The name “Debbie Harry” has come up frequently this week in relation to me. Most of the time by me. My twelve year old niece thinks that in the 80’s I looked like Debbie Harry. I was so excited that she knew Blondie I told this to everybody I know.
Actually, I almost stopped strangers on the street to tell them that. I’m totally in love with my niece and think she’s the coolest person I know. Jacquelin thinks that I’m the coolest person she knows with the coolest apartment and stuff. Got a little nervous when she loved the microwave so much but then realized she had never seen one not built in.
She has a model’s build and prance, and was doing the moves in front of the Mac’s photobooth; “I look like Angelina Jolie. Yes, I really look like Angelina Jolie.” She really does.
Then Tricia mentioned Blondie in regards to some poetry I wrote;
Cassandra had long ago admitted she sold her soul to the nearest bouncer in exchange for an hour or so of pleasure with whatever rock star was playing at a concert hall or club.
Like most groupies she liked sex but desired more. She wanted to be a rock star’s old lady. That had never happened. Nobody ever talked about groupies who married rock stars near her.
She lived in the same one bedroom she had always lived in near Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Then it had been filled with roommates, talk, guys brought home, drugs and liquor. The constant smell of sex permeated, along with incense and flavored oils.
Cassandra’s been alone in the apartment for many more years than there were roommates and fun. Walking up five flights takes longer now. After a day spent taking orders, delivering drinks and food, in a coffee shop that used to smell of too many stale cigarettes, she really doesn’t care if the apartment’s filthy.
When she remembers she takes the garbage down. Sometimes the empty beer bottles and cigarette butts remain a study in still life, or so Dinah thinks.
Dinah was Cassandra’s bunkmate in camp. They had never been close. But Dinah felt a responsibility for everyone she had ever known.
When they turned seventeen, Dinah would walk into the club or concert hall with her boyfriend, a British rock star she married at nineteen and was still with 35 years later. It had always saddened her to see Cassandra waiting outside the doors or in the aisle waiting with the other groupies. They looked as if they were waiting to be fed, over eager or sullen and bored looking, it didn’t matter. They weren’t girls who counted.
She asked Brett if Cassandra could come in with them. He agreed.
Cassandra knew that she had been given an opportunity. But she was still the same Cassandra Weber who never had anything to add to the conversation. She didn’t really get conversation. It seemed a waste when there were drugs to be taken and sex to have.
When Dinah’s friends would come to a concert, they would talk to the guys as if they were friends and equals. But they couldn’t be. They weren’t famous. Rich, yes, but none of them had earned their money.
Cassandra’s family had cut her off after she refused to go college in 1968. They were done with her and she with them. They thought education was the answer to everything.
Her family lost most of its money in 1969. She would guess that her parents were dead. Cassandra was never curious enough to find out
She still knew that one hour of pretense with Mick was worth everything.
Cassandra didn’t have friends. She had some men who would huff and puff their way up the stairs, and not leave until the beer, scotch and cigarettes would run out. She was merely a small convenience to them.
And she had Dinah. They had run into each other about a decade ago at the coffee shop. Cassandra had gained much weight, had rotten teeth, and a rosacea marked face. Cassandra still had a filthy mouth. The only kind of conversation she enjoyed was much cursing with a few other words.
She recognized Dinah at once but prayed that Dinah wouldn’t guess who she was.
She felt like Dinah’s guilt trip. The girl who was never supposed to be anything special but wasn’t supposed to be a waitress at a coffee shop that had a neon sign with four letters permanently unlit.
Cassandra hated having a cleaning service come once a week. Dinah insisted on it and paid for it. She tried to get her to give up cigarettes and eat healthily. Cassandra liked donuts, and deserved them for breakfast at the coffee shop.
Cassandra supposed she was a matter of convenience to Dinah. That Dinah believed she had to try to make Cassandra take care of herself because she couldn’t live with the guilt otherwise.
Actually Dinah simply felt blessed.