I had no idea what I would do after graduation. Senior year in Chapel Hill for the twelve of us was a carnival inside of a bell jar, and I was having enough trouble keeping my feet straight in the conga line to worry about applying for jobs. Besides, there was nothing I wanted to do. None of us wanted to do anything but drink and be merry, for we felt that life was short and sweet and best appreciated when squeezed for all its juice. Ted Lee more so than the rest. His greatest fear was that he would shrivel into old age with his health and nothing else, no friends, no money, no charging after loose women, no Napa Valley wine, no bass guitar, no stories. There were times when he would disappear for three days straight, cell phone dead, car in the drive, keys on the coffee table; everything a person needed to survive and function in society he discarded like flip-flops at the beach. Then come Sunday he sprang back from the black and ratcheted the soundtrack of my life to roaring. Roaring lions, roaring hormones, roaring Ted Lee telling me he had spent the last thirteen hours inside a woman practicing an ancient Hindu sutra that demanded as little movement as possible, demonstrating how it was done, insisting we go out for a beer, just one beer, like “Come on, man, Marge and Kenny are waiting for us at He’s Not.” And if I told him I had work to do it was, “Do it later,” and “I need you. Everybody’s out drinking and the night is young,”—like that made all the difference in the world. For him, night unraveled adventure, as if the dark sheet that descended when the sun’s orange yolk cracked over the horizon offered blank beginnings the same as the season’s first blanket of snow.
Around this time I was seeing about three girls and none of them was Josephine.