Steve is at the door of our one-bedroom cottage. It is night. He has shown up here in L.A. from New York. We haven’t been in touch. He was a blonde boy in New York who never tried to kiss me though I wanted him to, and now he is here at the doorstep, blonde pony tail, saying can he crash for the night?
Jeffrey, my boyfriend watching TV on the couch, doesn’t know Steve, and, knowing Jeffrey, doesn’t want to.
“Hold on,” I say to Steve. “Let me check,” and I lightly close the door.
This is not how I want to be. I want to be the hippy chick whose door is always open, who has friends who can show up any time. This is who Steve thinks I am. This is who I have professed to be. But he has never seen me with Jeffrey.
“Who was that?” Jeffrey glances up, his head bent over the long blue ceramic pipe, inhaling as he holds a match to the bowl.
“My friend, Steve,” I say. “He’s in town from New York. He needs a place for the night.”
I don’t have friends, especially friends that count. My friends, like my family, don’t count for much. Jeffrey’s do. He likes his friends from college and high school. He likes his sister, his father, stepmother, that whole crowd.
But my people seem shabby. Not bright, sophisticated, not quick-witted, not wealthy. Not from Manhattan.
“Well, tell him to get a hotel. There’s plenty of them up on Hollywood.”
Maybe I push back and forth a bit, but it doesn’t matter.
I have to open the front door and step out onto the small terra cotta porch and say to Steve, “I’m sorry, but I can’t put you up, but I can give you a lift up to some hotels nearby.”
Jeffrey has said this is normal. “You can’t just show up and expect—“ he had said, and so I am hopeful that maybe Steve is in the wrong and it’s okay and normal to send him to a hotel.
And I do it and he is gone and I try to just believe everything is all right.