i.was.here.

There’s nothing really quite like an unfortunate, tragic event to make you stand on your feet (or sit on your slowly expanding behind) and announce “I was here”.  Granted I’ve thought about writing my own column for quite some time, but to be plain, it’s selfish. Writing/publishing being of the same notion as any artist is the need to announce “I was here”. Let’s get to it.

Today, much like any other, was full of the ritual banter of designer panic attacks, displaced anger and a dollop of drama. We all have our version of a 9-5 and mine is a bit more colorful than your average Jane. Maybe not, talk amongst yourselves… What was different about today was the acknowledgement that not only can you not walk away from your past but that it has a way of finding you and indirectly affecting your psyche as it sashays through your mind while you are trying to get through your next droll meeting.

Today’s acknowledgement included suicide. Not a very happy topic. Why would it be? It’s an end-all, be done with it, way to go. Only those who have gone through levels of extreme depression and/or addiction (and I’m sure some psychologists out there will agree that one often precludes the other) coincide with the path to suicide. To start this story out, let’s start from the beginning.

A long time ago, I was the security person at a little Italian restaurant on La Brea in West Hollywood, Los Angeles in a lounge called “Room 5” above Amalfi. I only worked one day a week and the staff there was awesome.  I had a boss named Wood (RIP) who was wild and crazy and so full of love and fun and for whatever reason trusted me with pretty much everything. More on him later.  On no particularly special evening, this guy with a funky nose and his friend came up for a snack – they sat close to my post and engaged in casual conversation with me. As it turns out, the friend was his personal trainer and the guy, L*, he kept turning around and chatting. As we got into a further not-all-too-special conversation, we got to the “What do you do?” point.

As would only happen in my life I come to discover he owns a fashion company I was scheduled to model for in maybe three days time. Naturally I tell him as such, and we strike up a new level of conversation. Next thing I know, I have a phone number, business card, and when I do get done with said shoot, I have a scheduled date and higher pay for my work. Schweet!!!

Well, let’s just say the date was so-so. The work I did for the company was fine, but, not my best work. The dates went well by comparison. L* and I went to Bossa Nova for dinner. I don’t remember what we ate, but I remember he didn’t drink, which was a welcome change. We hung out, went back to his home and played with this kitten who had an obsession with my piercings at odd hours. Seriously. Sunshine + kittens + shiny things = not always a great combination.

Beautiful home. Rode back to my nasty, shoebox apartment on Whitley Avenue after breakfast in a funky cleaned up vintage sports car. Life has an odd way of showing you the other side.

Note – the other side. L* wasn’t the best gentleman. Had I been older and wiser, I might have asked a few people before I decided to venture down that road.  Nothing hateful or too cruel, just not the gentleman I would have hoped for. Scene: Show up for shoot, enter an office full of windows so that everyone can see your reaction when the guy you’ve been seeing announces to you he’s (in his words) “Taking it to the next level” with another woman. Ouch?

I’m not known for my aggressive filter.

I am known for being increasingly cold hearted and diplomatic until I’ve had time to boil properly.

Well, howdy. Watch out world, I have a mouth full of venom. Everything down to the big boat theory. Yep, I went there. I think it took about a month till I got the courage to swallow my pride and apologize for being that mad. Surprisingly, he handled it well. At least I was accurate in my depiction of unruly behavior and  I’m sure L* will turn up in other stories I have, but for now this will have to suffice.

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Years later (yesterday, actually), when I am far from any of that scene, I get an awkward phone call from a former co-worker. “Please tell me when I get off the phone with you, you have someone to call.” – I do – “L* commit suicide today. I got it through the grapevine, and so far, this is all I know.”

It took me until today to catch all the details and make sense of things.  Walking into my office and reading the news bulletins and the information behind it took me a while to swallow. I knew he wasn’t a terribly happy person, but didn’t think he’d take it that far.  Learning more about him over the years (more so in the last 24 hours), he may have felt that it had been that bad.

L*? You may not always have been loved, and some days you were hated, but not really. In the end, you did put me on the map and you introduced me to a friend I can never, ever forget. Today you made me stand up and say I was here. Not sure what follows life, but I’m sure you’re raising hell and pissing someone off.

Get to it. See you on the other side.

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