Geoffrey sat cross-legged, back to the window, on his side of the bed, the side squeezed up against the stereo, so close you had to scoot down to the bottom of the bed to get off it. He was telling me he’d dropped acid or something a few hours before and my anger and hurt were so strong they showed. It felt so bad to learn that all afternoon or all through dinner – whatever it was – he’d been high and I had not known. I felt like I’d been lied to hugely, but my complaints went nowhere. Instead, he looked at me blearily and said – in wonder -- how much he loved me and though it sounded like he meant it, the way he said it, with a smile I wasn’t really part of, it did not soothe me the way it usually did.
The old black bureau stood near the bed, pushed up against the hard blue wall. He kept his journal in the bottom drawer. Sometimes I read it. Sometimes I came across little scribbles in the margin – Hi, Marta! – shaming me. But I had to keep reading though it did not help, did not bring me closer or make me safer.
The black bureau was from his childhood. So was the low oval wooden coffee table that stood in the center of the narrow room, covered in anything that dropped there – mail, change, bag of pot. The room held what was left from the apartment he had grown up in, an apartment I had seen in the very beginning, but which had been cleared out when Geoffrey moved in with his father who lived a fancier life because of his second wife.
Geoffrey kept his records in one of the closets – lined up on a shelf that was supposed to hold sweaters. In the other closet were rarely worn clothes – like a musty suit jacket for funerals – and memorabilia from childhood, yearbooks, boxes of letters.
I was supposed to be there a lot but have a home somewhere else where all my stuff was.
I had the cheapest room I could find, $50/month for a small dark room in an apartment with people I did not know. After 6 months at school in the city, friends had not really happened. That part was still a mystery, and so I answered an ad, got the room on 107th Street, proud of my Manhattan address.
I liked it better down at Geoffrey’s where the TV or stereo was always on, where he cooked dinner every night – manically, privately, but the food always delicious – and we smoked pot and watched Letterman -- and even if these were not my things, they were all his things, I knew this because when I was alone I did not watch Letterman or any TV at all – but here at least there was light and sound and this Geoffrey with his gravelly voice, black erratic hair, his button-fly Levi’s and black tailless cat, doing everything he would do whether I was there or not.