When traveling, she loved the big cities without the best museums or theatres. There was something very comforting about generic urbanity: streets crowded with disgruntled locals late on their way somewhere else, the seeming superfluity of two of the same shops appearing on the same block, and the convenience of cheap cafes.

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Unintentional Patriot

Anytime she was in Italy and ordered a cappuccino after ten a.m., the barristas heckled her mercilessly in their mother tongue and said amongst themselves she must be German. She always just barely restrained herself from explaining to them that she was not, in fact German, but rather she came from America: a land in which no one had the power to arbitrarily regulate what you could and could not drink at any given hour of the day.

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He was completely exhausted and falling apart when he reached home. Although his first thoughts of the trip were painful impressions left by strangely uncomfortable moments, he felt contented when looking back over the photographs he had taken and could only attribute this to the inexplicable effects of nostalgia.

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Resignation II

They had tried everything to make their neighbor next door turn down his music—all to no avail. Now every time the walls began to throb with the night’s unsolicited soundtrack, they just looked at each other, spastically flung themselves around in a parody of passionate dance, and then got back to whatever they’d been doing before.

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She overheard some girls gossiping about the too-short skirts she wore. For a moment, she was embarrassed but the next day she paired something skimpy with four-inch heels and dared them to roll their eyes.

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The Advocate

His parents felt very guilty about having exposed him to so many of their arguments and wondered how much they had damaged him. He saw things differently: all those years spent trying to understand both sides of the story were what led him to become a lawyer.

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The Loss

She rushed to fill her new home with fine furniture, antiques, and paintings. When the house went into foreclosure, she felt doubly depressed thinking she could have afforded to keep it with simpler furnishings and actually lost it by trying to perfect it.

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He couldn’t comprehend the fuss over uniqueness in art or the commonly-held belief that what was repetitive was mechanistic, common, and of little value. He considered the fact that eating, drinking, pissing, and bathing were daily occurrences as proof that repetition could also be deeply human and an invaluable necessity for our continued existence.

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Allison was terrified she might be pregnant when Bridget stepped in with a quick run to CVS for a pregnancy test, with so many hugs while Allison cried, with clothes when Allison’s swelling belly could no longer be contained by her own dresses and pants.

After the baby was delivered, Allison couldn’t stand the sight of Bridget anymore because it reminded her of her weakest moments and her deepest shame.

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