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  • There was a boy who lived down the street from me until I was 6. We were only 3 days apart in age. I remember he had an awesome sandbox and my mother would let me walk all the way to his house alone. Looking back, I never thought much about that fact. He was 2/3's of a block away and around the corner. Far enough away that my parents could not see me once I passed the third house. Yet it was ok to go there. His parents were occasionally home. He had an older brother (who terrified me) that watched him. We'd often bury things in the sandbox so we could "discover" them later.

    That act of discovery is inherent in our nature. We want to know more. We naturally seek every shadow to uncover the vagaries in every nuance of gray. But also inherent was our desire to lie to ourselves. To hide our own truths only to uncover them at a later date. Self denial comes as natural to a human as breathing and is done with almost the same frequency.

    I don't think about Alex much anymore. They took him and his whole family in the night in May when I was 6. I walked down there, like any other day, the sun on my neck and a smile in anticipation of the new adventure we'd have in his backyard playing. And he simply did not exist anymore. A new family was in the house when I arrived. No one spoke of it. No one ever seemed to remember Alex. They'd all become nonpeople.

    I've kept those memories close to me. Buried little secrets that hide the denial. I don't want to forget. I fear if I do it'll make me less of me and more like those people who operate at night.
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