The interview began at 9. I arrived at the office 20 minuets early. I had a black suit on with a muted Halloween orange shirt on that I had bought at that Spanish clothing shop in Germany. I had remembered to bring a second set of references and clippings with me.

After I had presented myself they asked me if there was any legal or medical reason I might have in my background that would prevent me from carrying out any of my duties, were I to be employed. I responded with a sober no and looked straight ahead.

I was thinking of the woman’s clipped British accent and about how much I wanted to get this job. I wanted this job more than anything and it was mine to have. All I had to do was sit here and be pleasant with just enough humor and charm and earnestness.

They called back a week later and asked me to come again and meet their client. I agreed and as I hung up the telephone I looked over at her and smiled. She smiled back and we celebrated with a glass of wine and later dinner and later kisses and sex.

Everybody asks that question. It’s because my passport was stolen in Rome and the embassy made me a new one good for only one year. I had to renew it with the State Department when I returned to the US. See look here way in the back, here’s the embossed seal on page 23.

I felt the takeoff of the plane and sat back as it climbed and accelerated into the gray early morning sky. I was glad to be leaving and I was glad to be moving again. The daily commute on the train and the walk to and from the stations and work had defined my life.

I was moving to Oregon to live with Bob and his new wife Melanie and their two kids. I hadn’t seen him in months. I had this red Volkswagen Rabbit from a drive away agency and I had packed it with everything I needed. The rider, and me and a guy from the Pharmacy took off out of Chicago.

Sitting with my father eating soup. He’s talking about something but I’m not really concentrating on it. I keep my head down as low as it’ll get. I keep ladling up the soup and swallowing it down and using this as the reason not to look up at my father and talk to him.