By LJ Phillips
I remember the voices of my mother’s lovers. Their rise and fall in the perfumed evenings. I didn’t speak English then. The sounds that echoed through our apartment could have been the low cooing of doves, the chatter of distant demons.
I slept on a couch in the living room. When her lovers came, I would have to scuttle to the kitchen and hide there until they made their way to her room. But sometimes I glimpsed them, their broad backs, the foreign maleness of them. Intruders into our cloistered world. Even my dreams were haunted. When I closed my eyes, I heard the grunts and slaps of love.
Now that I’m older, I know what it really was. Not love but commerce. Not true affection but something more fleeting and more honest.