Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Today’s mail brought a rarity a letter, a note card actually, fine paper, written in the flowing script of a careful hand and sealed with an initialed stamp. Very old fashion, something I’d receive from my grandmother, not from a contemporary. The writer, an acquaintance more than a friend, was letting me know that she had returned to the city/country of her birth. I tried her Paris phone and it was disconnected as were the websites of her alter ego, only the one in her name remained and showed a new address and phone number for contact.

Our relationship and how we came to know one and other is an example of the oddity of a life lived partly in shadow and partly in light. At the beginning of Kim & Co, I continued to do contract work for other companies while trying to develop my own clients. One of those projects was a professional association meeting wrapped around a vendor show. A speaker and panel participant was a woman who seemed familiar, but who I couldn’t place. She was thirtyish and attractive in plain sort of way, who dressed unfashionably, almost the caricature of a woman academic in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Near the end of the conference we found ourselves together at the refreshment table in the hospitality suite. A conversation began and I asked if we’d met and she said that I was familiar but didn’t know why. Then it dawned on me and I told that I believed we had met the previous April on a certain weekend, in Monaco at a private gathering. She blanched, stuttered denials and then quickly excused herself.

If I was right and now I knew I was, it was understandable, the occasion being a boy’s weekend where the women in attendance were mercenaries. As I recall our initial interaction was, well compromising. Forgetting about her I went about my business when a few days later she called and asked me to lunch. At my suggestion we agreed on a place, not far from my apartment, where at that time was also my office.

The restaurant was crowded and while she wanted to speak about something, she didn’t want to be over heard, so I suggested we could go for a walk. By the time we finished lunch the rains had started again, so we ended up at my place. She began talking and she talked the gist of it being that no one knew of her duality; she feared someone making a connection. I asked if she had a security contact she said no and that bothered her. I volunteered and she was grateful.

After that I’d hear from her now and again, we’d have lunch or a drink, normally it was the prim academic, but occasionally I was surprised by her as the slightly slutty tart that was implied in her advertising. My being surprised pleased her as she admitted she enjoyed the freedom that her alter ego enjoyed. Now that she has settled into a respectable life, I wonder where she’ll find the release that the demimonde provided.



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