My ather had said, if I read it every day, I wil learn about the world around us, and his boy would become a man.
I ’ m sure I would have continued as a oy, unless I had met you.I had slept with many girls in Paris, and I bedded plenty more after you, before I married my wife, a virgin until our wedding night.
Everything I slept with narrowed it down to the one I would eventually marry.I looked up from the Post, some article on inflation, and I saw you taking a seat opposite me.
Something must have touched him, unless he did it out of a ense of duty to my wife, for he took a photo of us that day.He gave it to me when he retired 10 years ago.
It ’ s not that the photo reminds me of a time when I was a oy.
After all, it was you who made me th man, not reading the Post.Like my father before me, I am a man of duty.
I have done the right hing, and I will die a contented man, if contentment is what I am looking for.No, what that photo and that moment remind me of is my capacity for desire.
I ha even lonelier after I had met you, because of the obsessive love I had for you.You said, “ I ’ d rather you didn ’ t love me, but if you o, I ’ d like you to do as you usually do with women. ” I sked, “ Is that what you ant? ” You nodded.
He ould tell I felt differently about you, that I wasn ’ t disqualifying you, that I did to marry this white girl, even though you would never love me in return.He made his position very clear. “ I ill not let my son marry this little white whore from Sadec. ” I wante to obliterate his attitude from my min.
I didn ’ t know where the waters sprang from, but I certainly didn ’ t know where they were heading.My father did, and somehow he built a dam that would contain the flow, and one day the torrent just stopped.Loving you had made me th man, he new that, as I did, and although we disagreed wildly, I was reconciled to my future in the family business.As my father loosened his grip on the reins and handed them over to me, I expanded to two and then eventually five department stores, and then years later with such a solid foundation, I started investing in shopping centres in Australia, until my family became the largest private holder of retail real estate in the country.Like my father, I am not an egotistical man or a roud one.
A youngish fellow, he vowed to phone my banker and ask whether I had sufficient funds in my account to clear the cheque.
They have married well, and have given me four beautiful grandchildren.As I said, I have carried our photo in my wallet for many ears, ever since I learned of its existence.Any other man in my position would possibly say that they had everything that they had ever desired.For me, thi is true, except in one sense that I have attempted to overlook for fifty years.I once desired you, that skinny white French girl in the fedora.
I id only desire you once, but that one occasion has lasted fifty years.Now that I am about to die, or think I am, and my family will soon gather around me to say their farewells, I ust take a match to this photo and set it alight, like you once set me alight, and indeed, I can never forget, perhaps I also set you alight, if eve for as long.My favourite nurse just brought me an ashtray and a cigarette lighter.