After getting your e-mail from your mother (she's still got a landline listed with 411), a high school classmate writes to tell you that he heard from another classmate that your childhood sweetheart (your first love, your first sex, your first heart-snapped-and-threshed-like-wheat-through-a-damn-combine) is dying of breast cancer.

You haven't seen or talked to her since graduation and haven't heard anything about her in over three decades, so you are surprised by the immediacy of your grief, by the desire to get on the next jet and fly to her bedside.

That night, you tell your wife and are surprised that she's the one who buys the airplane ticket.

"No aisle seats," she says. "So I got you an exit-row middle seat."

"Hey, stranger," you say to the mother of your three kids. "What are you doing in my house?"

Two days later, you are holding the hand of the chemo-bald woman who only vaguely resembles the girl you knew.

"Death sucks rat ass," she says. Yep, she's still a foul-mouthed wonder and wants to fucking know why you fucking materialized.

"Because I'm still pissed at you for leaving me for that soccer player," you say. "And you never apologized."

She laughs and says she doesn't even remember the dude's name. You tell her things that you've never told anybody else (some of it true), and she also tells you partial secrets and says she's sorry she hurt you and that she'd give you an atonement handjob if she only had the strength.

Back home, you tell your wife about that hilarious offer, and she says, "I think that would have been a perfectly acceptable act of adultery."

Who gets to love and be loved by two women like that? You do, buddy, you do. recommended