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  • The thing that struck me most was how many people talked about my mother. It’s an unusual topic of conversation at your father’s pre-wedding party with his soon-to-be wife. Perhaps it's how much I look like my mother, reminding the friends of my father's that became the friends of my mother's I haven’t seen in ten years that she still exists, even from afar. Perhaps it was the way that the soon-to-be wife chainsmoked on the balcony. Perhaps it was the alcohol. Whatever it was, I didn’t think it would make me cry until I saw Jay. I haven’t seen him since I lived in New York, so it’s been at least eleven years. He saw me before I saw him, so once I saw him, he was already standing and moving towards me, eyes fixed.
    “Oh my God.” Our breath filled the space between each other as we pulled each other in a tight hug. He had been sitting alone. He was my father’s oldest friend and was wearing clothes that I recognized as ones my father would wear, used to wear. Amidst the suits and starched shirts, he wore a blue and white striped t-shirt and a pair of jeans. I’d seen the same outfit on my father a thousand times.
    “I didn’t even recognize you. You’re so old. So beautiful. I thought you were your mother.”
    I smiled and quietly said thank you; it felt good to receive a compliment from someone I knew wasn’t making a pass at me.
    “How is this for you?”
    “It’s hard.”
    I remember crying, the only time I cried all night, and the way he put my hand on my shoulder like my father would have. We were talking about her, of course. I remember saying, “I want her to love him even if he’s sick can’t do the things that he does that make him him, I want her to love him when it’s just him.” We turned towards the window and he asked me if I’d told my father how I felt. I said yes. Jay looked into my eyes, then looked at the ceiling, then back at me with a depth of sadness that I’ve never seen in my father’s eyes. I noticed he wore a wedding ring but there was no wife at the party. We talked for a long time after that, on the third floor, above the main ruckus of the party. The conversation ended with Jay telling me and my sister to find him when we were ready to go, that he would take us home. I saw him waiting a little while later, and motioned to him. The three of us piled into the town car and drove away.
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