I lived in London one summer. Edward Albee’s The Goat was playing in the West End. When I walked from King’s Cross to Regent’s Park I looked everyone in the eyes. The British didn’t like that. I wore a jacket in June. Let my hair grow long. Read The Swimming Pool Library slowly each day.
There was a Sunday night party at Scala on Pentonville Road. All the French boys spilled their drinks on me. Some nights I would pretend I didn’t know English. I hated talking to them. But I loved looking. A boy named Sebastian told me that great writers lie. I nodded my head. I didn’t like him. I would rather have been at the Bar Americain.
When I found Sylvia Plath’s house in Primrose Hill I was happy. Sat up there on that hill. Read “Poppies in October” in July. Wrote postcards I never sent to people I still talk to. Smoked a cigarette for the first time because I couldn’t buy them back home.
Some days I forgot I was in London to study theater. But I did write a play. It was about two brothers who were in love with each other. When their father finds out they’re fucking he puts them down in the basement. In separate cages. The entire play is the dialogue between them. They can’t touch each other so language is all they have. In the end, their father murders them. It’s a love story.
And Angel is my favorite stop on the tube. Though I’ve never been there. On the last night in London, before I came back to America, I went to this club called Heaven. I wanted to say something to everyone. Even if it was a lie. But it was the summer of not speaking. I’ll never forget it. The only people I talked with were those brothers. And then they were dead.
The Bar Americain almost twenty years later when I did find my way there.