and I aren’t married. But seven years together is almost as good as, don’t you think?

"How did you find out?" she asks.

"Well, I haven’t, exactly. It’s just this feeling I get."

Gwen nods wisely. She starts to tick off points on her fingers. "Doesn’t seem as interested in you any more. Hang-ups when you pick up the phone. Has to work late a lot more often than he used to."

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