I recall it was the hue of her eyes that took me away upon our first introduction. I had seen that same blue almost twenty years before in the early years of the war in Bosnia. Her eyes were the color of the Adriatic Sea, which were so vastly stunning that both the sea and her eyes were like bolts of electricity to my heart. How can I describe that color created by Poseidon to stir asunder a body of water so unique? It is a deep blue but it is washed over as if the blue is constantly glistening.
I met her at a wine tasting at the Union Square Wine store in Manhattan. It was eleven years ago. My agent and I were standing in the front of the line and she and her friend were immediately in front of us. My agent introduced us and we hit it off like that. She was an editor, I, a writer. Although we weren't seated at the same table, I sneaked looks at her throughout the night. "She's not gay, Sue," said my agent. "She's straight."
A few weeks later I received an email invitation to a small party she was hosting with a group from the media at her apartment. She thought I might have fun. My agent wasn't invited which we found strange as she had done the introduction. Part of me didn't want to go because I wouldn't know anyone, and I hardly knew "Blue" at all. We had met in a line, and that was it. I went because I was curious. Blue was so happy to see me and introduced me to her guests who were from both magazine and book publishing. We stole time alone in her tiny kitchen where she wondered whether she should open her really expensive wines. Tipsy from the reds I had been drinking, I egged her on. "But of course," I said. And so she agreed. I remember taking time to talk to everyone at the party and this impressed Blue greatly. She wrote me an email the next day to say I had been "a hit."
I asked my agent whether we could invite her to dinner. Blue had time for us over a month away, cancelled once and then rescheduled. At the dinner the energy was gone and she asked us both whether we might want to go to a ball at her club. A ball gown? I had an Armani suit. We were really off track. She was awkward. At our next dinner she seemed more interested in talking to my agent. I took out my computer at the table and edited my memoir. It was rude, but so was she. My small crush had passed.
Boom, by showing no interest, she became besotted and we started meeting on our own for drinks and dinner. Our time together was always a bit contentious but it was interesting and challenging to me. One day, I told her I would show her how to pick up guys, since she said she was picky. We went to a boxing bar in Times Square, but it was too crowded so we went over to Heartland Brewery. Drinking a hearty red beer, she drank a hearty red wine. We had a little too much, and she finally admitted to kissing a woman once.
Our dinners increased. We would close down restaurants staying until one or two A.M. on weekdays. But then one night she made me cry right before Thanksgiving. She knew my mother had died in her early sixties, and she explained how the brain exploded first upon cremation. I never knew this. I never wanted to know this. My tears just flowed even though she immediately regretted her breaking news report. I couldn't let it go. And I walked away. Blue begged me to have dinner with her again after the Thanksgiving break with another one of her friends, I guess to show me what a fundamentally good person she was.
All is to say this brought us to New Year's Eve and Blue had nothing to do, so she went to the movies with my lesbian friends and me. We saw a Wes Anderson film. I was bored. Blue thought it was brilliant. After dinner we headed for some champagne to my favorite restaurant in the East Village. Blue and I got into some fight over the cremation remark again and I just turned around and started dancing amongst the silver and white helium filled balloons. I don't know if I was dancing with others, or simply alone.
When the other couple left, Blue and I closed down the restaurant and headed to the Knickerbocker Bar on 9th Street. Every single guy seemed to hit on Blue, but she refused their advances. Why? At three A.M. the Knickerbocker closed and Blue and I found ourselves outside as the January snow started to kick up its Northern winds. We stood right against the window at Starbucks and I asked her, "Why do we always close everything down?" She was silent. We were standing close. "May I kiss you?" I asked. "Oh, that will just complicate things," she said not so convincingly. And as everyone inside ordered hang over coffee, Blue and I started making out ravenously. It had been a year from when we met. Our friendship had taken an abrupt turn. Or was it sudden? What had been in Blue's mind all along? We went back to her apartment where we moved furniture, broke vases and just couldn't get enough of each other. It was torrid.
In the next few months we made out in taxi cabs, deepened our lovemaking, and even dined with her mother on Park Avenue. We made plans to go to South Beach together. But then Blue went to visit a sister who had once been in a lesbian relationship. Blue thought perhaps we shouldn't go to South Beach together and she asked me to sell her my ticket for her sister. Through it all, through the kissing and the sex, she wanted to make one thing absolutely clear, "I'm not gay," she said, "I'm just not gay."
Three months into our affair, and 15 months into our friendship she wanted to end it. "It's best if we just stop like a Band-Aid. I'll just pull you off and it will sting, but we'll move on." I sent her a dozen pink and yellow-rimmed roses a week after we hadn't spoken. She reluctantly agreed to meet me at the rotating bar on top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for "one" glass of wine. That night ended with us in her warm bathtub using sensuous aromatic body scrub to rub on one another.
After that, I never saw her again. The early spring brought about the publication of my memoir about growing up on the grounds of an orphanage, which my father oversaw. It didn't sell as well as I had hoped. And then Katrina happened at the end of August of that year. In September, I found myself in New Orleans with the American Red Cross helping residents in their return to the ravished city, which God had simply closed his eyes on. October found me in a psychiatric ward at New York University Hospital where I finally grieved. I grieved for my mother, for the victims of Katrina, and I grieved from being the victim of Blue. Or was I? She always said she wasn't gay.
After a ten-day stay, I left on more medication than I had been on before and in the following ten years since Blue I kept increasing my meds. Over the years, even though I occasionally sent Blue an email about my life, she never replied back. I never knew what happened to her. Sure I heard little details but to spill them would be to name her, which is not my intent. I am just an example--I am the carnage of someone's experiment.
Ten years later, I went to NYU again to admit myself to the psychiatric ward, not to mourn Blue but to get off of my medications. I needed their help. This past year, or rather half of it as of now, has been about me coming down on my meds with my dream of being clean of Xanax, Klonopin, and Abilify by December of 2016. I also gave up alcohol, and I've now crossed my seven-month mark of being sober.
It was Jet Blue that got me thinking of Blue again. Somehow their wing color and its enveloping blueness reminded me of her as I took off to Disney World for a family reunion this past week. I know Blue probably won't read this, but I'm actually doing fine. If one lesbian out there can take heed from what I learned, it will be one life worth saving from the messiness of being dumped in the battlefield by a straight girl.
I went to Bosnia on a fact-finding mission as a reporter for People magazine. We had an agreement, our group would never pass the boundaries of the person who was most scared. That was me. I was the most scared and wore my helmet and flak jacket at all times. But when we finally made our way into Mostar, Bosnia, something miraculous happened. In the midst of a war zone, I felt at peace with myself, and my surroundings. I took off my helmet and stood outside as gunshots echoed in the distance. I became fearless, and that is something that is in my genetic make-up. This was at a time when I was not a medicated soul. I am the one who lead us to the Adriatic Sea where I saw a particular color of blue for the very first time. It enchanted me, fascinated me and became a part of my soul. As the years move on, I will always remember that blue.