If you’ve read my story about Thebes already, you may remember that Jean-Luc was the photographer Marie ran off with many years before I went to college. Whatever they had going didn’t last long; Marie was back in a few weeks and it looked like that would be the end of Jean-Luc, at least as far as our dinner-table conversation was concerned. But no. By means of an extraordinary survival — another one; this whole commentary is full of extraordinary survivals and is, in itself, a kind of extraordinary survival — Jean-Luc survived the wreck of their romance and came bobbing back on the waves of Marie’s talk, clinging to a kind of busted spar of affection. It helped that he had quit S, the magazine where my mother worked; he was a filmmaker now, documentarizing with a Frenchman’s enthusiasm bowling alleys in Texas, softball leagues in the Midwest. Jean-Luc never landed in my mother’s life again, at least not until later, but he was permanently available for small favors, among them this one. His car, a red 1985 BMW, stank of cigarettes.