Scrapbooking
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Flip.

I turn the page back, and it's the two weeks we spent in the Bahamas. We stayed in a beachfront cabin, enjoying every sunset as if it would be our last, caring about nothing except for the touch of each others' skin. We went diving off the coral reef, swimming among fish with every color of the rainbow while losing ourselves in the glory of Mother Nature's beauty.

Flip.

Another page turns back, and it's Paris. You finally got to go there for pleasure instead of business. We wined and dined by the Eiffel Tower, hit every single famous landmark we could think of, and took in all the art and architecture we had always wanted to see.

Flip.

It's our first anniversary, in Florida. Lying on the beach, holding hands, we blotted out everything but our love for each other and let the warm tropical sun melt away the worries of our day jobs.

Flip.

Our wedding day. I remember how breathless I was when I saw you in your dress for the first time, radiant in your beauty. We never thought the Director would actually come, much less actually smile.

Flip.

The night I proposed. I knew that you knew the moment we went to that restaurant you had always wanted to go to, but you still pretended to be surprised. Everyone wanted to congratulate us and shake our hands.

Flip.

Our first date. I doubt I could have botched it more, yet you liked me enough to let me ask you out again. I still remember the lecture the Director gave us afterwards.

Flip.

I've reached the front cover. I pause for an agonizing minute before I turn the book over and start from the back again.

Flip.

I read every word of my termination notice again. I remember the look on the Director's face as she handed me the slip of paper and told me to clean out my desk. I remember that fleeting moment when I saw for the first time a sadness so profound that it could not be described by words, and realized deep down that it was because she couldn't bear to look me in the eye.

Flip.

I turn back another page and the last of the letters bleeds its sympathy at me again. "John, this is the last time we'll be writing…"

Flip.

"John, I know it's only been a few months, but we all think that you should…"

Flip.

"John, it might be too soon, but…"

Flip.

"John, we're all so sorry…"

Flip.

"John, I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but your wife did not make it to her designated evacuation point following the containment breach and total loss of Site 29. At this time, we are forced to assume that she was killed in action along with the rest of her team…"

Flip.

It's the last photo of you again, along with the note you wrote me that one fateful day. A piece of simple, lined notebook paper with the hand-scribbled words, "see you at seven". A single tear falls onto the page and I quickly wipe it away to prevent it from damaging the book, even though I know it's a futile gesture. The countless tears that came before have left their mark on it already.

Flip.

I see you beaming with pride at the party celebrating your promotion once more. I remember all the conversations, lectures and arguments we had, and the Director reminding us in that quiet way of hers that while she would never order us either way, that there is always the unspoken risk in our line of work when it comes to being in love with our coworkers.

Flip.

I turn the page back, and it's the two weeks we spent in the Bahamas for the thousandth time, and for the thousandth time I wish that as I turn back the book I could turn back time just so I could have one more minute, one more second with you.

Flip.

Another page turns back, and I die a little more inside.

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