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The Ritual

I peer outside at the setting sun. It is curfew soon, I know, but I won’t be observing it. Not tonight. Not totally.

I tidy up the house where I live alone, without a mate. I never applied for one, never found the need or want, not when I knew they would disapprove of what I did one night every few months.

I set a kettle filled with water over the hearth. This is part of my ritual.

I wait until it is fully dark, then light only three candles. I pour the now boiling water from the kettle, into my blue china teacup. I put the cup on the table with the candles and then move my sleeping pallet from where it covers the loose floorboard. I pry open my hiding place and lift my memories from it.

I go back to the table and open the scrapbook, seeing the pictures. Seeing the love, the happiness in these peoples’ eyes. One of them used to be me.

They are all gone now. The Democracy has destroyed them all. I am the last one, hiding out for a little while longer, until old age claims me.

That night, just like a night three months ago, and three months before that, I look through my memories while drinking peppermint tea, and for a short time, I remember. I remember how it was to feel.



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