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The first time he fell in love it was with a girl who always smelled like fresh laundry, and her name was Anna and it was love at first sight, or not quite so, because it wasn’t really all at once that he fell in love with her, but in little bursts rather, like the steps up a ladder, or grains of sand piling up at the bottom end of an hourglass, the first of which was him falling madly in love with her back, which was all he could see from where he sat, and all he wanted to see, entranced as he was at that moment by its smooth shape and tender flesh and by the contours of her spine and ribs, which traced sensuous grooves along the pink fabric of her tanktop whenever she took a deep breath, or spoke, or hunched over slightly in order to write something in her notebook, at which point long locks of black hair–black like tree branches after a forest fire–would fall and unravel, revealing for him, like curtains being fluttered by a morning breeze, which let slip a first ray of light into the room and wake the dreamer within from his slumber– yes, exactly like that, they would fall and unravel and reveal to him her neck, her perfect neck, he thought, which was the next thing he fell in love with, followed by her dainty hands, and then the freckles on her face, which she hated, which he loved, adored, and, this is true, that very same winter he even fell in love with a certain bubbly noise her nose was making because she was trying to be as quiet as possible when sniffling every so often because she had had a cold and a runny nose, so he offered her a tissue, but really it was just so he could lean close enough to smell her, and to look into her eyes, which, he thought, gazing, small and dark and rounded, were like an infinitely dark abyss that gazed also into him, which he knew, of course, because the only reason he had read that damn book was because he had seen it poking out of her bag that one time.