To Forgive and Forget by Peter Nolan Smith

After my youngest brother died of AIDS in 1995, I traveled to the holiest shrines in Asia. The ancient temples salved little of my grief and I switched to worshipping the high heels of the go-go girls. Vee danced at the Baby A Go-Go in Pattaya. She had one eye. We had an affair. The word ‘love’ was traded between us many times. My money ran out before Christmas and a 747 flew me back to the States. My vow to return was a lie. Friends phoned to say she was seeing an Englishman. It seemed better that way.

A year later I took a plane to Thailand. The taxi ride from Bangkok lasted two hours. I stayed at the same hotel. A knock sounded on the door. It wasn?t room service. Vee hadn’t changed much physically, but told me she had AIDS. I said I would help her. We went up country to see her baby. She said it could have been mine.
To Forgive and Forget by Peter Nolan SmithThe math didn’t work out, but I was glad that the child was healthy. The farm had prospered. Vee and I slept in the same bed. She wanted me to hold her. We did nothing else. The next morning I looked for water. No medicine filled the refrigerator. Vee put the child on my lap. She had told her lovers the same story. It had been a test.

I was the only one who passed this exam. The memory of my brother stopped my strangling her. The baby cried as I packed my bags. Vee asked if I was angry. My answer was a weak no and I caught the next bus out of town. Forgetting her lie was much easier in Pattaya as was everything else, because life is too short not to forgive and forget.

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