He’d shuffle down the ramp at Grand Central, and sometimes I would pretend not to see him. A salty backwash of embarrassment at my own incapacity to knock on the window would flood my throat. I was a bad grandson. A bad person. It was part of a larger problem: an inability to extend the smallest gesture of affection to anyone related to me. I couldn’t figure out how to cure it.
In other words, I was a teenager.
I commuted from Westchester County to high school in Manhattan, amplifying the effects of an already acute sense of adolescent alienation. I did so in order to escape certain death at the hands of lacrosse-stick-wielding tyrants at any of Westchester’s prep schools. Instead, I went to an all-boys, all-Catholic, all-scholarship high school where it wasn’t a capital offense to profess a love for Proust. I was so far from every jerk I’d known up to that point in my life I was almost in an imaginary place, a different dimension.