Have you ever heard the expression‘it hurts when it rains?’ This can be applied to an old injury or an arrow that pierced one’s heart.
I’ll never forget this particular dart I’ll call Sam, who shredded my feelings like a head of iceberg lettuce. We’ve all had a Sam…that one guy who changed us forever and not necessarily for the better.
We met on a television show. He was looking for a little company while he was here working, his wife far away in England unable to amuse nor humor her man. I was young and hormonal, happily humping a bannister if I had to. When you’re well into your fifties it’s falsely assumed you can’t remember that, but ah…how you do.
Handsome he was with charm, like a snake, coiling through a basket. My heart pounded every time he looked my way. What I failed to realize…Sam was shopping, searching for the best deal, in this case, someone willing to accept the little he had to offer (and I mean little) just for the night. We went to Elaine’s where I watched him hold court like British royalty. I sat mesmerized by where I was, the hottest place in town, and how truly bad the food was, but nobody went to Elaine’s for the cuisine. You went to be seen along with everyone else gracing her mighty entrance (opened 1963-closed 2011).
I recall sitting there as Steve Martin walked in wearing his famous white suit. George Plimpton sat across from us with Woody Allen and Mia sequestered in the back. Elaine, the size of a tow truck, would waddle from table to table greeting her esteemed guests.
Sam ignored me pretty much except to occasionally squeeze my throbbing thigh. I was merely a bauble enhancing the table no more important than the candle dominating its core.
But I was used to dressing things up. Models do that…always on a guest list sprinkled about like confetti, or live decor, as Camille liked to call us. I truly don’t think my soul made an appearance till I was 40. To be admired was all I knew and spending the night with a famous, handsome actor seemed part of my job, with a few perks like dinner and ‘enough wine to wash an elephant,’ to quote Truman Capote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who was also there looking like a stuffed still-life.
Trouble with this particular one nighter was…it lasted a year…a very painful, heartbreaking year because Sam, as hard as he surprisingly fell, wasn’t changing lanes for me. Why should he? His wife, though never spoken of, knew of his many indiscretions. But as long as her position as his Missus was never threatened, all was well.
I of course, not knowing the rules, was ready to slit my wrists at a moment’s notice, especially when his TV show got canceled and NBC was no longer footing his rented condo bill. When he suddenly had to reach into his own pocket life changed.
We ate in a lot…cheap take-out…with me eating ribs in my tattered La Perla underwear. Sex slipped from 10 to a 3 before you could say, is there any shrimp fried rice left Ducky?
After a few unsuccessful attempts at resuscitating his show, he went back home.
It was as if I was dropped on my head from the roof of his building. The day he left he hardly spoke to me. I offered to go to Kennedy to see him off, but he said no. I wept in the hallway like an unwanted child as he coldly closed the door.
He refused my calls, didn’t write like he promised then on Christmas Eve a fax, from the machine he gave me he wouldn’t be needing anymore, came cyphering in.
‘I am so, so sorry Susannah, forgive me…I miss you…and our cocoon high above the park.’