"A mourner needs a voice, some way of making his anguish public...."
"Addicts die young.... often somebody gets left behind, somebody does get hurt.... Art is a way to assert ... that the lives of addicts matter more than their deaths."
I graduated from college in May of 1980. I stayed in town for a month, trying to find a job, but I ran out of money, so in June I returned to the city and my parents' house.
For the next two months, every Sunday at about 2:00 in the afternoon, my phone rang. Usually I was just finishing dinner with my family and had to race up the two flights of stairs to my room to answer it.
Now and then he called me on a Friday night, late, after being out with friends. But usually it was Sunday, and always it was him calling me. Occasionally I wrote and sent him a letter, and he always wrote back.
One day in August I was sitting on my bed, legs curled up under me, staring out the window at the house next door, and suddenly I knew, though it had happened the way a rock is shaped and smoothed by water: I was in love.
I wanted to go see him; it had been months. And other than the letter writing, he'd been the one to initiate every encounter. I decided not to mention my thoughts, or my heart, to him. Instead, I prayed.
A few days later I got a letter. At the end of it, he asked me to think about coming to spend Labor Day weekend with him.
If only I'd continued handling all my impulses toward him—or anyone or anything else for that matter—in the same way.