Excerpt 77

Thanksgiving Day


My father and I went to the local Holiday Inn for dinner. My mother drank too much the night before and was unable to dress and leave the house. She stayed in bed while we set forth for roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, my favorite meal.

In the buffet line, we ran into one of my father’s friends/clients: Anastasia. She looked much more like an East Village resident of Manhattan than the dweller of an architecturally conservative apartment building in a good neighborhood of Memphis. She was more Harvey Fierstein than Anita Bryant. Anastasia was flamboyant with her heavy makeup, colorful clothes, and Lucite handbag, which completely exposed the contents.

If I had looked closely, I might have seen the Trojan condoms; Anastasia was a wealthy divorcée who got her kicks by pimping for the secret society of artistic, homosexual men in the neighborhood.

She threw raucous parties where handsome youths and older patrician men were introduced. Women were invited also, but they tended to be in their 50s and 60s and were oblivious to Anastasia’s maternal machinations.

Excerpt 76


[music: Schubert’s Death and the Maiden ]

My father later wrote–on one of his signature postcards–in all seriousness, “If you move to Greece, I guess we’ll see you once every ten years.” I was 22 years old.

He expressed neither sadness nor regret. Robert did not express emotion. Never.

He was always reserved and aloof. Neither joy nor despair ever dared to cross his face. His emotional armor was impenetrable.

But what was truly in his heart?

I never found out…not even after his death.