The Catholic Church and other derivatives of the Judeo-Christian faith extol monogamy as the true state of man and woman, then explain sex with the mystery of the birds and bees. Actually I don't ever recall hearing that lecture from my parents, although the stork was mentioned whenever a new brother or sister arrived unannounced from the hospital. Storks at hospitals made no sense to me, but my parents remained faithful to each other till death like mating pigeons.
On the other hand I have been a wanderer. I can't count the number of my paramours on one hand or all my digits and while I don't remember all their names, I do recollect their faces, smiles, and smell, yet very little of the sex. Woman pride themselves on their memories. They can quote you twenty years after the utterance left your lips. I thought that females would be the same about the act of love, but not all of them.
Several years back I ran into Valda at a studio opening in Manhattan. I had been out of town for a half-year in Asia. We sat on a window sill and spoke of our past and present. Two younger people came up to us and the girl asked, "Are you a couple?""Not really." I smiled at the tenderness in her voice. I had been young once.
"You seemed so comfortable together." The young man beamed with the promise of two hearts beating as one and held his girlfriend's hand with tenderness. They had a lot to learn, but I wasn't in the ogod to bust their bubble, so I said, "No, we were never a couple, but we once were lovers."
"No, we weren't." Valda's answer was quick and harsh.
"We weren't? I was certain we had slept together on my futon with sweat slickening our bodies on a hot August night.
"Not at all." She was adamant.
"Are you sure?" Her kiss had been long.
Those encounters couldn't have been a phantasm of my fantasies. She had scratched my back to shreds. A fury dwelt in her eyes. The young couple were aghast. I admitted surrender. "Sorry, guess I was thinking about someone else."
I had slept with two of her best friends. Mary Beth and Lucille wouldn't know if I was right, but those two had vanished from New York at least a decade earlier. Valda walked away angry. She glared at me the rest of the night. I hadn’t thought I was so bad, but you never are bad as long your memory is outdated by reality.