>LENDING

>There was such a thing as an amnesty, apparently. Although when she thought of the word, Andrea saw refugees’ hands poking through prison bars, a bloodied bear’s snout, barbed wire fences. She did not equate the phrase with her current love. The hardback love. The sweet sour smell of well-flipped paper. The thick clear bodybags of dustproof plastic, squeaking, rumpling. Perhaps it was like human rights. Perhaps it was a pile of hostages she had secreted in her room, mouths and memories sealed up tight. Perhaps there were protests, somewhere, placards with paint, effigies of her body burning. She saw religious leaders clearly, praying for her salvation. She picked up the nearest book, pleased at its already speckled spine. She’d held this one, now, for nearly fifteen years. Should she really feel so bad about giving it back?

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