Excerpt 72

Manhattan

1976

Sol Schwartz, a commercial artist, called last night. He had picked me up in front of “Guernica” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971, shortly after I had lost my virginity on a waterbed in a closed wing of Bellevue Hospital to a Jewish dental student at New York University.

I’m sure glad sex improved after that experience! What a selfish, insensitive bastard my de-virginizer was.

Sol remembered our conversations in detail…even the name of the headmistress at the school where I taught first grade.

He told me that I should be an ambassador’s wife because protocol agrees with me, then he asked about my romances.

He surmised that I was incapable of loving anyone freely—that I would always maintain control and keep a distance because I feared more emotional pain and had learned how to protect myself to an exaggerated degree. He said that my voice had changed; the hesitancy was gone. I was tougher now.

He was absolutely right.

Another friend from Frenchtown, Tennessee, called today. He lives in San Francisco now and promised to ship a case of California Chardonnay to me.

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