We had a friend who was on trial for rape. In the papers, it was reported as a consensual encounter that turned sour. Both drunk, after a party. His name wasn’t reported. It was decided that our group would never speak of him again. But Mark and I sent him separate emails of support to this friend and he replied with a long letter he’d written to his family and high school friends. In the letter, he quoted Hamlet. He didn’t defend or explain himself. Mark and I didn’t need to agree not to tell the others. “Would you feel sorry for him if there was no way anyone else would find out?” Mark said.

“Yes, I would.”

“There’s your answer.”

Mark’s girlfriend had left him and he wasn’t good about it. We tried to encourage him to come out. “Nah,” he said, “I’m not even interested. I’m just gonna cut off my dick and put it in a hot dog bun and parade it around, ‘You can’t have this. Sorry, love.’”

The trial would take at least six months. Some of us got good marks. A few went overseas. The group dissipated. Our friend stayed in the news.