Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A LOSS OF MEMORY by Peter Nolan Smith

The Catholic Church and other derivatives of the Judeo-Christian faith extol monogamy as the true state of man and woman, then explain sex through the mysteries of the birds and bees. Actually my parents never lectured their children on that subject, although they said that the stork had delivered each of my new brothers or sisters from the hospital.

"A stork?" The long-winged bird was not native to New England.

"Yes, a stork," my parents said the word with reverence and they remained faithful as mating pigeons to each other. Bees never entered into the conversation about babies, because the queen bee had so many lovers.

Just like me.

I can't count the number of my paramours on one hand and while I don't remember all their names, I do recollect their faces, smiles, and smell, yet very little of the sex.

Woman on the other hand pride themselves on their memories.

They can quote a man's utterance twenty years after the words left his lips and I thought that females would be equally recollective about the act of love, but not all of them.

Several years ago I ran into Valda at a studio opening in Manhattan. The ex-La Rocka model was still a beauty. She and I sat on a window sill reliving our past. A younger nan an female approached us and the girl asked, "Are you a couple?"

"Not really." I smiled at the tenderness in her voice. I had once been that young.

"You seemed so comfortable together." Her beau beamed with the glow of two hearts beating as one and he held his girlfriend's hand with tenderness. They had a lot to learn, but I wasn't in the mood to bust their bubble, so I said, "No, we were never a couple, but we once were lovers."

"No, we weren't." Valda's quick answer was pronounced in a harsh tone.

"We weren't?" I was certain that we had been together on a hot August night in 1979.

"Not at all." Her adamant denial bristled with certitude.

"Are you sure?" Her kiss was etched on my mind.


That encounter couldn't have been a phantasm of my fantasies. She had scratched my back to shreds.


"Yes." A fury dwelt in her eyes.

The young couple were aghast at this reversal of their intuition and they fled from the charred ashes of my displaced memory.

"Sorry, guess I was thinking about someone else." I waved the white flag of surrender.

"And there were plenty of someone elses." Valda stormed out of the gallery.

She was right, because a woman is never wrong about a man.

I had slept with one of her best friends.

Lucille and I had lasted a weekend.

1979 wasn't a time for monogamy.

Valda stood by the bar.

I was out of her thoughts.

Maybe she was right.

1979 was a long time ago and even worse maybe I wasn't so memorable in affairs of the birds and bees.

I doubt it, but as the philosopher Pascha Ray paraphrased, "As you get old you forget. As you get older you are forgotten by everyone but yoruself."

Sad, but sometimes true.

Especially in the mind of a woman.

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