In the days when words were old and meaning was young, love signified a small, reddish-gray stone, smooth, with a slight indentation on the top, about the size of a thumb. Nobody could agree on whether this was too common, or too specific. Some who couldn’t find such a stone decided that what it really meant was a blade of grass, and traded entire meadows for rocks that were still rather coarse and heavy. Others chose the graceful speed of an antelope, or the precise shade of stormy green where the sea meets the sky, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Time passed like promises, words faded, and meanings multiplied, proliferated, fractaled themselves, even as we desperately bound them into books, stored them in vaults, arrayed them in cathedrals, and occasionally tucked one away in a small box of faded papers, a mix of bills, letters and poems, at the bottom of which lies a small, reddish-gray stone, smooth, with a slight indentation on the top, about the size of a thumb.
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