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I thought of you as Notre-Dame burned

by Angelica Jopling | 24 November 2020

I thought of you as Notre-Dame burned. I thought of how I peeled off my sticky leather gloves to feel my naked fingers between yours as we crossed that bridge over the Seine after dinner giddy and full. We stopped for a moment to watch at the glow of the city melt into the surface of midnight water. And rather than words came the thought of forever. We shall live here some day in a little apartment on the river with just enough bread and wine and love for two. You play piano while I write. Simplicity is the greatest luxury, I said with too many words. You squeezed my frozen hand as if you understood, but nothing can be so simple anymore. Two hundred years of construction burn in one hour. Stone and glass dissolve to ash. Prayers of yesterday licked by flames. Prayers of tomorrow know no innocence. And as the candle flickers, the warm glow turns blue before becoming nothing. The bones of cold fingers grind to dust and comes the thought of forever, a soft, grey sand.

Illustration by Vitoria Santos


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