hands across America, originally uploaded by haaaley.

Resurrections of the Beths (Part I)

I always imagine that I’m not one of those people to hold grudges, but I guess that is just in my imagination. Sometimes I hold onto anger for too long.

In my 20’s I was friends with more women than men. One of my favorites was this remarkably cool girl I met in college. She came from LA, stood 5’10 and wore white cotton oxfords, ripped jeans and had a page-boy haircut. She was buddies with more guys than girls, and she was planning to work in television when she got out of school.

She lived in LA after college, in a spacious old floor through apartment on Spaulding just north of Beverly. I came out to visit her when I was still living in NY, and marveled that so much space was available for only $900.

She drove a VW bug convertible, smoked, and seemed to know famous people who didn’t impress her. She became the LA girl in my mind. Her parents lived in a large house in the hills, with a large cow statue on the edge of the driveway. Their house had a tree growing inside the two-story entrance.

No snow, no cold, no ice. Summer year round. When she flew to Paris to study for a semester, her dad mailed her an envelope filled with $600 in cash and a note, “Bon Voyage.”

Years passed, she worked in TV, flying here, taking months off without work, but then getting on the staff of “Saturday Night Live”. Then she dated a clever comedian, and then another one. She was friends with a cartoonist published in the New Yorker. She danced at “Studio 54”. Her mother and she stayed in the top floor suite at the Plaza Hotel reserved for ABC hoi polloi.

I worked for Ralph Lauren, I got her some clothes at discount. We were always talking about clothes, design, décor. I was the gay friend, she was the girl who was neither a girlfriend or a close friend. She talked about herself all the time. I listened. Somehow she was bewitching.

She always found a job, or a cool apartment. She slept on a futon; I bought a futon. She liked white towels; I bought white towels. She had her favorite scented candle; I had to buy the same candle.

She hop-scotched around, living in Hollywood at the Hollywood Tower, then she got tired of LA and moved back to New York and into a spacious 1889 vintage apartment on Columbus across from the Natural History Museum.

Always her clothes were thrown on the floor, she was perpetually on the move, flying anywhere, settling down with no one.

She had a friend in 1985 who lived in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn in a brownstone. We stayed at her apartment and participated in “Hands Across America” On July 4, 1993 we walked from the Upper West Side to the Battery and saw fireworks that night.

Then she decided to move back to LA, to Studio City and rented a house here. I got fired in NYC and we briefly talked on the phone, and she said, “Move out here and we will write a script for “Roseanne”. I moved out and knew nothing about Roseanne since I never watched it. Our pitiful attempt to write together ended in an argument.

I moved into her house, dragging a green duffle bag on a van, after I landed in LA, carrying a rubber check for $500 written by my mother that bounced when I deposited it in my Great Western Account.

I had to find a job, any job, in entertainment. I knew nothing about “the industry” and sat dazzled that anyone could be a production assistant running to Costco to fetch sodas for a PRODUCER!

Then in the summer of 1994, Beth went out of town, leaving me to live in her house, and allowing me to pay her $400 a month. She asked me “to not have anyone come to my house when I’m gone.”

She was gone for three months, and I was alone in LA. So I did have a guest or two over to the house, and they slept there, and I admitted it when she came back.

We had a falling out, and hadn’t spoken to each other for fourteen years.

Until today. I think we may be friends again. I’m burying that mental hatchet that was only cutting me, nobody else.

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