Will return with So you think you own your life on Monday.
Uh, it’s Saturday, and for the first time in almost a week I don’t need the AC and or Sharper Image fans on. Only mention the brand because I’m really a shill for The Sharper Image which has the coolest fans with all kinds of modes, no blades, and ionizers. Live on the street closest to the Hudson River–though I have the city view, which I love because it reminds me of a tres chic European hotel view. Since I can’t afford to go to Europe now, my view will have to suffice.
It feels sultry in my 600 square feet of prime Manhattan real estate, and I love feeling sultry because then I get to speak Southern, or more realistically Blanche Dubois speak. My friend Shelby and I used to make up our own lines from A Streetcar Named Desire always embellishing on the “last night…usually I have one, but last night….” line.
Last night I had none as last Friday I had enough for the next ten years. I haven’t spoken to Shelby since she wanted me to take ten years off my age to date her boyfriend’s best friend. Lately I have been missing her as we went through our late teens to late 30’s either getting along incredibly well, or not speaking. We had that down to an art form.
My one and only cat fight was with Shelby. We were living in a small North Shore, Long Island Sound town that virtually all of our friends lived in. We’re supposed to be smart but it took us months to realize that my roommates were Junkie Lesbians. The later part would have been cool had they told me, and had the amazing Ro (dead, can use real name) bought her own damn bed instead of insisting on sharing mine. The junkie part was not cool under any circumstances.
Shelby’s boyfriend had recently moved out of their very modern, all windowed apartment, and she asked me to be her roommate. Only Shelby had a new boyfriend, she was never without, and The Rat as he was called by everybody including Shelby, as he was so sleazy moved in. Only he didn’t pay rent, never bought groceries and ate a lot of steak–I hated meat, and never contributed a cent or did a thing around the house.
I went to Cambridge for a weekend, met some truly great people, and was offered jobs. Went back to the Island to get my things and Shelby went nuts because I was leaving her to pay the rent by herself. The Rat wasn’t working and he had to pay back money he had stolen from a fund he was supposed to be in charge of.
Shelby accused me of deserting her.
“You know Shelby I’m your only friend for a reason, nobody can stand you.”
“You think you’re so pretty. You’re not.”
“The only good thing I have to say about you is that you are beautiful. But don’t worry, Shelby, soon as people get to know you, your beauty disappears.”
“You think you’re so goddamned superior because you were married for a hot sec, well, you’re not.”
“Never said I was. You f**kin’ know how hard the decision to get married was for me.”
That’s the only part of the conversation that I can repeat. We threw steaks at each other; books; clothes; and Shelby was reaching for my crystal ashtray when we both realized that she could break something fairly valuable. We didn’t speak for another six months but Shelby made sure that I knew her new phone number in the city and that she was a waitress at Max’s.
My parents came to Cambridge to visit me. They were acting weirder than usual; we were stuck in a traffic jam near Harvard Square. I asked them why they were so sullen when that was my role.
My parents hesitated for a long time before my father spoke:
“Richard Markowitz was found dead in Bayville Bay.” (Not his real name–too many worlds collide here)
I had known him since seventh grade when he ruled the world. He had been the first boy to look at me when my family moved to our North Shore Nirvana. Then a girl, the first kid to actually speak to me, told me that her best friend who was sitting next to Richard was his girlfriend and if I dared speak to him, the girl who spoke to me, would deck me. She also told me that it would probably be best if I didn’t speak to anybody because she didn’t want me making trouble for anybody.
I was too shy, too scared, too weird to understand what she was really saying. I was good trouble; the type of Seventh Grade girl, boys liked to look at. Often in later high school years I wished that I could go back and revisit that day. Life would have been so different had I just smiled and kept on smiling. I went to a combined junior/senior high school, and to further complicate things, we were in the same classes with the same kids through eleventh grade. Don’t know why our last year was different. But that day in Seventh Grade I wanted to die.
Instead I went home and made sure that no boy would look at me again. I gained 35 pounds in record time. By the end of tenth grade I had lost the 35 pounds plus more and Richard looked at me again. We became friends. I knew that Richard was messed up; I had other friends who had died. But Richard Markowitz? No way. I was sure that my parents were playing a sick joke on me.
I jumped out of the car and went to a phone both to call Shelby. She said that nobody had wanted to tell me, that Richard had been found dead in four feet of water, since he and I were friends from way back. I had called collect, and we talked for about fifteen minutes, as the car was still stuck in the traffic jam.
When I got back into the car my parents were much nicer than they had been though I kept on screaming at them for not telling me. The next weekend I took a few days off from my job as a sales girl at a once very chic store on Boylston Street and went to visit Shelby. My memories of the weekend itself are hazy: they mainly concern Max’s, dried chick peas (on all the tables), musicians, and I guess music.
Don’t miss that time of my life. It was great but also very crazy. Never had a Looking for Mr. Goodbar experience; but if I didn’t have a great survival instinct, I could have. Maye I have been deluding myself all these years. Maybe I was just lucky. Though I usually traveled in a pack and that did give me better odds.
Do miss my first really good girlfriend Shelby. She was a bitch, but she was my bitch.