I hate my cellphone. I love my cellphone. I hate how it provides unlimited access to me. I love how it provides virtually unlimited freedom. That is my unspoken mantra. It is what I recite while I sit on the beach and watch the waves come rolling in.
If I wasn’t on deadline I wouldn’t have turned it on but I am on deadline and I have already ignored two telephone calls, a text message and three emails from Harold. The last voicemail was particularly touching. “Jack, it is 3 PM and you haven’t returned any of my calls or replied to my emails. This is unacceptable. If I don’t hear from you in the next hour I am going to kill your column. Put some goddamn sunscreen on so you don’t get cancer and call me back immediately.”
Telephone in hand I started to dial and then I got distracted by a woman. No, it wasn’t a woman on the beach although there were plenty worth looking at. This time it was Sheri calling to check in on me.
“Have you called her yet?”
“No, I haven’t called her and I don’t think I will. She probably won’t take the call.”
“You are an idiot and she will take the call. Trust me, she will speak with you.”
“What makes you think that I even want to talk to her. Life is good now. What do I need her for?”
“Jack, you know that I love you, but you are an idiot. What do you have to lose?
“You called me an idiot twice. I heard you the first time. Why should I call her? Why doesn’t she call me?”
“Jack, you know that she is not going to call you. It doesn’t work that way. She is not going to risk it.”
“So, I should take the risk? What the fuck is that about? Why does she get to protect herself?”
“I thought that you didn’t feel anything for her.”
I could almost feel the smirk and the “I told you so” smile coming from her. “I can’t talk any longer, I am on deadline. I’ll call you later.”
I made a point to hang up before she could respond and gathered my things. Between Harold and Sheri the beach just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. It was time to go home and start working.
Fifteen or so minutes later I dusted the sand off of my feet, grabbed a beer from the fridge and began typing on my computer:
“Technically I am not supposed to start a column by reminiscing about what it felt to have a pair of long legs wrapped around me. The public doesn’t want to hear or read my recollection of sexual conquests, not even if they were of the loving kind.
I am not supposed to tell you that I have been thinking about long dark hair that falls just past her shoulder or sensual dark eyes that you could get lost in. Nor am I supposed to tell you about the full lips and the perfect hips that came along with the legs, hair and eyes.
But you see I have been lost in the land of make believe and wishes so I am allowed to go there. Allowed to tell you that there once was a woman who I loved more deeply than all others and whose presence in my life has been marked for years by her absence.
The question that I find myself asking is whose reality is it anyway and why do I have to pay attention to rules that hurt my heart. Why can’t I indulge this fantasy and try to determine if I am chasing after fools gold or trying to catch a shooting star. I am inclined to say that I don’t have to worry about what society thinks because society is fickle. Society doesn’t give a damn what happens as long as it doesn’t happen to them.
But you see that when you live in the public eye you sometimes have to be more aware of what you do and who you do it with. I told you all before that I am not really comfortable being seen as a public figure. I didn’t get into this business for fame or fortune. I did it because I love to write. I did it because I can make words sing and that song is always on my mind.”
I wouldn’t define it as my best work but it wasn’t bad either. Most importantly I had enough of a framework in hand to send over to Harold. He might be a pain in my ass but he has a good nose for this business and I was confident that whatever advice he would offer there would be useful and practical.
Later that night I planned on calling Sheri back to ask for advice. I wanted a female perspective about an idea. I wanted to know what she thought of my using column as a way to reach out to Ann Stacey.