Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

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1. The Friend

Matthew Teague | Esquire | May 10, 2015 | 24 minutes (6,032 words)

Matthew Teague’s wife, Nicole, was only 34 years old and dying of cancer. This is the story of how a friendship, deep, true, and strong, became prophylactic against the dizzying litany of indignities involved in a slow, painful death.

2. Elon Musk’s Space Dream Almost Killed Tesla

Ashlee Vance | Bloomberg Businessweek | May 15, 2015 | 35 minutes (8,873 words)

“In late October 2001, Elon Musk went to Moscow to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile.” An excerpt from Ashlee Vance’s new book, on how Musk almost went bankrupt trying to keep both SpaceX and Tesla afloat, all while his personal life was unraveling.

3. Tested Under Fire

Alan Peppard | The Dallas Morning News | May 12, 2015 | 26 minutes (6,625 words)

A detailed account of the events surrounding the 1981 attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. After Reagan was shot, Al Haig famously declared that he was “in control,” but it was the vice president from Texas who calmly took control of the situation.

4. Will We Ever Understand the Beginning of the Universe?

Ross Andersen | Aeon | May 14, 2015 | 36 minutes (9,200 words)

A deep exploration of cosmology and the issues we face when it comes to understanding what we still don’t know: “Cosmology’s hot streak has stalled. Cosmologists have looked deep into time, almost all the way back to the Big Bang itself, but they don’t know what came before it.”

5. ‘I Am Not Backing Off Anything I Said’

Isaac Chotiner | Slate | May 13, 2015 | 11 minutes (2,654 words)

A confrontational, profane, and deeply entertaining interview with journalist Seymour Hersh about his investigative piece in the London Review of Books, which argued that the White House’s official story about the killing of Osama bin Laden was a lie.