Nov 16, 2021

One afternoon shortly after I got back from Tucson, Jack and I went walking on the USC campus, and rather than listening to what I was saying, his head kept swiveling, his eyes following every passing co-ed. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with an awful heaviness, the feeling that my whole body was steeped in misery, even before I could recall the abortion and Jack’s disinterest. As early as I dared the next morning, I called my mother to ask her if I could come home. Arlen flew down while I packed up my few belongings, and by the end of the next day, we were on our way back to the Bay Area together in the “Bomb.”


I’ve always remembered, because it seems so telling in hindsight, that Jack—who used to copy things I did—bought several goldfish after I bought a Siamese fighting fish. Whenever I visited his apartment, I’d find them at the surface of their bowl, gasping for air, the water so dirty they couldn’t breathe through their gills, because carefree Jack couldn’t be bothered with changing their water, just as he couldn’t be bothered with using a new condom and left me gasping with pain on a surgical table.