Sasha and I met at the corporate office of Gordon Publishers. Sasha Murdock. Stanley and George Gordon, a famously prominent father and son duo, opened up our place of employment after World War II. They were intrigued by stories of the war and travels of many explorers. The tiny company grew as fast as weeds being fed hearty fertilizer. As the years gulped into another, Gordon Publishers soon became a well known empire in the publishing world. Sasha was working as one of the few accountants, and I as one of the many copy editors when we met.
When Sasha, who is always caught up on current events and gossip, found out about my upcoming date she promptly informed me of Brian’s success, fortune and a recent merger with a certain gym of gold. She mentioned his money multiple times, which isn’t all that big of a deal for me, except that I placed him into my Rich Businessman Jerk stereotype well before the date occurred. So, here I am, waiting for him to tell me why he asked me out. To Ecolodge on Madison Avenue.
“You’re so real,” he says interrupting my thoughts. Oh brother, what a bunch of — “I’ve seen your work but never you. When we met, I recognized your name immediately.” He scratches his sandy hair with a manicured hand and his dark eyes ask me to retort.
On a cool cue, “really?” trying to act extremely interested in the artichoke dip. Rich businessman jerk. Why did I come here?
“You’ve got a certain air about you,” he says Stanford style. You’ve got a certain air about you, Brian.
“Well, what have you read?” I desperately try to make the evening tolerable. Brian goes on to explain his undying love of my work and his special interest in The Forrest. He hopes my second novel is successful and can’t wait for its release. Omigod I have a fan. With a straight face, I try to explain how exhausted I was getting with Reporter and how it had been time to leave, “with Forrest, I hope to finally make my mark,” I finish up. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe Brian is into young adult fluff fiction.
The entrées arrive and we eat in silence for a few loud minutes. Crab cakes with a lemon raspberry butter sauce are good at Ecolodge. My hunger nerves begin to dissipate. What an evening this is becoming. Here I sit listening to Tricky, watching designer clothes hug countless pampered bodies and not believing Brian Pentaz has a crush on me with an odd interest in my sorry writing career. The paparazzi are here but I don’t know who for, and I feel like I don’t belong. This is not my scene. Where is that other drink?
After dinner, we decide to walk off our food. He is eager to show me his penthouse suite at the Sundance, but I decline. I’ve had enough glitz and glamour for one evening, I don’t know if I can stand to be caged in the Sundance as well. The oldest building on Madison looks as new as today’s times. The hotel was built during the depression by multimillionaire Peter Gruener, who wanted to defy weakness in the U.S. economy. Because of Madison’s strict building code, it is the only original building left standing. Tall stone columns rise straight up from the edge of the sidewalk and two doormen stand outside, beckoning us. I again cringe at the thought of going up to Brian’s domain while he tries to seduce me, so we pass the Sundance by.
So, here I am, waiting for him to tell me why he asked me out. To Ecolodge on Madison Avenue.
We pass Chanel, Gucci, the Safeway Tower, Bella Luca and Lush. Madison Avenue is beginning to shut down shop as the hour dwindles on. The night is chilled with a breeze from the Sound blowing down the Madison shoot. The buildings create a perfect wind tunnel. Brian has had a green fleck of food on his right front tooth for some time. I like it there because it gives me power somehow, so I won’t tell him the embarrassing news.
Brian is boring and I’d much rather be taking a bath with Crabtree & Evelyn products. During our walk, he again professes his never ending love for my work. I am scared; the rich are scary. Rich businessman loser psycho. The evening has to end. To touch a soft spot, I tell him I should probably be getting home to work on Forrest some more. He is excited of this insider knowledge and looks at his Chase Duerer for the time. Like a child, he leads me back to the valet attendant across from Ecolodge. He says a nervous goodbye and sloppily kisses me by the ear. He gives me his card and tells me it has been such a fun night; he can’t wait for my call. “We’ll have to do this again,” he stresses. Do we? I smile gracefully and hope I don’t look too inviting.
As I pass the city limits, I sigh a breath of relief that the elite date is over . I have an impulse to check the rearview mirror every few minutes to see if he’s psycho enough to follow me home. I wonder what he would do if he saw my unrevised version of Forrest. Oh how I’m glad I’ll never see the day! The drive home is long, but Medeski, Martin, and Wood keep me company. I get off the highway and head up into the mountains where my cabin rests. Sleepily, I turn off the main road and onto my private gravel one. I am glad to not see another car as I roll up to the gate. Stupid, hick teenagers used to drive down my lane hoping for a bonfire and party location near Emerald Creek. I finally found a salvaged wrought-iron gate from an old mansion in an antique store to keep them away. My lair is nestled between a cluster of evergreens and the air is fresh. The path to the front door is worn and lit with lanterns on each side. I turn up to the moon when I reach the porch. The glowing curve smiles at me sideways. I know, that was an interesting adventure.
When I take moonlit hikes in the hills surrounding my home, I feel free. I like to summit Bald Peak, the highest on my property and named by a long gone ex boyfriend, I can see the twinkling lights of the city below. I can see two parallel lines of light, which I believe to be Madison Avenue. I won’t go up there tonight in my heels but maybe tomorrow in my Brooks. Every time I go into the city I have a following ritual: I will squish the tiny buildings with my fingertips like a child.
Is it even a good morning?
My breasts, arms and abdomen are pink with the scalding liquid. The beauty experts say baths are bad for the skin but my precious organ is silky soft and my rough spots are easily cured with a thick cream. After cleansing each article of myself, I step out of the bath onto a fluffy towel of cotton. Steam rises from my naked leg as I dry it. I like the idea of being happy with my figure. A conceded thought, I know, but I only say this in the confidence of my own head.
A familiar rhythm of thwacks came down the stairs. As the CD stops in silence, I soon hear a fast panting percussion added to the thwacks. A faint soprano whine sings a desperate plea. Socrates, my St. Bernard and golden Retriever mix named after the Athenian philosopher, is at the sliding glass door ready to go out. I quickly dry myself more thoroughly and wrap the towel around me snug. I go down the log stairs to view the comedic sight of his big tail and rump whacking the pane excitedly. His golden eyes are happy to find me awake after the eternity of night. As I unlock and open the door, he runs past me into the woods. I hear a few quick barks and then he’s gone. Out hunting most of the day, I probably won’t see him again until early evening. Socrates often carries home a tiny gift of rodent in his proud mouth, as if I’m to eat that for diner. He’salready eaten, thank you very much.
Back inside, I decide to see if there are any messages from last night. Sasha left a message while I was in the bath. She wants to make sure I call her this morning. My life is of entertainment to Sasha, for she hasn’t seen even half the things I’ve seen.
Thanks for reading! Moonlight 2003 is part of a series. If you want more of this kind of stuff, subscribe to my newsletter HERE.
[Featured image via Unsplash.]