by Ann Bogle & Carol Novack
Nestor Topchy is an artist in Houston. C. and I had scanned all the men in town at parties for artists before we settled on him. He was the only exciting man to be found, we said. There were two others, but they were married, and it's telling that at 23 and 28, C. and I would not teufel with married men. That would come later. There are many stories about Nestor, but I'll tell you two. One night C. and I drove my car toward Nestor's house in the Heights. I had noticed that my odometer was nearing 66,666. It was at 66,665. We circled the block three times to get the odometer to read 66,666.66 in front of his house, which was a compound in the weeds.
I called his girlfriend, Jan, when I heard they might be breaking up. C. already lived with her boyfriend, but this interest in Nestor didn't stop there. I admitted to Jan that I was interested in Nestor, but I wanted to hear it from her that they were breaking up. They were breaking up, she said, "but he really isn't interested in relationships." "Okay, sorry, thanks," I said and hung up. For years I thought I'd been a feminist about it in bringing it directly to her, but I also felt deeply awash in embarrassment over it. He's not interested in relationships, I said, and shut up.