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“Psst… Andrej … Andrej … vstávaj.”

My eyes fluttered open. It was mostly dark in the bedroom. From the hallway, some yellow light was intruding through the cracked door and over my mother’s shoulder. She shook my arm. She always made sure that my eyes were open before she switched on my bed-stand lamp.

“Daj mi 5 minút … just five… just five more minutes.”

She’d usually give me that, then come back to shake me roughly if I my stubbornness threatened to make me late. I had swim practice that morning. It was early summer in the Midwest.

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