Widow's Lament

In 1956, Anna Elisabeth Colsch married a GI from the Frankfurt Army base and followed him to Minneapolis. He died in a car crash a few years later. Or so she was told.

In the months since the wrangle in Yakima came to a close, Johnny remarried his current wife and got on with his practice of marrying young couples in his back garden. Angelic flew back to Minnesota, where she now lives. On her better days, she parks herself for hours in a booth at the Old Country Buffet just off the highway in Coon Rapids, where she occasionally catches the ear of a nearby stranger and unravels her saga down to the last detail, which can take hours--like working a stuck wheel out of a suckhole. She'll stop in for a visit and strategy session every couple weeks with Kaster, who's memorized her story all the way from the Oasis nightclub to the latest update. But these days, those reports carry little new news. Angelic spends some nights at the Super 8 motel in Blaine, others on friends' couches, "so as not to trouble them too much." It's true, she's fond of saying lately, there's already been enough trouble in this life.

And when worse comes to worst, Angelic drives up to her son's gravesite and talks to the dead, just like she talked to Johnny for more than 30 years. At that mention, she collapses into tears and, under her breath, begins the litany yet again: "I was once a beautiful girl in Germany," she whispers. "Johnny came in on the wind like a bird. Like a dream. We fell in love. We married. We came through the storm to the new world. So happy, we were. One night he disappeared and made me a widow. So many years later he rose from the dead and made me his wife again. A wife, yes, Mighty God, married to a dirty, dirty dog."

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