In a deep corner of the old drawer, he found a browned shoebox with two rubber bands holding the top down. On its side, the box had a yellowed sticker with ‘BLACK AND WHITE’ written with a broad, dark pencil. The rubber bands seemed aged, partially cracked, but still holding this old box together. He looked at the shoe brand – not something he was familiar with. He was able to remove one of the bands, the other one broke. Inside the box, he found a stack of old photographs. Some were black and white, some in sepia, some on thin paper, some on thicker and a few, looking brown and the oldest, on pieces of cardboard. He picked a few of them and noticed that they were sturdy enough to be handled. He sifted through the treasure gently, and judging by the clothes, tried to separate the older ones from these, which seemed to be more contemporary. The edges of the newer were straight, the older were scalloped and most of them already yellow. All the pictures had people in them and, by the way, some of them dressed, he concluded the collection went deep back in the history.
Then he saw this photograph. It was the picture of a young couple. The man was maybe in his late twenties, the woman no more than twenty. Both smiling. Both impeccably dressed. She, in a dark dress with a ruffled collar; he, in a light pinstripe suit with a knit vest. She had a small clutch bag under her arm, he in his hand held dark rimmed, round glasses. Her hair was neatly combed in a bun on the back, he had a dark, probably felt hat on, with the wavy brim down in front and up on its sides. They looked happy and seemingly in love. But this was not what caught his eye. The couple, which seemed to be on top of the world, was pitched against the horrid background. There were ruins everywhere. It was the city in which he grew up and knew very well. The famous monument, visible in the distance, miraculously avoided demolition, as if preserved by the providence during the carnage to remind the surviving people of the magnificent times before the cataclysm came. He knew this monument very well. Actually, it is a common location for all the people to meet even now. How could the young couple look so fulfilled amid such a tragedy?
There must be a story behind this picture, he thought.
Well, it was.
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