Excerpt from my new novel Raking the Dust:
Over the next couple of hours we compressed our lives into annotated and selective biographies that we laid on the table, right next to our drinks.
That’s how D.J. came to know that I was: Thirty-three, recently divorced, father of a five-year-old daughter, presently unemployed, and had moved to Taos from New York seven years earlier.
And how I came to know that D.J. was: Twenty-five, born in Lafayette, Louisiana, had moved from Baton Rouge to Taos six months ago—was French, Haitian and Antiguan on her mother’s side; Welsh and English on her father’s—and had two jobs: one as a cashier at a gas station, the other as a personal care attendant.
Yet what I found most intriguing were not the facts themselves that constituted DJ’s stories, but the manner in which she had presented them. Her tone remained breezy and off-hand no matter what she was revealing: My favorite color is blue, my father shot and killed my mother when I was seven, I love to sing but have terrible stage fright.
I knew this sort of detachment well, and the illegitimate things to which it can give birth: An illusion of intimacy, without genuine feeling. A candor engineered to hide more then it revealed. Red herrings and Chinese whispers.
What I also knew: I was a sucker for other people’s absences. The less of D.J. there was, the deeper I could fall into her. And I sensed lots of falling-in room.