Well. It’s official. I’m single again. Mike, who was my boyfriend for the last couple of years, just left my apartment. ‘If it’s that what you want!’ he said, as he storm out the door. ‘Yeah, that’s what I want.’ I said to myself. After a couple of seconds, I walked till the window and saw him driving away.
While my ex-future-husband was getting further and further away, I couldn’t stop but felling lonely. Oh, did I explain the ‘ex-future-husband’ thing? Well, Mike was going to propose next Sunday. I find it out two days ago, when I was looking for the number of our friend, Susan Stonefield, on his palm top. Yeah, OK…I’ll admit. I wasn’t only looking for Susan’s number, was also looking for Mike’s notes. He writes down everything. I mean everything. And in this last fill days, he was acting pretty funny, so I wanted to look at his notes to see if I could find out what was making him so strange. And I found it:
August 12 (SUNDAY)
9:00 wash the car
11:00 go to the grocery (buy that magazine that Meg likes)
15:30 pick up the ring
17:00 do the laundry
19:00 dinner with Meg (propose during dinner)
21:30 Knicks on ESPN (don't forget to record it)
So there was. Right after doing the laundry and right before the Knicks game on ESPN. Can you believe it? My life’s future would be decided after he washed the clothes! I couldn’t believe it. I know that he is a very methodic and pragmatic guy…but this?? Write down “propose during dinner” on his palm top? I can even see the notes after we got married: “21:15 – 22:00: sex with M.” followed by: “22:15: movie on ABC!” with exclamation point and everything!
Yeah, I did it right. I couldn’t be married to him. Mr. Palm Top. I liked him and all…but love him? I don’t think so. When I saw his notes I got really upset, but was also good because it made me act, you know? I did get settle in the relationship… but love him? Well, it’s sad to admit but I don’t think that I really love anyone. Except for that guy from the post office… but I don’t thing that counts, I mean, I only saw him a couple of times and the most that we said to each other was ‘good morning.’ But I really felt butterflies for that guy!
The loneliness I’m felling is getting stronger as I remember that my birthday is in a couple weeks. In two weeks I’ll be 30! As that thought crosses my mind, I start thinking that I’ll never be a mother. How long before a met someone I like again? (Let’s face it, six months to a year. If I really start going out today! And another thing, I’m really picky when it comes to men…men and clothes…), then, how long until it gets really serious for him to pop the question? (2 years??) and then there is the engagement, more a year, and at least another year before even thinking about B-A-B-Y. Yes, we are looking at 5 years, minimum, of wait!
‘Stop it. Don’t think about it. Be cool. You just finished a relationship and you did it because you were not happy, remember?’ I’ll have to keep remembering the ‘not very happy’ part for a while.
As I open a book to get distracted and forget my own problems, I couldn’t stop but thinking about Mike. Well, HE didn’t see that one coming! Poor, Mike, I fell sorry for him. But I couldn’t go on with it… and august 12 was getting closer. I had to break it.
Next day, I wake up 5:45 a.m., as always. Thanks to my next-door neighbor, “Miss I work out every morning”. As usual, she wakes up around 5 and starts her exercises around 5:45. Every fucking day. Even on bloody Mondays! (I’m not British, but I always wanted to say ‘bloody something’! it’s so royal!) Anyway, it’s 5:45, I’m awake and it’s still too early to get up. So, I’m going to stay in bed a little longer, and listen to Jane Fonda’s working out video: ‘Five-six-seven-eight…up-down, up-down…’ one of these days I’ll get up and start working out from this side of the wall…yeah, but not today…
When I got to work – 15 minutes late, as usual – everything seemed normal…everyone was working on their projects, some were working on the models for the new Cornell’s building and…Brian…Brian was, again, using my drawing board! As I’m the only one here who still works in the old-fashioned way, which is to draw by hand and not using the computer, everyone, especially Brian, thinks that they can use my desk! But this guy is very idle! I mean, he probably expects every day for me not showing, just because I get a little late…come on 15 minutes? That’s not really late, is it?
― Hey Em! ― he said as I’m getting closer. But it really sounds more like ‘hey, you’re here!’. Oh, yeah, we work at the same office for more than a year and he still thinks that my name is Emma! Nice! After correcting him so many times, I’ve given up. Ok, Brian, I’m Emma!
― Hey, Brian. ― I respond, but really meaning ‘’Yea, I’m here!’
― Well, I’m almost finished…could you give me a couple more minutes? ― he asked, without even looking to my face.
― Ok, Brian…I’m going to get a coffee.
While I was going to the coffee machine, I pass in front of Victoria’s office – she is one of my closest friends and also Mike’s friend. When I pass, I saw that she was on the phone, so I just wave and continue to go get my coffee. When I was returning, she was standing on her door looking at me with not a pretty face.
― Can you step into my office for a moment?
― Gee Vicky, I had a lot work wanting for me… I just came to get a coffee…you know me…coffee addicted! ― I said, trying to avoid the conversation that I knew she wanted to have.
― Haha…get in here! ― she said.
― Ok. ― I said, entering her office with my head down. I felt just like when I was going to the principal’s office, caught for fighting with Mary Louise on the six grade.
― Do you know who just call me? – she said after a minute.
― No ― but what I really wanted to say was ‘my mother?’
― Mike! Mike just called me! Megan are you crazy? How could you break up with him?
― Well, I had to…
― You are unbelievable missy! Truly incredible! ― and I’m right back to the principal’s office…
― What he said?
― Now you wanna know? ― after a pause, in with she kept looking at me, she started again ― He is heartbroken, you see, he was going to propose to you during the holiday. ― she said, looking at my face while waiting to see my reaction to the propose part.
― Yeah, I knew.
― What? You knew? ― she asked in shock
― Yes… I saw on his palm top. Was right after “doing the laundry” and right before the Knicks game on ESPN, I think.
― Oh… ― was the only thing she could say ― Gee, he is that methodic? ― she finally said after a long silence.
― Pretty much…
― Well…I’m sorry…
― That’s OK… I ‘ve to go back to work now…we talk latter. ― I said while leaving her office.
When I was going back to my desk, I saw that Brian was still there. As I was getting close, I could see that he was just trying to ignore me. At first, I tried to be as polite as Jackie O. But my elegance was suddenly replaced by anger when he said that he was going to need a little more time.
― Get out now! ― I yelled, without noticing that everyone was staring at us.
― Excuse me? What you just said? ― he asked me with a look of surprise.
At least I got his attention, he was look at me.
― Listen, Brian ― I started getting closer to the desk so no one could hear it. My face was boiling red ― I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to sound rude, but it’s after 9 and I still haven’t started work… I have a deadline for tomorrow ― I said. Now was me that wasn’t looking in his eyes. After a fill seconds, Brian put his hands over mine and said: “That’s fine.”
He just said that and looked at me with a little smile on the side. Then he collected his drawings and left my desk. Just like that. That behavior let me angrier. He got out of the situation as a perfect gentleman and me, as the crazy witch from the West. Everybody kept staring at me for a couple of seconds while I was organizing my desk. I felt like the bad girl who doesn’t like to share her toys. Well, the week had started perfectly!
As the days gone by, I guess people started to forget “my little number”. Shockingly, no one asked me to use my desk. Not even Brian. And, by the end of the week, I was completed exhausted, the only thing that I could imagine was going home, take a bath and doing nothing during all holiday. As the thoughts of an useless holiday crossed my mind, I saw Brian observing me from the other side of the office. That was one of the things that I hated most in working in an open-plan environment, everyone can see you from everywhere, being you working or yelling to someone or something. As he notice that I saw he observing me, he smiled. I didn’t knew what to do, I mean, we never said much to each other, just the necessary conversation for him to get out of my desk and now, after the incident, he was suddenly interested in me, I thought. As I was walking towards the elevator, I saw him standing there waiting for it. I didn’t want to go in the same elevator as him, so I turn around and was going back to my desk, hoping for him not noticing me, but he did.
― Where are you going?
― Oh, hey Brian…― I said, turning around again ― I forgot something. ― I could fell my face turning red…it always happens with me when I’m nervous! Damn!
― What you forget? ― he asked with a smile, just like the one from Monday morning.
― My…glasses! I forgot my glasses! You know, I can’t stay all holiday without them! ― I said trying to be casual.
― Aren’t those in your blouse? ― he said pointing to my shirt. Shit!
As I agreed and put them on, the elevator arrived and we entered. Those couple of minutes turn out to fell like hours! Took forever to get to ground floor. And when we finally arrived, he made the gesture for me to go on front and I did. As I was open the door to leave he said, “Have a nice holiday, Megan”, turn away and start walking on the opposite direction. I stood still watching him leaving and then, I turn and gone home. He called me Megan.
My Friday night was awful. I had forgotten how is to spend it alone, without a boyfriend around. We usually went out to dinner or something, like bowling…Mike loves it. Or if was raining, we would stay in, order chinese and play some game… I love monopoly. But know I was alone. All my friends were dating, so there was no one to call to… God, I need new friends! “Miss work out” was dating a really handsome man, I guess he is a personal trainer, I mean, he must be, for he has an amazing body! He came to pick her up for dinner at 19:15, and, when they left I saw through the window as they were walking on the street. She seemed happy.
It’s 21:30. I have nothing to do. I have a television but I don’t like watching alone. I find it very depressing, sitting like a potato and watch same stupid program or a stupid movie… I given up movies and TV when my mother died, seven years ago. My mother worked in the movie business, she was an actress when I was a child. She did a lot of movies and got really famous. Melanie O’Connor was her name, she used to play the roll of the fatal blondes, back in the 70’s.
Me? Oh, no. I’m the opposite of my mother’s characters. I didn’t born blonde as she did and, I usually say, as a brunette I’m not fatal, I’m mysterious, at least I think I’m.
On Saturday morning I woke up around 9. For the first time in months, I didn’t wake up with Jane Fonda. I guess my neighbor didn’t slept home, but I’m sore, wherever she is, she has already done her work out. During the day, I tried to keep my head out of the fact that I’m alone. I read the newspaper, trying to focus in the big issues: civil wars, high taxs, globalization, politics… by the end of the day, I couldn’t stand being in doors, so I went out to buy some food.
When I arrived at the small marked around the corner, it was closed. There was a small paper hanged in the door saying that someone of the family has died. Well, I hope is no one I know. Mr. and Mrs. Kanzler are very nice people. So, the next market is across town. Great! I’ll have to go back home and get the car.
Finally at the market, I had already forgotten what I was suppose to buy. As I was walking through, I get to the wine section. Usually Mike was the one who choose it. I never knew the difference between the Merlot and the Chaurdenay…
― This one is better… ― a man said it while given me a bottle.
― Oh, ok. Thanks. ― I respond while turning to look to the guy ― Have you tried?
― Yes, it’s my favorite. It’s a little expensive, but is totally worth it. ― I couldn’t see his face completed because he had long hair and was using a cap. The look from the 80’s didn’t go with the wine knowledge, I though.
― Well, I’ll think about it ― when I look at him again, he had gone.
I stood there for a couple more minutes trying to remember with was the wine that Mike usually bought, but I couldn’t remember at all. He was just here! I saw him! I’m sure! I heard two young girls talking through the vegetable section. They were probably chasing some boy.
In the end, I decided to get the wine the guy said. I couldn’t remember another one anyway. Outside the market, there were a lot of girls holding some signs. It’s was crazy, just in a couple of minutes, during the time I was choosing the wine, the market was surrounded by a bunch of crazy teenage girls!
The parking lot was in the back of the market. Thank God, was calm there. Who ever they were expecting wasn’t going to leave by the back, so I thought. While I was leaving the parking lot, someone open the passenger door set. I froze. Damn! I must fix that door…I should have asked Mike before broken up, I thought.
― I’m sorry, but can you give me a lift?
― Excuse me? Who are you? What are you doing in my car? ― I started yelling and, amazingly kept on driving. I couldn’t take my feet of the accelerator.
― It’s me, the guy from the market, I just helped you choose the wine, remember?
― What?? ― I looked again, keeping one eye on the road ― And that makes it OK for you to get into my car? ― I was continuing yelling. Couldn’t stop it, somehow it made me fell less afraid, or I was trying to make him afraid…I don’t know.
― Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. Some girls were following me and…could you give me a lift?
― You are being followed? ― I said doubting him
― Yeah…I thought that no one would recognize me…― he said while taking the cap and the blonde wig off. He was a very interesting man. Not so young as I thought because of the disguise and all. Yeah, he probably understood about wine. I couldn’t say anything. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it, so I continuing driving and we stayed quiet for some time. I didn’t even knew were I was going to, I just kept on driving. Suddenly he started to talk again.
― Listen, I sorry for taken you away from where you were going. I would like to make it up to you…what do you say about having dinner with me? ― he said quite charming.
― Well, I don’t know…I mean, I don’t really know you.
― That’s true, but you probably have seeing me on the movies or on TV…
― Not really… I don’t know who you are ― I said without looking at him, just looking to the road. As we were getting closer to the beach.
― Stop the car ― he suddenly said
― You don’t know who I am?
― No! ― I said, starting laughing ― I’m sorry!
I stopped the car by the seacoast while felling his look over me. He kept on looking as I was from another planet or something. Then, he opened the door and started walking on the sand. I got out of the car, took my shoes off and went after him. I didn’t even realize I was holding the wine.
― Hey, wait! Where are you going?
― How can you not know who I am? ― he asked after turning around and looking me in the face.
― I’m sorry! ― I couldn’t believe in that guy’s arrogance! ― I though you would be at least content for me not asking your autograph!
― You’re right. I’m sorry…again. ― he said while sitting in the sand.
I seat beside him and didn’t say anything. We were both looking at the sea. The sun was going down and the color of the sky was incredible. It was shades of yellow, reds and oranges, with a touch of purple. Was amazing, not a single cloud in the sky. And, down, in the sea, we could see all the colors mixed together. I was so concentrated on it that I didn’t even notice that he had risen up. He was getting closer to the sea. And, when I realize, I was going after him.
― Aren’t you hungry? ― I asked.
― Yeah, very. ― he said, turning around and looking at me. Then, for the first time, I could see the Hollywood star.
― My name is Maggie Miller.
― Vincent Lewis. Nice meeting you.
Then we continue to walk through the beach. Quietly, watching the sunrise. Quickly, the sun came down and started to get dark. I was still with the bottle in my hand as he asked me if I knew some place where we could have something to go with the wine. But, at the sometime, I knew that he wouldn’t be comfortable going to a place full of people, which would certainly recognize him. Unlike me.
So, I suggest for me to go at a chinese place near from where we were, and then we could go eat in a quite place that I knew. He agreed and waited for me on the beach. With the food and the wine on our hands, we gone back to the car and we drove to the place I told him about. Was a construction, there was no lights and, outside, the only thing that was to see was a big wall and some tall trees.
― It’s this the place? ― he asked, looking at me as I was some kind of crazy ― we are braking in?
― What’s the problem? Come on, follow me!
We had to jump the wall to get inside. So, I did it first as he helped me. When I was above the wall I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. Vincent couldn’t jump!
― Don’t laugh!
― I’m sorry! But aren’t you a movie star? Aren’t you suppose to jump a simple wall?
― You really don’t know me! I’m from the theater! A serious actor, I don’t do “the save the world” kind of movie!
― Sorry… come on, give me your hand.
― That’s fine. I can do it myself. Thank you. ― and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, he manage to climb the wall. When we jump into the ground, he start to look around, trying to understand where he was. After a few minutes, I turn the lights on.
― Are you mad? The neighbors are going to find out that me invade it!
― Relax! ― I said laughing ― I started going to the second floor and he was just behind me.
― Well, you’re really impressive on your dates! I mean, braking into a construction site! You are very creative, at least that I’ve to admit.
― I didn’t know that this was a date ― I turn around and said it in the middle of the stairs.
― Eh…it’s not, I was just thinking that you probably bring all your dates here! ― he respond, while getting embarrassed.
― Well, what do you think? ― I asked when we arrived and saw the view to the sea.
― It’s wonderful!
― Well, it’s mine ― I said while opening the blanket that I brought from the car.
― What? Yours?
― Yeah, Mister Hollywood, I’m building a house here. My future home…I’m architect in case you’re wondering. ― Then, he started looking the construction with different eyes.
― Come on, lets eat!
― OK ― he agreed nodding and sitting on the blanket.
While we were eating and drinking, he started to talk about his life, back in L.A. He told me that he was graduated in acting, classical theater, in Great Britain. He played Othello, Hamlet, Romeo,… all Shakespeare’s great parts. As every great actor who is discovered in the stage, Vincent was offered to start a carrier in the cinema. When he finally accept the part to act in a movie, not only the audience but also the critics loved him. That was going pretty well until he made a very bad move…
― Then Tony said that was time for me to try something new.
― Who is Tony? ― I asked.
― He is my agent. I mean, he was my agent…for almost eight years…
― Was? His advice was really that bad?
― He said that I should try the TV… ― he kept quiet form a moment until he continue the story ― it was about four months ago… I start playing a part in a soap opera…
― Oh, the part can’t be so bad… ― I said trying to be supportive.
― Actually, it can. I play a middle age man who starts to date his daughter’s best friend…
― Well, it isn’t so bad! I mean, its kind of Mrs. Robinson, right?
― The difference is that I’m not over forty, it’s not a Mike Nichols film and I’m not acting with Dustin Hoffman! ― he said. I couldn’t hide the fact that it was funny, and then I started laughing pretty hard.
― I’m sorry! I can’t stop but thinking of you as Ann Bancroft trying to seduced Dustin Hoffman! ― then he started to laugh as well ― so now every teenage girl wants you, ha?
― Yeah, I guess so… after all the work I did as being a serious actor… all for nothing…
― So is that what you are doing here? Trying to escape from it?
― I don’t really know… I just enter in my car and drove, you know? I didn’t want to be there, watch as I ruined my carrier.
― I serious think that you are overreacting. Ok, you made a bad choice, but that’s it. Just a choice. In life we always have choices… everyday we have to choose something, it doesn’t mean that if we make a wrong choice today, we’re going to choose it wrong tomorrow.
He didn’t said anything, just stared at me and at the sea before us. I guess he agreed with me but didn’t want to admit it. I mean, even I was surprised by what I’ve said. Was deep and could be as well applied to my life, specific about my childhood as an actress’s daughter.
After a while, it started to get really cold and we decide to leave. When we were leaving the house, Vincent’s phone started to ring.
― I’m sorry, I have to take this call.
― OK. I’ll want in the car. ― A couple of minutes latter, he jumped the wall and we left my construction. And then I thought that I’ve never brought Mike to see the house. Why?
When we were driving back to his hotel, he said that was Tony on the phone. He said that he was really concerned about him, and hasn’t heard a word from Vincent all day. Vincent respond that everything was OK, and that he would go back after the holiday.
As soon as I turned on the hotel street, I saw a bunch of girls standing before the hotel. Vincent didn’t even notice, he was telling me about the conversation with his agent on the phone.
― Get down! ― I said as I was turning his head down ― there are a lot of girls here! You can’t go to the hotel!
― Really? ― he asked while hiding himself ― how many?
― A lot! ― I said as we were passing in front of the hotel.
(Vince! Vince! Vince! We want Vince! Vince! We love you!) The girls were crazy yelling in front of the hotel. The security was trying to control the situation, but I don’t think they were being successful at it. I continue to drive through Maples St., but I was getting pretty tired and the gas was nearly finished.
― What should we do? The gas is running out!
― Gee, Maggie, I didn’t mean to case you so much trouble!
― That’s OK. I mean, at least is a different way to spend a Saturday night!
Then were arrived at my place. I asked if he wouldn’t mind staying there, and he respond that he didn’t want to bother me and I said that he wouldn’t. The problem was that he would have to sleep on the couch.
― That’s fine. Thanks again.
As we were arrive into the building, I started to listen some footsteps on the second floor. It was the Martin sisters: Sandra and Christine. They were two teenage girls who liked very much to gossip about everyone’s lives. When we were going up, the noises increased. I couldn’t believed, they were waiting for me with the door open! I immediately turn around and made a gesture for him to go back outside. He didn’t understand why, but he went in silence.
― What’s going on?
― My neighbors. Two teenage girls are waiting for me in the hall. They love to gossip about everyone else’s life. So, you can’t come up through the stairs.
― So, how do you suggest I should come up?
― By the fire escape. It’s in the back of the building. My apartment is in the third floor, on the left. I will open the window for you, OK?
Then I run up to my apartment to help Vincent, but I was interrupted on the way.
― Hey Meg! Coming late, ha?
― Were you at Mike’s?
― Hey girls…I’m very tired, we talk tomorrow, OK? ― But then something worst happen, Mrs. Molino open her door:
― Maggie! Come quick! There is somebody trying to brake into your apartment! ― Oh my God! Damn!
― It’s probably nothing, Mrs. Molino. Goodnight everyone! ― I tried to escape…I tried.
― No, no missy, I saw him! It was a man all right. I’m going to call the police! Come on, get in here, until they arrive ― What could I do? I had to think of something fast… but what? ― as she made me go inside her apartment, she started to call the police ― think faster!
― Mrs. Molino, it’s everything OK… I know the man who is climbing up the fire escape… ― Shit! But this was the only way for her to leave it alone ― he is a friend of mine… ― she hung up the phone and started to look at me waiting for a more elaborated explanation.
― You see, he is very depressed, he just finished a very long relationship and he cried all day long… when he heard the voices upstairs he said that would prefer to go up through the fire escape… ― this is the worst excuse ever! I’m a terrible actress! My mom would be very disappointed!
― Oh… I’m sorry… poor boy… I hope everything work out fine! ― I couldn’t believe! She bought it! Correction: I’m a great actress!!!
― So… I’m going now, OK? Goodnight Mrs. Molino!
― Goodnight Maggie! Give him my best! ― she said closing the door behind me.
I quickly got up to my apartment, open the door and saw him frizzing outside. I open the window and let him in.
― Sorry… my neighbors… There was one who though you were a thief trying to brake in! She was going to call the police! I had to stop her!
― It’s OK… I mean, I still had a couple more seconds before I complete froze my ass off! ― he said while rubbing his hands to get worm.
― Sit down, make yourself comfortable, I’ll make us some tea…
He sat down and started to observe everything, all my stuff. It was a real mess! There were clothes in the floor and books on the desk, magazines and underwear on the couch! Through the kitchen window I could see him putting my underwear in a chair. God! I really have to organize this place! I guess that this mess is, subconsciously, a reflect of my freedom, my freedom from Mike’s obsession with organization… I think, subconsciously, of course.
― So, here is some tea…
― Thanks… So, what did you said to your neighbor about the burglar? ― he asked while drinking his tea.
― Well, I said that you were a friend of mine who had just being dump today by his long time girlfriend, and that you have been crying on day… and that when you heard all those women voices, you started panicking and decided to come up through the fire escape!
― Uau! And she believed you? ― he asked surprised. I don’t think he liked my story…
― Yeah… why? Do you think wasn’t good?
― No, I mean, a little confuse…
― Well, anyway, I not an actress but she believed me! So…
He kept staring at me and it made me blush. Damn! I hate when that happens!!! Then I got up and took both cups of tea to the kitchen. I could fell his eyes on me as I walked to the kitchen. When I came back he try to disguise and asked me why I was alone on a Saturday night. And asked me if I didn’t have a boyfriend. Well, if Sandra and Christine and all the teenage girls of the world could see me now… I wonder if he is desirable to the women I know…
― I just finished I long relationship last week… ― there was, I was open myself and my personal life to a complete stranger, an actor from Hollywood! I was talking about Mike’s obsessions to a guy who played Hamlet, for God’s sake! He must be getting bored with my conversation.
― This is boring! ― I said ― I don’t want to annoy you with my personal boring little life!
― Well, I don’t think it’s boring… and if you must know, I think you did pretty well finishing with this Mike guy. He seemed to be really boring, not you! ― he said smiling at me. OK, this guy is wonderful! Yeah, I can see what the teens see.
After talking a little more about me, Mike and my work, we realize that was almost 2:00 a.m. and we were both really tired. So, I went into my room to get some of Mike’s clothes for him to wear. While he was in the shower, I turned on the TV and try to find, obsessively, for a film with him. I couldn’t find it, instead I find the soap opera. “Shadows in the sun”, was the name. And then, suddenly, there he was, playing the dad part. After watching a little bit, I realize he was right. The show stinks. It’s Lolita meets Mrs. Robinson… but with bad acting and bad direction. All the actors were horrible, especially the teenage for whom his character falls in love with.
When he turned off the shower, I turned off the TV. I didn’t want him to see it, would make him upset. Now there was nothing for him to do about it. So, I tried to clean up the living room a bit, taking the clothes and the underwear back to my room. When he left the shower, he looked even more handsome wearing Mike’s pajama.
― I arrange the couch the best way I could, I hope it’s OK for you… ― I said trying to act normal although there was a fantastic man standing beside me.
― It’s fine, Meg ― he said while drying his hear.
― Well then, I’m of to bed now… goodnight!
When I close the door to my bedroom, I could still see him through the curtain in the French doors. He kept looking around, my books and the architect’s magazines. Then he took off the top of the pjs (Uau!) and lay down in the couch. After taking a shower I went to look at him again and he was deeply asleep.
The next morning, still free from ‘Ms. work out’, I slept until 9:30. I open the curtain and saw that he was still sleeping. So a changed my clothes and arrange my room, which wasn’t the same mess as the living room, and open the room door gently to not wake him up.
While making breakfast, I couldn’t stop but looking to that guy sleeping in my couch. I couldn’t get over the fact that same Hollywood star was in my house! That was so cool! Suddenly, I looked back to the couch and he wasn’t there anymore. Where is he? I though. Then I turn around and he was standing in my kitchen right behind me! Without the shirt! I froze completely!
― Good morning, Meg ― he said still sleeping, but completely adorable.
― Hey, Vincent! Good morning! ― I was a little dizzy for he was so close to me!
― Do you have more of Mike’s clothes? ― he asked while scratching his head.
― Aha… I think I might have some… ― when I came back with some clothes, he had already settle the couch and fold up the sheets ― I was impressed but I didn’t want to say anything about it.
― Here… ― I brought a bunch of Mike’s clothes.
― Thanks ― he went to my room to change. When he got out he was wearing the same pair of jeans that he was yesterday, a Mike’s black t-shirt and sweater.
After having breakfast, I didn’t knew what to do. We didn’t seem to have a place to go, by now everyone knew that Vincent Lewis was in town. While washing the dishes, I tried to think of something. But things got worse when started to rain.
― So, when comes out your next film? ― I asked trying to make conversation.
― Gee…I don’t really know… I think it’s in pos-production… maybe only in December. Why do you ask? I though you didn’t like movies? ― he seat on a chair next to me on the sink ― I never met someone who didn’t like films! You are the first! ― he said looking at my as trying to figure me out.
― Well, I have my reasons, don’t you think? ― I said closing the tap and drying my hands on the cloth. He kept staring at me trying to decode what I’ve said.
― And what are your reasons? If I may ask.
― Well… you really what to know? ― I said going to sit on the living room. The storm outside made the morning day seemed night, was getting darker and darker by the minute. But no one of us seemed to care to stand in the shade.
― Of course I’m interested! ― he said sitting in the floor in front of me. Now he seemed like a little boy wanting to hear a fascinating story on Christmas morning.
― My mother was a Hollywood actress. ― I said looking down. I decided to start from the beginning.
― Really? What is her name? ― he looked surprised. I don’t think he expected that.
― Melanie O’Connor ― when I said her name his face enlightened.
― Melanie O’Connor is your mother?! God! She is incredible! I adore her work! Specially “Waiting for Mr. Ashcroft”! She was amazing on that film! It’s one of my favorites!
― Yeah… this is a very good movie… but my favorite is “Coastland”, her last one ― we stood quiet for a fill minutes, I was remembering her and, I guess, so was he.
― She was a great actress, Maggie. You should be proud of her ― he said as he touched my hands. The look on his eyes was so warm that I could fell it.
― Well… I’m. But wasn’t always easy to have a famous mother… She was an actress during all my childhood, when she did her last movie I was 12. I was raised by the nanny, Ms. Stenford, and by my father. I rarely saw my mother, she was always working ― a single tear falls down in my right cheek ― In 1982 she did her last one: “Coastland”. My father died a couple of months after the première of the movie. So, I guess she didn’t want to leave me completely alone with the maids. Or, I don’t know, nobody called hers for better parts… She got the Oscar for “Coastland”, you know? ― I said that with a sense of pride, for the first time.
Was strange to talk about that with someone else outside the family. Sometimes I call my uncle John, my mother’s brother, to talk about her, I fear to start forgetting her. Not even Mike knew all about her, I mean, he never seemed really interested. Or maybe I never let him close enough of my life. But now, here with Vincent, it all seemed natural and I talk about everything, all the anger and frustration that were hidden inside me, was getting out.
― I guess she never forgive me for being in the way, you know? I mean, she wouldn’t travel faraway with a child at home, right? So, from here on is the old cliché Hollywood-star story: she started to drink, didn’t give a shit about me, and by the time I was 17 I left home. Crossed the country to go to college and when I came back, five year later, she was dying. I stood beside her for almost a year, isolated in the huge house by the seacoast, taking care of her until she died in the fall of 1993…
Vincent was quiet during all the time that I talked, he looked at me differently now, as if he could truly understand me. As I talked more about her and about growing up in that kind of environment, the time passed by without we realize it, now was really dark outside and we were both very hungry. After I stop talking about my mother, he notice that I’ve became sad and, to try to make me forget about it, he said that he would cook something for us.
― You cook?! ― I asked laughing, trying to pull myself together.
We went to the kitchen where Vincent open the refrigerator and picked up a lot of things to prepare an omelet. We talked about all sorts of things, he told me all about the gossips in Hollywood, the movies he made, the ones he wanted to have done, and his ambitious to became a director. He told me he was writing a script for a long time, the story was really good, I though, but he wasn’t as certain as I was. He told me funny stories while we were eaten the fantastic omelet he did. It was delicious!
When he was telling the stories, I couldn’t stop but wonder why such man was alone, I mean, until now he haven’t said anything about a girlfriend or even a wife. The further I knew him, the further I liked him. Vincent wasn’t only a handsome man, no, he was caring, intelligent, funny, and knew how to cook! Vincent is a catch! I thought, while paying attention to his stories. Then, suddenly, I ask him:
― Aren’t you married? ― I couldn’t believe I’ve said that! Damn!
He stop talking, got serious and start looking at me before saying anything.
― No, I’m not married. I mean, not anymore… ― it seemed that I have touched in a delicate point ― April and I got divorced a couple of months ago, so…
― I’m sorry Vincent, I didn’t mean to make you upset… ― I was getting red all over again ― I was just thinking that you a pretty nice guy and that you probably have someone… ― I couldn’t believe I’ve said that! Again! Damn!
― Well, April didn’t seem to think that, after all, she was having an affair with Johan Vollkof… ― he said holding his head down.
― I’m truly sorry, Vince ― I said reaching for his hand across the table ― I’m sore you will find somebody worthy ― he look at me and smiled. It was an honest smile.
― We had a kid, his name is Joshua. ― he said, still smiling and now with a sparkle in his eyes.
― Uau! That’s great! Who old is he?
― He’s 9… he lives with his mother now… ― again the silence took over the room. He was probably thinking about his son and the time they all lived together, and I was thinking about me, my mother, my father and the fact that I was getting older and still childless.
― I was supposed to be getting engaged tonight… ― I said suddenly. He looked at me and now was his turn to reach for my hand across the table ― Gee! This is getting pretty depressing! Come on! Let’s do something fun! ― I said trying to improve the mood in the room, which was getting pretty blue.
It was late, around 9 p.m., when the rain finally stopped and Vincent had an idea for something to do. He made me an invitation, one that I haven’t been invited to in a very long time: go to the movies. Since the beginning of my relationship with Mike I’ve told him that I didn’t like movies and he never bother to ask me why, we just didn’t have that option.
I was surprised with the invitation, but I though it was time for me to go back there, and being there with Vincent would make it even more special. A couple of minutes later we left my apartment to go to the cinema. We cross the hall on the tip of our toes, so no one could hear us. When we get there was pretty empty, I guess the cold and rainy night was not inviting to go out. I got relived, because I thought Vincent would fell more comfortable this way.
There were all kind of movies showing: comedies, dramas, thrillers and classic movies. We walked through all the posters to choose which one we would like to see. Since we have spent most of our time talking about sad things from the past, we decided that drama was not an option. Vince then told me, whisper to me, that he hated comedies! I start laughing, I mean, he was a pretty funny guy when he wanted to, but he didn’t like comedies? That was pretty ironic. When we reach to the classic film poster, how was our surprise to see that the star of the movie was Melanie O’Connor, my mother. When we saw it, Vince looked at me to see my reaction. I didn’t think that I was prepared to see her, and I guess, by my expression, Vince understood.
― What do you think of “The talent Mr. Ripley”? It’s a Anthony Minghella’s film, ha? I would love to work on one of his films! ― he said touching my arm. I was completely immobilized, gazing at her on the poster. She look beautiful, I guess I’ve forgotten how pretty she was. The movie was one of her greatest success: “The time of your life”.
― I want to see her ― I said without taking my eyes away from her.
― OK, I’ll get the tickets.
So we went to see my mother. She was incredible. Was very different from what I’ve imagined, she wasn’t only the blonde girl from the movie, she was more, she was a great actress! Her part was of the good and shy girl, who is in love with the rich and handsome man across the street. And, in the end she realizes that she wasn’t really in love with him, but with the idea of love. It was a very nice and delicate movie, different from all the other movies from the late 70’s.
When we left the theater, I turn to Vince and thanked him for bringing me there. He hold me in his arms and whisper in my ear: “Was my pleasure”. I couldn’t fell the ground beneath my feet, I was floating! We left the theater holding hands, like boyfriend and girlfriend. I’m blushing! I could fell it! Damn!
We had to walk a little until my car, we had to park it three blocks from the theater, we couldn’t find any spot closer. While walking and talking about movies, I saw a man across the street staring at us, immobile. I couldn’t see who he was, my vision is not that great, but Vincent notice the guy too:
― Who is that guy? ― he asked me.
― I don’t know, I can’t see very well ― and as I was trying to see the man, a car passed by and its lanterns enlightened him: It was Mike! Shit! Double Shit! He crossed the street and stopped in front of us.
― So, is that why you broke up with me? ― he seemed really sad, like he had been crying for sometime. By that time, Vincent had already figure it out who the man was.
― It’s not what you’re thinking ― I said, taken my hand back ― he is my friend.
― Your friend? Come on, Megan! I know all your friends and he doesn’t look like anyone of them! ― he started to be really angry ― he looks like that actor… ― he started to stare at Vincent and I begin to blush ― that actor that I don’t like… what’s his name? ― he was desperate to remember the name ― that one who sold himself out to the TV… ― I could kill you! I thought.
― Vincent Lewis ― Vince said.
― Precisely! ― Mike seemed to be content to have finally remembered the actor’s name ― and what’s your name, Megan’s friend?
― I’m Vincent Lewis, nice to meet you Mike! ― he charmingly said, extending his hand to greet Mike.
Mike froze. He looked completely pale, as he had just seem a ghost or something.
― Really? You are Vincent Lewis? Meg, how do you… I mean, I’m sorry for the comment before, I don’t really hate your films, I mean, I just didn’t like the soap opera thing… ― he didn’t knew what to say… Now I was felling sorry for him.
― Hey, that’s OK man, I really think that I did a lot of wrong choices… but there is still time to change, right? ― he looked at me and winked.
― Yeah, sure! ― Mike said touching Vince on the arm ― OK then, I have to go… Was really nice meeting you, Vincent Lewis. Bye! Bye Meg! ― he said as he cross the street again.
We continue to walk and Vincent reached to hold my hand again.
Monday morning. The last day of the holiday. Vincent’s last day in town, and in my house. He was leaving today, in the afternoon. I would drive him to the hotel so he could catch on his things and then we would go to the mechanic’s to get his car back. I was really sad and, it seemed that Vincent was too. During breakfast, he asked more about my work, the place and the co-workers. The only person that I seemed to remember something to tell him about was Brian. The whole “incident” of last week was still in my head.
― He likes you, you know. ― he said, looking at me with a new look, it looked like jealousy. But it was so quick that I’m not sure.
― Really? You think so? Why? ― I started to fell red again.
― Well, first the only contact you guys had was in the morning, when you arrive and ask him to leave you desk, right? ― he asked while eating his toast. I nod agreeing with him.
― So, after the incident, he starts to talk more with you, right? You said that he even started to bring coffee to you, didn’t you? ― Yeah, that was true, by the end you the week he had brought me lots of cups of coffee.
― I can’t believe it! ― I said in sock ― I mean, I could never imagine that… ― I said, risen up from the chair and walking towards the window.
I could fell Vincent’s look over me. But I was trying to remember all my conversations with Brian and didn’t pay attention to Vincent. After all, Brian wasn’t that bad, I mean, he really needs some assistance in the clothes department, but that’s easy, in a month or two I can fix that. And he is a nice guy… Martha, another architect there, once told me that, but I didn’t listen, I was still dating Mike. Then, suddenly, my phone started to ring. And I was awake again.
― Hey, Meg, it’s me…
― Hey Mike… ― I said disappointed, I was already hoping to be Brian!
― I just wanted to call to say I’m sorry for yesterday… I didn’t mean to act like a jerk… sorry…
― That’s OK, Mike… Don’t need to apologize ― I said trying to make him fell better. And when I looked for Vince, he wasn’t in the room anymore. I said to Mike that I had to rang up and we said goodbye to each other.
When he came back he was already wearing his own clothes and looking amazing as always.
― It was Mike… he still fells terrible about last night…
― Well, he shouldn’t! He was right…this soap opera thing is a disaster, I’ll do something about it as soon as I get back to L.A. ― he seemed ready to go away, but I wasn’t ready yet to say goodbye.
― You want to go away already?
― Yeah… we have to go to the hotel, I have a few things there and I’ve to close the account! Talking about many well spent, ha?
― And after… wouldn’t you like to eat something before go, I mean, you’re going to travel without having lunch? ― I didn’t want to sound really needy, but I think he notice my disappointment.
―No… we’ll have lunch…I want to go to one place with you again. ― he said smiling again. God! That smile was melting me!
We left for pick up his things and after he came back, he asked me to drive to that little market in which we’ve met. I thought, this is it? The place he wanted to go again was the market? I was already getting disappointment when he said:
― I’ll be right back.
I wasn’t understanding what he was doing. Then a couple of minutes later he came back.
― OK, we can go now ― he said entering in the car again.
― Where to Mr. Lewis?
― To your house…
― My house? But we just left there!
― The other house, missy! The one you’re building! I want to see it in daylight.
I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming! He wanted to see my house again! I was happy. When we arrived, Vincent didn’t have the same difficulty to climb the wall, in fact, he got to the other side before me, so he could help me getting down. Looking now under the sun light the house appear to be larger than it looked during night time, which was the time that I usually pass by to see the construction.
Vincent stayed quiet, observing every room without saying a word. I was starting to get nervous, I mean, I didn’t have any idea what he was thinking! I waited for him in the second floor, seat on the blanket with the groceries he had bought for our “little picnic”.
― It’s fantastic, Meg. I’m completely in love with this house! ― he said while walking towards me.
― Well, maybe you can keep it… I don’t know if I’ll actually live here so… ― I said looking to the ocean. What I said was true, I mean, the house was to big for me to live there alone… when I first start building it I thought that I wasn’t live there alone…me and Mike…
― What do you mean? How can you not live here? It’s your house!
― I don’t know, Vince… When I finish the construction, I’ll think about it, OK?
So he seat down beside me and open the bags from the market, there were bread, all sorts of cheese, wine and chocolate! All things that I love! Was incredible, we stayed there talking, laughing and sharing more dreams and desires.
Then the time came. Was almost five o’clock when he said that was time to go. We got serious all of a sudden, join all things together and left, quietly. Arriving at the mechanic’s, Vincent and I said goodbye. It was sad but I was trying to be strong and not show it. So he entered the car, wave at me and drove away. I didn’t think that I would fell so incredibly sad when he entered the car, but I did. It felt like an important part of my life had finished without even start.
Tuesday, 5:45 a.m. I’m awake, I guess that my neighbor is back. The holiday was over and my mundane little life was back. No more celebrities and picnics on construction sites, no, no more. I decided that today I would get to work on time. And I did. I was actually the first one to arrive. Not even Brian had arrived yet. I was completely alone and the floor, it seemed smaller than usual.
In the afternoon, I was working on a project with Vicky, on her office. Then, suddenly, I start to hear my name and Mary, from front desk, said that was a man waiting for me there. I was intrigued… Who could it be? Vicky was looking at me with a “What did you do on the weekend?” expression. “Nothing!” I look back.
When I get to front desk, there was a man, which I had never seen before, holding a huge box and a bunch of flowers, tea roses. Everyone in the office was looking at me. I didn’t knew what to do with my face. I was completely red! As I hold the box and the flowers, I knew that there was just one person that could do something like that: Vincent Lewis. But I didn’t want to open the present or the card in front of everybody, so I put it all down my desk and continued my work, which was behind the schedule.
― So, did you like the present? ― there was Brian in front of my desk asking me about the gifts… of course I turn red! Shit!
― I didn’t opened yet. There is so many people around that I didn’t wanted to open here…
― Yeah…you are right ― he said that and went back to his desk. What’s the deal with this guy? I can figure him out! Well, I have to get back to work anyway…
The time took forever to pass in that afternoon. And when the clock showed 5:30p.m., I griped my things, the flowers and the box, and left as fast as I could. Before going home, I decided to stop by at the little market to buy a bottle of wine, Vincent’s favorite. After that I drove straight home. I was so nervous to open the box, and especially to read the card. I was still pretty surprised with everything that had happened since last Friday.
I got up as fast as I could, didn’t want to come across any of my neighbors, specially the Martin girls. So, as I entered my apartment, I took my shoes off, went to the kitchen to open the bottle of wine to let it breath, as Vince taught me, and went to take a shower. After that, I poured out a glass of wine for me and took the card to read what Vince had written for me:
I had the most wonderful time with you. It made me see that
decisions can be changed and there is always time for it.
I couldn't stop but thinking about you while I was driving back
to L.A.So, during the trip I thought of somethings to send to youas a thank you gift.
The problem was that my list was gettingpretty big, and some of the things I wouldn't be
able to sendby mail, so, some presents I'll deliever in person, very soon, Ihope.
After read the card, and Vincent’s delicate words, I opened the box. It was a big yellow box, with a red ribbon around it. When I open it I was amazed by its content. There were a lot of things, each one with a small note. First I saw the cd’s he told I was going to like: jazz and old time rock, “listen and then tell if you like it”; two of the films he made, his favorites, “so you know that I’m really a serious act”, he wrote; a bottle of wine, “to continue your wine education“; a small portrait, “ the first present for your new home”; and in the bottom were all the movies that my mother had done during all her carrier. I felt some tears coming down my face… that was the best present that I could receive. And the little note attached to one of the movies said: “So you can have her always around.”
I have meet Vincent Lewis for the first time on a Saturday night in middle of last august. My life changed forever since that day. He brought my mother back to my life and by doing that I also gain a new friend. It’s funny how things can change from a single event, Vince is not working anymore in that stupid soap opera. Of course, some girls aren’t happy with him, especially two teenage girls that I know, but I’m sure that he is much happier now. He is working on a new movie about the life of Rembrandt, I can’t wait to see it!
My house is nearly finished and Vince told me he is going to came to see it when it’s done. Yesterday Brian asked me out… on a date! I said that I had to think about it first, I mean, I don’t know… if I accept a don’t think I’ll bring him to the construction site…
Some of the ideas that I had before seemed now foolish, I mean, of course I will meet someone again, of course I’ll really love someone, someday. And regarding the B-A-B-Y thing, I can always adopt, right? Like Angelina did. I mean, who knows? It lead her to Brad Pitt, it can lead me back to Vincent Lewis….