My sister Caroline stood at my front door, wintry pale with her brown hair piled in a wild bun, her chin high. She’d been crying—the ballerina in distress. Her divorce was just final and her dance company had disbanded. Beyond her, the airport shuttle was already disappearing around the corner. I may have suggested Caroline come to California, but I knew better than to let my guard down.



MICHAEL FREIBURG’S PAINTING STUDIO was on Christie between Delancey and Rivington Streets in a flatiron building he had owned for ­twenty-­five years. The storefront was leased to a pair of cabinetmakers from Vermont, Michael’s studio was on the second floor, he and Gerda, his second wife, lived on the third floor with their Great Dane, Marlene, and the top floor was storage space and a darkroom that was only seldom used, and then covertly, by ­Irene.

When you were a studio assistant like Emma Dial, did you make all of your boss’s art and also have sex with him in stairwells? Just asking.

Ha! I didn’t make Jeff Koons’s work and I’m not a painter. I helped manage his studio (a major operation, though not half the size it is today); I did research for his projects and served as a liaison between Koons and the outside world. I had a terrifically handsome boyfriend my own age; I married him ten years ago.