Between the summer Shakespeare class and the meeting at the Rome Airport, there had been all the years of chance and some not so chance meetings between Lenny and me. Thrown together psychically and geographically under the billowing, bellowing tent of the Berkeley English Department during my graduate school years–which spanned part of two of Lenny’s marriages–we came in and out of focus for each other.
For years, Lenny was head of the Berkeley Writers Conference, which spawned literary readings and cocktail parties, as did the San Francisco Film Festival, publication parties for Lenny and other Berkeley writers, the Gayley lectures…and all the other Berkeley events, restaurants and streets. We would run into each other, see each other across crowded rooms, follow each other undetected up and down the stairs of Wheeler Hall.
So many fugitive glances. In fact, we had never not had eyes for each other. And there was always that strange, piercing recognition, with no place for it to go. He had wives and children, I had and didn’t have Paul, my bad boyfriend.