When I was small my parents would host a lot of parties. I don’t know if they had more friends then or were just, as people say, “at a more social place in their lives,” but at least once a month there would be a bunch of adults in our apartment, drinking crappy wine and trying to play our untunable piano. There is something powerful for a child about your parents having people over. It’s not anything that happens at the parties but the evidence they give you that people feel safe where you live. That must go back to the savanna. Sometimes things happened at the parties that I was probably too young to see, but nothing scarring, just grown-up scenes. The air was bluish with different kinds of smoke. I have a memory of my father giving me a sip of wine on a sofa shortly after I turned four. Or one of the guests might say something inappropriate—for me cryptically so—and then at a look from my mother turn red and apologize. They had accidentally given me a glimpse of the darker and more serious world that otherwise lay unthink- able miles ahead. Guests would start to show up at around eight, meaning that I was allowed up for only the first hour or so. In reality I would lie awake much longer than that, listening to the chatter through the walls. My mother used to sit beside me for a few seconds.