Afterward, she stroked the long scar on my chest like she might stroke the skin of a snake. She touched the scars on my neck and abdomen, and I held her misshapen hand in mine. We allowed the other to explore our defects because that’s what they were for. Our imperfections can’t help but tell others and even ourselves who we are. Though she was alarmingly fit and shapely for her age, her naked body betrayed her years, as our bodies eventually betray us all.

Will you stay with me tonight? she asked.

I said I would and then retrieved the cups from the floor.

My name is Anya, she said.

It’s perfect for you, I told her, and we lied there drinking until the brandy in the bottle was gone and the sweat on our skin dried and likewise became part of the past.

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