When I was 19, I got a letter from Klaus Wouters. He worked as a handyman and music teacher at Silver Springs, a school for troubled kids in the San Gabriel Mountains. He knew (or guessed) I was still in Southern California. He wondered how my life was going. He mentioned that a handicapped boy named John Cressey had gone missing. He remembered that John and I had been friends. He suggested we meet for Sunday dinner, but he didn't have access to a car.
I had expected never to hear from Klaus, or from anyone at Silver Springs. The letter brought back memories of having my face smushed into a patch of snot-damp carpet by Rudy the facilitator, his knee pressed into my back, while he whispered in my ear that he loved me, that unless I gave up the ego trip and got into my feelings I was bound to end up dying in a gutter of AIDS.
But Klaus had taken a special interest in me. I had told him shameful and embarrassing things, stuff I would have liked to erase from universal memory, but having him as a confidant had kept me from losing my mind that year. Maybe I felt like I owed him something. He was probably going to be alone for Christmas, as I was. So the next Sunday I borrowed a friend's car and headed up to Little Eagleneck Village.