Dan was a friend of a friend, my long-haired friend who played electric bass. He didn’t just have long hair, he had Heavy Metal long hair: wild, dreading in places, unkempt. His hair drew long looks in public, in our home town, and made people uneasy.
I invited Dan to the openings at the theater where I worked, as I always got a comp ticket, and rarely had a date. Dan and I were an unlikely pair: him, in his pea coat and cigarette, me, in a sports jacket with my gelled hair.
Dan lived in the country with his mom and his sister. The first time at his house, he told me his dad had hung himself in the back yard when he was young. Dan drew a sketch of it, called “Welcome Home,” and looked me deep in the eye as he handed the picture to me. I nodded, and handed it back.
Dan came to visit me when I moved to Pittsburgh, and I brought him to the company holiday party where I worked, Arabica Caffe. On our way out, one of the owners stopped Dan and asked him what was in his coat. Dan had swiped one of the bottles of liquor.
We talked about it back at my apartment, but I never could forgive him. He left the next day, and we fell out of touch.
I saw him down at a street festival many years later, gave him a hug, and introduced him to our kids. We traded email addresses and I wrote him, but he never responded.