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.

AngelOne 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.


Angel — 9 Comments

  1. At first glance, I thought she was Angel #11 & wondered how many more there might be. Yeah, our minds are full of such odd bits and pieces. I often struggle to remember important current things because they are lost in the midst of things from years gone by. Nice piece Steven.

    • I have a terrible memory when it comes to date and time. I like to look back in my photos files (I use my Nikon almost daily) to see what was happening on the same date a year ago, two years ago, etc.. Sometimes I’m really surprised when my memory of a specific moment happened in a different month and year than what I was remembering.

  2. You and I met in a bar and I can’t remember how many years ago it was. Seems like yesterday :). Oh… And Wylde too!! Love you boys.

    • Gosh, it seems my life has always been connected to a bar in one way or another. That’s funny because I’m not much of a drinker anymore, not that I ever really was. We met about a decade ago, Dani.

  3. Very thought provoking- thank u. I have met so many characters in brief encounters and I just love them all! Each had a story of some kind and way to tell. My most memorable unknown person was an old man at fisherman’s wharf sitting on a bench with pigeons all over him. I watched him for a bit then continued on. But I had to stop when I was so near. So I walked up to him and ask if I could take his picture – a picture is worth a thousand words – and he stood, placing pigeons on me, looked me in the face, and told me there is just one thing I needed to remember: you must be very very nice to everyone u meet. Not like the monotone u just rear but much more dramatic. I still have that picture. : )
    I have always found my self in places under odd circumstances and will remember many of them so long as a memory can last.
    I have also lost track of many people. Of those I have found alive (I lost a husband and 3 friends to my “sister morphine” and 4 to alcohol) some were happy. But beware, Steven, not everyone wants to be found.

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