Memories are strange. What causes our brain to hold on to certain moments and not others? There must be a connection between our emotions and our willingness to remember or forget snippets from the past. Some memories are significant as they mark milestones and events in our lives and others are seemingly insignificant as they are nothing more than passing minutes, yet we remember them anyway.
When I was twenty-four, I worked for a gaming company in Las Vegas. My job was to collect money from slot machines that were installed in bars and grocery stores all across town. It was a hard and dangerous job and took me to many unsavory parts of town.
One afternoon, while I smoked a cigarette outside of a neighborhood bar and waited for my partner to finish the money count, a woman named Angel approached me. She smiled and asked if I liked living in Las Vegas and then proceeded to tell me the story of how and why she moved to the desert. I offered her a cigarette and we continued our interesting conversation about hopes and dreams. The cigarettes eventually burned themselves out and she thanked me for my sincere interest in her thoughts, handed me a business card and invited me to share another conversation if I was in the area again.
Angel was a prostitute, although she never came out and said so. I knew and didn’t care. She was a person trying to make her way in the world, just like me and for that she deserved respect. I’ve kept that business card for all these years and have often wondered what became of her. Statistically, her life was probably cut short due to substance abuse and lifestyle, but I’ve held onto the hope she somehow managed to escape. If she did not, at least I am one person in the world who thought enough about her to keep that stained business card and remember a moment in her life.