As I walked from town into the surrounding desert, it was the bells I heard first. Softer than cowbells, and disorderly. One here, one there. Then I saw the camels. Thousands of them along the dunes waiting to be bought and sold. I watched as their owners brushed their fur and adjusted their pompom necklaces of pink, yellow, and orange yarn. Rickety stands sold these ornaments, along with saddles and the small brass and bronze bells, imperfectly shaped, that carried that sound I’d heard. I had to have one. Years later, I can pick it up and I’m immediately back on the dunes.
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