Two of us are still together.
I met him trying to get into his logic class. Don’t worry: I was nearly thirty and once divorced. I wasn’t particularly worried about my grade and was rather starved for the sort of shenanigans we got up to with impressive frequency, having just left a lover who did not want me at all. And this was years before academia even cared what professors got up to, provided it wasn’t blatantly coercive.
He had a habit of making pillow talk on the phone with friends and frequently handing the phone over to me so I could “meet” them. There was one friend in particular he insisted I meet, as I reminded him of her in a huge way. The fact that they had been lovers for years while he was in graduate school made the whole thing seem a little weird to me, but whatever.
In the spring he decided he would take me to California to visit my parents, knowing my relationship with my father was — to use a major understatement — terrible. Another story for another time.
We would see my parents in San Diego, visit his ex (let’s call her Mary) in San Pedro, and then he would fly up to a philosophy convention in San Francisco. And so it came to pass that I would spend a few days at the home of a woman I had never met, and, I guess, hope for the best.
Have you ever met someone and understood immediately that the two of you had always known each other? So it was with Mary and me. I couldn’t know what it meant for her, to be sitting in her parents’ living room with a stranger not long after both of them had died within weeks of each other; but there was something we simply understood.
When she saw my Polish father for the first time, it brought tears to Mary’s eyes, as judging by physical appearance he could have been her own father. Turns out the ex was correct: we did need to know each other.
I loved San Pedro from Day One, back there in the early 80s when it was rougher around the edges than it is today: a real seaport town, with people from all over the world and lots of places where you could get a payday loan or a tattoo or a gun. When I was a Teaching Assistant in grad school and a California-based student made fun of San Pedro, her fate was sealed and I made sure she knew it.