Suggested listening:
Single: Suzanne by Leonard Cohen

I wish I were Suzanne. I sigh and clutch the pillow tighter.

Me too. Kathy throws her arm across my stomach. None of the guys I know would write a song about me.

We’ve been listening to a new album by some guy we’ve never heard of before, Leonard Cohen. We dropped some acid after the first time through the first side. I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve played it. We both agree the first song, Suzanne, is the best. We keep playing it over and over and over; don’t bother with the others.

I bet she lives in Greenwich Village.

There isn’t even a river in New York, Kathy tells me.

How do you know? I take the joint out of her hand that’s draped across my stomach. It’s out. I snap my fingers and she rolls over and grabs a pack of matches off the nightstand.

I’ve been there before. My uncle lives there.

I hand her the joint and rise up a little to look at her. Your Uncle?

She nods and takes a hit. He’s a jazz musician. Pretty cool guy.

Your Dad’s brother’s a musician? I laugh and slap her hand for the joint.

No. She sucks in more air and shakes her head.

Your Mom? I ask, forgetting the joint. Kathy never ever mentions her mom. I’m not even sure she’s still alive. She nods.

Does your mom live in New York too? I ask and squint a little, hoping I don’t piss her off by asking.

You gonna let that go out again, she nods at the joint.

I take a couple of quick hits and hand it to her and wait.

She takes a hit and flops back on the pillows. My mom’s up in Camarillo.

Where’s that?

You never heard of Camarillo? she asks.


You are so lame. She drops her hand back across my stomach and laughs.

What? I shove her hand off and sit up a little. What?

It’s a fucking loony bin, you idiot. God I can’t believe you don’t know that! You’re so fucking lame. She pushes off the bed and walks out of the room still laughing.

I reach over and fish the joint out of the ashtray and light it again and wait. I hear the toilet flush and try to act all cool when Kathy comes back in.

You wanna see my Uncle next time he has a gig out here? He’s not too square, and he always has the best stash. She kneels on the bed, and I hand her the joint.


We listen to the end of Suzanne in silence. I can see the river and the tea and oranges and her clothes and her men flashing across the walls of Kathy’s room.

When the song ends, Kathy sits back on her heels and says, She sounds a lot like my mom, I mean being half crazy and men loving her cause she’s beautiful. Wonder if anyone ever wrote a song for my mom?

She flops on her stomach and sighs. Bet someone did.