The middle-aged gay bartender and I have a nice conversation on the drive from downtown to his place in outer Northeast. We talk about cabbies he's met over the past 30 years, how Portland has changed, all the typically mundane topics.

As I pull into his driveway, he puts his hand on my shoulder. "She feels horrible about it too," he says.


"I'm sorry, I'm a fortune teller, and I'm really drunk. But you shouldn't beat yourself up so much, just because there was a tragedy doesn't mean you did the wrong thing."

"This is a little weird, man." We haven't talked about my personal life at all, but the guy's speaking to it pretty directly.

"What happened to her isn't your fault, you shouldn't blame yourself."

"I know, but I feel like she blames me. That's the thing—I don't understand why there's all this hatred directed toward me, or why she won't talk to me."

"She doesn't hate you, she feels as bad about the way things ended as you do. But you've got to realize that she has a lot to deal with, and you're a huge complication on top of it."

"I know." I stare out the windshield.

"Bad things happen to good people, but they're still good people."

"That's the thing, man, I'm not sure that I'm good people."

"Jesus kid, lighten up. Leave acting like a queen to the pros."

It's a lame joke, but I laugh. He leaves a huge tip.