Memories

October 17, 2019

As a young man I was little more than a piece of flotsam on the sea of life. There were girls, women, some passionate, some not. I remember waking beside one naked young woman after a Friday night party in London. I had the vaguest recollection of leaving the party with her inside a cab. But now I didn’t know where the hell I was. I slipped quickly from her bed, gathered up my clothes and escaped to the bathroom without disturbing her.

Memories are built like this: a simple atlas containing maps of the past. The world that touches you is fact and fiction; a strange mix of truth and lies. Because I had lied to the woman, and she had lied to me: it was the way of the world.

That morning, still half-dark, I walked freezing cold streets completely lost. Eventually I came on a milkman and asked him, Where am I? I’m lost.

And he, smiling, said, Finchely Road. Following his directions, I located the Underground station and passage home. God bless the Tube. But milkmen are no more.

I often became lost in Venice. At night I left the wooden shutters open, and night noises would enter my bedroom uninvited: music, passing voices, the wholeness of the city that shimmered on water like a dream.

Then, an earlier time, in Paris. A girl running, her breasts swinging as she ran, her hips swaying. Like the wine in my glass when a tremor runs through it. Memories are nothing more than recordings of laughter, of tears, of momentary passion: they’re like holiday photographs, or footprints in damp sand. They are like bite marks on my body in a rumpled bed.

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