"Well, listen," I said. "How about just letting me put my arms around you."
He led me behind a large tree and allowed me to hug him. He was an excellent person, a truly good man, kind to girls and women, a teacher and friend to children, and he kept his mouth shut when it was wise to. A person could learn a lot from a guy like Wah. I held him tight. He smelled of spicy aftershave. I really believed that if I could just curl up with him everything would be fine. He put his arms around me and I began to cry again.
"Poor lonely girl," he said. "Why don't you get a boyfriend?"
"I have no faith," I sobbed.
Doo-Wah, who believed in self improvement, thought I meant that I lacked faith in myself. While that may have been true, it was not what I meant.
"I mean religious faith," I said. "I'm nothing. I'm a lapsed Jew from an assimilated family. I don't belong anywhere. I'm alone in the middle of the universe."
This cause Doo-Wah actually to kiss my nose.
"Oh, come on, little girl," he said consolingly. "We all that."
--Goodbye Without Leaving by Laurie Colwin