My father despises cats. He believes them to be Democrats. He considers them to be little mean Hillary Clintons covered all over with feminist leg fur. Cats would have abortions if given half a chance. Cats would have abortions for fun. Consequently, our own soft sinner, a soulful snowshoe named Alice, will stay shut in the bedroom upstairs, padding back and forth on cashmere paws, campaigning for equal pay, educating me about my reproductive system, and generally plotting the downfall of all men.

It is probably the last conversation like this the seminarian and I will have. After his ordination, particular friendships with women will be discouraged. I understand why, but in a wider sense, it is frightening. If you are not friends with women, they are theoretical to you.

Above all else, he loves trilogies. There has never been a trilogy he didn’t like, and if you don’t understand why, I have three words for you: father, son, and Holy Spirit. Foremost among his favorites is the original Star Wars trilogy, which he fervently believes is about priests in space, and the first three Alien films, which he believes are about how all women are destined to be mothers. Currently, he is obsessed with the Transformers movies, because the greatest Transformer of all . . . is Jesus Christ. He even sat me down one day to have a serious discussion about “moral choices the Transformers are forced to make.” At no point did I interrupt him to say, “But Dad, they’re cars.” This means I am becoming an adult. Because truly, the Transformers are more than cars. Some of them are trucks.

This is the secret: when I encounter myself on the page, I am shocked at how forceful I seem. On the page, I am strong, because that is where I put my strength. On the page, I am everything that I am not because that is where I put myself. I am no longer whispering through the small skirted shape of a keyhole: the door is knocked down and the roof is blown off and I am aimed once more at the entire wide night.