Remembering Steven Bach: Coats

I was talking to Steven before class one day – it was the middle of winter, and yet, there he was, standing outside smoking, and I was anxious enough to pick his brain about something that a Vermont snow wasn’t going to deter me like it had most of the other students in my class. I remember this time in particular I’d just bought this “new” army coat, a vintage number from the South Pacific, went way past my knees and was double breasted, and was new only to me – it had a nice long life before I ever got to it.

I don’t recall what the conversation was about. I do remember, somewhere half through it, I heard laughing, familiar laughing, the kind of laughter you sort of know, and looking over, I caught the girls – Sam, Hannah, Julia, Savannah – on their way into the barn. I didn’t know what the joke was, but I resolved to ask later.

When I did, they mentioned that me, standing there next to Steven, in my long coat, with my glasses pushed down on my nose, looked like me confronting some older version of myself, better dressed and with more hand gestures – but still sporting the almost ankle-length coat with the glasses on my nose. Which wasn’t odd for Bach, he always had these awesome trench coats. Steven, they said, and Steven Jr.

Nickname didn’t stick. Probably for the best. But that comparison meant a lot to me, and I told that story for several weeks afterwards, and sort of rediscovered it when talking to Anna the night I found out.

Merely aesthetic, of course. Still, it was an honor.

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