A Letter to My 17-Year-Old Self

I remember you, Louise Roos, Loesje, Weezie, Lulu, Rooster. I remember you by all of your names even from this 46-year distance. You’re wearing that red wool blazer with the emblem over the pocket that you got for your birthday, and you know you look good. You always know when you look good. Red was then and still is your favorite color. You will paint your living room a bright red and wonder why it takes other people’s breath away. But you are an adrenalin junkie. You like cheap thrills.

You like the cheap thrill of seeing Dean K. and swooning into your diary about how he called you “sweetie” and kissed you on the back of the neck at that fireside at the Stevens’ house. My question: What is a thirty-one year old man doing, kissing a 17-year old girl? Haven’t you noticed that when you meet him downtown, he is always strolling with an entourage of young boys? He is looking for Mann’s Tadzio of DEATH IN VENICE, a book you might want to read soon.

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