Gloria and what happened after that

contribution for May 12, 2010

Picking up where I left off…

The next few days I was very enthusiastic about going to work at the store.  We had been moving things around in the store and we were making the transition to carrying more collectible fine pens.  Caroline was happier than you could imagine.  The pen counter was like having a jewelery store in the art store.  It was a bit unnerving to some because it meant having a large number of very small, very expensive items in a small space.  The profit potential was really big and there were plenty of potential customers that would come to Hollywood if we treated them right.

I think it was about two weeks after Gloria came in for the first purchase that I was there for when I remember Caroline was seated at the phone in the pen department.  I was behind the counter and doing whatever I normally did; watching the register, looking for stock that needed to be straightened, goofing off a bit with my co-workers.  Caroline caught my attention as her tone of voice became more excitable.  What she was saying at that moment is lost and obviously I had no idea to whom she was talking.  She got off the phone and looked at no one in particular behind the counter and exclaimed, “Gloria’s had an abortion!”

I took about two steps to the left and keeled over.  Somehow I kept my feet, I grabbed my head which felt like it was burning, and thought I was going to pass out.  So many things raced through my mind.  “No!  How could you?  Why didn’t you talk to me first?  Are you out of your mind?”  and so much more I cannot put into words.  I was scared.  I thought the world was going to end, literally.  Considering I had waited for 25 years for this child I could not believe she would make such a horrible decision.  Was she confused about who the father was?  Was I just dreaming it?  No one warned me this could happen.

About a week after that she came into the store again.  Her hair was up, she was wearing a white T-shirt under a black crew sweater and blue jeans.  After she had wandered around looking for stuff I walked over to her.  To tell you the truth, as confused and angry as I was I could not yell at her.  To me, she was still a stunning vision of beauty.  I remember asking her something about it, but indirectly.  It must have been something along the lines of, “Don’t you remember I asked you to talk to me the last time you were here?”  Something like that.  I remember her responding, “No, I don’t remember you and I have a boyfriend.”  This whole episode left me shaking my head.

After that, she came back a short time later with this boyfriend of hers.  His name is Roy and he was a member (on the run?) of the ETA (the Basque separatist terrorist organization).  I suppose you might think he was cute; chiseled looks, long hair, walks around like he thinks he is “God’s gift.”  I blamed him a lot for what happened.  I despised him from the moment I saw him and that never changed.

For a while I thought it was over.  For a few months I was despondent and not sure how my life was going to go on.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it is really a condensed version of how I felt.  I tried to cheer myself up, and certainly there was enough was going on in my life to distract me, but I didn’t seem to know what I was doing.

Geoff, Cosimo and I began spending more and more time at the Mulholland Dog Park at the top of hill from where we lived.  It was, and still is, an interesting community.  Dogs running all over the place and a strange mix of people from all walks of life.  Little did I know what was just around the corner there for me, and in turn, the rest of this world.  It had to come together somewhere.  Too much was at stake.  Too much had gone wrong and was still going wrong.

One day I was sitting at one of the bench and tables that was under the large tree on the right side of the park as you walk in.  I was at this place within the last three years.  The tree is still there but the benches and tables have all moved around.  Back then they did not have a separate fenced off area for puppies and small dogs.  Anyway, I was sitting there talking to this guy and, seemingly out of nowhere, this tall redhead wearing a skintight turquoise top seats herself on the table right in front of me.  Gloria.  “Well, well.  What are you doing here?” I thought to myself.  She was acting like I wasn’t even there even though she “dropped it” right in front of me.  I remember her getting a cigarette out but not having a light.  I pulled out a lighter and lit it for her.  I smiled, she acted like she had never seen me before and nothing had happened.

I cannot even try to recall all the events of that year.  How we saw each other day after day, week after week, month after month for about a year.  But rest assured, it did happen.  It is not even a task I could try to encapsulate in one blog.  But Gloria did show up, the very minimum it takes to get something done.

You needed me there and I needed her there.  Despite all the things I could say about what could have been, what should have been, what might have been, I am begging you to remember her, too.  Her participation was required.

I could not have saved all of you without her.

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