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May 27, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

Loss and Heartache

Her lower lip quivered as she raised a hand to wipe away tears. “It’s Clint.” She shook her head as if to ward away her thoughts. “He died a few hours ago, Cito. They think it was a heart attack. He’s gone.” She burst into tears and blubbered, “I’m so sorry, baby … on top of everything else …”

He felt himself slump as his eyes closed and a sharp stab of pain lanced through his chest. Almost disembodied again, his mind disjointedly leapt to a recent interview with a local pain physician who told him that heartache was the greatest untreated malady in modern medicine. A dissonant chuckle popped from him. Heartache … that’s an understatement, he thought.

Opening his eyes, he and Maria Elena moved toward each other as if in a dream. As they held each other, it was unclear who comforted and who was being comforted. For Pitcairn, the well of sadness that had come to him on the West Mesa seemed to expand to encompass this new blow. It was as if the expansiveness of that open space had somehow found its way inside him, that his emotional capacity was larger than ever before.

Still, there was a bittersweet ache that clung to him. It was not unpleasant.

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