Things have been swirling in my head. I have my friend here and I’m busy doing things with her, or not doing things—depending. And stuff seems to still be happening.

So this evening it hits me that there weren’t better choices. There aren’t better choices. All the choices are pretty shitty.

Nata could choose to risk her own life or to risk my life. I can live without her or not live at all.

I have something like compassion for her and for me. She risked her own life because she couldn’t bear to risk mine—I really do think she imagined Yuri might kill me or come close to it when I got pregnant.

It is terrible for me to live without her. I miss her unbearably. All of the joy and meaning left my life when she died, and now I kind of have to figure out new meaning and locate new forms of joy while grieving the old ones. It’s really terrible.

But those are the choices Yuri gave us. They aren’t destiny. They aren’t God’s plan for our lives. They are the options left open to us by a madman. And they are completely wretched. That is what is, though. I can be sad about. I can be heartbroken. I can feel however I feel about. The choices remain though.

All I can do is be brave, just as Nata was brave. It’s not okay. Nothing is okay. I didn’t come out on the other side of trauma and breathe a sigh of relief that all was finally well. All was not well. Everyone I loved was dead. I lost everyone. As it turns out, people aren’t interchangeable parts. I can have new friends, and they will never be Magna. They will never be Layla or Farzana or Stecia. They will most definitely never be Nata.

Nonetheless, that is what is.

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