Now I realize that it was nice of her to let me come over. At the time, I didn’t think of that at all. I thought we are old friends. She has to let me come over. I should come over. I thought I was doing her a favor in a way by coming over since I had ended things, and so it was in my power to come over or not come over. That’s what I was thinking. She made me a meal. We had tea, maybe, though I didn’t drink tea at that time but I remember her fussing with tea things. Even now, I can almost see a tea kettle and a tea cozy in her small kitchen in her small apartment. A knitted tea cozy with yellow and green yarn.

I felt huge, actually, walking around that apartment. I felt ungainly, like I was going to knock something over. I was cognizant of acting delicately around her. Or rather, on the surface, I acted delicately around her. I chose my words a bit more carefully to spare her feelings, but I never contemplated the overall situation. I wasn’t delicate in that way. I was oblivious in that way. If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have come over. I had no business coming over and having her make me a meal. Where was that going for me or for her?

I didn’t think about where things might go when she asked me to come over, but I went because we were old friends. I was somehow doing her a favor, I thought in a vague way. The truth was I had never really regarded her as another real person even when we had been involved with each other. I had only regarded her as a real person provisionally. Inside me, I had had reservations from the very first moment I met her and I kept those reservations for the two or three years of our involvement. I was never really involved. At times—during our long walks along Lake Shore Drive—I had thought I should let go of these reservations. She deserved in spades me letting go of these reservations, and I felt guilty about keeping them, but nonetheless, whenever I examined my feelings, there they always were inside me, like facts.

So I went to her apartment and let her feed me tea (though I didn’t drink tea then; I don’t know where this tea memory comes from) and make me a nice meal; I think it was Ethiopian, an Ethiopian meal. And when she announced, near the end of the meal, that she was now on Prozac, I felt at once superior but also betrayed, as if she had “sold out” in some way. When she said, “I am on Prozac now,” I thought, Why are you telling me this? and What do you want from me by telling me this? And I changed the subject.

After the meal, we chatted about this and that. I was very lonely actually at that time and really enjoyed chatting there. I recalled and enjoyed many of her good qualities—significant, even overwhelming good qualities—but none of which was sufficient to overcome my reservations. And at the end, leaving the small apartment—I felt enormous in there, like I would have to double over just to get out the door—and saying goodbye on the steps, I thought for a moment that maybe we ought to get together again. But that would be impossible, of course, after the damage I had done her, I knew. I could hardly try to seduce her again. But still, there on the steps, I hugged her affectionately—still doing her a favor—and maybe even a bit sexually—and that, I think, is the worst thing I have ever done.

Of course, there have been even worse things, but I just can’t remember them right now.