It was you who reminded me later, much later, about that bar, a fairly elegant, attractive place, and about the two whiskeys I had that evening. I had no recollection of those whiskeys, nor of you, nor of the other young grad students, nor of the bar. I recalled, or so I thought, that you had walked me to the parking lot where IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d left my car. I still had that Renault 16, which I loved and still drove fast back then, even after the health problems related to alcohol. You asked me if I had lovers. I said, Not anymore, which was true. You asked how fast I drove at night. I said ninety, like everyone else with an R16. That it was wonderful. It was after that evening that you began writing me letters. Many letters. Sometimes one a day. They were very short letters, more like notes; they were, yes, like cries for help sent from an unbearable, deathly place, a kind of desert. The beauty of those cries was unmistakable.
I didn’t answer.
I kept all the letters.
At the tops of the pages were the names of the places where they’d been written and the time or the weather: Sunny or Rainy. Or Cold. Or: Alone.
And then once, a long time went by with no word at all. Perhaps a month, I don’t remember how long it lasted.
And so in my turn, in the void left by you, by that absence of letters, of cries for help, I wrote to find out why you had stopped writing.