So the plan is this: Arty Party will go into the hotel and ask the front desk to call up to Brett’s room and ask if he could come downstairs for a minute to meet AP from Pennsylvania. When she’s told no, or, when Brett refuses to come down, she’ll then leave a note for him. Anyone can leave a note, right? On the note AP will mention the Honky Cat artwork she sent to Carl, how we three Pennsylvania travelers spotted him in LA and just wanted to say hi. She’d then give our number at the Hollywood Roosevelt in case he wants to call and make our day. Sounds good. Nonconfrontational. Of course, I had no idea what I would do if she brought Brett out to the car. Or came back to the car and said, come on in, Brett wants to say hi. Frozen with fear I was. Frozen and so ready to just drive away and leave AP there. Praying Brett wouldn’t come out, down, up the flagpole, whatever, just please man stay in your room.
But none of this happened. Not my wildest dreams, not my worst fears. But something worse. Something that haunts both AP and I to this day. Because I shat on a God-given opportunity, and AP fucked it up. No better way to put it. Because here’s what happened:
AP goes into the hotel and tells the girl at the front desk she just saw her friend drive into the garage and would like to say hi; could the girl please dial Brett’s number on the phone and ask him to come down. The girl points to a phone at the edge of the counter, tells AP Brett’s room number and tells her to dial it and ask him herself. So she does. Brett answers and says hello. AP knows his voice right away and rather than dying on the spot (which in hindsight would have been the preferable reaction) says “Hi, Brett! It’s your friend AP from Philadelphia!” Brett asks, “You’re my friend?” (I would later ask her if she really thought Brett wouldn’t know she wasn’t his friend. Every question I asked was met with the same answer: I don’t want to talk about it, I want to die, you should have gone in and talked to him yourself). She then answers, “Well, I soon hope to be.” (I asked her later if she understood that in the language of rock star, this means, I want to fellate you. See above for her response). Brett says nothing; she hears him eating his lunch. She tries a different tack. “I’m the Honky Cat artist. Have you seen it?” (I later ask her if she realizes the Honky Cat artist is Elton John and she sounds nothing like him). No, Brett says, he hasn’t seen it. And when the story is being related back to me from AP I am at this point giving him serious props for not hanging up on her. Maybe he was curious. Maybe he was entertained. Maybe God was somewhere watching saying, Goodness, woman, redeem thyself! and thus keeping Brett too occupied with his lunch to hang up. Either way, Brett continued to let my friend prattle on. In a brief moment of clarity she tells him about her artwork and how just two weeks ago she sent Carl the artwork and did he, Brett, get a chance yet to see it. No, he tells her. She then asks if he would like to come down to the lobby and meet her. He says nothing, just keeps on chewing. She then decides to stop the bleeding and, in another moment of clarity, says to Brett, “Brett, I’m so sorry.” Who knows if he knows for what, but he answers, “That’s all right.” She comes out to the car and rather than answer any of the questions Funny Girl and I are pelting at her, simply says, “Drive. Just drive.” When I don’t move fast enough she bursts into tears. “What?” I ask. “Was he an asshole?” I’m thinking of no other reason for the tears. “No!” she screams. “I was! I’m the asshole! He was kind to me and I was an asshole! Now just get me out of here!”
Okay. Like I don’t know what you’re all thinking. Like I haven’t thought it myself, like I haven’t Spanish Inquisitioned myself into a state of arm-chewing catatonia. Why? Why why why? Why, if Brett Scallions was my muse, if I truly believed the day was coming when I would have my chance to speak to him face to face, one on one, without clingy fans or hovering business types, or anyone else for that matter, why, when God had given me the most beautiful gift, this once in a lifetime opportunity, why, after I’d gone over in my head like some twelve-year-old praxticing her someday coming Oscar acceptance speech exactly what I would say to him if–when–given the chance, when I had him in front of me, why did I stay in the car and send in AP? Why? Why why why? I’ll tell you:
Because I was fat. Fat fat fat. A two hundred and twenty pound Lane Bryant size twenty spiteful embroidered V-pocket jeans wearing fat. And there was no way–NO WAY–I was going to let Brett Scallions see me like that. Maybe it would have been easier for me had I been afflicted with any other symptom of my family’s punish-yourself-silly curse: drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual deviance. These are all more acceptable than being fat. Hello, rock stars consider the other three normal behavior. But fat? No man likes fat. Unless he’s afflicted with one of the other three. Drunk? Yeah, I’ll screw fat. Drug addict? Won’t know I’m screwing fat, may not even be able to get it up. Sexual deviant? The fatter the better. But a regular guy? No fatties, please. I laugh at these hypocritical men who want their women to be a size five or smaller, yet say their pet peeve is when he takes her out to dinner and she orders a salad or doesn’t finish her meal. Take me out; I’ll clean my plate. And yours.
Several days after the Brett fiasco, while driving my way back home across the country, I vowed to myself that never again would I let my weight stop me. Never again would I be ashamed of my appearance. I would tackle this fat suit once and for all, stop the yo-yo-ing, finally break free of this lifelong cycle of starving myself until I thought I could be good enough, as if I thought I would think that could ever make me good enough.
How proud I would be right now if that were a promise I wouldn’t throughout the years continue to break over and over again.