The story is masterfully written and described, Nicole.
I found the description of the “Kickers’ Mexican” particularly interesting. The insinuations that alcohol somehow diminished the racism at the bar were tantalizing.
Also, the experience of living and investing in a “lie” or a betrayal for some time is not something anyone can walk away from unscathed. There were pleasure and joy in the adventure. Nikki indeed gained a presence and a voice in your life.