I saw a picture of you online. You were getting arrested at Occupy Wall Street.
Do you remember the night in Boston when you tried to convince me to drive with you to the protests in Seattle? A defining moment for our generation, you told me.
Later, on the weekend in that borrowed apartment in Greenwich village, you spoke Russian on the phone. You had the galley proofs of a book, some Big New Novel, which had been sent to you, by an Important Editor, for your review. You took me to a bar with art-house projections on the wall, in Williamsburg. You took me to that dinner, a get-together with other writers and editors. I understood that you were showing me the literary life that you led.
As if I needed proof. I wanted to be asked, not told. But you always thought you knew what I needed.
That night in Boston, when you were still married and nothing happened, you walked me back to my apartment in Jamaica Plain. I said goodnight and went inside. I was half-undressed when you knocked on my door again. Come back out, you insisted. Let’s keep talking. I pulled a sweatshirt over my pajamas. We didn’t drive to Seattle. We loitered in a playground in the middle of the night, like teenagers. I remember sitting on one of those treacherous spinning metal circles, a manual merry-go-round. Playgrounds don’t come with anything that thrilling or dangerous anymore. Everything has been rubberized and blunted.
When you signed your novel for me, you wrote that if I recognized myself, it was OK because you changed everything. But I can’t bring myself to read the book. I let J. read it to tell me how I come off. He is an optimist. I knew he would see whatever you wrote about me in the best possible light. I knew that you misinterpreted everything. I still don’t want to be told what I need.
Tina Fey has a joke, about advice for her daughter: Talent is not a sexually transmitted disease. No one wants to be the groupie in the relationship. I always believed that you would have silenced me, if I had let you in any further. I don’t think you saw this. But I was always meant to be in L.A., and you were always meant to be in New York. It made me happy to see you getting dragged off by the cops. Not for you, the complaints that they were arresting journalists. You demanded arrest. Give ’em hell, I wanted to tell you. Give them hell.