I still loved him unrepentantly and exactly in the spot where his spirit used to be, something akin to standing in the remains of a old campfire, the soft, cold, smoky-sweet ashes recalling that a crackling heat once leapt and danced there. The last of the pulsing orange embers were thoroughly doused on the day when he licensed one of his songs – written to me in the wildfire days of our relationship-- to a Japanese ad agency. It was used as the music in a “Magic Rainbow Color” cigarette commercial, which featured uniformed smiling teen schoolgirls bouncing happily with giant animated multi-hued cigarettes on glitter-laden trampolines.

“Go buy a purse,” he snapped at me, making no eye contact.

It become harder and harder over the years to wash the ash from my feet, and the stains it left appeared much as bruises would; a clever and cruel reminder, I thought.