outwait outrun outwit


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11.12.07, monday evening

Memory offers a last chance for our histories to clean its dirty faces. Here is water, here is a cloth. Take care. Don't rub too deep. Soon, you'll get rid of the ink-stains on that dress, the grease on those dishes, the mice-inviting crumbs on this table. Perfect, or almost so. Once you strip away these banalities, take advantage of that purified and distilled light. It's forgiving, no? You can forgive everyone in a light like that. Even yourself.

Wait. Smell that? Frying meat: I'm ten, bilious after yet another Happy Meal. In the cramped cab of a pickup Nissan, I suck on a Gobstopper while reading aloud articles on alien abductions and cross-species breedings from News of the World. We're southbound, two hours away from my mother, who is always weary and sad from days and nights alone in a donut shop. The oceans in her wan moon face are dry, after centuries without lipstick, sunshine, and kisses from children.

But she is not my only mother. Earlier, I stood next to an old turbaned woman in an elevator, breathing in Chanel No. 5. I am suddenly eight, looking at the most beautiful woman in the world. A black mirror frames a full moon, which glows with its own light. The tender, succulent flesh has a celestial opalescence, much paler than my own sun-braised skin. Like mine, a little cupid's bow graces her full lips, now a crimson as deep as a wound. She is twenty-seven, eternally hopeful and unforgettable.


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