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I called my mother this morning, speaking in growls and roars. She cut me off right away. “Can’t speak Wolf right now. I just finished making breakfast. Call you back in five.”

Wolfspeak was for when the bottom fell out of words, so she knew it was important. Five minutes later she called back, guessing there had been a breakup. She said, “You should have seen this coming. Even a blind man could.”

He said he saw a future with me and then walked me through his townhouse so I could see it too. Upstairs he showed me the bedrooms. We’d sleep in the first one and since the second was his home office, I assumed the third would become mine. He said, “No, we’ll save that one for children,” and led me downstairs where my office awaited—it looked just like a kitchen table. I was to work there on non-teaching days, grading papers while watching kids. Gloating about the money we’d save on childcare, he said this was the perk of being with a professor. Anyone could have seen it coming. Anyone but me.

I told my mother in my own way, whimpers and howls explaining how it all went down. How he saw me as more womb than woman. How I almost didn’t walk away. How leaving him had been touch and go. How I’d gone into it for love and nearly settled for erasure. How for this there were no words and only howling would do.