Winter 1983 • Vol. V No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1983 |

Sa’ad and Surat

There are memories we have that remain out of focus. We keep them, undeveloped, in the back of our minds until one night they flicker, they become clear, without chemicals, without warning, suddenly they become whole, like a half-hour TV episode. This is one: Slipping behind the servants' quarters. Green, spade-shaped leaves clinging to the wall. The sharp, muddy odor rising from below. The white, two-pronged tree. Rough bark against my hands and feet. The bristling sensation of adventure, of fear. Burning tarpaper on my soles. The tin siding of the roof sharp against my palms. The small window. The cool, blue shadow inside. My foot groping for the ledge. I have played this memory over and over on sleepless nights, expectant at each moment. As it appears brilliantly before me, I know it well and can run it, forward and back, shimmering frame by frame. It warms me. With each item ticked off, run with excruciating anticipation, I want to run it more slowly. Drawing out the f

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