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There are times when I have taken the hard road, the right road, and I can hold on to those times when I slip.

I met Ron at a bar. He was fifteen years older than me, but he was good looking, tall and lean, and wore a big brimmed cowboy hat.

He lived out on ten acres of land outside the city limits.  I would drive my car out to his property, park and stay a few days when I wasn’t working.

On one of those days, I brought my medication and put it on top of the refrigerator.  Ron said, “What is all that for?”

“I’m bipolar.” I said.

“I can’t handle all of this.” He said and that was the end of it.

I collected my things and drove home.

In a few days a woman called me and introduced herself as Julie.  She said she was Ron’s girlfriend before he met me and they were getting back together. I had left some things at Ron’s house and she wanted to return them to me.

We met for coffee.

She was attractive, and I wasn’t feeling jealous, or mean, or anything but a bit of awkwardness.

She handed me a bag that had a pair of socks, a lipstick, and a magazine.

“Thanks.” I said.  I didn’t really mean it, because I knew she wasn’t returning these items to be kind, she wanted to meet me to see what I looked like, and acted like, and to give me a message.

She said, “Wow. You must have heard some stories about me.  If Ron talked about me the way he talks about you, you must have really heard some shit.”

“Ron didn’t say anything bad about you.” I lied.

“Wow. He sure said some shit about you.”

“Well, he didn’t say anything bad about you.”

“Thank you for returning my things.” I said and got up to leave.

“We are back together, you know.” She said.

“Yes, I heard.” I said and walked out feeling bigger, taller and more together than I had since I’d been dismissed for having a mental illness.