"The roads of life are strewn with the wreckage of run-down and half-finished loves"
"The roads of life are strewn with the wreckage of run-down and half-finished loves"
Ralph W. Sockman
Sitting at my newest contract position minding my own business, getting the drawings done as fast as the engineers could torture me with changes, a sudden beep beep and a dialog box
Hello love… .
WHAT THE… .
I responded back...” I think you think I am someone else”
It was Bootsie. She was in IXTAPA with her then lover Dallas. And she was desperate to talk to me. I told her to call my cell. But it was expensive roaming then. She made plans to see me when she returned. And true to her word, one week later, she showed up at my job on Chelsea.
I was in my office which oversaw a beautiful but badly in need of work, courtyard. She was sitting on the cement curbing around a fountain just staring up at me. She was very good at that. I have no idea how she even knew where my company was much less my office. Mel hadn’t even been there. But Bootsie knew.
It was late; I was working on a special project. I was making airtight encasements for Kimono’s for an upscale Asian restaurant. They were going to hang the glass framed beauties. I was very excited to be working on it, but even more fun, I had tried on one of the Kimonos and in the evening light, the sun was setting and shining directly in the window. There was no mirror so I turned off the lights so I could see my reflection in the window. And there she was. It was a picture without words. The window reflected me in the kimono, at the same time Bootsie could be seen looking up. The two Juxtaposed together.
Ok. I admit, I love this sort of pursuit.
It is said fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons. When Debra and I were together, and even after we broke up, I loved the idea that she could be out there somewhere, stalking me. Watching me. Sick. But flattering in a very restraining order sort of way. Debra loved to leave roses on my vehicles. One time I had been 120 miles from home working in League City. It was fall, getting late early and as I left the building I saw the ribbons tied around the stems floating on the breeze and twirling around my antennae. With the sun setting, they looked like a surreal silhouette. And my heart leapt. Most women would be apprehensive in the weak light. Only women know how to be romantic like this. I miss that so much. Just once I would love to walk out my door and spot someone in the distance looking up at my door.
And that is exactly what Bootsie was doing. I have written of Bootsie often, so you should be familiar, but just in case, I will bring you up to snuff, as my grandfather would say.
I met Bootsie at Kindred Spirits, a gay bar on Richmond Avenue and 610 in Houston. I was straight; Debra and Anna brought me there when my husband was out of town. Bootsie worked there. Sometimes as a bouncer taking ID’s and sometimes waiting tables for the bar. And she was a personal attendant that first night I ventured on the wild side. I thought she was cute, but made it clear I was off limits.
“Sure you are” Bootsie countered.
Five years later, after Sheryl Chevalier and I split, I drove to another women’s club, The Ranch, where Bootsie worked. I had just left work. Wearing a teal blue business suit, calf length skirt with a slit to just above the knees, black pumps and my “West U” bob, I made my way to the bar and there she was. I ordered a drink and as she handed it to me I pulled her by her necktie so I could whisper in her ear.
“Do you want to talk to me here or at my house?”
Thinking she would shrug me off as another gay groupie. After all, she was a popular fixture in the gay community. She whipped her apron off and threw it and her towel over her shoulder and jumped the bar taking me by my elbow as we exited the door.
We had been on and off for many years. So what was to happen next would be a blow.
An inconceivable distress.
Yes, we met at a bar. The biggest nonviable situation in the dating handbook.
Love has its own value system. Its own criteria and who are we to set limits? We shouldn’t try it is futile. When and where are of no consequence. You can fall in love with the person across the aisle in church, in the stall next to you in the ladies room, in a store where you are being fitted for that perfect dress, or drive by you splashing mud , Why is it such a sin to say “we met in a bar”? What if you were in said bar at the same time as that future love connection, both of you left at the same time, and while making passage home, both of you stopped at the local corner grocer at the same time…and met? You would tell everyone “we met at a grocery store” even if both of you knew the other was in the same drinking establishment only an hour earlier. The bottom line, you met. And you fell in love. Location be damned.
So there I was, preening in front of the window in a $25,000 Kimono. Something I had no business touching much less wearing. But as I caught her eye I could see that little quirky grin she is so famous for. Just like Matt Damon, kind of out of the side of her mouth. Her arms folded, her head shaking and then she left. And for a minute…I thought I just imagined her. She was, after all, in Ixtapa. But that was five days earlier and Mexico is only a four hour drive. Still…where did she go?
I went into the conference room and gradually undid the ties and folds, laying the museum piece meticulously in the Japanese coffer lined in velvet with various inscriptions on the cover, then sealed it back up, gingerly placing it back on a very high shelf. I was standing on the conference table when I heard a light shuffling. I stood perfectly still, for, if it were my boss, my contract would be cancelled. At the very least.
“Put it back on…
” I jumped and started a slow descent to the floor, already picturing myself in the Emergency Room getting one or both of my legs casted. The Kimono following, causing even more distress, for, a broken leg or two were nothing in comparison to trying to hide, fix and deceive my boss about the treasure’s condition. Luckily, I was intercepted. And the gown was at last safe from my imprudent action.
I thought Bootsie was just a figment of my imagination sitting on the fountain below my office window, because when I glanced back she was gone. I was wrong.
Leaning against the door of the conference room “Put it back on, but do it right. Geisha’s wear nothing underneath.”
Now how does she even know that?
“Where did you come from? That was you down there!”
“Put it back on” she repeated. “
“No. I can’t, I shouldn’t have put it on to begin with.” As I carefully folded the garment, placing the obi on top and the footwear, very tiny shoes called geta and split-toe socks. This style of kimono called furisode, with almost floor-length sleeves, had been folded “just so” and it was like working a puzzle. I explained the project, how these Kimonos were a felony to even touch and that they were to find their final resting place hermetically sealed in cases I designed.
She picked my shoes up off the floor, one of her fetishes. She loved my shoes. Another story entirely. I sat down on the table and she took my feet, one at a time and dotingly placed them back on my feet. She put a hand under each of my shoulders and lifted me off the table. As she put me safely on the ground she pulled me to her, but I pushed her back.
”You know better”
“What? You really gonna tell me it is so great with that troll?”
One of the many flattering descriptions she had for Mel. This was to be expected from Bootsie. Bootsie was the patron saint of damaged relationships. She loathed Mel, even before we got together. Now it was a way of life with her. She spent her days trying to foil our relationship. But it was impossible and I promise, I meant it and I lived it. I was not going to let anyone destroy what I had with Mel.
“I have an idea of what to get that lesion for her birthday this year. A Guantanamo Bay Play set.” She snipped “Or a pair of shoelaces”
She was alluding to Mel whispering in her ear one night at a club “I can kill you with your own shoelaces.”
“One night when I was in the ladies lieu (Bootsie loved HRH speak),” she continued, “I heard her scream Oh my god it’s hideous thing made of skin! And she was looking in the mirror”
“When I carded her at the door" she padded behind me not missing a beat, "I had to charge her extra charge for the aliens inside her head”
“Bootsie, just stop!"
I ignored that and asked for an explanation as to why she was there; you have to understand why I thought it was a pathetic ruse to get my attention.
“I have cancer.”
I walked past her to my desk, grabbed my jacket and briefcase, keys and headed to the door.
“How did you get in here?”
She produced a scraped credit card, waved it in my face.
“I should’ve known."
I grabbed my briefcase and suit coat, brushed by her, then pulled her along for fear she would be hiding under my desk the next morning.
"That could put you in jail.”
“You would’ve gotten me out, after all I ruined a perfectly good credit card” then her face turned grave, “Didn’t you hear me?”
“Yes, I heard you. Didn’t you tell me something like this when I got together with Risa?”
She chose to disregard that. Self-pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable…
“Dianne, I have colon cancer”
“Booter, if you continue to do this, you are going to fuck up your Karma and really actually get sick!”
“Well…I guess that has already happened, because I am not lying.”
I studied her face for any sign of deception, but this was her forte’ as you will come to realize. I was dubious. When someone gives you such a fateful decree, the human conscience, at the very least most folks want to be polite and accept this at face value. But she did this when we broke up in 1991, and this was 1998. She then told me she had stomach cancer. Yet she continued to look healthy, she always had a pleasant demeanor, really her signature, and ultimately, nothing else came of it. This felt different. And I could very well be exposing my typical skepticism. After all I do not find anything profound in Vincent’s sunflower painting.
“I’ll be in the parking garage since you are already on the cross.”
I found my way to my car, Bootsie following closely behind pleading her case. I turned on my heel
“Bootsie, please, I am not going to leave Mel. I think you know that. If you are really sick, you know, I will be there for you, but it will have to be me and Mel. We will both be there for you.”
Bootsie shrugged her shoulders, put her hands in her pockets and turned her penny loafers to her own future.
"You are going to keep running away and hiding behind that witch. But you can believe in me." She looked defeated.
"How long do you think I am going to do this Dianne?" she turned back to me, "Time waits for no-one, not even you, not even me."
And I suddenly felt very sad as I watched her walk away, her head bowed, kicking up stones in frustration, she turned a corner and as fast as she was there…she was gone.
I finally made it to my car and there on the windshield an envelope attached to one flower, of course an unusual flower, she always told me to never expect roses from her. Yet, it was a rose. A sterling silver rose. And before you go “aweee how sweet”, it was probably stolen.
The card read “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope. “
Beginning of Book
Yes, this is absolutely positively true. If you lived this wouldn't you write about it? Some of the names of characters in this blog are fictitious. This is an account of actual events. Some of the events have been compiled together for the flow of the story. Even when I read my own work, I wonder how it could be so. But if you study your own life and compartmentalize it into less than 200 pages, you would be surprised how interesting it really is!
TRUTH HAS WITNESSES (Dianne Lindsey) This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved ©