A famous writer called me. She was already crazy. I was flattered. I was fluttering on the edge of people who write about drugs and sex. They had tattoos and piercings. They looked starved and glamorous. I looked like my life, but I felt an affinity with them.
The famous writer was in Austin and said she needed money. I said I would send some. I imagined her on a bed wearing dark slacks and a white shirt, looking up at cracks in the ceiling and discolorations from leaks. She said the government was watching her and everyone was at risk. She was a paranoid schizophrenic, and after a while I became bored and felt strange to have been flattered by her call. I was afraid if I disconnected, it would make her crazier.
Before she left New York, we went riding in Central Park. She sat up tall and confident on a chestnut stallion. I had learned to ride as a child. We were bourgeois girls who had been given lessons. Her father had had sex with her. A man my parents trusted had molested me. Some people believe you don’t come back, although everyone needs to remember to be happy. A year after the famous writer’s call, she killed herself. Recently, I came across a postcard sent by the man my parents had trusted. He was writing from a spa in Switzerland and sending fond regards, as if nothing had happened. I have kept the postcard because the man’s touch is still on it and because his formality in the note makes me laugh.