Stamped on the Underside of My Memory

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Every aurate woman I have loved in my life, and I use the word loved in its widest sense, has left her impression on me, as the old gods of creation are said to have left their thumbprints on the temples of the men that they fashioned out of mud and turned into us. Just so do I retain a particular trace of each one of my women—for I think of them all as mine still—stamped indelibly on the underside of my memory. I will glimpse in the street a head of wheat-coloured hair retreating among the hurrying crowd, or a slender hand lifted and waving farewell in a certain way; I will hear a phrase of laughter from the far side of a hotel lobby, or just a word spoken with a recognised, warm inflection, and on the instant this or that she will be there, vividly, fleetingly…

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