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Often I will glimpse at an envelope on the refrigerator and think ” I should write about this.” Later I actually took a few pics with the old smartphone. Now I am ready to say a few words.
The image of the young woman on the envelope is me. I have kept it for about 35 years, give or take. Why have I kept it and displayed it prominently in my home? Why am I blogging about it now?
The ink sketch that I posed for was taken in a friend’s apartment in West Philly maybe a few years after grad school. I had befriended a fellow classmate aka Bob and he was the first of my really important close male friends. We went on many adventures together and it was fun. He taught me plenty about Bob Dylan and philosophy, We drove to obscure places and just talked and drove and talked…. Anyway, one day he introduced me to his best friend. We will call him Tommy. Tommy became important later on for a few reasons. Tommy is an artist with many paintings that have hung in museums. I was very impressed. I was also a little smitten, at least eventually I developed an attraction. I do not recall the details, but Tommy decided to sketch me. I was a bit self – conscious because he was an actual artist and I was, well, me. I really appreciated how he saw me. I felt very seen and actually quite beautiful in that moment. Back in this timeline, I was very hopeful about life. I met interesting people. I liked my neighborhood. I was starting my career as a therapist. I was also learning more about the spiritual path. Life had more opportunities than limits and this was so awesome. Super awesome, looking backwards.
Later on Bob gave me an idea. We both thought the cost of car insurance was ridiculous and he said I should use a non-city address. He thought I could use Tommy’s address. Tommy lives about 45 minutes away in a college town. Sometimes Bob would drive us there to visit. The idea was weird, but kind of exciting. I would have a PO box and a second address plus I would be linked with Tommy. This is so Moon In Gemini by the way. Monthly I would drive to the PO Box and pick up my mail. Occasionally I would get something unusual in the mail. However I sometimes worried that this was a bad idea legally. Eventually all City employees were required to have Phila ID . At that point I switched back to my actual address.
There are a few more chapters to this story. One time Bob called to say he drove Tommy by my house. I asked why and he said because Tommy liked me. I do not recall if this was before he got a girlfriend. I wondered what exactly Bob told him about me, but honestly, I was intrigued. He was about 11 years older, quiet, and mysterious. One night Tommy and his girlfriend ( who was really nice and a chef) invited me and Bob to dinner at their place. After dinner I fainted. I have never fainted before or since ( once I came close). Tommy helped bring me back to consciousness. It was such a surreal event.
Many years later, after I moved and Bob and I were not as close, I received a strange phone call. An operator asked to connect me with Tommy. ( these details are very vague, but it was not simply a phone call ) . He called me to ask me out. His wife had left him and unfortunately she was cheating on him. I was seeing some people but not seriously. He had moved further away and had a couple kids at this point. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to Delaware to see his exhibit. Bob gave him my phone number. No one gave me a heads up at this point that he was still interested in me, but I figured what the hell. I adore art, as my readers know, and to date an actual painter was beyond cool. It was a looong drive to his house way out in the sticks, but I was okay with it. I recall things did not end well between us after that day. I discovered he had a bitter side. Maybe it was the divorce or maybe it was always there. He also had become born again so our views about Spirit clashed considerably.
None of this matters anymore, Neither Tommy or Bob, my former first close male friend, are in my life. Before posting I googled Tommy and he is still creating art and has a following. If anyone wants to learn more about his work , email me. I do not want to out him on my blog without his consent.
The envelope was once white and now quite brown. My features were never that chiseled and the bangs have long been retired. But what remains is the fantasy of being someone’s muse and the record of more carefree days. Days when adventures were frequent, I was less cynical, and limits rarely brought me to my knees. I wonder what that girl was thinking as she sat in this small apartment with her hand on her head. After all, every picture tells a story! I am certain she wasn’t considering if this sketch will be the subject of a blog post. I do wish an aspect of this twentysomething version of me has continued to flourish and perhaps morphed into infinite possibilities. She was rather fearless and bold. I need her now.