That was the summer between graduating from the state college and starting graduate studies in fall. Jen’s parents had a condo in Hollywood, Florida that she used over spring breaks, mainly to avoid her father. We’d been dating for two years in college and she invited me to spend a few weeks with her in the condo that summer before I moved to New York. My mind at the time was all about future plans, about the program at NYU and living in Brooklyn. Jen was sedate; she was deep into the job search and didn’t seem optimistic. She was waitressing by day, so after she left for work in the morning I’d go down to the ocean to swim, or bike up and down the public walkway. We met a young Italian couple in the condo complex and sometimes had them over for dinner. Jen invited a few more friends out to dinner in the restaurants along the beach. We slept together but it was different now. Maybe it was because I was leaving her life, or because she had plenty of her own problems to think about. I could only guess because she didn’t want to talk about it. We kept up the circuit of eating out and drinking in the bars for three weeks. I met a young Brazilian woman a few days in a row on the beach and brought her back to our bedroom for an afternoon while Jen was at work. It was an odd time, always drinking too much and wandering around in the sun and sleeping with a woman while dreaming of a future without her. I felt like I was outside the world and that nothing I did had any consequences. It’s good it didn’t happen when I was just a few years younger, because it might have colored my thinking too much.
David Bassano is a History professor at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. He is a human rights activist, an author of academic and literary works, and an avid hiker and cyclist. Trevelyan’s Wager, published by Harvard Square Editions, is his first novel. You may learn more about him and his work at: https://www.facebook.com/davidbassanoauthor/