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a little souvenir
by modesty sanchez

The soft glow of the lamp gently enshrouded the stacked paperbacks and fresh flowers stuffed into old wine bottles with a warmth that was only intensified by your presence. We had just arrived to my room, after a night of dancing and not-so-surreptitious kisses. It was late, but the alcohol in my system and the pain in my cheeks caused by a ubiquitous smile kept me awake as I blissfully watched you sit at my desk and expressively gesticulate while you rolled us a joint. You were telling me how much you enjoyed my company, and I had never before realized such a sweet, totalizing happiness could be spawned by so few words. But there it was, and I suddenly became sickeningly aware of the time we had left; it had seemed so much more expansive a week prior, but I now viewed time as the unconquerable object it was. In my inebriated mind’s eye, I looked into my palm and saw time take on the shape of a small rock, which at once started eroding so rapidly it began to disintegrate and sift through my fingers. I tried to make a fist, I made desperate attempts to hold on, to just freeze in the simplicity of this moment a bit longer. But there was nothing I could do besides savor your firm grasp on my breast, and try to capture each second for as long as I could. 


Of course, time progresses and delivers us where we need to go. You returned to the U.S., and I was left to ruminate on our brief time together during a stroll through a park in Prague. The hours we spent in bed have been cleaned from my sheets, and the messages we sent each other bear timestamps that push them further and further into the passage of the days. It’s impossible to know what’s true and what’s a figment of my distorted memory, if it was actually special or if I can’t help imbuing everything with a bloated significance. All I know for certain is that when the lyric “It’s that little souvenir of a colorful year that makes me smile inside…” makes its way to my ear, I can’t help but be reminded of the warm glow of that night, and I sigh in patient anticipation of a future that has given me nothing to fear.   

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