It’s no secret I’ve always been drawn to the older man. My first husband was 5 years older, Andy 10 1/2. Since I’ve been “single” again beginning at the lovely age of 36 I’ve continued to date mostly older … mid to late 40’s. Is it a daddy issue?! No … it’s a Jacquie issue that dates back to 1996.
Summertime … San Francisco. One successful semester at the Academy of Art College behind me, I was living with my then boyfriend Brian. (Please refer to the blog post titled Inked …) Mom didn’t want me to cohabitate with a boy back then but as I lived 3000 miles from home there was a security in it and we would have done it anyway so she agreed to pay the rent.
I spent a couple of weeks back in Connecticut before heading back to the city by the bay and searching out employment. As a film student and sometimes wanna-be actress I applied to Planet Hollywood. They wouldn’t hire me to wait tables as I had only done so in a small pizza restaurant back in CT but they offered me a job working in the office in a position titled phone/cashier. I answered the phones and took in all the money from servers at the end of the night.
David was one of the managers. He was tall, handsome, ridiculously charming and flirty. We hit it off. He was 29 … I was 19. We often worked side by side at the end of the nights, counting money and chatting about life. I had a crush.
A handful of moments have stuck with me, times I knew he liked me, too. There was the time Andrew Shue, of Melrose Place fame, came in for an event and was in the office. I worked in a small room right at the entrance and another phone/cashier and I were a little giddy he was there. Mr. Shue had on a linen suit, it was wrinkled, and as he glanced into the room where we were sitting, seemingly checking us ladies out, David shut the door. I sometimes wonder if had he not, would I have been Mrs. Shue?!?!
Another evening, after a party, David brought back a bunch of appetizers to the office staff. He handed me what he said was a mozzarella stick and I took a bite. It was a jalapeno popper. As one of the whitest people to ever walk the earth spicy foods like that and I don’t get along. My eyes teared up, I couldn’t talk, and he laughed. I couldn’t handle the “phone” part of my job for at least 15 minutes so he had to fill in for me until I could speak again.
I remember not liking the nights he wasn’t there. I remember looking forward to the nights I knew he would be. I can recall his smile, the devilish sparkle in his eye, the way he looked at me. What I remember most is the taxi rides home …
San Fran is a big city. According to a survey I found online, in 2014 there were about 380,000 dwelling units in the city. I’m sure that number was a little lower back in the 90’s but you get the idea. As luck would have it David and I lived right across the street from each other in the Fillmore section. (If you know music you’ve heard of The Fillmore.)
At the end of nights we both worked, usually sometime after midnight, we would share a cab home. I was a poor college student, he was a successful twenty-something and so he always paid. It wasn’t a terribly long ride from downtown to home but I know I wished, more often than not, that it was longer. We would talk … about life, love, work, hopes and dreams. I don’t necessarily remember specifics but if I close my eyes I can be right back there, sitting beside him, the city lights rushing by.
In the three months I worked there the cab rides morphed a bit. We began to sit closer, the chats got deeper. He lived with his girlfriend, I had Brian. As the summer was winding down I knew I wanted to head back east and shared the why with David. Perhaps this was the beginning of my restless gypsy soul.
The rides would end with us standing on the corner, hesitant to end the evening but both knowing we had to. My memory, while slightly hazy, recalls the first brush of a hand in a cab, resting my tired head on his shoulder, and wishing many times he would have kissed me on that corner. He didn’t.
The day before I was moving home David called me. (Pre cell-phone, people … he had to call the house.) He was babysitting for another manager and asked me some silly questions about understanding toddlers and then asked if I could come over and help get the little bugger to sleep. Hmmmm.
I did. I remember the elevator up, the opening of the door, the nervousness. Conveniently the baby was asleep and David asked me if I wanted a glass of wine. I was 19. I didn’t drink wine. I said yes. It was white.
I remember the kiss. I remember what followed. I remember standing by the door afterwards and saying to him, “It’s weird to think I will never see you again.”
I was young. Naive. I looked to him for guidance in a situation I had never been in before.
He responded by saying, “Sometimes it’s better that way.”
I was devastated. That moment is one I will never forget.
Flash forward 20 years.
I searched for him several times when the internet came about. He was never far from my thoughts. When I think of San Francisco he is what comes to mind, not Brian. I didn’t find him until several years ago and when I did it was easy to speak freely, as we once did on those rides home. I have never seen David again but the intimacy of those cab rides lives on in a friendship that has matured with time.
He married that girlfriend, they had two kids and divorced. Our lives, while different, have similarities. I have turned to him for advice on parenting from afar, dating, marriage, divorce. He has shared with me his honesty in moments of doubt and devastation. He has always encouraged me to write and because of him I am, for the first time in nearly a year, and with his permission to share this story.
We do not know the impact someone will have on our life when we first meet them. We do not know the impact we might have on someone else. I always wondered if he thought of me, as I had of him, or if it was really as simple as saying “sometimes it’s better that way” …
I know now it wasn’t. He chalks up that statement to immaturity. (Even though I saw him as older and wiser.) He remembers specifics, just like I do, things I said that upon hearing them again let me see while I have changed over time I’ve always had certain traits. He remembers the moments when we knew we were more than just friends, he remembers jealousy. He describes me as the wide eyed girl in the back of a cab who knew I wanted more out of life and was trying to figure it all out.
I’m still that girl in so many ways. My gypsy soul is trying to stay put and be content with where and who I am. I just resigned my lease and am working hard to become engaged in my community, volunteering my time for good causes and being asked to emcee events. I’m being honored in my hometown as a distinguished alumni at a ceremony in May. My kids are healthy and happy and we have so much laughter and love in our lives.
Life is good. But still …