The woman across the desk gave me the old evil eye. Years with the Santa Clara Department of Social Services had instilled in her a bureaucrat's well-founded suspicion that rules — important rules, rules to protect children and idiots — were being broken as we spoke.
"What exactly is your relationship to the boy's foster father?"
I said, "I'm just his roommate."
She asked again.
I felt like telling her that I listened to him and his real girlfriend hump twice a week and it drove me nuts. And that made me a roommate in every sense of the word. My god: I could even hear them shift around into new positions and erotic configurations; I took her every moan personally. Like the good son, Tony slept like a stone.
"We're friends. I moved up here because I got a job in Cupertino."
Did her nose actually flare? Or do I reconstruct our interview as more dramatic than it was? Perhaps she was just stifling a yawn.
"You'll need to get a tuberculin test. There's a public health office in Sunnyvale."
I pictured Tony at 13, huffing glue,
"I have to get a tuberculin test?"
She didn't answer. She just handed me a three-part form with the address of a clinic in Sunnyvale.
I didn't think I wanted to have a child.