High

Three young women have one thing in common: Music. They have their own issues such as suicide, alcoholism, weight gain and depression to deal with, besides their husbands rather fragile egos. These young women are going places, on their own terms and must overcome lifes’ obstacles. Do you think suicide, weight gain and fear will hold these woman down? No way. Beth must deal with her own inner demons and overprotective mother. She is in love with Jon, her guitar playing boyfriend. She is his muse, his inspiration for his music. He loves her except when she screws up. Stephanie has to learn to let go and shake off her abusive past, destructive parents and be free to love Ian, her bass playing husband. Heather is stuck in a humdrum relationship with Phil the pessimistic drummer and learns that breaking away sometimes is the payoff to success in the world. Catch up on all the hilarius girl talk in High.

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9. High

Chapter 14

 

 

 

Another Friday  night, another gig.  Last night was a humdinger. I spent the night talking with Stephanie. Jon showed up at the gig but forgot his guitar, so Ian drove him back to his place one half hour away. The night was off to a rocky start for the band.

 

Stephanie was in good spirits, talkative and trying to control her asthma with an inhaler. She was telling me about her psycho Mom, how she wanted to make up with her and tell her that she loved her unconditionally, but was afraid. I don’t blame her for being afraid. When somebody has hurt you all your life you tend to stay away. It’s like getting your hand burned on the stove, after awhile you either fear the pain or become numb to it.

 

We talked about Phil and I. Stephanie thought we need more space between us, her space and his space kind of space. I tried to convince her that this is how Phil likes it, but she had her opinion of our relationship. It’s funny to see how others see your relationship. They usually have a negative view of it, like he should treat you better or you should get out more by yourself, or something like that. Other sees misery where we see happiness. I guess it must have been my fault for complaining about things as we women do. I should try to complain less. Bitching. I am guilty.

 

The guys played great tonight. I caught the odd mistake here and there. It was cool. No nude dances this week, no drama. The place was pretty quiet for a Friday night.

 

After a set or two, Stephanie and I slipped outside to the tiki bar where sat by the fire and inhaled smoke. Stephanie let loose and confided in me that she and Ian were experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs. She described her experiences to me:

 

“It was like, so cool…”

 

“Cool…”

 

“It was like time slowed down, like one minute lasted for two weeks.”

 

“Man…Sounds bizarre”

 

“It was so cool. I could feel my mind opening up.”

 

“Wow, sounds so cool…..I think I’d be scared to try it.”

 

“I did it to let go of some shit from the past.”

 

“Did it work?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“It like, erased some walls in my mind.”

 

Then Ian came out and joined us. Ian was so mellow, he was holding Stephanie’s’ hand while she talked. You could feel the trust between then had gotten stronger. Ian was into experimenting. I was too afraid to try anything. And Phil was already enough of a basket case, he didn’t need drugs.

 

We talked about soul retrieval and how that works It very interesting that you can get back parts of your life, chunks of your life that you thought were gone with the help of a shaman or maybe even with these drugs.

 

Sometimes when I talk to Stephanie I start to remember things from my past. I listen to her talk about her childhood and I think about mine. But she had such a tragic childhood and I had a happy childhood so it’s hard to relate to the horror stories she tells me. I wish she could reconcile with her mother. She has all but given up.

 

We said goodnight, the guys got paid, and we hugged……

 

Beth sat at the conference table and sipped her Starbucks Café au Lait. Melanie was talking about a new program for kids. Beth thought about Jon. She was fantasizing about the last time they made love, about how he made her feel. She missed him. She still wanted him.

 

The door opened and in walked Chad. He was the newest person on their team and he had a big crush on Beth and she could feel it.

 

“Hi Chad.”

 

“Beth….Always a pleasure.”

 

Melanie glanced over at them annoyed.  “I’m only going over this once so please pay attention.” she chirped.

 

Chad and Beth smiled at each other. He slipped her a note under the table.

 

It read:

“Dinner tonight at Thai Palace?”

 

She folded the note in her palm. Well, he was gorgeous and rich and dug her….She smiled and nodded yes.

 

 

 

 

I was busy working on my third children’s story. I had the stories written but no illustrations yet. I’d been trying to find a publisher but all I was getting was rejections across the board. I was convinced that if I could get my book to the right publisher I could be a successful author of the children’s series, “Serengetti”

 

I looked up a New York publisher who was accepting submissions and emailed him the stories. It would take about six weeks to get a response. These publishers were so difficult. It was hard to get your foot in the door.

 

Phil was in the next room working on his golf swing. He was spending every walking minute practicing and reading books like “Slot Swing” and “Bad Golf”. If he wasn’t playing drums he was playing golf.

 

 

I was on the phone with my mother. She was getting older and facing difficult things in her life like dealing with retirement issues and not being able to walk up stairs and things like that. It was hard to deal with your parents getting older. Personally, I was on the 100-year plan. I planned to be 100. Then I can die in peace. Hope I make my mark.

 

 

 

 

 

Chad and Beth sat facing each other in the Thai Palace. It was a serene setting, with water fountains trickling water and bamboo blinds creating intimate seating arrangements. The table had a crisp, clean tablecloth on it and the waitress brought them a small salad.

 

“I love the food here, Chef Allen makes a dynamite curry sauce.”

 

“Sounds yummy”

 

“So, tell me more about you.”

 

“Well, like what?”

 

“Are you involved with anyone?”

 

“No, I was…..I’m just getting out of a relationship.”

 

“Poor guy….Must have been hard to lose a girl like you”

 

“I don’t think he feels that way…I guess I was just too irresponsible for him.”

 

“Hmmmmnnnn…I’m just coming out of a relationship myself.”

 

“Oh really?”

 

“Yes, I was with my ex for seven years. She wanted the four kids, the house in Connecticut and the whole deal.”

 

“And you didn’t?”

 

“I’m an immature jerk I guess. No. No way.”

 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself….’
 

He looked around the restaurant.

 

“Can I kiss you?” He leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

 

“Thanks, that was nice…”

 

“What would Melanie think?”

 

“Melanie? She’s a lesbian.”

 

“I thought so!!!”

 

“She’s had her eye on you babe.”

 

“Glad you got to me first!”

 

They laughed.

 

“So why did you break off your relationship with your boy friend?”

 

“I just….I just, ah..Fucked up. It’s kind of personal.”

 

“Ok, sorry to be so nosy.”

 

“Alright….I guess we should go now. Have to be at work tomorrow.”

 

Beth and Chad walked down the street. It was dark. The odd ambulance went by. He hailed her a cab.

 

“See you tomorrow gorgeous.” He planted another kiss on her lips.

 

“See you.”

 

Beth sat back in the cab. Her first date since Jon had dumper her went well. He was a bit pushy, she thought. She’d have to hold him back. She wasn’t ready for more heartache yet.

 

 

Chapter 15

 

We were broke tonight and it was dinnertime. I suggested tacos. Phil suggested burritos. So I set out to the grocery store to make some hot and delicious burritos. I only had ten dollars, so it was a bit of a challenge.

 

I bought the meat and the tortilla and some corn and tomatoes. Everything looked good as the cashier tallied up the purchases. It was raining out side so I ran to the car with the groceries and made my way home.

 

At home I chopped up the tomatoes and lettuce and simmered the meat in a big pan. I set out little plates on the table, a la Sante Fe Style cuisine. I thought that the plates looked colorful and festive. I lit a candle for some romance.

 

So Mr Big Cheese comes to eat. He’s like “What is this?” I am like, “Dinner. It’s the burritos.” First thing he does is burn himself on the candle. Now incensed he tries to make a burrito. He opens his mouth to eat it and it spills all over him. Now my notion of this being a romantic, festive meal is over. He’s all upset, swearing and carrying on.

 

So much for the burrito dinner. There are some leftovers though…….I will eat them later.

 

Last night we were out at a club where Phil had a drumming gig. I happened to be sitting next to an interesting woman whose husband was also a drummer. They were from California. She was a band wife too…..

 

Her name was Ingrid and she was telling me all about California. They had lived there for twenty years and they loved it there. She had been living in San Diego for awhile. She knew La Jolla and The Del Coronado Hotel. Her family had been in the hotel building business and she was telling me about her exotic lifestyle growing up, traveling to locales all over the world and meeting rich and famous musicians.

 

She met Janis Joplin once, when she was fourteen in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the El San Joan Hotel. Janis was my idol. I have been there and always loved that hotel. It was a magnificent place.

 

So she was telling me about San Francisco and wine country and how her husband would play a gig in a vineyard and so on. Sounded so nice. I just wanted to move right there and then to someplace new, someplace exciting. It would be nice to see mountains, drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and put some flowers in your hair.

 

If you're going to San Francisco

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you're going to San Francisco

You're gonna meet some gentle people there

 

For those who come to San Francisco

Summertime will be a love-in there

In the streets of San Francisco

Gentle people with flowers in their hair

 

All across the nation such a strange vibration

People in motion

There's a whole generation with a new explanation

People in motion people in motion

 

For those who come to San Francisco

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you come to San Francisco

Summertime will be a love-in there

 

If you come to San Francisco

Summertime will be a love-in there

 

Then she was talking about Hollywood and all the movie stars and show business in general. Her husband had played many high profile gigs there. Man, I wish I could go there someday soon. I know I would love it……..Life always seemed more exciting somewhere else. I wonder if Phil would want to go and start a new life somewhere else?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 16

 

Another night, another gig. Tonight Phil was hassling me about my snoring. I know I snore, I can’t help it. He claims hehasn’t had a decent nights sleep in ten years. So me being me, I turn around and hassle him about his slurping his drink. Tit for tat. Of course, this incenses him and he starts ranting and raving like a lunatic. This is what I call the pre-gig behavior. Usually it is the actual unloading of equipment that sets off the real temper tantrums but this is the pre-stuff, the nastiness before the gig.

 

Being a band wife is not all its cracked up to be. Besides being a wife you also have to be a nurse, a mommy, a roadie, a cook, a therapist and a sex starved groupie. Men in bands want you to worship them, tell them they look great, tell them they are great, tell them they sounded great, etc etc etc. It never ends. The huge egos.

 

Stephanie is here tonight at South Shores. She is busy sucking down a strawberry rum runner when I find her at the band table. She says she’s had a hard day. At least she didn’t have to deal with a ranting lunatic on the way to the gig.

 

Phil joins us and goes on a new rant about what a failed species humans are. Talk about Mr. Pessism. Stephanie raises her eyebrows at me in a “wow” gesture. That’s ok, we all know he is out of his mind. My mind keeps wandering back to last nights conversation about California, about the beautiful people there, the land and the mountains. Ingrid also told me about the women there, how gorgeous they are, tall, exotic breeds from Russia and Yugoslavia and Romani with gold bangles on their wrists and tight, sexy skirts with high heeled stillettos. She told me that these women capitalize on their looks. I’ll bet…They are all looking for Mr Goodbar, their rich American husband to foot the bills.

 

Who am I kidding? I feel too old to go to California. My “star” days are over now. If I was out there I would cast for the old mother role in the movies. “Yes, I am here for the part of the older woman” I would tell the casting agent.

 

 

It’s five minutes to show time. The guys are squawking about some rock drummer. Jon lights up a cigarette and looks nervously around the crowd. The place is full of people. It’s windy and hopefully it won’t rain, since it’s an outdoor gig.

 

Stephanie checked her cell phone. It was a call from her friend Mike. He owned a really cool tattoo shop. She was planning on getting a tattoo for her birthday, a really beautiful Celtic design she made. Ian liked it, that was all that mattered. She thought back to the first time she had heard Ian’s voice on the phone. It was love at first listen. She had felt instantly connected to him, even before she met him…..Love was strange.

 

I sat and watched Jon onstage, prancing around and holding his guitar above his head. Some people dropped money in the makeshift tip jar. I thought of what he might become, maybe a teenage idol for young girls, like a page out of Teen magazine. Send Jon your thoughts and dreams…….He had potential. He was no Justin Bieber, he was more like a Beatle….. He was cute and adorable, except for his excessive drinking and total sarcastic wit. If only he had a manager to clean up his bad boy image and make him marketable.

 

I wondered what being the wife of a really famous rock star husband would be like. Would it be all limousines, jets, first class hotels and having to endure love starved fans? I could handle it. After being with a no-name stardom sure played out nice and sweet. Of course there would be pitfalls, disappointments, betrayals and jealousy. But these elements were already in play for no money, might as well go for the big bucks.

 

The band was on break, talking about Jimmy Hendrix.

 

‘Thank God Hendrix had recordings because God, he was probably so out of tune half the time.”

 

“He was blasted for sure.”

 

“He probably recorded that shit tripping dude.” Ian said

 

This could go on for hours….Phil changed the subject.

 

“I think I’m going to get into Zen.” What a surprise!

 

“Try Chi” suggested Stephanie

 

“Maybe drugs.” said Phil

 

The guys were always talking about how they fucked up. Perfectionists, all of them. Yet they were all so imperfect.

 

“I need more hooch.” said Phil

 

I poured him some hooch. The band started playing again. It was a heavy rock number. Skank alert!!! Skank alert!!!

 

A wild, hippie looking chick meets Donna Summers starts dancing in front of the band, wearing a grey fringed poncho top, skin tight jeans and gold lame shoes. Then some disco boy Johnny Saturday Night fever guy joins her and the two are strutting their stuff in front of the band. I can see them smiling. This is good entertainment! Jon plays a solo and Phil pounds on the drums. Ian keeps it all in check with steady base. The chick is spinning around and clapping her hands. Denny Terrio would be proud. Dance Fever!

 

Jon plays well tonight, despite his cold. He’s been blowing away, says he caught the cold from a chick. No doubt, since he’s been on the prowl for some tail since Beth left him.

 

The band rocks to “I Wanna Be Sedated”. It is a perfect night, just cool enough to wear a hoodie. I look up and now yet another skanker is dancing, this time a blonde about seventy-five pounds heavier than the last one. Soon a drunken man on a unicycle joins her. It is a freak show…. I can’t wait to get home…

 

 

 

I finished up my kid’s story and mailed it out to yet another publisher, this time in New York. With every self- addressed, self-stamped envelope my hopes and dreams seemed to diminish as the weeks went by with no responses or rejection letters from publishers.

 

 

 

Stephanie couldn’t believe her luck. Chloe Case was having a contest, looking for the next young, hot designer. She feverishly sketched up her bag design and colored the sketches with her permanent markers. She loved her bag design. It was well crafted, yet natural, and functional yet aesthetically pleasing. It was a bad ahead of its time. With compartments for all necessities, it was every woman’s dream bag. She hoped that Chloe would notice her. She scanned and emailed the designs to New York, the big apple, the city of dreams.

 

 

 

Beth walked along the river by herself. It was sunset, her favorite time of day. It seemed that the city slowed down a bit, to bask in the glory in the colors of the sky. She had a lot to think about, Jon, Chad, her new job and her own demons. She felt alone. She felt like drinking again, drinking just to make it all go away so she wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.

 

Beth knew she had to stop herself. She walked to a building and opened the door. She walked down the long, white hallway into a room. Some people were sitting at a long gray table. There was heavy smoke in the room. She sat alone in the corner and shrank down into her seat. A man stood at the front of the table. He looked at her.

 

“What is your name?”

 

She stood up.

 

“My name is Beth and I am an alcoholic” and sat down.

It felt good to say it. It felt good to come clean and let it all out. The people in the room clapped. Someone patted her on the back.

 

“It’s alright Child,” a soft voice said. It was a tall, black woman.

 

”My name is Grace.” She held her hand in hers.

 

Beth smiled. It was going to be all right.

 

 

 

 

Weeks went by and there was no word from any publishers. I was pretty much over it. I came home from work one night and Phil was playing his guitar. He was in a mellow mood.

 

“Hi.” he said

 

“Hey! How was your day?”

 

“Good, the mail came today. This ones for you.”

 

He held out an ecru colored envelope. It was postmarked New York. I opened it up. It read:

 

We would like to congratulate you on your submission “Serengeti” to Rainbow Publishing. We are proud to include your work into our catalog of children’s fiction. Our publisher Ivan Ivansky would like a meeting in our New York office on Monday May 14. Please respond to us at (212) 555-1010 for details.

 

Oh my God! Acceptance at last! I started to cry. Phil looked over at me.

 

“Babe, what is it?”

 

“My book….”

 

“Ah, forget that book…”

 

“No! They accepted my book! The publisher wants to meet me in New York.”

 

“Alright then! Are you getting any dough?”

 

“I don’t know….”

 

He hugged me. At last. Acceptance………

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie answered the phone at her desk at work.

 

“Collins & Collins.”

 

“May I speak to Stephanie Burk?” a mans voice said on the phone.

 

“This is she. Who is calling?” she asked guardedly.

 

“This is Marc le Blanc from Chloe Cases’ office in New York”

 

“Yes? This is Stephanie.”

 

“Congratulations, your handbag design has been chosen as the handbag design for the future.”

 

Stephanie thought maybe this was Ian playing a prank on her.

 

“Ian, cut it out, you litle shit!”

 

“Pardon me?” the voice on the other end was quiet.

 

“This is Chloe Cases’ assistant, Marc. I am totally serious Ms Burk.”

 

“Oh my God!. I am so sorry. I just can’t believe it….”

 

“We are calling you to tell you that we will be mailing you a ticket to come to our designers showcase Monday May 14. I will follow up with all the details. Congratulations!”

 

Stephanie sank into her seat. She was in shock. Her bag won? New York? Chloe Case? It was way too good to be true. Her boss stuck his head out of the office.

 

“Who was that on the phone?” he asked.

 

“It was for me, a personal call…”

 

“Everything alright?”

 

“Yes…It certainly is…I might need a few days off…”

 

Stephanie couldn’t believe it. She won. She felt incredible happiness. Suddenly all her pain slipped away. Her mother, Ian, her weight, her past, the drama, and the years she felt useless. Now she was a winner. Someone had spotted her talent.

 

 

 

Beth arrived at the door to her brownstone. She felt a great sense of satisfaction that she had gone to her first meeting on her own. This was her first step towards recovery. A small orange kitten was there in the corner. She went over to it and tried to pet it. It let her touch it.

 

“Hey little guy…what are you doing here alone?”

 

“Meow.”

 

“Are you hungry?”

 

“Meow.”

 

She scooped him up and took him inside the apartment. She set him down on the floor and watched as he sniffed around the furniture.

 

Her messages were blinking.

 

Beep

 

“Beth? Hi, it’s Heather…. You are not going to believe this but I got a publishing deal for my book and I am coming to New York….Call me!”

 

Beep

 

“Beth, its your mother dear. I have been trying to reach you….Give me a call. I have something to tell you.”

 

Beep

 

“Beth, Steph here. I am coming to New York…….I have so much to tell you….Bye.”

 

Beth sat on the sofa and played with the cat. Sounded like a lot of excitement was coming her way.

 

Stephanie and I were scheduled to fly to New York Friday night for the long weekend. Phil drove us to the airport, ranting and raving about publishers and designers and how he mistrusted large corporations. We took it all in with a grain of salt. Nothing would ruin our mood now.

 

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” he warned.

 

“No…Baby…….”

 

“Remember, these people are just using you for your talent. If they were so great they would have come up with these ideas themselves.” He kept on his tirade.

 

We smiled at each other. It was going to be a band wives reunion. We were so excited. We arrived at the airport terminal. I gave Phil a long kiss goodbye.

 

“Call me.”

 

“I will.”

 

We hugged one last time and Stephanie and I walked into the terminal to check our bags. Then we sat around at Starbucks and paid for an overinflated cup of strong coffee before our flight.

 

“Do you believe this?” I asked.

 

“I know. I cannot believe this.”

 

“I can’t wait to see Beth.”

 

“It’ll be like old times, just the three of us.”

 

We boarded our flight after an extensive security screening and I settled into my seat. I looked out the window. Goodbye sunshine, hello New York! The flight took off and once we were in the air I watched an in flight movie without the sound because I didn’t want to spend the six bucks to rent the headphones. What happened to free perks? Even a lousy sandwich cost $11.00 now.

 

I fell asleep and when I woke up people were on their feet as the plane pulled into the gate at La Guardia. We hailed a cab to Brooklyn. There was energy here in New York. We felt it as our excitement mounted in intensity.

 

Beth was standing outside the brownstone as the cab pulled up. She was holding a little kitten in her arms. She had a big smile on her face.

 

“Look what the cat dragged in!” she said.

 

We all hugged and kissed.

 

“Come on inside.”

 

We followed her down the hall to her apartment. I was surprised at how cool it was inside. It was decorated sparsely but tastefully.

 

“You guys! I can’t believe you are here!” Beth smiled.

 

“We can’t either.” I said

 

“How are the guys?”

 

“Same old shit.”

 

Next came the loaded question. “How’s Jon doing?”

I spared her the details of Jon’s philandering and his DUI.

 

“He’s good, been playing better and better all the time. He’s like a real rock star now.”

 

“Oh yeah?” she said curiously.

 

“Yeah, but you can do better.”

 

“I don’t know. I miss him. I think about him a lot.”

 

“Yeah…I am sure he thinks about you too,”

 

“Come on, let’s get to bed. We have a lot to do.”

 

We spent the weekend shopping and wandering through Central Park. We hung out at Beths’ apartment in Brooklyn and had a bitching session while we put on our mineral clay mud masks. My mask was hardening, causing deep straits on my face as I laughed, trying hard to keep a straight face. We were slightly buzzed on a bottle of white Zinfandel. We decided to do our toes.

 

“I want the Sugar Daddy” said Stephanie

 

“I’m doing mine in Green Apple” said Beth

 

“Give me the ravishing red.” I said.

 

I drank some more Zinfandel. It tickled my nose. I noticed that Beth popped a pill during the night, but I didn’t want to say anything, I wasn’t her mother.

 

“You know what Ian did last week?” said Stephanie

 

“He made you dinner.” I guessed.

 

“Better than that, he bought me flowers.”

 

“Really? For no reason?”

 

“Yup.”

 

“Are you sure he’s not having an affair?” said Beth

 

“That’s a pessimistic thought.” I said. “You know what Phil did?”

 

“I can’t imagine.” Said Stephanie

 

“We go into a big fight and then afterwards he apologized.”

 

“Wow.”

 

“It’s hard to imagine….What were you arguing about?” asked Beth

 

“He blames me for his troubles. Like I am the root of all the problems in his life.”

 

“That’s heavy dudette.”

 

“Yeah, I am glad he apologized though. It made me feel better.”

 

We both looked at Beth, waiting for her to own up to a confession about Jon. She pet the cat behind its ears.

 

“Jon is in the dog house. I don’t know if he’ll ever come out after leaving me at the hotel that night.”

 

We sighed. Young love……Our toenails were dry and our mud masks were cracking. It was time to rinse off. Girl time was important. I wondered how the guys were doing…..

 

 

Jon was checking the PA system. “Test, test, one , two…..Test.” It sounded good….Ian was farting around with his bass rig and Phil was watching Super Bowl reruns. Tonight was their first night at this gig. It was a good gig, one hundred bucks per man. Nice pocket change.

 

Phil dialed his phone. I picked up.

 

“What are you mugs up to?”

 

“Getting beautiful.”

 

“Don’t get too good looking now, I might have to come and shoot somebody.”

 

“We’re going to make popcorn and watch 27 Dresses.”

 

“Okay, love you…I’ve got to play.”

 

I went into  the kitchen and checked the cabinets for popcorn. There was some Orville Reddenbocher kernels in the back of the cabinet. I filled a pot with oil and let it heat up on the stove. All of a sudden I heard shrieking coming from the bathroom I ran inside.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Theres a frigging frog in the toilet.” Screamed Beth

 

“What?” I took a look in side the toilet bowl. There was a big giant frog in the toilet bowl.

 

“Oh shit!” Quick!!! Get something?”

 

The apartment was staring to fill with smoke.

 

“What’s burning?” Beth cried.

 

“Oh shit!! The popcorn!!!!!”

 

I ran into the kitchen and doused the pan with water. Then I took a pair of salad tongs and carried them into the bathroom, snapping them impatiently.

 

“Okay you sucker. You gots to go frogman….” I picked the frog up with the tongs and carried him to the balcony.

 

“You’re just lucky nobody took a shit on you Toadster.”

 

 

 

Monday morning came and we all took the train into the city. We all had separate appointments to catch. I headed for Seventh Avenue. Stephanie was headed uptown to Madison Avenue and Beth was headed to Midtown to her job.

 

Stephanie’s heart pounded as she opened the door to Chloe Cases’ world. She felt like an intruder crashing a private party, a woman in rags where others were supermodels dressed in evening gowns. She entered the showroom. It was a pristine palace of fashion.

 

“Hello. Welcome to Chloe Case.”

 

“Hi. I am Stephanie Burk…. I won a contest….I have a nine o’clock appt.”

 

“Welcome. Chloe is expecting you. Follow me please.”

 

Stephanie followed the assistant up to an open loft workspace. There were mannequins clad in partially finished designs, bolts of fabric and sewing stuff all over the floor. Chloe was a tall, bony woman dressed in red leather jeans and and a white cotton blouse with red cowboy boots. Her long blonde hair was held back in a single ponytail, almost touching her waist. She turned to greet her with a big smile.

 

“Hi Stephanie, congratulations…. I love, love, love your design for the handbag collection.

 

“It’s been in my head for a long time.”

 

“Let me tell you about the new fall collection I want to feature the handbag in…

 

 

 

 

I found 700 Seventh Avenue and looked up the name of the publisher on the index. My heart was pounding as I rode the marble clad elevator to the 14th floor. I couldn’t believe this moment was really coming true. The doors opened and I was bombarded by another world. The world of kids publishing. Book covers lined the walls of the publishing house. I walked over to the receptionist.

 

“I am Heather Guest, here to see Mr. Ivansky.”  I said nervously.

 

“Please have a seat and he will be out in a moment.”

 

I sat on the leather sofa and looked at all of the famous authors. I could feel my palms getting sweaty. A tall, thin man appeared in the doorway. He was wearing jeans and a sweater and holding a coffee mug in one hand.

 

“Heather? Good to meet you. I am Ivan.” He shook my hand heartily.

 

“Come into my office.”

 

I followed him down the hallway into a large corner office overlooking Manhattan. He had pictures of his wife and kids on his credenza and the walls of the office were filled with books of all shapes and sizes.

 

“Care for some coffee?” he asked

 

“No thanks.” I was afraid I might spill it on myself.

 

“I must say that I really enjoyed your book. It was interesting and playful and very imaginative.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“We would like to give you this. For starters.”

He handed me an envelope. I opened it and took out a check for $5000.00

 

“An advance.” he said.

 

“I don’t know what to say. I’ve never been paid for my writing before.” I couldn’t believe it. What would Phil say?

 

“Well, keep on writing and you’ll get more. I guarantee.”

 

I sighed. Life was good. Life was really good.

 

That night we three women went out to celebrate at the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller. We were dressed to the nines in our short mini-dresses and pumps. The lounge was elegant and subdued and had a wonderful view of Manhattan. We ordered some cocktails, except for Beth who had cranberry juice.

 

“To us!”

 

We toasted.

 

I sat back and felt content. What more could I ask for? I was in love with my best friend; I had a book deal and was on top of the world with three of my closest friends. The band played a song. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Phil standing there dressed up in a dark suit.

 

“Care for a dance?”

 

I was shocked. Behind him were Ian and Jon, decked out in fancy clothes. Ian took Stephanie’s hand and he led her to the dance floor. Jon hugged Beth and they followed us. The band played “Stairway to Heaven” and we all swayed to the music.

 

This is what it meant to be a band wife and to come into our own. Sometimes dreams really do come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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