During the time we were inside the bar a mist had settled on the sunken midway.  It was a clear night.  There was a moon.  Walking up to it I felt as though a giant, looking down over a settling fog.  “We should run through that,” I said, and the others agreed.  Even A. ran, putting aside his natural decorum for one or two minutes.  It was the second time I’d seen him put it down; the other time was to pick up a football one afternoon.

“You shouldn’t drink during the month leading up to exams,” he once told me.  His father had shown him images of a brain belonging to a drinking person.  It had less white matter than a teetotaler.  But a month was entirely too much time to wait and beer had never interfered with me, despite all expectations.

After those first exams he took a quiet walk through the midway.  He wanted to be alone.  “You have no idea what’s going on,” he once told me.  I had told him there must be a reason other than oil.  “Of course you would kill for oil,” he said.  “We all would eventually.”  I thought things must be more complicated than that.  “You should try watching Al Jazeera,” he said.  But even during our second year I thought there must be a good reason.

But he threw a much tighter spiral than one would expect.  In our third year we spoke less and he wound up clerking for a very respected and conservative appellate judge.