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Symbiosis (2016)

My husband has a rare form of dementia which affects his behavior and personality. Every few years or so I am married to a different person. It is hard to say exactly when the person I married left and when these new altered versions of him started showing up. It’s been gradual. I can tell you that throughout the years the new people who come and go inside the man I married have become more and more distant to me, both physically and emotionally. The man inside my husband’s shell is a stranger to me. I have become his caretaker. Each day before he wakes I spend the early hours wandering the woods under the pretense of walking the dog. The woods have become my escape. The well-worn paths I travel don’t betray me with change. The mountains and stay the same. The seasons and their shifts are constant and cyclical. In the woods, the trees tear at my heart strings. I see their tender gestures. I see their bodies pressed against each other. I see them supporting each other. The trees achieve the intimacy and tenderness that I long for.

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