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Shadow of Remembrance - third excerpt

"Shadow of Remembrance", by Bloodwitch Luz Oscuria
"Shadow of Remembrance", by Bloodwitch Luz Oscuria

This is the third excerpt from my novel, "Shadow of Remembrance", in its version translated by Fatima Basil.

Things changed a lot between 2015 and 2018. In 2015, I moved to Toulouse, and I found my first job in a printing house run by a young woman who was ten years younger than me, Stéphanie. There, I got a financial foundation, but most of all, I met a love that I thought was genuine. Anyway, for my part, he was. Stephanie was not.

After almost 3 years of living together as she lived above my dingy little studio, she left me for a younger man. I should have known that this story wouldn't work, not with so many years apart. Having said that, it seems to me that I have already met couples with a big age difference, and they didn't seem unhappy either. On the contrary, they looked like they were having a most exciting life. I wasn't as lucky as those people. Stephanie left me, she also left her studio soon after to live with her boyfriend, and I haven't heard from her since. Of course, I had to say goodbye to my job, I didn't have much of a choice. It's stupid, I liked this job. I particularly appreciated the friendly environment built over time between Louis and me. He was in tears in his eyes when we said goodbye at the end of my last day. It was difficult for me too; I was attached to him in a way. He was a good guy, a little rough at times, sure, but his heart was in the right place, and if there's anyone I miss about this business today, it's this man.

To come back to Stéphanie, this little woman caught my eye the first time I saw her. We had a great time before she met her young stallion. Then managed to sideline me. Following this famous evening during which we had to celebrate her birthday more or less worthily, and where she partly overheard my conversation on the phone with Mylène during which I explained the dream I had had the previous night to her , it all changed completely. She had thrown herself at me, with tears rolling down her cheeks. And I had found that reaction very cute, because I could tell she was angry with herself for trying to peek in through the door to what I was saying on the phone. We then stayed a little while like this, she hanging on my neck, me not knowing what to say and even less what to do. After at least an eternity, she looked up at me, and asked if I was having any problems. I had hesitated to answer her. I wasn't against her knowing what was bothering me at the time, but it also meant telling her about my past, and I had been very careful that she knew as little as possible, so far. Indeed, she knew that a part of my past had vanished because of an assault I suffered, but I had never gone so far as to tell her what I had learned from this forgotten past. I even kept the content of the nightmares I already had for myself, as they allowed me to unravel things.

This time around, I couldn't resist. Anyway, if I wanted to hope to build anything with her, I had to tell her what I was hiding, these concerns that gnawed at me, while Mylène and my mother had asked me many times to move on, and to think about evolving rather than looking at myself towards what was before. So that night, I invited Stephanie back to sit on her sofa, followed her there, and started unpacking everything I remembered from what I experienced. My assault went through. I even showed her the big scar I had left on my stomach. She was stunned. So much so that she ran her fingers over it carefully, end to end, before looking at me again and wondering if I could still feel anything in that area. I smiled at her before telling her that I no longer had any feeling where she was touching me. From there, I didn't really understand how the situation got out of hand. It was the start of a great little story between us, a story that spanned three years filled with various diverse events, mostly positive, but unfortunately also negative. She had my worst moments of insomnia, my nightmares that made me jump out of bed in the middle of the night, my startles to grab my phone to call Mylène and tell her these little bits of memories that kept coming back to me one by one. Stéphanie had also given me a few fits of jealousy after some of these calls, because she did not always realize that I give so many details to Mylène, even though she understood the usefulness of this friend for me, and my need to keep her informed of my findings.

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