This is a light dialogue about a serious subject. It involves what we charmingly call alternate lifestyles.
(One of them is an actress.)
My thanks to
Laura, Chantal, Claudia, Jlynn and all the members of the Bardic Circle and Tavern Wall.Stalker
I am not a stalker. Got that?
The only person I want to be obsessed about, is me.
Thats it. Thats been my goal, my truth, and yet I couldnt achieve it.
I dont even know why or how I got to this point. I swear Ive fought it every step of the way and I really thought I was doing a pretty damned good job most of the time.
Right up until tonight.
Now, I maintain that this is originally all William Shakespeares fault. Seriously. That sorry British son of a bitch had to go and write plays. In particular, As You Like It.
May he rot in hell.
Because whether I actually fell in love with his Rosiland/Ganemede, or Emelie Foyer portraying her, didnt matter. She had his words in her mouth, and that was all it took. I became an obsessed fan. Of a @#$% teenaged actress.
If Will wasnt already dead, I think Id kill him.
All my life Ive been described as focused. Driven. That was what my friends said. Maybe there were also a few not so nice descriptions. Most used the B word. But I want it to be understood that I never, ever, had a teenaged crush. I was the lone holdout amongst all of my friends. Id just roll my eyes whenever they began to giggle about some hunk on TV. I never put up a poster of a celebrity. Never bought a fan magazine. Never swooned at the latest bubblegum star. Why would I? I could always find better things to do.
I was proud that I made it all the way through adolescence without a single fall from grace. Focused, right? Rational. Clearly above it all.
Then at the ripe age old age of 18, a mature, responsible woman, I had to do the cultural thing as part of a required English course.
It was a simple enough assignment. All I had to do was go to see As You Like It, performed by the Young Peoples Players. With Emelie Foyer.
Ridiculous name, I thought.
She should have been cast as Celia. Small, cute, feminine Celia. I mean, she was tiny and blonde and only fifteen. I later learned that as the veteran of the troupe, she had asked for, and was given, the role of Rosiland.
So I went to a damned play, and my entire bedrock philosophy of love and life was chewed up like a fresh gummy bear.
To any Gods that might be listening, and for future reference, Id like to have had some kind of warning. That would have been nice. I wasnt aware of anything big. I was just enjoying a performance, I thought. Thoroughly enjoying it, but that was all.
Then the show ended. The lights came up and I suddenly found myself back on Planet Earth. In a seat surrounded by other people pulling their coats on. I was in a theatre that some part of me knew I had to leave, because there was this whole world beyond and outside that stage, a whole life that I was living and had absolutely forgotten about for two hours.
I was, for no sane reason, completely and totally convinced that Emelie Foyer was everything I wanted to have, in a friend, sister, or lover.
The girl had taken my heart and my mind, and I hadnt even noticed they were missing until she was off the stage.
Gods. I was lost. And in really, really deep shit.
What little was left of my rational mind was in a total panic. I would rather have been told I was dying of some dreadful cancer than to be suddenly cursed with an obsessive crush.
I went home that night with half of my mind wanting to build statues to this teen Goddess, and the rest wanting to throw up in nauseous embarrassment.
Those who the Gods would wish to destroy they first make mad, right? She was just a little bit of a thing, too. Sort of blonde and reddish hair, but with these eyes and lips and skin and... arrrrggghh!!
I thought it would pass. Like the flu.
No one was allowed to know. College roommates could search all they wanted, but I never bought a fan magazine, never talked about Her. Everyone on campus knew me as a concentrated studying machine. Okay, there were men, and some women. Not like I was unattractive, especially once I got used to my size, or well, length. And I enjoyed sex; it was something I got pretty good at. Sometimes I would find myself about to hit that trigger, and the body above, below or beside me would seem to shimmer a bit and Id see those damned eyes of hers...
Some of those times I would literally leap out of the goddamned bed in horror.
It got worse.
When I got my own apartment after Uni, it not only got worse, it got sad. It started simply enough. I bought one lousy movie magazine that had a small shot of her in it, and stashed it in the bottom of the walk in closet. Left it there for days. Like a heroin addict trying to kick, I would think about it. Not think about it. Think about it.
Sitting there by itself.
Id run to the apartment just imagining staring at her in the photo, then clench my fists until the urge passed.
Then one morning at three AM, I broke down and carefully clipped the photo, and in a small corner where the light barely reached, I stuck it on the wall.
That was it. I was broken.
A year later the walls were covered in a massive collage. I had made a bloody shrine. I bought playbills from shows that had her name in tiny letters. I bought the fricking perfume that she was supposed to use. I was killing myself with this!
The thing is, who knew her at this point? She did some commercials, some TV, walk ons in a few movies and then God! played a bimbo in that horror flick. I bought a tape of it, and would watch her giggling and screaming brainlessly to inoculate myself against this terrible disease.
Her career continued to build, and the closet got more and more filled.
Meanwhile, in the real world things were going great. I made Law Review and had a choice of firms to article in. I took a junior prosecutors job rather than following through with any offers, and made my rep faster than anyone before me. After one year, I just had to have my name listed on the assignment sheet, and the defense would call asking for a deal. Which was a pity because I loved trials. One time I was in the bathroom stall in the old courthouse, and I heard them discussing a minor drug case of mine. They called me a killer. A shark. I remember smiling. If only I could have stayed in that wonderful mindset.
All the while, Emilie career was in the ascent. She kept appearing everywhere I looked. It was freaky how often her name or picture would turn up to haunt me.
The roles got better, and she was nominated for and lost an Oscar. And the dress she wore for the awards? I tore it off in a dozen fevered dreams.
So she had to screw up. Immediately after having made her name in one of the biggest money making pictures of the year, with offers that another actress would kill for coming from everywhere, she announced that she wanted to return to the stage.
In a one woman show.
That she had written herself.
I was overjoyed. No love could survive this impending disaster, I was certain.
Maybe there was a part of me that was almost sad that I would finally be free. This affliction would be over the moment she humiliated herself by speaking her own words.
You know what happened, right? How could anyone predict she would pull it off?
But damn her, the play was To My Soulmate.
Can you imagine how I felt when I saw that title?
The stupid production immediately began to get good reviews from the small independent weeklies. Then it was the larger dailies. If I could, I would have stopped it, but word of mouth is as ephemeral as love.
To My Soulmate.
Yes, my heart leapt out of my chest when I saw that title... but then continued in a downward arc into a toilet. While it was being flushed.
Of course that part of me that I could not control hoped, dreamed, that it was written about me. The word Soulmate was my, dare I think it? OUR word. That was the leaping part. The downward arc into the pot occurred when I realized what the hell I was thinking.
Since I was cursed obviously, of course the production was coming to our town. In fact, she was following the exact schedule that the original As You Like It performances had followed. There were rational explanations for this. It was a circuit. She enjoyed the placement, or it was a superstition. It couldnt be a message to me alone? Could it?
Oh Gods, I was out of my mind.
Then she gave an interview where she explained the title. "I believe that somewhere out there is my other half." So this big goofy part of me is waving its hands and screaming: "ME! Its me! Im here!"
The rest of me was trying to tell the goof that it was too stupid to live.
So I did what I had avoided. I sat down at the computer and typed in to the search engine: Emelie Foyer.
There were 137 entries on Lycos alone.
For the next two hours I pressed through the fan sites. They were all named or set up with addys ranging from 1Soulmate to FoyerFuck. There were private lists. Pornographic fiction and faked nude photos.
My first warning of the stress I was under was what first seemed to be a burp, but became a mouthful of bile and vomit. I managed to restrain the impulse in time to actually retch into the toilet.
Okay. So I was one of just thousands upon thousands of deluded idiots. Wonderful. My life and self-image were now complete.
I bought tickets. I tore up tickets. I bought more tickets. I went to the theatre. I walked away from the theatre.
I went into the theatre.
Yes, it was good. Yes, she was tremendous. Of course.
Maybe you know it. Emelie played a series of vignettes of women and men linked together by the theme of loves lost and failed. It should have been lousy.
But it wasnt.
Yes, I sat there in the darkness again, transfixed by her every word, fighting this drawing of my heart onto the stage and losing. Even the knowledge that half the audience was as obsessed, as I was, did not lessen the power of each syllable. The girl I loved was talking about love. Suffering for its need, and hurting from its loss and I watched her in silence.
So I went the next night.
And the next.
Not once was there a glance in my direction from her, nothing that could make me feel singled out amongst the fanatics who like me were there each night.
I had to separate myself from them, so I called a friend at a newspaper and asked if I could claim accreditation for an interview. I never ask people for favours, but I had accumulated a few debts.
I made the arrangements with her agent, gave her my friends number as a confirmation, and was allowed 15 minutes after her last show to speak with her. No photos, just a tape recorder that will be fine... see you there, thanks again....
My heart would not stop pounding the walls of my chest.
It took me fourteen hours to get dressed. Makeup and bathing, six.
Such loathing and self-hatred was never so carefully packaged.
I was so mad at what she was making me go through I figured shed be lucky if I didnt punch her.
I went to the rear Artists Entrance, and was allowed in. Directed to a door at the top of the stairs. No one followed me up, or showed any interest. I took a deep breath, and stood there in front of the door.
For at least ten minutes. Me. Decisive, controlled me. And I knocked.
Waited. Knocked again. No response. I took another deep breath and walked in.
The room I entered was all gray concrete blocks dominated by a massive makeup table and mirror surrounded by lights. And there, turned towards me, upper body draped across the table, was Her. Emelie Foyer. Eyes shut, dead to the world. If there was anything else in that room, I couldnt see, smell or feel it. I only had eyes for the gold blonde head, the perfect shoulders and neck, bent over, looking so small, right in front of me.
I coughed slightly, and after a moment, those eyes opened. Even unfocussed, I was completely drawn into them. She gave me this amazing but somewhat glazed smile, and said gently, "Hi there."
Then she closed them again. To me it was like the light went out of the room.
They opened again and she blinked. Seemed to take in the room and my presence in it. And her grin froze. She blinked again, focused on me and her eyes became wider, and that perfect mouth made an O. She blinked again and there was a sound sort of like "Whoa!" and a crash as she fell backwards out of the chair.
I dont remember stooping to grab her, I dont remember anything but the scent and feel of her in my arms...
So I suppose you think I should have simply breathed Its you! at this point.
You dont know me at all, do you? And neither did she, so I figured it was time for her to get a crash course.
Okay, so I admit some people miiiiight say that I was a bit of a bitch. I didn't plan to be nasty to her. But there are ways of doing these things. As soon as I saw her face, those eyes, ahhhhhhh.... I knew.
But then, well... If you had seen the EXPRESSION on her face when she realised that she was holding onto me, you would have been tempted too.
It was just so obvious that her face, mind and heart were not used to having more than one emotion on them at the same time, and I was.... inspired, hows that?
I'm an artist. We shake people up. We're allowed to be wackos, look it up.
My buddy Steph burst in at this point, on full Manager/Bodyguard mode. I could have explained what was going, but where was the fun in that? I mean this was our first meeting, right? What would be the point of an explanation?
Dont you people know anything about theatre?
Look, I remind you, you didnt see the look on her face when Steph came roaring in, okay?
And.... maybe she shouldn't have hastily dropped me on the floor like I was diseased, either.
"What the HELL is going on here?" Steph demanded. Now Steph is a friend and a confidant who's been along with me on this strange ride of a career since almost the beginning. But she does tend to act like she owns me sometimes. So to occasionally balance things, I have been known to leave her out of some stuff. And if she was ever gonna be on the Need to Know list on this case, sounding like a dorm mother just then got her tossed off it, right there.
Because Steph has known me far too long to fall for any of that damsel in distress stuff, shed have just started laughing if I made with the vapours and fluttering of my hands. So I kept it simple and did my best to look confused and uncertain. I think I muttered something brilliant like "Whats going on?"
I know. Award winning playwrights should come up with better lines. But Steph and my interviewer proceeded to make me look like Goethe.
"Back away!" Steph cried forcefully.
"Wha....?" wittily responded my attacker.
This, coming from an experienced media publicist, and a courtroom trained attorney.
So maybe my actions later were due to my feeling a little better about my dialogue skills. Maybe my theatre training was still more based on movies than I like to admit, and I simply wanted to make the most of this meet cute.
So looking at it in this context, I think its perfectly natural that I turned to Steph and said...."I dont know who she is. I was conked out and when I came to, she... she was holding me!"
Tall, dark and gorgeous recovered a little and defended herself as I hoped, "I was invited! Im here to do an interview."
I drew myself up and scoffed, "Yeah? Name one other celebrity youve done."
Nobody got the double entendre. I was clearly working this room alone.
Her face crumbled with what I guessed was embarrassment. I was tempted to end the scene when I saw that hurt in her eyes.
"Another stalker," sighed Steph
At that, a strangled sound of frustration squeezed its way out of the big dummy, and with eyes glowing angrily, she pounded her fist on the dresser and yelled, "I am NOT a STALKER!"
A cue if I ever heard one.
"Riiiiiight." I gave her my best sneer, and turned to Steph. "I bet shes written fan fiction. With me in it."
That got her. Her eyes became slits of perfect blue ice and she snarled. "I. Have NEVER. Written Godamned FAN Fiction!!"
I folded my arms in disbelief. "Suuuuure. Probably theres a half dozen stories on the net. Mary Sues with you wearing a big strap on and stuff..."
Her face turned this really strange colour red, and I turned to Steph and stage whispered, "Stephanie? I think youd better get your gun."
Okay. This was Not Very Smart. I know. Maybe I should have been a little more certain that Steph was in on the joke at this point.
I KNOW that it was stupid, even criminal. But how was I to know Steph really had a gun? I mean, this was Canada! Nobody has guns, right? So when she said "I'm not leaving you alone with her," I figured she had caught on. I think there was at least a touch of a western accent in my drawled response. "Just go. I can handle the likes of this one until you get back."
Big Blue Eyes caught on. Finally someone was on the same wavelength. But I had pricked her ego, and as Steph bolted, BBE squinted and replied with her own dollop of Clint Eastwood "You think so." Long pause. "Do you?"
"Yeah," I told her, putting my hands on my hips and moving closer. "I think I can take you."
Now see? This was working just fine. It had the makings of a great scene and everything was under control.
Then we heard a cough behind us, and I found out that some people in Canada did have guns. In their hands. Pointing at the potential love of my life.
Dont ask me what kind of gun it was. It was a gun.
Now I admit what I said at this point to Blue Eyes was dumb. Ive apologised several, many, hundreds of times. But yes, I did say it.
I said: "Bet you can get it away from her."
I know you figure I had lost it here, and maybe I had, but it wasnt an actress thing. Well, not entirely. See, this was important. Every lover faces tests. Her first one being that I wasnt perfect. That I was what some people might call... impulsive.
If we were to have a chance, I needed to know if she could take the ball and run with it. And it was a chance to show her that I wasnt faultless. See, you can talk about love and destiny and perfect matches all you want, but it has to be between equals. Not fan and Goddess. If there isnt a level playing field, I didnt want to play. Maybe Mistress/slave can work for some people, but I wasnt going into this with her all starry eyed. I wanted her to yell, to give me shit because I deserved it. Because of who I really am.
At least thats the story Ive stuck to since then.
Anyway, it caught even Stephiny as being a little over the top. I think the crinkles in her blonde hair uncrinkled. Big Blue mouthed at me: "Are you crazy?"
I nodded enthusiastically.
She turned slowly to Steph and said distinctly. "Well, Im not."
I was barely over my disappointment when she raised her hands, palms outward, to show Steph that she wasnt going to try anything, and then one of those incredibly long legs sliced through the air and kicked the gun out of the hand holding it. Then with a flourish my wonderful stalker actually caught it before it landed.
I was awestruck and said "I guess that ends the crazy part of our talent competition."
She simply handed the gun, butt first, back to Steph.
Steph looked first at the gun in her hand and then raised her eyes to glare at both of us.
"That was NUTS. You do know that? This is a loaded weapon! Are you crazy? Both of you? YOU!" Stephiny was pointing at me if you hadnt guessed. "You attract trouble like a rabbit attracts wolves and...", now the accusing finger swivelled about, " and now you walk in, you, you think you can do fricking anything, dont you? With the two of you together " In mid tirade she stopped like she had been struck in the head, and sagged onto the couch. Both of us stared at my friend with some concern. She looked up groggily. "You wouldnt believe the weird deja vu I just had. Something about feathers and leather."
We went back to ignoring her.
"What kind of a nut ARE you?" Blue eyes shouted.
So I gave her the whole speech about how just because we were meant to meet, destiny was not enough, equal partners needing to keep sight of the individual inside the reputation, yadda yadda and she seemed to be taking it all in quite seriously.
Then she asked, really quite calmly, "When the Rice Crispies talk to you, what do they say?"
Stephanie decided to speak up now. "Youre both nuts. Do you realise what could have happened just now?"
I pouted. "She should know better, shes the lawyer."
Suddenly everything got real quiet.
The lawyer in question was staring at me with suddenly very cold eyes and asking, "How EXACTLY do you know that?"
I backed up a few feet and shrugged in what I hoped was a disarming way. Nothing. Steph stood up, and they started moving towards me in concert with the same grim expressions. I tried again. "Hey! Remember me? Your idol?" No one was buying the megawatt smile either. My powers, my powers? Where had they gone?
Steph smacked her forehead with her palm. "That scrapbook!" Then she hit Blue Eyes in the chest, nearly getting an arm torn off. My luck the woman held back to hear what she had to say. "Youre the one shes got in the scrapbook! Shes got a digital picture collection on that thing over there...."
!!! Shit! And she knew the passwords!
I quickly moved to stand between them and the Powerbook.
"Look." I said to Steph as firmly and coldly as possible. "You work for me."
I didnt mind that she ignored the whole Employer/employee crap I tried to pull, and until that second when Steph did it, I dont think Id ever heard anyone really chortle before.
There was a quick scramble for my bag, and I was tossed, TOSSED aside. I waited for someone to show some concern as I lay there, the back of my palm pressed against my forehead in the finest Victorian fashion, but no dice. I could hear the clicking of the keys and then Steph exclaimed...
"Holy Shit, this is all you?"
There was more clacking, and then my interviewer/ lawyer/ stalker, yelped:"Baby pictures? Where... HOW did she get my Baby pictures?" More clacking. If you hadnt figured it out yet, this was not the Plan.
"A detective? She hired a frigging detective...?"
Then there was this really awful silence.
"My room. You have photos of my room???? You sent some goon with a camera into MY ROOM????"
Id never realised how tall she really was until that moment. She loomed over me, closed her eyes and shook her head. "Wonderful. I spend years thinking about you, twisting myself into knots because of this ridiculous obsession, and now I find out youre seven kinds of wacko. Shit!!! How do you think that makes me feel? Did you EVER think about how I would feel? When you broke into my home, ignored every one of my rights to privacy and STILL didnt show me the courtesy of telling me any of it You didnt look at me while I watched your shows, you didnt send me a card, ANYTHING! And I thought this was love. I am such an idiot!" She stopped for a breath.
"Are you finished?" I asked
She seemed about to add another string, but instead spat out a very cold, "Yes."
I didnt like the sound of that. Things were not looking good, but there is a reason that at five years old I decided that Id rather be on the stage than in the audience.
"Youve had your say, and now its rebuttal time." I stood up and took a breath.
"Yes. I couldnt get you out of my mind either since I was fifteen. Fifteen. You were a grown woman and I was a little kid with a crush. So I didnt do anything. Was that a crime or good sense?"
She interrupted me, which was good in a way. "So you used to be sensible. What happened?"
I ignored her and continued. "I studied you. And let me tell you, I didnt like what I saw, no matter what my heart told me. You know why? As the years went by, the only thing that made you human, the only thing that you had apart from your books and study and then your work was your so-called ridiculous obsession with me. The only contact you had with normal human frailty was through me. How many different plays have you ever gone to?"
I didnt wait for her answer. "Two. Both of them I was in.
"Ive been your only contact with culture, romance and all the rest of this impractical and messy real world, as bizarre as that contact was. And dont tell me you dont know me. Dont tell me I didnt make a contact with you. I wrote a play. For you. And it has my soul and my thoughts and my love for you in every goddamn line. And you devalue that at the risk of your life, Missy!"
"Along with five thousand others," she pouted, but I knew was getting to her.
"I didnt write it for them, I wrote it for you. And none of that matters because I know you and whether you believe it or not, you know me. We just never met until now. But were here, and as insane as it seems to you, we ARE together and I want to, need to find out why I cant go to sleep at night without thinking about you. I want to know why I feel, even right now, that my life has been leading up to this moment. So if I did something crazy to seize it with both hands, get used to it. Because thats how I live life, and thats what you need in yours."
So what could she say? Or do? She was caught in so many conflicting needs and beliefs that she was completely immobilized like a beautiful butterfly with a pin through her heart. And despite everything she thought she understood, she knew I was the only one who could remove it.
Now I could have done the obvious thing. I mean, you expect that I was going to kiss her or something, right? How clichéd!
Nope. A hug did just fine.
My head just nestled under her shoulder perfectly, and I could hear both of our hearts slow down, and then she took a deep breath and relaxed. Now I dont mean as in normal relaxation. I mean, all the bones and muscles and tension just were gone and there was a peace between both of us. And I looked up at her and we both grinned. The same exact grin. One that lit up her face and I knew was echoed on mine. Because we knew something, that was ours alone. That no one else would ever share. There was just the two of us that could feel that, and as that knowledge flowed through us, the grins became broader and we both nearly started laughing at our own foolishness and at Fate.
Reality was still with us in the form of Steph, though. "You do realise that this is doomed? Em cant come out of the closet or her career is dead. And whatever your name is, you dont want to know what will happen to your life if you hook up with her. Aside from risking it daily, any chance at a normal career, a normal life or even staying together will be fried under the paparazzis lights."
I looked at her and asked, "and your point is?"
Steph threw up her hands and went looking for her cigarette pack. Tall, dark and luscious gave me a worried look though.
"Youre still a nutbar and my mother always told me never to get involved with anyone who was crazier than I was."
I shrugged. "Im willing to bet your mother didnt recommend you date women, either."
I grabbed her hand and tried another tack. "While I got you, you know they have these dolls that they made of my character in the last thing I did? They are so crappy, I look like I have bug eyes, AND Im not getting a cent for it. I need a lawyer. And if Steph doesnt shut up, a manager."
She pulled her hand back slowly. "I dont know anything about entertainment law, or copyright..."
"You were almost first in your class, werent you? You looked stuff up and learned it, didnt you?"
"Look. If this is a make work project "
"You have to be with me. I have to be with you. Until we figure out how it can be done, you might as well make some money for both of us. I know if we screw up, if we dont make it, were both capable of hurting each other pretty badly. But what if we succeeded? Anyway, weve tried not being together and it didnt make us happy. What choice have we got? Soulmates apart? What if we succeed?"
"Fine," Steph waved her cig, literally fuming at the other side of the room. "Go ahead with this craziness. Give me some crap about Love Conquering All."
I picked up my soon to be lovers hand again and we shared that smile again. I looked over to Steph and said, "Not me. Because love DOESNT conquer all. It just gives you the reason to keep trying to."
With that I got another hug which I wanted to concentrate on fully, but part of me was wondering if I should change my powerbook password, or just delete all the fanfiction Id written?
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