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By Flavia Brunetti -


I bought strawberries today.

Every day, she picks one thing, a single occurrence, polishes it painstakingly in her head like a rolling marble until, by nightfall, she can present it to him, magnified and encased. Turned over as a token, whispered over the phone line that stretches between them, so that there is no silence.

There’s a little stray cat that follows me all the way home from the office every day, meowing with each step. I learned a new word in French, do you want to hear? Désolée. The alarm in my apartment goes off every time I want to leave. I can hear the neighbors fighting when I open the fridge that rests against our connecting wall, like a muffled haunting next to the tomatoes. The seawater here, it is so blue, bright and sharp and diamond-cold. The wind is terrible but it feels as though it could pick me up and take me away, so it is also wonderful. I made a new friend.

Miniature snapshots of moments ongoing, already past, gifts presented to stitch two people tight again, tucked in close with no room for the seas that separate them. As though there is no distance after all, only the tinkling of the music that used to play in her head when she would see him, in the beginning, the notes she imagined would always wash them together.

I bought strawberries today.

We are not so far apart.


Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Rome and San Francisco. As an adult she's lived between Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Palestine, Niger, and now back to Italy where she works for an international humanitarian organization. She is the author of the novel All the Way to Italy. You can find her work published in Open Doors Review, The New Humanitarian, Writer’s Digest, and others. You can learn more about Flavia’s work and travels on Instagram at @whichwaytorome and

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