Souvenir Drawers

  • fiction prose practice

I went across the room to say hi to Tom when I nearly bumped into Margot at the punch bowl.  She was wearing this spotted shirt and black skirt.  Her eyes widened and she jumped a little at the contact.  Then she put on a wide, pleasing smile.  “Hi!” she exclaimed.

“Hey Margot, it’s been forever,” I replied.  She tucked in her chin and blushed.

Something had changed in Margot since we last saw each other.  Unexpectedly (to me and to her), my absence had wounded her.  She is probably one of those people whose mementos and souvenirs loosely roll around in the same drawer as her heart.  I imagine that on a restless night, while she was tossing and turning in her sheets, the memory of me scraped against her heart, leaving a tiny cut.  It thus bled imperceptibly until she discovered a quart of lukewarm blood in her chest.  I wonder when she had noticed it.

I don’t store my memories like that.  But I am a pack rat.  So, for no good reason at all, before leaving for college, I had wrapped the memory of Margot in tissue paper and stored her away for safe-keeping.  I think towering over this flustered and wounded girl resurfaced something latent in me.  More powerfully than I’d like to admit.

That is how she and I found ourselves here, standing face-to-face at this party, with this awkward and inexplicable tug between us




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