Karen is American. None of us held it against her for too long. She’s from L.A, California and I’ve seen photos of her as a teenager in a Pep Squad and in roughly eleven Halloween costumes in a through the years montage. While she lived in London we celebrated Halloween proper – Karen’s mom sending over decorations, the centrepiece - a lifelike looking duck wearing a cape and witches hat. That duck scared me. Wherever you sat in the room, not only did it look like it was watching you, but at any moment it would spread its wings, fly towards you and grab your nose.
Because Karen was staying at Joe and Sam’s (now defunct) flat, the three of them decorated the place; putting a bloody corpse in the bathtub and hanging cobwebs on the walls. We’d carved pumpkins together – but too early, and so on the night of the party they were cheerfully rotting outside.

Months later, after Karen had gone home kicking and screaming, the opportunity came for her to join us in Ibiza. She jumped at the chance and somehow convinced her folks to let her travel half way across the goddamn world again to join us. During our first few nights on the Island, Karen and I sneaked off to sit at a classy little bar – more a drinks hut next to a restaurant. The ocean was just there. We sat on tall barstools and drank tall G & T’s and smoked cigarettes. I don’t know if it’s because she’s tall and leggy herself, or because she’s American - but I’ve never met anyone before or after Karen who suits that scenario better than she does; the sea breeze, the clink of ice, the practiced flick of the barman’s lighter.

I don’t remember the conversation but I do know if I had to summarize it, it would go a little something like this…

Me: Leaning across to light her cigarette.
What do you want out of life, Karen?

Her: Drawing in the smoke and contemplating.
Life? Well… everything?


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