Just Jane (new york city)


She was the second Jane I dated and I couldn’t bring myself to call her just “Jane.” I was always making up stupid pet names like Lady Jane, Janey, R2 Jane2 or whatever. She hated it but I couldn’t help myself.

We were drunks together in a squat in the East Village, back when there still were such things. She had an out of tune guitar that we wrote songs on that we’d play on the curb in Thompkin’s Square Park by alphabet city. We seldom showered, we fucked and we fought, we drank fortified wine and cheap beer and rolled about the gutter with an assortment of winos, creeps, aspiring rock stars and runaway kids like ourselves. People used to joke that they never saw one of us without the other. “There goes Knox and Jane,” they’d say.

One day I woke up next to her in an alley. Jane had been sick for several weeks but she refused to get medical attention, just as I would have at the time. We figured during those days that we could drink through anything—just bulldoze whatever problem in our way because we were indestructible. But we weren’t.

Jane’s skin was cold and I couldn’t wake her up. I shook her and shook her and yelled her name over and over again, crying and snotting all over the both of us. But she never did open her eyes again.

I don’t much remember what happened next. They tell me I had walked into a flophouse somewhere in Baltimore with a needle and a baggy and I didn’t come back out again for two years. I don’t even know where they buried her.

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