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Last night, after winning a team tennis match I wasn't "supposed" to win and with a few celebretory beers under my belt, I invited a friend to a glass of wine on my deck.

A little history of this friendship: four years ago this "friend" excluded me from an annual event that we had traditionally attended together. I discovered the exclusion in a round-about way and was deeply hurt on many levels. But the most hurtful was the mystery of the "why?" Several weeks later, I countered with a rejection of her - to an invitation for a hike. Our imperfect friendship ended abruptly - with no words, harsh or otherwise. The split haunted me for a long time.

More to the point of the question, the friendship had long been tempered by a vast political divide - so we were practiced at avoiding issues and our union was often labored - so on some levels the split was a relief. But there was also a level of trust between us that said "as long as it's not political, we can say anything and it won't be repeated." This element registered as my greatest loss.

Last night - with the luxury of time and diminishing memory - we enjoyed several glasses of wine together. At one point, my psyche said "this would be a good time to ask 'why?'" And I didn't.

I still don't know "why" because I was afraid of the consequence of asking. Perhaps Terry's mother was afraid of the consequence of telling. What is to be gained? What is to be lost? The void - or chasm - between those questions fills her mother's journals. And the void of not knowing "why" still haunts me.