The woman he was seeing when he had his transplants bailed after the stroke brought the seizures. I stopped loving my ex-husband the day he put me in a cab to the hospital, dying for all everybody knew at the time, and said he was just "out of sympathy." We were already friends, in the frenetically honest way you bond with nameless, faceless, sexless people over the Internet. I knew him as a petite Asian girl, and he knew me as a foul-mouthed, buxom Gypsy-Jew. Some avatars are more true-to-life than others.
Now I read menus to him on the rare occasions when we go out, skipping the selections with peppers, beef, or pork, a nod to his GI issues and personal preference, and he is the one out of all the doctors and chosen family who puts the pieces together and figures out what's wrong with me when I'm falling apart. His hands, soft and scarred, brush against the callouses on mine when he hands me the nebulizer. I never thought I'd be the stronger one in a relationship, but then I never thought I'd be the asshole, either.
At the tattoo parlor where I had a hamsa inked into the skin of my back (it's supposed to ward off The Evil Eye; I thought it was a grand failure until I realized how badly this all could have gone) he asked the artist about labeling his belly and pulled up his shirt. And the guy with the spools and the sleeves and the barbel through his tongue said "whoooooooa," impressed, and then said he'd do it for $50, $10 per major incision, if Transplant gave their blessing. "You guys are really cool," he added. "I love my job."
A friend-inside-the-computer, someone else I know only because we are both broken, lamented today on the facespace that she hates it when the outside of her head is worse than the inside is, and I commented that when she put it that way, either my mental health was improving, my life fucking sucks, or I am gaining a sense of perspective finally because it's been a while since the inside of my head was worse, at least. It was either Groucho Marx or Leonard Cohen who got it the most wrong: the cracks are what let the love in.