I cannot remember meeting LD. Suddenly I just knew him, and he knew about all of my geeky preoccupations: the Mitford sisters, the Bright Young Things who lent their glamour to post-war Britain; Henry and Alice James; where to get proper grits in Manhattan. If we see our best selves reflected in our friends, then LD had a knack for not only forcing me to see myself more clearly, but also to love myself a little more.
He was that kind of friend—the one who could make you feel like the most fascinating person at the party. Loyal. Passionate. The kind of friend who pretends to be your new boyfriend in the middle of the front room at the Knitting Factory. LD loved revenge.
When I got the news I was reading through my students’ response papers on Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp.” My students found Sontag’s ideas so fresh and knowing they wanted more of her. As a teacher, it was a proud moment.
I remembered, after I got the news, going back to class and feeling like I could never read Nancy Mitford or—god forbid—Susan Sontag again. We discussed both of them at length. Other things too: Oscar Wilde, Low, Memphis barbecue, his beloved Lucia books.
LD was singular. There will never be another one—how could there be? I hope he knows about my present-day life, so different from when I knew him in NYC. I hope he knows how much I valued him as a friend and a fellow lover of research holes and internet dives.
I won’t sing the catty part of just any song for just any band: only for the Moth Wranglers. Only for Chris and LD. LD loved and understood beauty. The world is a little less beautiful without him in it.
Photograph by Gail O’Hara