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  • 1.

    By the time he was twenty-eight, he was worth $50 million dollars.

    But when I first met him he was just a guy who danced in a goofy manner with his hands scissoring in the air.

    We met at Stanford. I was a law student. He was a medical student who had dropped out to start an internet business.

    With him, that desire, it was so magnetic, as if my flesh was iron, the pull, so strong, it was an effort not to lean, tilt towards him.

    Our first date, at a Thai restaurant in Palo Alto, we could hardly wait to caper back to his studio, fumbling into bed, it was the first time, I had ever felt this extreme about a man. This rupturing rapture.


    Once we rented a car and we drove to the Gold Country and we stayed in a Victorian bed and breakfast. We explored the ramshackled ghost towns, we found the remains of a Chinese settlement, a little village, and from a small placard we learned that a group of white miners had massacred the entire Chinese village during the height of the gold rush.

    I often annoyed him by asking the reason for his exclusive attraction to Asian men.

    He would always give me the same answer: I don’t know. It just is.

    I was never satisfied with his answer and pressed him for clarification, until he became upset, and would say to me: Enough, can we talk about something else. Please?

    I was young, filled with ideas about identity politics, political slogans, race consciousness. Now I understand, love cannot always be explained. Sometimes. It just is.


    Sometimes. I would spend the night at his place. I remember the sunrises, how the light would seep through the window blinds, how the dust motes became highlighted in gold, like stardust.

    Most often, he would still be asleep, sometimes snoring, it was so quiet at dawn, a tender, gauzy feeling, half in slumber, I could hear the mumbling of a car engine outside, the crooning of a dove on a bare branch tree.

    Sometimes. If it was not too cold, I would climb out of the bed while he slept and walk out into the balcony, the light streaming against my face, the sun slowly rising, awakening, the tangled shadow of the trees and leaves.


    That summer. We lived across from the park, on Sunday mornings, we would climb up to the roof, and we would have brunch, coffee and toast with butter and jelly. We would read the newspaper, the New York Times, and you could smell the jasmine that the owner, who lived in the cottage in the back, had planted, and time seemed so much slower then, it serenaded us, with its own gentle rhythm, a slow waltz, unlike now, when it gallops, a jittery beat, a marathon, faster and faster, speeding, always out of breath.

    He played the violin. I could hear him in my room, or even outside in the garden, it was a lovely sound, that honeyed, warm glossy tone, the music courted me as I sat on my bed, or under a shade of tree, reading a novel, daydreaming, my attention fading in and out, with the stringed reverberation of the music.

    When I closed my eyes. Sometimes, i could not believe that he even existed, that he belonged to me.


    Oh, how I miss those long summer days, the sunny daze, of lounging on grass, of crickets, walking barefeet, when the world appeared to shimmer in a halo of honey, the languorous laughter, the cold foggy nights, when we would listen to jazz, and we would drink a cheap bottle of red wine, and with that warm liquid fire in our belly we would make-out on the couch and now and then you could hear the trolley train rattling, vibrating through our basement flat.

    I loved sleeping with him, the two of us, entangled, wrapped under the covers, and even though, he snored, it did not bother me, it sounded like music, like a cello, it blended with the train, the foghorn, and the rickety footsteps of our upstairs neighbor.


    We severed our ties the day before Valentines.

    After many years of trying, the seesaw years, the makeups and breakups, it was finally over. Finished.

    I slammed the door shut as I walked out of his car. His life. Forever.

    Soon afterwards, he moved far away. He became a memory. An echo. A faded tattoo.


    Last Valentines day. I received a surprise call from him. He wished me a belated Valentine.

    Ten years later. He still remembers.
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