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SAUNA AND SNOW

He was cleaning out the basement when he found a box of random things he'd saved over the years. With each move, there was always some stray thing that he didn't know what to do with, but he didn't want to keep. That was decades ago, after college, and those first jobs in different states. Now he'd been in the same town almost 20 years. He'd totally forgotten about the box. Most of the stuff, old birthday cards from friends he'd lost track of, maps of trips taken long ago, a few foreign coins, and just junk--a few pens, a couple batteries that probably didn't even work, and most amazing to him of all, a roll of Kodak black and white film.

Instantly he recognized it from his college days, the hours he'd spend in the darkroom. It'd been, what, 25 years since he'd stepped into a darkroom? But in his hands, he held a roll of film, exposed but undeveloped. There was a chance it was too old to process--but then again, it'd been stored in a relatively cool, dark place.

To his great joy, the roll was still good. On it were nearly two dozen images of his friends back in college. Several shots of buildings that would be boring to anyone else, but sent floods of memories back to him. The dorm block where he lived, the library. He had several shots of the photo club, he best friends. The last one was of a weekend trip they'd taken to the mountains. It all returned to him, the meals of beans someone burned, and they had to eat. The sauna cabin they all went into, built up a fire and enjoyed. The image was of that, the group, standing outside, nude,cooling off in a dare to jump in the snow before rushing back into the heat. His good friend was the tall guy. He didn't really get along with the other guy. And he had a crush on Jennifer, but couldn't remember the one of the girl's names. But he remembered the stench of burned beans in the cabin kitchen, and the how lovely the snow was, and how easy it was to be young, and naked, on a college weekend trip.

It was all long before the digital age, before people clicked off 100s of shots for a single experience. He only had one image of that weekend, but it was enough. He was glad he'd kept the box, and glad for stray pieces.

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