That spring, I participated in a trip sponsored by the art department of my college to New York City to visit art museums. I have written a little about this trip before; this was the time I met Dizzy Gillespie and saw him perform in the old Metropole jazz joint across from Madison Square Garden. That same evening, we were to go to an Asian restaurant in Chinatown, so about 20 of us met there at 2:00 a.m. Amidst great confusion in the already full to the brim restaurant ( I kid you not - at 2 a.m.), we were seated near the door. As I perused the menu, the doors opened and two men and a woman entered. I looked up, and there stood *that girl* from my home town. That was during the time that the movie Cleopatra was playing, and many women adopted the make-up style of the ancient Egyptians (in the body of Elizabeth Taylor).
There she stood with an Egyptian hairstyle and eyes rimmed with *kohl* and brilliant blue shadow shining like lapis lazuli on her lids. I couldn't believe my eyes. I hid my face behind the menu; thinking that it might be better if she didn't see me. But, of course, curiosity got the better of me anyway, and when she spied me later, we went to the ladies room to talk. She begged me not to tell anyone, especially her parents, where she was. She was working at *The Bitter End*, which was a very popular night club back then, on Bleecker Street, I think.
I told her that I simply could NOT not tell her mom that I had seen her. Had she heard her mom on the phone with me, crying and pleading, she wouldn't have kept her family in the dark about where she was. I did say that I would not tell her mom exactly where we had met, but that I would have to call and let her mom know that she was alive and that she had run away of her own volition. Her only explanation of what she did was to say that she *just couldn't take it anymore* and she thought her children would be better off with their dad than with her. I have a real problem with women who abandon their children - but I didn't challenge her on it. It wouldn't have done much good at 3 a.m. in Chinatown, NYC.
She and I didn't see each other again until about 6 years ago, when I attended a *decade* reunion of my high school classmates. She was there; having moved back to town after her parents died. She didn't even remember me, and I was sort of shocked. Someone in the group chalked it up to (her) smoking too much pot, but I don't know for sure that she did that. I will admit it was a bit of a let-down to me that she didn't remember me. You'd think you'd remember someone you ran into after 5 years in the middle of Chinatown at 3 a.m., wouldn't you?
The question of the day: will you hazard a guess as to which one of the girls it was? Not me, of course. I won't post the answer on the blog - but I'll let the correct guessers know in their comments.
Update: It was NOT the blond. She had her own set of problems, but I won't go into that here. Thanks for playing along.