Adrian Nathan West

When I was nine or ten, a friend of my mother’s was shot and killed by her husband. He claimed, perhaps truthfully, that he had taken out the gun in the course of an argument, threatening to kill himself, and the gun went off in the ensuing scuffle, as the newspapers say. Three years later, the father of my childhood best friend, a two-time divorcee, shot himself in the head. For several years, my mother had a stalker who called her on the phone and would break into our house when we were not at home. My mother bought a shotgun for protection, he called one day and said, I’ve seen the gun under your bed, and I’m not scared. It was kept loaded, but I checked once, and the shell was not in the barrel, I wondered whether that was my mother’s doing or whether the stalker had…

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