Sixteen, ultrathin, and wickedly alert, Charles loitered at my oily sandalwood doorway. Under his breath he was humming his alma mater; “for the first and last time,” he informed me. That day was the day of his baccalaureate examinations, and he had creeped by on the strength of his graceful Greek.
“Do not give me a name, even in your own imagination,” I warned him when he asked. “I’ve seen too many young someones evaporate in the cipher of myself.” He said nothing, but lit a little cigarette very elegantly, tossing one for me when I licked my lips. That’s when I showed him into the recesses of the house and motioned him through the great red door, the equator of so many young men’s sexual explorations.