I’m Ready To Talk…”
I wasn’t sure I had wanted to open up to this fault-finding, unforgiving, agenda hunting world again. For the love of the craft, a true wordsmith, rises and produces the best in times of toil. My hiatus was necessary. Mentally, personally and professionally, I needed to, ‘boss up.’
Six-months plus since Scotland scorched my hippocampus. I did not let it destroy me. I cried three times total, long cries, still proving not only that I really did not love him and it takes more than hellfire to rattle this cage. No Stockholm syndrome for this kid. The story I’m about to tell took limitless bravery, support, libations and prayer to get through.
I’ll start where I first met him: the Writer’s Guild of America West, two years ago. We said hello in passing at a networking event and never exchanged information. I’ll call him ‘Daniel.’ Daniel is not his real name, if I divulged his real name there would be drama. Daniel is a handsome Producer/Director here in Los Angeles. He comes from a prominent Jewish family from the Palisades. He and I reconnected online, he asked me out, I obliged.
We met at a manly bar in Westwood called “The Arsenal,” decorated with centuries old wartime cannons, rifles, battle-axes. The barkeeps explain munitions and usage, (if you’re in LA check it out).
I have a thing for Jewish guys, curly tendrils and wide smile. Laughs all night and shared apps, we are equally smitten after a tense tennis-match of long stares and half-smiles — We hold hands. A subtle gesture that is a simple touch felt like a long embrace…
The Manager of the bar, a very suave Latino gent, goes the extra mile with his service. I get an extra free double-shot and two drinks are removed from the tab. This annoys Daniel, who refuses to pay the reduced amount, he tips the cost of the drinks. He did not appreciate the ‘extra friendly’ service. Another man paying attention to me could spark jealousy on our first date? Noted.
Like a jackass, I got way too plastered to drive back to my house. He lives on Santa Monica beach and I live inland, I reluctantly agree to go back to his house. He’s a perfect gentleman that let’s me drink water and eat crackers until my Uber arrives an hour later. Kisses and fondling above clothing and waist.
Our second date was similar, a super fancy sushi place on Ocean drive, candlelit. We go back to his place and make out on the couch. Heavy petting and a nightcap. I slept on the couch alone.
Daniel owns a production-consulting agency and is the top of his league and is well-known for his work in development. Prior to this he was a licensed clinical psychologist. I began freelancing beneath him to gain experience. His film, which is one of the most watched on Hulu till this day, required some festival hands, which I obliged. Here he taught me all about distribution and allowed me to shake hands with some well-connected friends in television and music as well. I was learning a lot, but most of all spending quiet evenings with him on his couch enjoying company, conversing with wine.
One afternoon, we were discussing the script I’m currently marketing. We’re both drinking vino, and we decide to go out for pho. Over brunch, we discuss our familial history and he tells me that he does not have a great relationship with his family, they have made it clear that he is not wanted. He delves down a spiral of depression he has faced since he could remember. He pours his tender heart out to me and since that day I had made more of an effort to support him emotionally.
There’s a part of me that cannot understand depression. Happiness is a choice, but most people in America have a lot to be thankful for, and I think he is one of them. I never said this to his face, but I think some things are not diseases and some things are ungrateful people comparing their lives to others, making themselves miserable by complaining. He does not live in Syria.
He says he has contemplated suicide ‘more times than he can count but hangs in there for the possibility that he will one day be married and have children.’ At this point I really did begin to feel for him. He has everything most people on earth want: a beach house, booming business, close friends, a 2016 M5 but no one to share it with. My heart of hearts was suspicious. I wasn’t going to be so trusting with anyone no matter how sad the sob story. I again had been hardened, and for good reason…
Daniel decided to have friends over on a holiday weekend, I came with wine and a cheese plate. I met two other Angelenos and shared a long conversation about the current state of creative filmmaking and how online companies are shaking up what gets green-lit (thankfully). I started a load of laundry, I always did a load every time I came over.
Somehow, to no doing of my own, we stumbled upon the topic of interracial dating and race relations in America. Besides Daniel and I, the only other people in the room were a native Sicilian female and a white guy from California (both middle to upper middle class by my standard). Daniel’s psychiatric and psychological training had ‘taught’ him some things about black women that he spouted off to be true…
He said something to the effect of, “the reason why black women are raising their children alone is because of their strength which is misconstrued as difficulty and attitude, black men can’t handle it. I’ve tried dating black women before and they are notoriously difficult.”
Now you know you done f*cked up now.
How would you know?! My first response was, “Other than myself, how many black people are saved in your phone right now that you could call and come over on this holiday?” He replied, “Two.” OKAY THEN?! Statistical outliers. You don’t know enough black people to be making those kinds of claims.
“The numbers don’t lie Carrie, black women are raising children alone and black men are running.” Daniel screamed. As if I didn’t know. The real issue is how someone from the Palisades who has no black friends in his inner circle is reporting this ‘news’ to me like I’m apart of the problem.
Then the argument got really bad, “George Bush had nothing to do with New Orleans being abandoned during Katrina… He won the recount fair and square…” all sorts of outrageous, ‘living in the bubble’ type claims as Bill Maher would say. I had my family displaced because of the storm. Done. I yanked my wet laundry out of the dryer and I left. The next week I pulled back from him.
To add a second tectonic layer to the lava that was convulsing beneath: I had noticed some pay discrepancies with my overtime. I sent a polite email to my department director asking permission to speak to the payroll clerk with photocopies of the 4 paystubs and… I was attacked. They said I was accusatory and unreasonable. I know what a bitch I can be, but this wasn’t the person to push that button with. It was pure nonsense.
I was working out of town in Orange County and my development plans for the new restaurants were being butchered, swept aside, and thrown out. I had had enough. I had given this company 3 years, it was time to move on, but I was trapped until I had another gig lined up. I was not about to wait tables again (nothing wrong with it God bless those who do).
On top of these two fabulous situations my Mother tells me that my Step-Brother, Corey, had been shot 3 times in a botched strong-arm robbery and may not make it. One bullet is still inside him. Corey is the father of 3 children by 3 different women. So many thoughts…
(*Side Note: Residing in Washington D.C., Corey is my Step Father’s 6th child, that was raised by a woman whom I called a hood rat in an earlier post and got loads of crap for… She couldn’t stop doing coke and banging guys to raise her kids, my Step-Father took Corey away and raised him right. This situation is a culmination of Corey’s decisions. My Step-Father is a real man and I won’t blindly support black women when they are in the wrong. Ever.)
Daniel was my refuge. I apologized to him for one reason only: no matter how right I was or wrong he was, I had no right to yell at him in his house. He apologized for watching the news and taking it as the gospel and had no idea that the events we spoke of had such an impact on my family and personal upbringing. Like mature adults, we moved on.
He called all his friends asking around for executive assistant and production assistant work. Anything I could get my hands on. He paid me to do editing for his website. He really did all he could to help me regardless of how he was feeling, until one day…
I came over with my laundry another week (as he had once said I could do laundry at his place whenever I wanted and liked it because he got an excuse to see me) and started a load. We went out to dinner, my treat, and returned back to his place. I had work super early so I left right after my clothes were finished.
My Mom called and told me Corey was going to pull through… But he was going to require 24-hour assistance and pricey physical therapy if he hopes to walk again. I was not close with him but there’s no person I would wish that on. My heart was so heavy.
The next day at work the new COO called us into a meeting, ‘…everyone in the company (with my job description) at the top of the year would either travel constantly with no pay raise or be demoted.’ He didn’t word it that way, but that’s exactly what he meant. That ruined my day.
I was driving home and I get a call from Daniel and his voice is calm but I can tell he’s very angry: “You washed a pen and ruined all my whites. If you weren’t so drunk all the time you would’ve noticed. Where’s my money to replace this?! It’s your reputation on the line not mine!”
I apologized to him because I did wash a pen, none of my clothes were damaged so I didn’t think to say anything and I didn’t notice until I was putting them away at my house.
All that was going on, I exploded. I told him about himself, “…you were drinking right there with me and when you realized it wasn’t going to get you any pussy it pissed you off,” and hung up. I sent $150 in the mail to cover his clothing damage and deleted his number and blocked him in every way possible.
I refuse to have emotionally unstable people (friends or suitors) in my life. I’d be willing to help a man rebuild himself, but if at 40-years-old he’s not capable of doing that himself, any effort will be inefficacious.
My time with Daniel is one thread woven through the fabric of my gilded age. He was a mirror, more like pumice, filing away at the layers of life that I did not need. He helped me recognize what professional writing must showcase to gain recognition.
Daniel now is trying to woo a woman he slept with once into marriage and babies. Something tells me that if he hit it once and only once (he told me so in a message trying to make me jealous), your sex is whack and I dodged a bullet.
Greek playwrights typically synopsized an act, hitting moral bullet points sung by a masked chorus: Like a locket, I want my life’s portrait to mirror what I want from and in a man. Emotional stability and consistency, one face not many masks, is what I need MOST over a BMW or a beach house. Keep it because my own divine blessings are swiftly on the way.
? Well his wife messaged me on Facebook: I guess she didn’t know after all and I’m not the one who told her. Honest.
Corey is recuperating and pondering finishing his high school diploma. Please keep him in your prayers, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I am now a 28-year-old Assistant Controller of two historic hotels in Beverly Hills, a strong, difficult black female in finance. Fancy that!