For reasons of preservation, I am trying to recall, specifically, what appealed most to me, upon meeting my boyfriend. It seems like such an important thing to know.
I remember loving his height and quick, sweet smile. The way he laughed at himself but was still at ease, calling himself a “man baby.”
He was alone on a trip to New York in winter, a stray Californian who was always without gloves or a sufficient coat.
If I didn’t call him until noon, he would answer his phone from some interesting place. Canal Street, just to see it, or a bar in Brooklyn where he talked and made friends with strangers. He didn’t have a problem drinking before five. That seemed liberating.
Memories are strange things, what stays and fades. I can always see the dirty interior stairs of my Nassau Street apartment, the torn cheap lace of a curtain covering a window that wasn’t there, my hand poised for the doorknob. The second before and the one after are entirely gone, swallowed up by my brain.
He told me his last name, and now it is so strange there was ever a time when I might have not known it. The name on letters in the mail box, on the taxes I file and the papers I keep in a fire-proof safe, printed beside my own on our car registration.
But at that moment, in the foyer in Brooklyn, I had no idea that name would matter more than any other.