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  • Many of my stories begin with a recollection. This one is no exception.

    As a child, I lived in a third-world country, in an impoverished city neighborhood where shoes or any kind of footwear was a luxury.

    To escape the opressive circumstances of an impoverished life, I would often go, by myself, to an abandoned lot where all kinds of weeds have grown, finding delight in the wildflowers and bead-like seeds that grew there, and the insects and frogs that made the lot look and sound 'provincial' or country-like, amidst the noise of a bustling lumberyard nearby, and the occassional gem of a discarded toy —a Minnie Mouse plastic figure, perhaps, left by another itinerant child.

    I would often go there on barefoot, not mindful of the dangers that an abandoned lot might pose: broken beer bottles, a wayward snake, poisonous plants, or parasites that could infest muddy lots after the rain. In that lot, I imagined fairies and benign spirits lived, protecting me from any of these harms, glad that a puny human would visit them time and again, tell them her stories she wouldn't dare tell anyone else, and listen to theirs.

    The picture in this story, though cultivated and from the first world, reminded me of my fondness for the imagined fairy-and-spirit world of my childhood.

    It also has that extra reminder—the sign dedicating it to an individual, a certain Nicole Marie Langlois, who once inhabited this world. She, I have no doubt, did something that made a difference to someone, perhaps graced their lives with beauty and love. I imagine there was a world within her that made her do all that, as there was a world within me —and there still is—that makes me tell these stories.
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