The Clubdate Singer Speaks: Chapter 10
Disclaimer: The following story is an actual event, as all of the vignettes in the 'Clubdate Singer Speaks' series are. For 8 years, I was a member of one of the top Orchestras in the nation. Though it was an enjoyable time, it was also at times, quite painful. I took to writing initially to assuage my distress, and this is one of those times when the pen (or keyboard) proved to be a healing tool. I have considered publishing this series, and would appreciate your thoughts...
The Soho Penthouse*, April 2004
(* Not the real name of the venue)
I heard her before I saw her. I was around the wall, in the shadows by the elevator. I had just come through the freight entrance into the lobby, and she was coming into the lobby through the main entrance. From the sound, I knew what I would see before I laid eyes on her. I was not far off.
Hard walking, unaccustomed to high-heeled shoes, fairly unattractive bottle blond in a black dress that should have stayed on the hanger in the store.
She walked into the lobby, asked a general question to no-one in particular, though there were two people standing there: a Black man (the security agent ) and a Hispanic woman (the coat check clerk). No pleasantries, ‘no excuse me’, only a clipped and agitated, ‘Which way is the elevator?’
The man answered, and before he could finish his sentence she was off, without a thank you', or even an acknowledgment that someone had spoken to her, stomping in those shoes, in my direction…
She got to the elevator before I did, and slammed herself through the still-opening door. As she pressed the button and turned her back, I got on. I know that I startled her, because she was in the midst of primping in the floor to ceiling mirror that took up the entire back wall of the elevator.
Momentarily caught off guard, she managed one those well-practiced ‘Hi big black man, I’m attempting to appear relaxed though you frighten me’ smiles, to which I replied with the equally phony and well-used ‘ Relax little white woman, I’m a nice one and won’t hurt you’ smiles. I may have said something, I can’t remember, because if anything it was reflex. Empty words to make her comfortable, though I didn’t mean it.
My smile did the trick, she relaxed, and as she did, I saw her attitude towards me change. I went from big threatening monster, to barely-existent. Part of the elevator wall, or worse, almost like dog filth on a shoe. I watched it happen, and it was unbelievable. She turned back to the mirror, and resumed primping (as though it would help).
For a moment, (and this she’ll never know), she was in real danger. I wanted to become the very stereotype she feared, and slap her once. Hard enough to leave a clear imprint of my hand across the smug face, hard enough to draw blood from those tightly pursed lips. I had DMX playing in my head, and she almost made me lose my mind up in there….
But it would have been drama. I would have been arrested, lost my gig, wife bailing me out, loss of the respect of my peers, court dates, trial, and then jail.
Slapping her wasn’t worth all of that. Though I did think about it for a few precious, (deliciously decadent like chocolate truffles and a good aged Port,) seconds…
The elevator door opened, and she pushed past me brusquely, not looking back. I smiled, and meant it this time, as I rubbed my right hand in my left palm, savoring the tingling feeling…