Excerpt from All My Sins Remembered
One day in late April, we sat on her bed as the rain fell through the trees. The lights were off, and the room was lit by the flicker of a black and white movie that was turned down low so we could listen to the rain.
She had stolen a pint of her mother’s peach Schnapps from the kitchen cabinet, and we lay there, taking tiny swigs.
“You have such small hands,” she said, squinting from the sharp sting of the straight liqueur .
“I’ve never noticed,” I said.
She handed me the half pint bottle and I took a long swig.
She got up and looked in the full-length mirror. This is a scene that would be played over and over again, as if the linear narrative of my life has been damaged by a glitch in the mechanism of time and reality, the effect being a continuous loop of those few moments that otherwise would be lost in the immensity of our lives.
“When you’re famous will you make a statue of me? Put me into flowing robes like a Greek goddess?”
“Sure,” I said.
If you do, I want you to make me look like I do now. Can you remember? Just as I am this moment. Not how I will look then, however many years it is from now. I dread getting old. All I have are my looks.”
“That’s not true.”
“Promise you will. Look at me. Remember.”
She looked at herself for a moment, and thevcc sit down beside me on the bed. At first, I had been afraid to touch her. It had seemed dangerous and forbidden, like reaching into a fire’s unbearable, white-hot center, deep inside the place where all desire originates; and, clutching tightly, if only for a moment, the sacred flame like the blazing, beating heart of the world, until your hand is completely burned, and when you try to pull it out, there is nothing left; everything you have known before, or believed in, has turned to ash. And though I wasn’t sure if I should, I pressed her close to me, and then I kissed her. It was a short kiss, but still a kiss.
I took another swig from the bottle of Schnapps. I have always remembered that first candied taste on my lips.
Years later, bartenders would always give me a strange look, when, near the end of the night, though I could hardly stand up, I would order a straight peach Schnapps and just sit and stare at it, take a tiny sip and swish it around in my mouth, never finishing the whole shot, as if I was afraid of losing that memory forever.
, ~~adam stanley