December, 1999. Thessaloniki.

Christmas Eve. We gathered in a taverna at lunch time: the inner circle of the record shop people, some of their old friends, and me. I did and didn’t belong there. I loved them all, and they were fond of me, but they were, roughly, twenty years my seniors, with lives that were falling apart when mine had just started, with disappointment in their hearts where mine was filled with longing. I was starry-eyed. I think I’ve told you that before. “What do you have to do with all of this?” one of them asked me, and I replied, truthfully, “I must have something to do with it, or I wouldn’t be here.”

Our faces glowed red, with wine, and love, and warmth, as the snow from the previous entry continued to fall on the city. As the day faded a spontaneous decision was made, and three of us –the one who asked the question, my sort-of-best-friend, and me– sneaked away. We drove off, out of the city and into the countryside, into what you could call another county. They talked about life. I listened.

Having delivered the sort-of-best-friend to his parents’ house, the two of us drove back, almost silently, occasionally singing along with the Nits, watching the snow; and when we got back into the city, during ‘Soap bubble box,’ he turned to me and said, “I could go on driving like this all night” — and I knew just what he meant.