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  • There she is! In her golden leather jacket and skinny-jeans, her ballerina shoes and starving innocence. She has no idea where she’s going. What year is it? 2006? 1996? Spring, autumn, a season of contrasts and fragrances. She doesn’t know what she’s in for.

    She doesn’t know she’ll be back, years later, re-entering the gate, recalling the music from the open windows, and the boy, the way he looked at her, his eyes like almonds. He said her ears resembled conchs; “conques,” he said; “what’s the word in your language,” and she said: “konkylie.” “Such music in that word, like the song inside the seashell itself,” he whispered. “Bring your lips close to my ear and say it again,” he pleaded, and she did, she sighed the word, she spun it, tasted it and tossed it, sang it and sculpted it, konkylie.

    She’ll be back, she’ll stroll down these quiet streets and remember only the significant things: walking through the rain late at night, in complete darkness, and the sound of the waves, and the skinny, black cat in his arms, and his tanned hands, caressing the shiny fur. She’ll remember the vintage wine, and the laughter, and his soft French r’s, like rounded pebbles, rolling back and forth on the shore. And she’ll remember standing in the kitchen at an ungodly hour with nothing left to say but: "puis-je t’embrasser…?" She’ll remember how she smiled in response, slowly, and how she moved across the floor in one gliding motion, like a shadow, and how her lips translated the gap between unspoken words. She didn’t know she had it in her.

    Even through walls of stone and double doors she could hear the sound of rushing swells, as if he held a konkylie toward her ear.
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