Lula and I made friends with an artist during a trip to Governor’s Island. His name started with an E. We sat on a bench with him and looked at the river. “Sometimes,” he said, “I just want to float in there forever. No worries. No pain. Just…existing.”

Lula nodded. “Exactly. I’ve felt that way for months.”

Later, at lunch, the three of us went for a walk. Lula pulled me aside. “I have literally never met anyone who understands me that well,” she said. “I mean, obviously I have you, but he’s the first person that I’ve been even remotely interested in since Klaus…” Her words trailed off.

“I get it,” I said.

E. came to Lula’s aunt’s house in Manhattan and we spent the afternoon talking and dancing to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Nirvana in the white room. I took a break to lie on the couch, staring at the white ceiling as E. and Lula talked. A familiar feeling washed over me: I was the odd one out.

It started getting late and E. had to go home. “I’ll talk to you later, OK?” he said, and kissed Lula on the forehead before leaving. As soon as the door clicked closed Lula threw herself on the couch.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” she said. “Did you see that?”

I smiled. For once, she looked truly happy. There was no sadness in her eyes, and she wasn’t forcing herself to laugh at something I said. She seemed free. ♦