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The album lay ajar. Her gaze fixed on glimpses of moments past. The lamp at the desk was the only glimmer of light. She painstakingly turned the pages, her eyes trudging from one picture to the next. She strained to take in the tumult of colors and superseding optical illusions that sprung out at her.

Time seemed to have shriveled away. She was thrown from diapers, to a school recital, to a birthday cake of eighteen candles and then she was crawling again. Smiling faces, cries of joy, warm hugs all priceless moments forever recorded in negatives. She thought to herself how simple it was to transform an ordinary book into a memento of bliss, a shrine of happiness for all to see, an anecdote, with a story attached to every single scene. But that’s just what it was, an object for others to see. There was no logic, no order, just a pile of memories conveniently dumped in a heap. But she remembered.

She remembered what lay behind the smiles and the bright eyes. The overflowing diapers, the bruises hidden beneath the costume, the one dollar fifty cake and the eighteen candles she had been given six years in a row. She remembered the hunger, the fear of not knowing when it would stop. She remembered the stomach pangs, which always followed the throbbing in the photographers’ vein. She remembered the wide eyed nights, the sound of the door slamming, the crack of the palm against mother’s cheek. She remembered.

A knock sounded at the door. Morning had already begun to tear away at the night. The door opened and in curtsied a maid. The chauffeur is waiting she said.

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