i met molly (left) in portland many years ago now. she insanely agreed to meet me at lone fir cemetery around 10 pm. if you’ve ever been to lone fir, it’s an entire city block in the middle of southeast portland, where i lived, and it’s absolutely pitch black at night, and littered with obsidian tombstones inscribed with russian epitaphs. my friends and i used to walk over there with lanterns and pig wine and get drunk by the mausoleum there (you had a hop a wrought-iron fence . . . very treacherous). you could go over there any night of the week and have a real good time for free, and meet some other midnight freaks if you were lucky. it was my favorite place in all of portland.

anyway: if you were a young woman, this is not the kind of place you’d want to meet a strange man in the middle of the night. but molly said yes anyway. she got there before me and was sitting on top of a stone slab in the dim center of the cemetery. she was dressed kind of like wednesday addams. it was october and chilly out and approaching her in the gloom, i said: “girl, are you sure you’re warm enough without a jacket??” she had brought a bottle of red wine called VELVET DEVIL and we sure did drink the entire bottle together.

molly and i became good friends and she would come over all the time and we’d make tea and have fires in my fireplace. and sometimes i’d hang out with her and her sister daisy at their place on belmont a few streets over, or else we’d go sit in the back of the gold dust meridian on hawthorne and stay until they kicked us out.

later that winter, when portland got hit by two blizzards in a row, she invited me to come over and watch the final episode of twin peaks with her. and i walked through the ice and snow that night to get to her and we got drunk on pig wine and watched it on her laptop on her bed in her little attic room. we fell asleep around four in the morning and i held her all night under the frost-covered skylight above her bed.

i moved back to oakland a few weeks later, only neither of us knew that yet. in hindsight, this adds a little sadness to that memory. she told me as much years later.

molly turned 27 today, which blows my mind. how did i go and meet this cool british girl who for some reason ended up in portland?? i wonder. molly is a good penpal who has excellent penmanship and we’ve been writing each other letters nonstop since covid began . . . but i’m excited to see her in the flesh again in new york in a few weeks. i wanna go back to alligator lounge, where the doorman called me “mr. california”, and get free baby-sized pizzas with her and monty:

WELL: happy birthday, molly. i love you forever. ok??