Una Morera

I've known Jack most of my life. He wore Vetiver by Guerlain. He was missing half of a finger. He grew up with Sara in New Jersey. He had a sister. I went to the apartment in Chelsea, where he lived with Sara. It was small and yet packed with beautiful things. Jack used to give me stuff. Once, he gave me a plastic green teddy bear and a pair of blue rocket armbands covered in sequins that I was supposed to wear rollerskating, which was all the craze. I only kept them because they smelled like the Vetiver, which I loved. He had a great laugh that was somehow kind and wicked at the same time. When I was in college, I spent an entire summer with Jack in his tiny apartment in the West Villi. I would show up uninvited and we would talk for hours or watch tv for hours and not say a word. At that time, Jack was recovering from being a horrific alcoholic, so we just did simple stuff. He smoked Dunhill Reds. I'll never forget seeing his butchered hand on the rectangular pack of cigarettes. It was a great image. I would get commercial jobs and I remember once landing a mastercard gig on the basis that I could draw. I lied. I couldn't draw. They needed silhouettes of children dancing. I called Jack. I bought the markers and foam core he told me to get and rushed over to his place, which had no floor space, but we made it work. I watched as he drew these enormous children playing and then I cut them out. We put them on paint sticks, to hold them up. I gave him $50 bucks, half of what I was making for the day. We both had a lot of fun. He saved me that day and many others. I was so much younger than Jack and he never touched me. He never crossed the line with me. He never went too far with me. He always respected me. I knew he loved women because he talked about them all the time but he was decent and good with me, unlike so many other men in the sangha. The last time I saw Jack was in late 2015. We sat for hours in the lobby of the Marlton Hotel in Greenwich Village on 8th Street, drinking coffee and talking. The streets were quiet. It was Christmas Day. We were two Buddhists sitting around catching up while everyone else in the world was opening presents. I never saw Jack again after that.