We met on the porch of the music school's practice-room building one summer day. I was 24, Don was 30. He was a virgin -- with both men and women -- a condition that we quickly remedied, at least for the men part. He was incredibly keen about playing the piano, though as a player he was fairly rigid and mechanical. He was from a little town called Stokes in eastern North Carolina, so he had that wonderful, elegant accent among his assets.
The main problem, after a while, was that he had an honest-to-god compulsion to talk. You could not shut the guy up, even when for no apparent reason he would start up on something completely unrelated to the current context. It was the sort of thing that made people look at each other with raised eyebrows. He was aware he was doing it, but somehow once embarked, he could not stop the torrent of words.
We did have a lot of fun times together, a great trip by car to his home region, for instance. We had a pretty good sexual relationship -- he had made up for inexperience very quickly. But when things started to fall apart, he basically went nuts and was never the same again. He taught public-school music in a small town north of Madison for several years after that, but though I never knew the details, that job ended in some sort of scandal and he eventually repaired to the family manse in No. Carolina.
I still think the accent of his region is the loveliest-sounding brand of English there is.