TIME PAID FOR IS EASY TO FORGET / Lawrence Coates THEY WERE SITTING around a trash fire when the American came with Mara and took the guitar from Jaime. The fire was of old broken crates and pallets, the leavings of every port city. It had not been built for warmth; the Philippine nights were always warm and humid. It had been built for the sake of community; it gave light, the refuse scraps of wood from the Naval complex at the port. The American sat in the center of the group with the girl at his side and tried to tune the guitar. "Still flat," he said. "If I can just get one more turn out of it." He frowned. The E string had parted and someone had knotted the two ends together with a becket bend. He doubted whether he could and gave them a center around which to form a circle, and cost only tune it, or whether it would sound well if tuned. It would never have occurred to him to try to mend a string in similar fashion. He would merely have bought a new string, or a new set of six. The
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1988
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