It's Halloween and I've just gotten my skeleton key tattoos beneath my collarbones, the word clavicle coming from the Latin "claviculus" meaning "little key," but I get them to open doors. I go to the Cantab to a party of dead poets.
He apparently always is there, but I have never seen him. I am Sappho and he is John Berryman and when he reads I am drunk on whiskey and High Life and I'm turning to Sam saying "Who's that?" Next thing I know I'm outside pulling a cigarette out of his pack and we're talking about something, then someone suggests we go to Zuzu and we go and we're dancing and drinking more whiskey.
When the bars close we climb in the back of someone's car. Jess and I are too drunk. Lights are blurry. When we stop in Allston Jess and I hold onto each other's waists as we wobble. He and his friends get in a fight with some Mexican guys, and a girl pulls out a butterfly knife, but all I hear is Jess saying "What's going on?"
Jess and I are tired and we go to sleep in his bed. Sometime during the night, Jess is carried away and I hear "I promise I'm not a creep, I just need to wake up in the morning," before he climbs in and puts one arm around my shoulder.
The next day I walk back over the bridge in my toga to get my car. When I get back to Brighton, I get a call from a literary agent who wants to represent my book, pending minor rewrites. "How long do you think it will take?" she asks. "Oh, about a week," I say, then cringe at my own words.
After hanging up I walk back to my old Starbucks to tell Al and Mallory. I run into an old regular customer who asks what I'm doing now. I tell him I'm recently unemployed and he calls his boss and gets me a writing job.
That weekend, we see each other again. I meet everyone. Outside the bar he kisses me and I say "I'm glad you got that out of the way." I get too drunk again and apologize for it. He says "Don't worry, I don't care at all. It just can't happen all the time. I'm not good at taking care of women." I am coherent enough, and say "Well, that works out, because I don't like to be taken care of."
I do my rewrite, get the contract in my inbox. I start the real job and instantly get more work. I go to a party at the Lizard Lounge and everyone is full of love.
Back at The Cantab, I read a piece about a guitar, string theory, and my father. He says "Good. I was worried for a minute about what I would do if your poems sucked."
Over breakfast, we make an handshake agreement because I don't have a pen to draw up a proper contract. We will not read poems about one another at the Cantab, unless they are so well-veiled that even we can't tell what they're about.
The revision is done. I'm sending it off tomorrow.
What a week.