“Mommy make the man go away.”
“Yes, sweetie, see he’s gone. You can no longer see him.”
Out of sight; out of mind. Or that’s how my parents calmed my fears.
I was the golden haired smiling child; the one everybody wanted; the one men leered at a second longer than necessary. My parents lived in fear of men taking me when their back was turned for a second. Turned out that it wasn’t toddlerhood they needed to worry about.
Zachary didn’t understand or respect boundaries. The bathroom in his storefront faux apartment didn’t have a door and I couldn’t use the toilet. The apartment was a railroad flat where one room led into the next. There were no doors. Zachary was perplexed; he wasn’t used to girls who needed privacy.
I would have to go down the block to the Bini Bon, a restaurant, the son-in-law of the owner was later killed in because he wouldn’t let a strange man use the bathroom. The irony wasn’t lost on me; Zachary and my relationship would be fraught with moments that later would seem ironic.
But I was a young pretty girl with a friendly smile,when I chose to use it. I still remember the taste of the biscuits at the Bini Bon, and how beautiful and friendly the dark haired young waiter/actor/son-in-law was . Irony: I couldn’t usually use restaurant bathrooms, even fancy uptown ones. But uptown I had a choice; downtown it was the Bini Bon or constipation. Even my father who would ask me everything hadn’t walked into a bathroom I was using since I was three or maybe nine.
Closed doors were respected in my family though my father would have preferred them to be open. He understood the need for closed bathroom doors; that was some place he would never intefere in. It was to be blunt the most important minute or five of the day.
Zachary wanted to do everything with me; he wanted to our lives to be melded into one. I have always needed much space. I must have been delusional the day I asked my friend to hire Zachary, as a Document Analyst at Summitt.
Elena adored Zachary. Eleanore had been a famous in the New York metro area child actor in the early 60’s; if you lived here then and were a kid you would probably recognize her stage name and definitely remember her face. She had starred in some local Mickey Mouse Club type show
At the end of each show Uncle Curly would come out and say:
“kids, what do you have to do today?”
Two of the supporting actors would sing:
“In the morning we do these things, every single of morning of our lives.”
Buddy would beam,and speak the line:
“Eat a good breakfast.”
It went on and on until Eleanore came on showing all her perfect teeth:
“We never go to sleep until we brush all our teeth.”
I had first begun making fun of Uncle Curly’s House since I was in third grade. One night, about a year after we first met, Eleanore and I were deep into our cups at Shakespeares in The Village when she told me. I was the first person to know at Sumitt, or to know that her mother was Gloria Rayburn the soap star. As I had only watched “All My Children,” a little in college, and had never watched another unless forced by the Bubbe, to sit in the lobby of the Breakwater, on Ocean Drive when South Beach was yick city, and watch “As The World Turns,” I only knew her mother’s name and reputation.
Eleanore had hating acting. One of her stepfather’s, had left the United States with much of her money. The rest was spent by another stepfather. Eleanore had the kind of childhood beauty that ended with the onset of adolescence. Because she had to dress up so much as a child, she liked silk blouses and cotton or wool center crease pants. Though deep inside I think Eleanore was the most sexual of us she hid it behind an easy non-flirtatous smile and rapid keep it coming one liners.
At Angie Ralph’s brother, Vito’s bachelor party, Eleanore was the emcee; Lucia and I came out of the cake. We had to get totally shit face to do it, and couldn’t stop laughing. The straight guys at Summit were usually borough boys; we had known boys like them all of our lives. Though we were all working college graduates we were waiting for real life to begin during the Summitt days.
Eleanore was one of the boys; Zachary treated her like one of the girls. He flirted with her as he flirted with every female. Sheet Zachary charmed The Blue Boots, a radical feminist lesbian group who treated me like a blonde bimbo, and I was a brunette then, and smarter than most of them.
Zachary made something dead inside of Eleanore come a bit alive. I liked seeing her giggle. Eleanore became feminine when she was around Zachary. I wished that she would change her look, but truthfully I couldn’t visualize her any other way.
Eleanore was brilliant; she should have been working somewhere else. So should have most of us; we were having fun but we were lost; there had to be something wrong with each of us. Why else would we be working at Summitt. We all thought this but never said anything. Eleanore was project personell manager; I was a project supervisor.
We spent much time with Eleanore; Lucia met a wealthy Argentenian and they moved to Puerto Rico for several years, but made frequent visits to New York. Lucia, like me, didn’t believe in wasting time getting to know somebody. For once she picked somebody with money
My gay friends were divided on the Zachary question. Well, Boyd and Neil liked him; my other five gay best friends were uncomfortable around him as he was around them. I didn’t really get that. I thought not being homophobic came with the words “singer/songwriters.”
I wasn’t comfortable with the Blue Boots because they were so rad and so mannish. I’m a hell of a way from perfect. I thought by getting Zachary a job at Summitt he wouldn’t call me every ten minutes. Don’t ask what kind of drugs I was on; I really couldn’t answer. Pot, only pot, and never at work except that one time in Fort Greene Park.
Another friend, Lynne Frank had become project manager. She assigned Zachary to Boyd’s group, which was on another floor than mine. But Boyd and I had been inseperable at work for years. I didn’t know if this could work or not.
Duh, Eleanore is a composite character; there was never a show called “Uncle Curly’s House.” Zachary and I however….