Her high school art teacher believed in aliens so completely that when they were all heads-down working on their final 20-hour portraits of faces they’d torn out of magazines, she would play VHS tapes about crop circles and inexplicable cow mutilations. It was hard to remember the details.

She made the best drawings she’d ever made in that class. Her final 20-hour portrait of a face that looked like a long-lost Irish relation of her dad’s (her dad being Jewish and not at all Irish, he would have to have been very long-lost) still hung up in the hallway at her parent’s house. Every time she passed it now, 15 years later, she looked at it and was impressed that she’d made the thing herself.

The same year she was in that class, her mom saved the art teacher’s life using the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge a tootsie roll that found its way down the art teacher’s windpipe. They had been talking about something now forgotten at the District Office when it happened. The teacher sent a thank you note the following week. It would have been an embarrassing way to go.

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