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I’m not ready to write about the summer of 86. It was the bonus summer. The one that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Last night was my first night out, and able to speak, in weeks, or months, it felt. Being a good consumer, and desperately in need of getting the gray out, and a more beautiful me, I went to the hair salon. Second stop on the road back to health after the nail salon.
Rafe and I talked. Angie and I talked. Lucia came. We talked. My hair was being processed. Then it was shampooed and I was almost ready just to hang when….
Lucia and Angie were drinking wine. I could just look at it and know it was great. I love red wine. Only really great red wine loves me back.
“Have some wine. Oh, X is here.”
Loaded words. I think Angie and Lucia watched me to see how I reacted. But I was just happy to be alive and healthy and….
Once X broke up Lucia and my friendship. But she had said for months that she wasn’t interested. There was raw passion between X and me.
Once X had so much power. Sweet, brilliant, gorgeous X. It was so unplanned and so planned on his part, and on mine.
Damn yes I had that wine, and he was just a guy. A guy who had been in The Trade Center that day, and never went back to his daily apartment in The Battery. I had heard about that of course, and how rich he had become. His real house was somewhere else, though I heard that the penthouse in the Battery was drop dead amazing.
Damn the wine was flowing last night. Life’s too short to drink bad wine and all that. Life’s too damn short. Seeing X, it did something to me. It brought all the blood to the surface and made my body tingle as if it were that wonderful, horrible messy summer of 86.
We are 20 years older. He was no longer the skinniest guy in the room. I was no longer the girl with the super great figure who stripped one white lightening night to underpants, a bra and a tank, and flew down the slide into the pool to him.
So much happened, spoken and unspoken that bonus summer. Obviously Lucia and I began speaking again. Never ever believe a friend who has had two dates with a man. Never believe that she’s over him. Friendship’s precious. So is X who has been living with a woman forever. I could feel him tingling too.
We came face-to-face with each other last night. And damn, I’m not a fat ugly middle aged women. I knew that before. But seeing X. Yes. I understood that time changes everything. And time changes nothing.
I felt alive for the first time in a long long time. Of course I felt healthy for the first time in a long time. That probably had a lot to do with it. Had I felt the way I felt last week, I would have hid in a corner, or Rafe’s office. Hell, I wouldn’t have been in the salon to begin with. It was a happy, I’m so happy, I’m not congested anymore present to me. I shouldn’t be seen with gray hairs so it was a present to the world also.
Rafe came over last night and somehow we talked until the wee morning hours. Rafe and I had become friends the early Spring of 86. But he never knew. Until last night, he always thought X a really really nice man who would come to the salon to have his hair cut by Angie, and would always bring bottles of wine from Sherry Lehmann, and open one there.
Rafe had no idea about my summer of 86. That wonderful, horrible summer that would expose fissures, and change some of our lives forever. I knew Rafe, the 25 year old Latin stud. He didn’t really know me. He thought that he did. He thought that I was a hot young girl who just refused to sleep with him. He had no idea that all this intrigue was going on. He thought that intrigue centered around him. He’s older and wiser now.
It’s always been the summer that I don’t dare think about. It was passion. It was freedom. It was my last wild summer.
I might write more specifically about it. But it’s not just about X and me. That would be easy. My best friend at the beginning of that summer, is my best friend still.
I was wearing a stupid salon robe, but my sweater was on under it. My hair was wet and long. Just like the Summer of 86. But it’s the fall of 06. Who knew we would live to be healthy? So many people were dying before their time. Yes they were Gay, but there were so many sick rumors about straight sex. It was easier just not to. But….
I lived two blocks and one Avenue from the Salon then. The salon was a collective. Further up Madison. Rafe was one of seven or so owners. But always the best, and the best looking, and married. Rafe has been married forever. I adore his wife.
He didn’t even try last night for old times sake. Of course we had to talk about how I changed his manner. Before he met me, he thought every girl wanted her tits played with while getting her hair cut. For some reason we have to rehash that every month. Rafe was a stud. He slept with many women. But never Lucia or I. That’s why we’re such great friends. I remember his stud days, but I didn’t partake.
I was 35. I didn’t want my tits played with in the salon. He never knew before he met me and Lucia that some girls really could get it anywhere.
I turned 36 the summer of X and 86. 36 was older then. But I wasn’t. X and I played a dangerous game. Part of me felt too damn old; part of me felt so young and foolish. It felt perfect. It felt horrible.
I felt that summer. The wonderful/sad/amazing bonus summer that shouldn’t have been. The world was changing so quickly. “A” groups were starting everywhere. Some girls, many girls, went just to meet men.
But I could meet them anywhere. I met X at a party after having heard about him for years, and Lucia’s two dates with X, yes I knew all about them.
I asked and asked and asked if she was still interested, after X and I met at the Christening party, and sparks flew so fast and furious, Angie’s mother-in-law called the next morning to see if X and I had left together. Of all the first questions in the world, that was her first.
X was a carpenter, a piano player, a computer consultant. That last would make him richer than sin, but he deserves it.
The story is so simple. I have already told the important stuff and left out almost every detail. Maybe this weekend. I have to think.
I have to remember how I owned the world for much of that summer. Then I didn’t.
But to run into each other 20 years later, and feel worthy. That was the true miracle. To look at somebody and just laugh because 20 years have passed and we are alive. And living every moment. Life’s too short not to live each second.
We felt comfortable or as comfortable as one could when seeing a grand gesture for the first time in so long. 20 years; two decades. From youth to true mid age. And damn you Wombat and Cooper, your ages then did pass through my mind. I thought of many bloggers, and how young you all are.
Would you understand grand gestures? And love gone wry? And friendship taking center stage?
Yes, you all can. And if you can’t maybe I will elaborate.
I slept last night. The first non-sick sleep in almost two weeks. The first wake up and smell the coffee, and listen to the god damn construction noises. I sleep with my Bose headphones in my bed at the ready for the first sign of construction noise. So the shrill piercing will be replaced by some white non shrill piercing sounds. They didn’t have noise reduction headphones then.
Hell Walkmans were newish 20 years ago. I wore mine on the beach secure in the knowledge that everybody was looking. Only I was me so I thought my old size five thighs were fat, but I knew differently really. But I didn’t.
I was so complex, such a web of neuroses, it boggles my mind that men did want to date me. That study had come out. The one that said girls over 35 had more of a chance of being killed in a terrorist attack than getting married.
I had been to Europe for three weeks in the beginning of the summer of 85, and three weeks in early Fall, so I hated that study just for the verbiage. Plus Lucia and I were both divorced, so our odds were different. And she had already been married three times.
Oh the summer of 85 had been wonderful. It was supposed to be the last great summer. But then came the summer of 86, and maybe I will fill in the gaps, let you know what really happened.
Just remember that really it is a morality play. And the Summer of 86 never should have happened. But it did. Jennifer Levin was killed that summer. For being a girl who liked sex. Girls were held to different standards than boys. You had to know how to find the good ones.
I wasn’t very good at that. I still liked the occasional one night stand. This is a morality tale. I did pay, not with health or reputation but with my own repulsiveness toward my behavior.
Don’t ever be ashamed of loving sex. That wasn’t the part that repulsed me. It wasn’t even my occasional need to seek out the most dangerous stranger that I could find. It was my need to be admired, to be wanted. It was my want to make men fall in lust and love with me. The summer of 86 steam rolled over me. Sometimes unhappy endings are deserved
Though I do deserve an overall great ending. The thing about me is that I believe that youth is everlasting. It’s not. I know that better than most, and still….Now I guess I’m looking for a mature romance. I’m not sure that I truly know what mature means.
Does if mean compromise? Does it mean contentment? Does it mean putting myself out there? I’m not sure that I know where “there” is.
I hope to learn.
I will probably flesh this out, but I can’t be held to a promise. I can’t promise that I will let you know when and if it happens. I don’t want any man I become involved with to be part of Courting. If I find somebody I like, if….there are so many “if’s” and variables.
And Rafe and I will do a podcast, if I can remember how to. Where he will answer that ever burning question “what’s it really like to be my good friend.”
He won’t tell me until the podcast. It would be nice to have an occasional series. Pia’s friends talk candidly about Pia to Pia What you don’t think they do already? Little Luce can tell you what kind of Aunt I made when she was a child, and what kind of teen sitter I am now. Though she is diplomatic.
Oh wow, last night the Summer of 86 came calling. And I was ready, ready, ready. Usually it’s so awkward to run into old boyfriends, but last night….
The Democrats did take the Senate. Anything is possible in this wonderful amazing sick country. Anything is possible in my life. Like the country I am a Cancer. Like the country I am reclaiming my life, and making it better than ever.
Yes, I saw X last night, and didn’t turn into a pumpkin. I want to write about the Summer of 86, but so many people who were in my life then are in it now.
Life is so complicated when you keep your friends forever. And yes, so much richer.
If you haven’t listen to my podcast. They’re just going to get better. I am fine wine. I am so many cliches, I must stop now.
HAPPY DEMOCRATIC TAKE OVER. YES. WE DID IT. UNLIKE THAT HORRIBLE CLASS OF 94, WE WILL DO GOOD. WE WON’T CREATE HATE. WE WON’T TRY TO TAKE THE COUNTRY APART, BUT TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER. IT WILL BE HARD, BUT WE CAN DO IT. WE CAN.
AND WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING IN IRAQ? LET THEM FIGHT THEIR OWN WAR. WE CAN NEVER HELP IN SITUATIONS LIKE THAT. HOW DID WE NOT LEARN FROM VIET NAM, THE FIRST KOREAN WAR UNTIL RECENTLY CALLED THE KOREAN CONFLICT. I CALL IT THE FIRST, BECAUSE UNTIL THIS WEEK I WAS SCARED THERE WAS GOING TO BE A SECOND. IT ALMOSTS FEELS AS IF IT COULD HAVE BEEN A JUST WAR. BUT I AIN’T GOING THERE.
Leave me to my day dreams this miraculous week where everything and anything is possible.
Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. Say a prayer, light a candle, write a letter. Do something for the troops. Let them know that they can come home for their own bonus summer. Everyone deserves one.
LIFE IS GOOD IN AMERICA RIGHT NOW. LIFE WILL GET BETTER. THE DEMOCRATS ARE IN CONTROL. I’M IN CONTROL. AND ALMOST OUT OF WORDS, UNLESS I TELL THE STORY, AND I JUST DON’T KNOW. MAYBE. PERHAPS. IF LUCIA GIVES HER PERMISSION. OH HELL, MAYBE EVEN IF I DON’T BRING IT UP.
SO COMPLICATED. SO SIMPLE. WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE TO MAKE IT RIGHT. AND I CAME FACE TO FACE WITH THE SUMMER OF 86, AND DIDN’T WIMP OUT. I HAVE BETTER TEETH NOW. I SHOWED THEM.
A NEW DAY IS COMING, AND I’M ALIVE AND BACK IN THE GAME. I JUST AM. YEAH FOR THE USA, YEAH FOR ME. YEAH FOR THE FIRST GREAT DAY OF THE NEW CENTURY. ONLY TOOK ALMOST SEVEN YEARS. I FEEL YOUNGER TODAY THAN I DID WHEN THE CENTURY BEGAN.
YOUNGER AND WISER AND I SHOT THE SHERIFF. OR HE SHOT ME OR WE SHOT EACH OTHER. I’M GETTING SILLY HOW CAN I NOT?
A NEW DAY IS COMING. A GLORIOUS BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL I’M ALIVE AND SO ARE THE DEMOCRATS.
I JUST HAVE TO SAY THIS: BUSH YOU ARE SO OVER. GOOD JOB, BUSHIE. NOW GO HIDE FOR TWO YEARS.
I FACED THE PAST LAST NIGHT, AND LIVED TO TELL RAFE ABOUT IT.
BUT WE CELEBRATED THE NEW DAY COMING AS PEOPLE DID ALL OVER NEW YORK, AND THE COUNTRY I GUESS.
see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.
THAT WAS ON THE RADIO AT THE SALON LAST NIGHT. IT WAS SO MEANINGFUL IN A THOUSAND DIFFERENT WAYS. LOUIS WAS A CANCER, OF THE BEST SORT. HE CHANGED HIS BIRTHDAY TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY’S BIRTHDAY HIS.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD I FELT CHEATED THAT I WAS BORN TWO WEEKS AND A DAY AFTER THE FOURTH. I NEVER THOUGHT TO CHANGE IT.
NOW I JUST FEEL LUCKY TO BE A CANCER, AT ALL. LOUIS LOVED THIS COUNTRY SO MUCH HE SANG THAT SONG DURING DAYS OF RACIAL STRIFE AND VIET NAM, BECAUSE HE COULD SEE WHAT THIS COUNTRY COULD BE.
AND IT SHALL BE. NEW BETTER DAYS ARE COMING. YEAH, WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE ALIVE. I NO LONGER HAVE TO FEEL EMBARASSED BECAUSE I’M AMERICAN.
I NO LONGER HAVE TO RUN FROM THE PAST.