time vs t-shirts

I had ducked into a small shop along Via del San Giovani in Laterno, just down the street from the Colosseum, and a very small child sat on a stood behind the register in the corner of the crowded space.
"Boungiourno, " I greeted her smiling. She smiled back, banging her two year old fists on the counter and shouting out gibberish. Quickly her mother appeared through a hidden doorway.
"Boungiourno," she nodded in my direction, and i returned her greeting.

It was a crowded claustrophobic sort of shop; the kind full of the type of souvenirs only truly tacky tourists buy. Snow globes with the pantheon inside, postcards, fake soccer jerseys, and chefs hats that look like the Italian flag. I did not remain inside long.

Quickly, I bought t-shirts for my brothers. Gifts from Europe that they will appreciate. I bought shirts according to how I remember them. Carefully i chose colours each would like and holding each article up to measure, I found the perfect shirt for each. Paying the woman, and bidding her child "Ciao!" I walked away, stuffing my hands deep within the warmth of my coat pockets as I walked back towards the Colosseum and the metro stop.

And yet...
Time distorts so many things, and once I returned to to convent, I realized what I had done.
I had been picturing my little brothers as I remembered them.
I remember them well.
But memory is false when it comes to adolescent boys and I realized that the shirts I had bought will not fit my little brothers, because my brothers are no longer little.

I'm told they are taller than me now...
I must try again this souvenir buying business.

A year is far too long to be away.


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