Chapter 45 Destiny’s Song

It was destiny’s song before we met, but I didn’t know it until long after I woke. She was a teenager. Somehow, she came to me, as she once was. A time long before her heart became callused and bruised, even broken. Before she lost hope and faith, or maybe a time before I lost mine. It was as if she was with me in a dream, sharing the deepest feeling of love we ever experienced together. She was not cold, or mean, or damaged. Her body language and her eyes showed me she was completely healed. She was looking directly into my eyes, something she had not done since we parted.

We were walking arm in arm as if we were again in love. Time was irrelevant to our circumstances, circumstances that split us apart as if a giant dagger had been plunged into our hearts and split our souls. As we walked down a golden pathway there was no direction, no sense of time, or urgency or motion. It did not matter. All I could focus on were her eyes. We were older now but her eyes were as young as the first day I saw her, somehow even younger.

We were walking arm in arm. She was focused completely on me and I on her. I don’t know how we were walking, as we didn’t look to see where we were going and for some reason we didn’t have to. We were walking as if we were being guided by a divine source and did not need sight. We were feeling our way along the path. There were twists and turns as if we were in a maze and yet there was no structure to it. Nothing had color or substance, but I could feel her and she could feel me. She was flirting, laughing, and smiling; more so than ever before. Even though we spent many years together, I had never seen her like this. I was happier than I had ever been. The feeling was euphoric, as if we were in heaven itself. Even so, I knew I was dreaming. It was an experience reminiscent of the angel of love who came to me when I was waking from surgery, in agony, with painkillers next to useless. But this felt more real. Here I was completely aware of everything and I was not drugged. I was with my destiny again and our souls were somehow brought back together.

It was destiny’s song before we met, but I didn’t know it until long after I woke. She was a teenager. Somehow, she came to me, as she once was. A time long before her heart became callused and bruised, even broken. Before she lost hope and faith, or maybe a time before I lost mine. It was as if she was with me in a dream, sharing the deepest feeling of love we ever experienced together. She was not cold, or mean, or damaged. Her body language and her eyes showed me she was completely healed. She was looking directly into my eyes, something she had not done since we parted.

We were walking arm in arm as if we were again in love. Time was irrelevant to our circumstances, circumstances that split us apart as if a giant dagger had been plunged into our hearts and split our souls. As we walked down a golden pathway there was no direction, no sense of time, or urgency or motion. It did not matter. All I could focus on were her eyes. We were older now but her eyes were as young as the first day I saw her, somehow even younger.

We were walking arm in arm. She was focused completely on me and I on her. I don’t know how we were walking, as we didn’t look to see where we were going and for some reason we didn’t have to. We were walking as if we were being guided by a divine source and did not need sight. We were feeling our way along the path. There were twists and turns as if we were in a maze and yet there was no structure to it. Nothing had color or substance, but I could feel her and she could feel me. She was flirting, laughing, and smiling; more so than ever before. Even though we spent many years together, I had never seen her like this. I was happier than I had ever been. The feeling was euphoric, as if we were in heaven itself. Even so, I knew I was dreaming. It was an experience reminiscent of the angel of love who came to me when I was waking from surgery, in agony, with painkillers next to useless. But this felt more real. Here I was completely aware of everything and I was not drugged. I was with my destiny again and our souls were somehow brought back together.

As we walked, she was teasing me, flirting with me, kissing my cheeks lightly and holding my hand, guiding me along that bright golden path. I was confused as to where we were and I could not understand how we were together. My heart was no longer empty. Somehow, she lost all her animosity towards me and was released from her own pain. This was a place with no pain, no remorse, no fear, nothing but love. Love was all I could feel. I tried to understand what was happening and where we were. I couldn’t figure any of it out. This was not the place I was when I came out of surgery. It was as if I entered her heart and she entered mine. It was as if time was irrelevant and simultaneously, we were in the future, the past, and the now. Everything I had hoped and prayed for after we were torn apart was happening in real time and everything that had happened before was gone. Anything that was not pure love did not exist. It was as if time had stopped to bring us together in the most loving place. It was heaven, or so it seemed.

As we walked she would lightly let go of my hand, reassuring me she was not going anywhere. As she did she would run her fingertips along my wrist and fingers until the tips of our fingers would separate. At the exact moment our fingers would lose contact, simultaneously, somehow our other hand would connect again. She would be instantaneously behind me or beside me in a new location. Touching me, caressing me, hugging me, passing through me. My heart was growing and the love was overwhelming and at the same time, calming and reassuring. I would hug her, squeeze her hands and look into her eyes. I could not break eye contact and for some reason neither one of us was blinking. Every time she let go she would change her position as if she was weightless. She could move without a gap in contact although I could tell by our touch, she was letting go.

We were walking but it felt more like swimming, as there was no gravity even though our feet were touching some form of surface. We would turn a corner and she would mysteriously disappear and reappear, hugging my heart again, from a different place. I couldn’t understand how we were moving. It took no effort. Our eyes could see into each other’s eyes from every angle. It was primal and peaceful and warm. It was the greatest love I have ever felt. The euphoria lasted for what seemed to be hours, days, years, decades, forever… timeless, but instantaneous at the same time.

A cold burst of freezing air chilled my body to the point that it woke me. I opened my eyes to the realization that I was dreaming and she was gone. I remembered everything, but the feeling in my heart lasted only for the briefest of moments. And then reality, gravity and time came back instantaneously. I shut my window as fast as I could. I again closed my eyes and willed myself back to sleep. I pulled the blanket over my head. If it was in my dream she was coming to me, I wanted to dream again, I wanted that feeling to continue, more than life itself.

I laid there trying to avoid focusing on anything that would keep me from sleep. It was to no avail.   Sleep eluded me. It was early in the morning. I opened a bottle of wine as fast as I could and tried to sedate myself, so I would sleep again. That attempt failed as well. That incredible love was gone. If it was a dream, it was not like any I ever experienced prior. It was as if I was taken to heaven and back. Then as if by Gods hand, decades of confusion and anguish were gone. I knew I was now able to love again. The cracks in my heart had finally healed. She was not my destiny. I know now my destiny is still waiting for me somewhere. No longer would I simply wait for her to find me. I would now start again searching for her.

 

Chapter 43 – My Co-Pilot

I tried to come back to New York several times. Each time the winter was too much for me, so I would have to leave. When I tried at the end of 2011, I was back in the hospital within a few days of my return. Three months later, all the mayhem started. This was long after I had gone through more surgeries than I could remember. It was, however, before my leg bypass and several of the more extreme surgeries. I was told years earlier that my heart arteries were fixed, but I knew they were not.

I was about to leave Florida for New York in my RV when a model I photographed asked if she could come with me. I was still producing reality series, but I lost my financial backing. So, in-between surgeries, I was attempting to reboot my career as a producer and director. When I started architecting an online broadcasting company, it was not to get into technology or build a social media platform. My goal was to start an online Netflix or Hulu, long before high definition streaming was mainstream. As a result of trying to buy content to stream, and learning how expensive it was, I started producing my own. I produced feature films, documentaries and entertainment series. My IMDB profile was going off the charts. So was my career, but eventually, I couldn’t even hold the cameras, let alone produce a series. I shut that part of the company down. For years, my partners and I continued to build that application. I was living in an RV. We never had enough capital or the right team of software developers to complete the project. I have since tried to talk every person, who asks, out of building apps. There is too much competition from gazillion dollar software companies. The process of building software is equivalent to playing chess with ten masters at the same time. It’s very challenging and risky.

I tried to come back to New York several times. Each time the winter was too much for me, so I would have to leave. When I tried at the end of 2011, I was back in the hospital within a few days of my return. Three months later, all the mayhem started. This was long after I had gone through more surgeries than I could remember. It was, however, before my leg bypass and several of the more extreme surgeries. I was told years earlier that my heart arteries were fixed, but I knew they were not.

I was about to leave Florida for New York in my RV when a model I photographed asked if she could come with me. I was still producing reality series, but I lost my financial backing. So, in-between surgeries, I was attempting to reboot my career as a producer and director. When I started architecting an online broadcasting company, it was not to get into technology or build a social media platform. My goal was to start an online Netflix or Hulu, long before high definition streaming was mainstream. As a result of trying to buy content to stream, and learning how expensive it was, I started producing my own. I produced feature films, documentaries and entertainment series. My IMDB profile was going off the charts. So was my career, but eventually, I couldn’t even hold the cameras, let alone produce a series. I shut that part of the company down. For years, my partners and I continued to build that application. I was living in an RV. We never had enough capital or the right team of software developers to complete the project. I have since tried to talk every person, who asks, out of building apps. There is too much competition from gazillion dollar software companies. The process of building software is equivalent to playing chess with ten masters at the same time. It’s very challenging and risky.

Eventually, on the advice of some investors, that company was repositioned into a security platform based solution. A new management team and board of directors took over. They asked me how secure the platform was. When I explained how we combined a unique set of open source technologies, they asked if I could make it even more secure. It took me months, using every technical skill I possessed, to design what I believed to be an unhackable network architecture. I used biometrics, security protocols and cloud computing, along with a cryptology that, in theory, seemed more secure than anything out there. I never believed that we were so unique, but they thought we could patent it and were sitting on a gold mine. When we did sell the company, financed through a note to the new board and team, they immediately started to argue with each other. They undermined each other’s efforts before the design was ever upgraded or completed. Eventually Adobe bailed on the flash player for mobile devices and the open source coding languages we were using and the company folded. I was already working on trying to get back into producing. Returning to New York was going to be my test. Years later, we learned that the military used just about every concept and design we tried to patent in one way or another. We found no evidence that anyone had tried to combine the entire design, but patents were not going to be issued.

By the time we left Florida, I had already taken tons of nude and implied nude photographs of her. She was as interested in using her assets to promote her career as I was in using them to market her. I had planned to put out a book featuring nudes, or at least hoped to. I was building my book if nothing else. She was well built with a body like an FHM model. She was not shy about showing it. She paraded around the beaches completely naked, even during the day. We even shot in front of construction workers, who would whistle and howl. She loved it. It didn’t bother her, so it didn’t bother me. I was doing everything possible to stay on Hollywood’s radar, even though I was MIA for years.

I was shooting documentaries in Nashville, The Grand Canyon, Vegas, even dune buggies in the desert. I would shoot anything that could help snap the production side of my company back into gear, while at the same time walking six to ten miles a day, still bleeding from two failed surgeries. I barely had enough money for gas. One model was very generous. She gave me a huge check, as an act of kindness, to thank me for the love I had shown her on her sixteenth birthday. She was an heiress who inherited a substantial trust fund. My generosity to her was repaid with her own to me. I now had enough money to return to and possibly stay on Long Island.

Before we left, my co-pilot told me that she too was sick and that she couldn’t afford health care. She was in serious trouble. She might have been even sicker than I was. I was moved by her situation and motivated to help her. The only way I could, was to help her jump-start her career. I couldn’t afford my own health care, so I certainly couldn’t pay for hers.

As our departure date for New York neared, she started to pack and told her boyfriend she was coming with me. He was not happy, but she didn’t seem to care. I believed she was coming for health reasons and because she wanted a future with me. That is, if I was going to have one. A few days before we left things went downhill between her and her boyfriend. As a result, she had to bring her children to Nashville, where her former husband lived. She had no money and no way to get them there. So, we loaded them into my RV and drove. I had the opportunity to service the RV there, so it was a dual-purpose trip. We camped several times. Her children were young and as adorable, as was she. Well, she wasn’t adorable in the traditional sense. She was more like a Raquel Welch or Kate Upton, with a country girl personality.

We cooked together and lived in the RV as we made our way to Nashville. When we arrived, her former ex was drunk, so there was a lot of drama. I was shocked she left her kids with him, but his new wife assured us she would take care of them. We got the RV serviced and left for New York. As we were leaving Nashville, she used her skills to motivate me to take her to Virginia first, to see her mom. She said she had not seen her in years and that her mom was sick. We shot the entire trip, and we were making record time. It was much easier with her helping and it was so much less lonely. Anyone who has spent a lot of time on the road, knows how isolated it feels.

When we got to her mom’s house, I was busy editing a video I hoped would be the start of my come back. I shot with the trust fund model just prior to the road trip and was committed to editing it before we got back to New York. I parked outside her mom’s house and opened the RV, as she spent time with her sick mom. Her mom was sweet and kind. That day, I found out that she wasn’t sick at all. I was disappointed in my new co-pilot for lying to me. That’s why I stayed in the RV that night. We were supposed to go back to New York, film a flash mob and then hit Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The temperature was dropping and I was not in good shape. I was bleeding again and I couldn’t feel my right leg most of the time. Regardless, I wanted to get back to New York to see how my heart would hold up. It seemed to be fine in the 85-95 degree Florida heat.

By the time we got back to New York, I was bleeding all over the RV and could no longer keep it a secret. I was in bad shape. She was concerned. She was also excited, as this was her first trip to New York. I shot the flash mob. The following day I went to the emergency room and had surgery. They botched the surgery. I would bleed for years. However, we were in New York and I was not going to let a little surgery stop me. I was taking painkillers so I didn’t feel much. For the second time in my life, I managed to get onto the main stage at Times Square, on New Year’s Eve. I shot a reality series episode with her that night. I could not believe I was granted access to the main stage. I joined Ryan Seacrest and a host of A list celebrities. I brought her with me for the first act. She left the stage at intermission. They wouldn’t let her back, when she started acting like a diva. The security team heard her being disrespectful to me and wouldn’t let her back on stage. There was nothing I could do about it.

She wanted me to come back down, but I was busy photographing Taylor Swift and a host of other celebrities. I knew the shots would be critical to restarting my career. It was significantly more important than attending to a model who lied about her mother being sick and who now was acting like a diva. I shot the entire New Year’s Eve program from that stage. She went back home a few days later. I tested her by offering her health care or cash, as compensation for her services, a few days after New Year’s Eve. When she took the cash, I knew she was not being honest about her illness either. Shortly after the new year she went MIA. She was hooking up with another photographer in New York City. I knew that this chapter was not even going to get started. I canceled my contract with her the next day when I learned her children were calling and telling her that their father was drinking again and the school was not allowing them to attend. We exchanged a few nasty words. It wasn’t easy for either of us as she stayed with me through some of the worst days of my life in a very small RV.

You would be surprised how close you can become to someone you travel with, especially a co-pilot who used her beauty to play you. We were going to produce twenty-four episodes of that series. The New Year’s Eve episode was our first and last. It was one of the best New Year’s Eves I ever had. The performances by so many major celebrities took place not twenty feet from my camera. It was a “Make A Wish Foundation” evening for me and I photographed everyone and all of it. I will never forget the moment Taylor Swift walked up to my camera and smiled directly at me. There were only a few of us on stage for her performance. All the other photographers and media were asked to step away at that point. However, I befriended the one photographer who had clearance. I guarded his gear when he went to the bathroom earlier. He slipped me his ID and they allowed me to stay for the entire show. It was a great night and a short-lived chapter of love. I did start to fall in love with her and her children, before I realized she was playing me. I figured I deserved it, as I was not always an angel myself. It was another lesson well learned.

She was my co-pilot and we shared some great shoots together. One day when I publish my human figure collection, a coffee table book, you will see just how shapely she was. Another chapter gone, but there were so many in my life. I was interested in a soul mate, as opposed to another hook up. I had grown so much, mostly spiritually, as a result of dealing with my health challenges.One thing was very apparent during this aborted chapter of love. I no longer had the luxury of wasting time on someone who was obviously using me for my creative talents. I did not want to go back to that lifestyle. I know my soul mate is out there somewhere, perhaps looking for me as well.

 

Chapter 42 – Kindergarten Kiss

When I look back at my life I truly cannot believe how young I was when I first fell in love, even if it was puppy love as they call it. It was the first day of kindergarten. We walked to school that morning. My mom almost always walked us to school the first day. My older sister was with us as well. It was not very far, probably less than a half a mile down Newbridge Road, to Newbridge Road Elementary School. I was five and my younger sister was only two and in a baby carriage. For some reason, we were told to bring a record with us. I had one of my father’s favorites with me. I was really small. When I was born, I weighed only four pounds, fourteen ounces. I was never put into an incubator and it would take years before I was eating or holding food down properly. I was a runt and had health problems from the time I was born. Eventually I grew almost a foot per year and as time went on lost my runt status, but my parents were surprised I survived.

I was not exposed to more than the friends I had on my block, or near my block, as we were not allowed to walk very far from home. All the same, there were plenty of kids on my block. We had a nice little niche gang that played together. There was one girl who caught my attention as we walked up to the brick doorway to the school. She had jet-black hair. She was beautiful. She wore a pretty white dress and what looked like ruby slippers. That was the style back then. She was more dressed up than anyone and was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.

When I look back at my life I truly cannot believe how young I was when I first fell in love, even if it was puppy love as they call it. It was the first day of kindergarten. We walked to school that morning. My mom almost always walked us to school the first day. My older sister was with us as well. It was not very far, probably less than a half a mile down Newbridge Road, to Newbridge Road Elementary School. I was five and my younger sister was only two and in a baby carriage. For some reason, we were told to bring a record with us. I had one of my father’s favorites with me. I was really small. When I was born, I weighed only four pounds, fourteen ounces. I was never put into an incubator and it would take years before I was eating or holding food down properly. I was a runt and had health problems from the time I was born. Eventually I grew almost a foot per year and as time went on lost my runt status, but my parents were surprised I survived.

I was not exposed to more than the friends I had on my block, or near my block, as we were not allowed to walk very far from home. All the same, there were plenty of kids on my block. We had a nice little niche gang that played together. There was one girl who caught my attention as we walked up to the brick doorway to the school. She had jet-black hair. She was beautiful. She wore a pretty white dress and what looked like ruby slippers. That was the style back then. She was more dressed up than anyone and was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.

As we waited for the bell to ring, a kid I never saw before and I were both staring at her. We noticed each other staring at her. We stared each other down. Don’t ask me why, or how, but we both instinctively knew that we wanted her to ourselves, even though we had no idea why. He was much bigger than I was. When he saw everyone had a record and he didn’t, he tried to take mine. I did what my father told me to do if anyone ever tried to take anything that was mine. I punched him as hard as I could, square in his face. It was the first day of kindergarten and I was punched another student because of a record. Well not really, it was an excuse to get that girl’s attention. And that I did. She was staring back at us both, until that punch. Then, for the rest of the morning, she stared at only one of us… me.

I didn’t have the courage to go up to her, let alone, speak to her. I choked on my words every time I tried. It took several weeks for her to come to me. It was during naptime. We would always stare at each other when we were napping. We had some kind of connection, but she was even shyer than I was. We had been staring at each other for weeks, but never spoke. At that point I don’t think I spoke to any of the girls in class.

At nap-time, for fifteen minutes, we would have to sit or lay on the floor, or at our desks, and close our eyes. I believe it was after we were given some milk and cookies and had playtime. This day was different. She was smiling and running around the block fort some of the other boys and I made, including the kid I punched. We actually became good friends and stayed that way through high school.

I was laying by the entrance to the block fort. She laid down in front of me and positioned her head so she was staring almost directly at me. We never closed our eyes and just stared at each other. I was so in love with her that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I didn’t know what love was of course, but instinct just took over. Just before nap-time ended, she slid her hand out from under her head and made sure the tips of her fingers touched mine. I was in heaven. I was blown away by something as simple as the tiny touch of her fingers. I knew then, she liked me. too.

As we both stood up, I hit my head, really hard, on the blocks. My ears were ringing. I clobbered myself. It was all I could to not cry. I was so embarrassed. I thought that was it, I would probably lose her. At that moment, she stood up right next to me, looked at my head and said, “it will be ok” and kissed me on my lips. The teacher saw the kiss and immediately pulled us aside and told us that we were not allowed to kiss in class. She was careful not to let anyone hear. From that point on, although we tried to be together, we were always, strategically, kept apart.

When the first grade started, she was not in my class. I always hoped to see her in the hallway or at lunch. We had contact from time to time. At the end of third grade my family was moving to Arizona for a year. The last day I was in school, my teacher bought me a big sundae. My little friend joined me in the cafeteria and I shared it with her. When we were done, and getting ready to go back to class, she kissed me to say goodbye.

When we moved back from Arizona less than a year later, people were very surprised to see me. All I could think about was the girl with the black hair and ruby slippers, who was my first kiss. I looked everywhere for her, but she had transferred to another school and I never saw her again. I have often looked back at that first kiss and wondered why as a species we are so strict with our affection. We limit the feelings we allow our children to express. I never inhibited my own children in that way.

That’s why it was so endearing to me when one day my son, who was going to pre-school, came home and told me the story of his first kiss. He started by saying it wasn’t his fault and that she does this to him every time she sees him. I was getting worried that he was going to tell me something I should be concerned about. But, as his story continued, he told me how a little girl in day care would come over to him and kiss him all the time and he didn’t know why. He said, they weren’t allowed to kiss, but when no one was looking, she did it anyway. Then he said, “she says I’m her boyfriend so I guess that makes her my girlfriend.” Then he got sidetracked with one of his favorite TV shows, Thomas the Tank Engine. After his show, he took a nap. While he was asleep, I reflected on the girl with black hair who gave me my first kiss. I felt so very happy to see my son carrying on the tradition. That was the most innocent chapter of love in my life and of course, my first romantic kiss.

 

Chapter 41 – Sailing My New Love

I am no longer marathon walking, as the years of pounding the pavement have taken its toll on me, as have the sports injuries from my youth. Like everyone, a half a century young, I have many bumps and bruises. One of my ankle ligaments is now completely gone. I had walked enough, between the miracle surgeries, to stay alive. When I stopped, my testosterone levels plummeted. The same doctor who fought the insurance companies on my behalf, saw this in a blood test and immediately put me on hormone therapy. He said I was going through “manopause” and my hormones were off from the sudden change in lifestyle.

He implanted some Tic Tac sized pellets in my abdomen that helped my body manufacture more testosterone. My body made a ton of it. All a sudden I was losing weight. My belly that had been growing, without explanation, melted away, well, most of it. I started to grow hair all over my body and I woke up with a woody every day. It was like I was fifteen again. While I had remained mostly celibate for several years, I was now hornier than a hotdog on Viagra. I wanted to stay committed to my sexual sobriety, but there was just no way. I had come full circle. Shortly after putting myself on several dating services as “Husband 4 Hire,” I started to get tons of likes, winks and chat requests. I had girls from around the globe contacting me through online dating services. Big data and members of those networks, were spreading my profile all over the world. I already made the decision to meet my soul mate organically, so although I chatted with hundreds of women, I only dated a handful. One such woman joined me to go sailing, but as it was raining, we never made it out of the marina. We put the time to good use and were all over each other.

I am no longer marathon walking, as the years of pounding the pavement have taken its toll on me, as have the sports injuries from my youth. Like everyone, a half a century young, I have many bumps and bruises. One of my ankle ligaments is now completely gone. I had walked enough, between the miracle surgeries, to stay alive. When I stopped, my testosterone levels plummeted. The same doctor who fought the insurance companies on my behalf, saw this in a blood test and immediately put me on hormone therapy. He said I was going through “manopause” and my hormones were off from the sudden change in lifestyle.

He implanted some Tic Tac sized pellets in my abdomen that helped my body manufacture more testosterone. My body made a ton of it. All a sudden I was losing weight. My belly that had been growing, without explanation, melted away, well, most of it. I started to grow hair all over my body and I woke up with a woody every day. It was like I was fifteen again. While I had remained mostly celibate for several years, I was now hornier than a hotdog on Viagra. I wanted to stay committed to my sexual sobriety, but there was just no way. I had come full circle. Shortly after putting myself on several dating services as “Husband 4 Hire,” I started to get tons of likes, winks and chat requests. I had girls from around the globe contacting me through online dating services. Big data and members of those networks, were spreading my profile all over the world. I already made the decision to meet my soul mate organically, so although I chatted with hundreds of women, I only dated a handful. One such woman joined me to go sailing, but as it was raining, we never made it out of the marina. We put the time to good use and were all over each other.

I thought that I could get to know a woman through a pen pal style relationship. I soon learned that who people say they are and who they really are, rarely match. I had at least ten women try to scam me for money, pretending to be in love with me. I was never fooled and kept most of those dialogues in archives. They are pretty funny. I have made hundreds of real friends via social networking. My online friends or contacts, became the only social life I had, while I was walking and recovering. My social network became my support group, as much as I became theirs. Many who were reading my posts, were battling adversity as well, and shared their experiences in addition to their chapters of love.

I’ve been told many times that I missed my calling. I should have been a therapist. All I was doing was being honest and giving people hope. I am a perfect example of, no matter what your organic destiny, or your genetics, which my health issues stemmed from, miracles happen every day. I am one of those miracles. I connected with many people who showed me love and helped me through my bleakest moments. I also connected with many of my chapters of love who were following my story; although, at the time, I had no idea they had any interest. When I went back and read my former posts, I realized that pain killers act like truth serum. Despite my memory issues, when I meditated and was relaxed, I could recall so much more about my life than I ever could before.

It was as if my brain connected so much more with the love than ever before. I felt the love in my heart I had lost for so long. I now no longer try to fix every woman I date, or seek out women with broken wings. I do not confuse compassion and empathy with love. I have come to know love at a deeper level than I had ever known it. Deciding to live my life, for several years, without sexual or romantic relationships taught me what love is really about. My life-long obsession with sex and love was over. My quest for a true soul mate had started. I still reflect on my chapters of love. I continue to be surprised every time a new memory pops into my head. I run to my computer or cell phone and write it down. For the first time in a year, I took a five-month hiatus from trade brokering and everything else, to edit this novel.

I have taken all my testosterone-induced energy and focused it on restoring a classic Tartan 33 sailboat. Sailing has become the way I escape the limitations I have on land. I am not quite one hundred percent, as the years of surgeries, disease and stents have made the arteries in my heart rigid. When it’s too cold, I am limited. I feel my heart beat much stronger on those days. It is not a comfortable feeling. It’s not life threatening, just a limitation. Hopefully, one day, some genius scientist will figure out a way to make arteries flexible again. When I am sailing, I mostly use my upper body and I can go almost anywhere. It gives me the greatest feeling of freedom I have had since I got sick thirty years ago.

Restoring that sailboat also brought me closer to my son who I gave the sailboat to. It was his graduation gift. While it was maybe a bit much, I was able to obtain the entire sailboat, slip and restoration in trade. My angels took a risk on the trade and it paid off. It was the first time I could give them anything back, for their years of support and generosity. It felt good to give and at the same time be able to give to my son. We had no idea we would love sailing together so much. We are a very good sailing team, despite our few fender benders, when we first started sailing. So far the winter has been very mild, but the cold days are truly challenging. Still, I would not live anywhere else. I hope that in sharing my stories, and chapters of love, I have somehow helped others heal their own hearts, or at least entertained them with my journey. I will post the rest of my stories and chapters of love. I have come to realize that I have lived such a different life, that it is worth sharing, as are the many more chapters of love I can remember.

Even now, as I write this, I am chuckling, remembering the time my friend Peter and I were going to meet two of his Sunday school classmates. They were sisters and wanted us to come over the night Sunday school ended. Their parents were going out late and had made it clear, ironically in Sunday School, that if we came over we were both going to get lucky. We put our white shirts and ties on and waited. They told us to come over after their parents left and gave us their address. We were both so nerdy. It was hilarious. He bought flowers for the older sister. He was a year or two older than me, so it made sense. As far as I was concerned, the younger sister was much hotter anyway. We knocked at the door, but no one answered. Then, through the window, we saw them with nothing but bras and panties on. They signaled to us, giggling and looking through the curtains, hiding themselves. They wanted us to see them half dressed.

They eventually opened the door. They had tons of makeup on and were wearing the Sunday School outfits they wore to mass that night. They invited us in. We all sat on a couch drinking Kool-Aid and eating chips. We were talking about who was going to be with whom. It was similar to a business negotiation. The younger sister was conducting the meeting. They made us both promise that we would not tell anyone, made sure we both had condoms, which were a bitch to get back then; and that we were going to be gentle with them. They both then went to their rooms to change. As soon as they were ready, they were going to call us simultaneously to have sex with them. They wanted to lose their virginity together. They went into their rooms. We were surprised they were going through with it. We were both nervous. Just as they called us, the door behind us opened and we heard their father calling them. They were yelling, “We’re ready,” “We’re ready.” Their father didn’t see us. As soon as the door opened, my friend bolted into the kitchen and I followed. Unlike most houses, there was no back door, just a staircase to the basement. He ran down the steps and I followed, thinking he must know something about the father I didn’t. I practically flew down those steps.

As we learned, there was no way out from the basement either. After making that discovery, Peter climbed into the dryer and shut the door. By that time, the father was calling “Peter,” “Peter,” come up here. He just stayed in the dryer. I was not about to climb into the washing machine. Finally, the girls’ father came down the stairs and looked at me dumbfounded. He asked where Peter was. I pointed to the dryer. At that moment, the door opened and he tumbled out. He tried to tell him that we were playing Hide and Seek, but he knew it was bullshit.

When we got back upstairs, I just sat there. The girls were mortified. They couldn’t believe how badly Peter screwed up. If he just stayed in the living room, their father would have left in two minutes. He just came home to get some show tickets he and his wife forgot. We would have had the time of our life. Instead, he sat there red-faced and was blasted by the girl’s very religious mother and father. It was one of the funniest things I ever saw in my life. Every time I looked at the girls we started laughing. Neither Peter nor the parents seemed to find any of it amusing.

Peter never did hook up with the older sister. She hated him after that debacle. As soon as the younger sister was no longer grounded, we met at the park and had a very sweet one-time encounter. It was on the black railroad train that was a major attraction in Eisenhower park. However, when I think back, what immediately comes to mind isn’t the encounter in the park. All I could picture was my friend Peter, tumbling out of that dryer.

 

Chapter 39 – Angel Of Love

I was floating in the most serene of spaces. I had no idea where I was; only that it was very peaceful. It was the most comfortable and relaxed feeling I ever experienced. It was as if I was weightless and floating above whatever it was I had been laying on. It felt warm, like bathwater at the perfect temperature. It felt like I was touching nothing. I was just there somehow. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I wasn’t sure why. I felt like I was dreaming, yet awake. If there was a heaven on earth, that is where I was. I felt no stress, no worry, no fear, nothing but peace. There were no birds, no trees and no blankets. I was just floating.

But, there was light. It was as bright a light as I had ever seen; only I couldn’t see anything. I was aware of my body, but couldn’t feel it. It was as if I was in an incubator and didn’t even have to breathe on my own. I was confused, to say the least. And then, I heard a kind and gentle voice that seemed to be whispering directly into my brain.

As her voice became clearer, I began to feel my heart beat again… but very slowly. And then, the voice would fade away. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, even though the message seemed to be coming from within my own body. Then, another heartbeat. But, still no breathing. Then her voice became clearer. She was saying, “breathe, Mr. Dowling. You have to breathe.” I was still floating. Each time I heard her voice, I would suck in air. While everything else was effortless, the breathing was not. It was almost impossible. Even so, I did not feel as if I was suffocating. I just wasn’t breathing. It was as if I was in suspended animation.

I was floating in the most serene of spaces. I had no idea where I was; only that it was very peaceful. It was the most comfortable and relaxed feeling I ever experienced. It was as if I was weightless and floating above whatever it was I had been laying on. It felt warm, like bathwater at the perfect temperature. It felt like I was touching nothing. I was just there somehow. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I wasn’t sure why. I felt like I was dreaming, yet awake. If there was a heaven on earth, that is where I was. I felt no stress, no worry, no fear, nothing but peace. There were no birds, no trees and no blankets. I was just floating.

But, there was light. It was as bright a light as I had ever seen; only I couldn’t see anything. I was aware of my body, but couldn’t feel it. It was as if I was in an incubator and didn’t even have to breathe on my own. I was confused, to say the least. And then, I heard a kind and gentle voice that seemed to be whispering directly into my brain.

As her voice became clearer, I began to feel my heart beat again… but very slowly. And then, the voice would fade away. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, even though the message seemed to be coming from within my own body. Then, another heartbeat. But, still no breathing. Then her voice became clearer. She was saying, “breathe, Mr. Dowling. You have to breathe.” I was still floating. Each time I heard her voice, I would suck in air. While everything else was effortless, the breathing was not. It was almost impossible. Even so, I did not feel as if I was suffocating. I just wasn’t breathing. It was as if I was in suspended animation.

Her voice was a little louder each time I heard it. Every time she would say breathe, I would take another breath. As her voice became louder I could feel my hand. There was something in it, but I couldn’t make out what it was. Next, I began to feel my chest rising and falling very slowly. Something about the mystical voice was calming. It was as if an angel was speaking to me directly from heaven. I started to feel that I was returning to my body. I started to hear all beeping sounds as well as voices. The voices had more urgency in their tone then hers, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I continued to hear; “Mr. Dowling you have to breathe. If you don’t, you are going to die.”

The voice became louder and louder, but it was still the most soothing sound I ever heard. And then like a rush of boiling oil, I felt the pain shooting through my leg. I was in agony. In a matter of what seemed to be a millisecond, I went from the most peaceful place I have ever been, to the most painful place I could ever imagine. It was as if Lucifer himself was torturing me in hell. I screamed out in agony, sucking in as much air as I could, begging, “MERCY, PLEASE HAVE MERCY!” I started to see flashes of light and realized I was in the hospital. I had just come out of massive surgery to try to save my leg. As I screamed out, I started to cry. The tears were rolling down my face until there were none left. Then I recognized my surgeon who was saying, “If you push the red button too many times, you are going to stop breathing, have a stroke, or die; you are only breathing four to five times a minute.” I was trying to focus, but I couldn’t stop crying or screaming. I thought I was in hell. I was in so much pain. I suffered so much during many years of daily marathon walks. How could I be in this position now? It slowly started to come to me. When I pushed the red button, I would go from agony to tranquility. It was releasing drugs directly into my body and was immediately transferring me back into that safe, calm, peaceful place. But the risk of pushing it was my own mortality.

The pain hit with the force of a stabbing wave. It felt as if boiling tar was being poured into my leg and abdomen and I screamed, “PLEASE HELP ME.” I didn’t even know what I was saying, only that I was pleading for the pain to stop. The woman’s voice was echoing in my mind. Then, something was shaking me. I opened my eyes to a blinding light. That voice was warning me not to push the button, if I ever wanted to see my children again. I didn’t understand the connection of my children to that red button. As soon as I heard that, I threw the red button in my hand as far from me as possible. When I could no longer feel anything occupying my right hand, the pain came roaring back. It was completely overwhelming. I ran out of tears, energy, even the power to moan, or cry. I was whimpering as if I was paralyzed and my leg was on fire.

I don’t know how long I was under, how long I had been screaming, or even what was happening to me. I heard my surgeon tell someone to take me off morphine and put me on something else. I thought I must have been in an accident. I knew I was in the hospital, but I didn’t know why. I would fade in and out of reality. Every time I did, that whispering voice would plead with me to breathe. Finally, I could see her. She was an angel aglow in white. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was not a figment of my imagination. She was sitting next to me, pleading with me to breathe. At this point I could recognize that she was holding my hand. I couldn’t feel her hand, just some pressure. It seemed like several lifetimes, but the torturous inferno had gone out. As I came out of my drug-induced haze, I could see that I was in the recovery room. Then it hit me. I lived through it. I was alive! After years of walking to strengthen my body, they finally fixed the artery in my leg. But, would I live?

By the time I realized where I was, and that the surgery was a success, she was gone. My surgeon told me he had to go extra deep, for the new artery they created in my leg to last a lifetime. As I became more coherent, I saw the huge bandage that stretched from my belly button, all the way down to my ankle. I was told that I wasn’t breathing enough. At that point I was only taking one breath per eleven to fifteen seconds. The painkillers weren’t working because of the immunity I had built up over the years, when I needed them during my long marathon walks. Somehow, the administrators who checked me into the emergency room and who physically took the pain killers from me, never told the surgeons how long I was on them. Nor could anyone predict, prior to surgery, just how immune I had become to them.

When I came out of the operating room the medical team faced a choice of mercy or life. They were trying to be as compassionate as possible, while at the same time, not kill me. The painkillers were stopping the pain but with each dose they gave me, I was that much closer to dying. After they stabilized me, and I was moderately coherent, they gave me the red button back. I asked them who kept telling me to breathe while I was under. I couldn’t get her voice, or her hazy image out of my mind. The doctors and nurses told me they were the only ones with me, the entire time. I told them that I both saw and heard her. They just shook their heads and reaffirmed what they told me earlier.

I recovered and spent the next few years in intense cardio and post bypass rehabilitation. It was the most painful and difficult surgery I ever had. I had more surgeries during that three-year period than any other point of my life. Those surgeries made my subsequent, stenting procedures seem utterly minor, despite how risky they actually were.

I don’t know if she was real, a dream, or if God sent that angel to protect me. All I know is that it was because of her voice that I kept breathing. Every time the pain came back, it was so torturous I wanted to die. I had never wanted to die before. However, any option was preferable to that pain. Whoever she was, she was my angel and a chapter of love like none other. She was pure love. When I was under, I could only feel two extremes. It was almost as if heaven and hell were battling over my soul. Six weeks later, as I was being rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair, I saw her again. She was peeking out at me from behind a column and smiling. It was my angel. No one could tell me who she was, even though I asked everyone when I went back to thank the nurses who took care of me.

Whomever, or whatever, she was…real, my imagination, or a messenger from heaven… she saved my life. Nurses are God’s angels on earth. I will never forget this most unique and angelic chapter of love.

 

Chapter 38 My Native American Princess

I was promoting college night parties with Keith Hart from Uncle Sam’s. It was a natural extension of my high school days promoting and hosting keg and victory parties for the entire school. I brought in a ton of people from various local colleges for a Halloween Party. Subsequently, I promoted many other parties with Keith But, I was never really interested in promoting night clubs. I just wanted to meet a lot of women. At the time, the most beautiful women were always at Uncle Sam’s. It was like the Studio 54 of Long Island. Keith was the kind of guy who would hook you up if you hooked him up. He followed a similar philosophy of paying it forward, in millions of dollars of funds raised for cancer research later in life. When I met him, he was one of the Long Island elite promoters who held the keys to getting into Uncle Sam’s, which of course then afforded the opportunity to meet the girls at the club. When I was modeling, he even put me on a Dating Game style show at Uncle Sam’s and I was chosen by the bachelorette. She dressed as a cheerleader for the occasion. Shortly afterwards, she took me upstairs and convinced me to take a few bumps. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing. She told me to snort white powder off her fingernail. She said it would make the sex better. Until that point, I had no idea we were going to have sex or what cocaine was. We did it on the stairs about thirty seconds later.

I was promoting college night parties with Keith Hart from Uncle Sam’s. It was a natural extension of my high school days promoting and hosting keg and victory parties for the entire school. I brought in a ton of people from various local colleges for a Halloween Party. Subsequently, I promoted many other parties with Keith But, I was never really interested in promoting night clubs. I just wanted to meet a lot of women. At the time, the most beautiful women were always at Uncle Sam’s. It was like the Studio 54 of Long Island. Keith was the kind of guy who would hook you up if you hooked him up. He followed a similar philosophy of paying it forward, in millions of dollars of funds raised for cancer research later in life. When I met him, he was one of the Long Island elite promoters who held the keys to getting into Uncle Sam’s, which of course then afforded the opportunity to meet the girls at the club. When I was modeling, he even put me on a Dating Game style show at Uncle Sam’s and I was chosen by the bachelorette. She dressed as a cheerleader for the occasion. Shortly afterwards, she took me upstairs and convinced me to take a few bumps. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing. She told me to snort white powder off her fingernail. She said it would make the sex better. Until that point, I had no idea we were going to have sex or what cocaine was. We did it on the stairs about thirty seconds later.

I drove her home and spent the night in the screened-in porch of her cottage in Sea Cliff. I never saw her afterwards, but I did see Keith and thanked him for putting me in the event. I told him that I was more into photography than modeling or acting. I showed him my portfolio. He suggested I call a friend of his, Michael Cutino. Michael was the publisher of Nightlife Magazine. It was the hottest magazine on Long Island for many years, so it was a great introduction. I started shooting covers for Mike, that were helping him sell more magazines. Eventually, I suggested a swimsuit issue, because I was taking body shots of models regularly. He loved the idea. Catalina, Gottex, and ten other major brands of swimsuits gave us thousands of dollars’ worth of suits to be included in the story. I was becoming popular. Keith helped jumpstart my career, as did Michael.

I was scheduled to shoot in Arizona and wanted to visit my aunts and cousins at the same time. I booked a flight and took the bathing suits and my cameras with me. There were about two dozen models who wanted to participate. I went to the agency to meet them. The next morning, I drove four of them to Oak Creek Canyon. We shot all day, with the beautiful red rocks and riverbed as a backdrop. One of those models was about six feet tall. She was a Native American and quite stunning. I had never met a Native American before. The agency sent many beautiful women, but she was the most exotic and by far, the most beautiful. After the Oak Creek Canyon shoot, we decided to drive to the California border the next day. The plan was to shoot against the three-hundred-foot sand dunes, reminiscent of the Sahara Desert.

At the crack of dawn, she picked me up, along with a few of the other models and drove us there. It was her idea. The reservation her family lived on was not far away. It took a few hours to get there, but it was worth it. The sand dunes were amazing. I felt as if I was on another planet. We had to climb up the hills and find clean sand undisturbed by dune buggies. Every time the girls were changing, I would hike up and over the sand dunes to find virgin sand.

I was in great shape back then. I hiked up dozens of dunes, carrying fifty pounds of equipment in my backpack. I was flirting with every one of the models. For the most part, they were flirting right back. Well, two of them were. I didn’t know if any of them were thinking what I was thinking. I wanted to have sex with someone in that Sahara sunset. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. It was surreal.

The Native American model showed me how to slide down a sand dune, almost as if one was sledding down a snow-covered mountain. Once she showed me how, I would leave my backpack with the girls and slide down every dune, so we could shoot faster. Every time we walked on the sand, we destroyed the pristine look, so we had to continually go further. I brought water, but not enough. At times, we were running on fumes. I underestimated our water needs, despite the warnings of my Native American model friend. We really did become friendly. Initially, she would ask me to turn around, but eventually she changed right in front of me.

By the end of the day, I was nearly out of film and had a very bad sunburn. I was beat red and probably dehydrated as well. I was giving the girls water while taking very little for myself. She told me that it would get extremely cold as soon as the sun went down. I’m a New Yorker and was like, she has got to be kidding me. Doesn’t she know we have winters in New York? We were probably miles from the car. All we had with us was her bikini, my camera, my shorts and the bandana I was wearing over my eyes to protect them from the sun. Other than that, I just had my forty-eight-inch gold and silver reflector.

The photographs I took after sunset were some of my best. The light was hidden behind the dunes and the sky acted like a giant light box. She looked amazing. I shot every roll of film I had. As soon as we finished, she grabbed me and forced me to sit on the sand. She then tied my bandana around my camera and lens. Then she pushed me onto the sand and started to go down on me. It was unsolicited. I couldn’t believe it, but she wanted me. I was rock hard. She laid back in the sand, with her knees up, and untied both sides of her bikini. She left it on like a tiny sand guard.

She pulled me on top of her and inserted my penis inside her. She was already dripping wet. We didn’t even kiss. I looked into her eyes and flexed my arms to keep us balancing on top of the sand dune. We were positioned so that our feet were pointed down the hill to such a degree it was almost like standing up. It was hard not to slide down the dune, but it was more private, as a dune buggy could show up at any time. We didn’t even have a towel to cover up with, so anyone who even came close would see my shiny white ass and beet red body, pumping a completely tanned, olive skinned, model. Not something either one of us wanted. As sexually active as I was, I was quite shy when I did not have my security blanket/camera in my hand.

As I was thrusting, she was sliding down into me. Gravity was making it difficult to pump and the sand seemed to fall from beneath us. As we started to climax together, we lost our balance. She took her feet out of the sand and wrapped her legs around my back. That’s when everything started to spin. We were rolling down a mountain of sand faster than I could pull out of her. Cum was shooting in all directions. We didn’t get hurt, in fact, we both started laughing uncontrollably when we landed. We couldn’t find her bathing suit. All we had was my shorts and a bandanna. She was completely naked in the middle of the desert and the sun had set.

When we got to the top of the dune, the wind started to blow hard. Grains of sand were pelting our skin. They felt like tiny pins. I gave her my shorts. I wasn’t wearing underwear so I quickly became the naked one. She covered her mouth to keep the sand out. We went from ecstasy, to freezing and afraid in less than ten minutes. To make it worse, we were so lost in each other, we hadn’t realized how long we had been away from the other models. It took us at least forty-five minutes to make our way back. Like Hansel and Gretel, we were following our footsteps back to find the car in previous treks out. Now with the wind blowing we had no idea what direction to go. We tried to use the sun to figure out our location. By that time we made it back we were freezing and shivering. It was pitch black. She was concerned about wolves, scorpions, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. I held her close and kept walking, looking for the first dune that would expose a road.

Before long, we started to see the lights of cars. The other models started the engine to stay warm and were smart enough to honk the horn every once in a while. Maybe it was because they were feeling a bit ignored. Whatever the reason, it helped. It was very scary. We finally made it back to the car. She gave me some pajamas she had in the car. She was so tall and I was so skinny, they fit. That night we drove all the way back to Arizona and dropped the models off. We had not kissed a single time all day. I couldn’t figure out why, as we did just about everything else. When we finally were alone, we looked at each other and laughed. We started to go at it again and then she kissed me for the first time. It felt different than any kiss I ever had. Then she told me she had bitten off part of her tongue when she was a child. I hadn’t noticed anything unusual about her before. That’s why she didn’t kiss me until the end of the night. I didn’t react well. As cool as I tried to be about it, I pulled away a few times. She finally got upset and dropped me off. I felt terrible, as she was very nice. But I couldn’t control my knee jerk reaction.

She didn’t come to see the photographs with the other models, but I did get to see her the day I was leaving. I told her how sorry I was and how much the time with her meant to me. She didn’t say anything much and kept her mouth as closed as possible. All she was willing to say was thank you and goodbye. The very next day I caught a flight to California to shoot at the famous Santa Monica Pier and stay with my cousin. I was completing the assignment utilizing major models from a LA agency. I didn’t fool around with any of them, despite many opportunities to do so. I couldn’t help but think about that American Indian girl I fell for.

The cover shot was amazing and the swimsuit issue had at least twenty pages of editorial. The swimwear manufacturers were thrilled and Mike Cutino used my photographs for his company’s press kits and at least a half dozen additional covers. Keith’s introduction helped me so much that I credit it as being the catalyst for moving to New York City and the start of my photography career. I would shoot with Keith on and off for thirty years. We are friends to this day. I’ve probably done more shoots with him than with anyone other than my children. We continue to shoot on special occasions, such as the Hospitality Ball, which he founded. Only now, his guests are people like Alec Baldwin. As for Michael Cutino, he and I had a small reunion recently. It was great to see him and again, thanked him for the break he gave me.

For years, I thought about that Native American model I fell in love with, on the top of that sand dune. I still do. One of my iconic photographs was of her on that dune, shortly before we made love. While I never saw her again, I stopped at that same sand dune and shot a documentary about the dune buggy enthusiasts who races there. I was given a ride in one. It topped out at one hundred and twenty-five miles per hour. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. But, the entire time I was there, all I could think about was her. Every time I see that photograph, it brings back the memories of making love together. I hope she is living an extraordinary life.

 

Chapter 37 – Sex Games

For me, junior high school was a time of sexual experimentation. Most of the kids played games like Truth Or Dare, Spin The Bottle, Seven Minutes In Heaven and a host of others. The only real difference between me and the other kids, was that I created my own game, “Sex Games,” at about the age of eleven. Unlike the other games, this was an actual board game. Yes, a sex board game for three or more people to play. I completely forgot about it until at my 30-year high school reunion, my junior high school girlfriend asked me about it.

Many memories were rushing through my head when I first saw her. She was my girlfriend at the time we played the game. Mostly, we played it with her girlfriends. It was a throwback game…sort of a mix of Monopoly or Sorry with some Mousetrap thrown in. Players would roll dice to determine the number of spaces to move forward on the board. In that regard, it was like Monopoly. There were slides and ladders that advanced you past the serious sexual options. If you landed on pick a card, you had no idea what you might be asked to do. There were spaces for a “Truth” challenge and a “Dare” challenge. Some spaces would require actions similar to those from Seven Minutes In Heaven. I even adapted a spin type gizmo from another board game to determine who players had to make out with, when they landed on that spot on the board.

Once, I landed on a space that required female players to change seats according to breast size. When the few girls playing kept arguing over who had the largest breasts, I was chosen to determine who was going to sit where, by feeling their breasts to make the determination. Do you think a preteen boy would create the game any differently? Life was good. The entire game was geared towards experimentation with kissing, touching, foreplay and more. And, when I say more, I mean a lot more. It was all based-on chance. I remember playing the game for the first time with my girlfriend and two of her friends. I had just finished developing it and this was to be the test. The girls loved it. As an additional benefit, I thought I could market it. I was entrepreneurial, even as a young man.

For me, junior high school was a time of sexual experimentation. Most of the kids played games like Truth Or Dare, Spin The Bottle, Seven Minutes In Heaven and a host of others. The only real difference between me and the other kids, was that I created my own game, “Sex Games,” at about the age of eleven. Unlike the other games, this was an actual board game. Yes, a sex board game for three or more people to play. I completely forgot about it until at my 30-year high school reunion, my junior high school girlfriend asked me about it.

Many memories were rushing through my head when I first saw her. She was my girlfriend at the time we played the game. Mostly, we played it with her girlfriends. It was a throwback game…sort of a mix of Monopoly or Sorry with some Mousetrap thrown in. Players would roll dice to determine the number of spaces to move forward on the board. In that regard, it was like Monopoly. There were slides and ladders that advanced you past the serious sexual options. If you landed on pick a card, you had no idea what you might be asked to do. There were spaces for a “Truth” challenge and a “Dare” challenge. Some spaces would require actions similar to those from Seven Minutes In Heaven. I even adapted a spin type gizmo from another board game to determine who players had to make out with, when they landed on that spot on the board.

Once, I landed on a space that required female players to change seats according to breast size. When the few girls playing kept arguing over who had the largest breasts, I was chosen to determine who was going to sit where, by feeling their breasts to make the determination. Do you think a preteen boy would create the game any differently? Life was good. The entire game was geared towards experimentation with kissing, touching, foreplay and more. And, when I say more, I mean a lot more. It was all based-on chance. I remember playing the game for the first time with my girlfriend and two of her friends. I had just finished developing it and this was to be the test. The girls loved it. As an additional benefit, I thought I could market it. I was entrepreneurial, even as a young man.

Other times we played it with some of my friends. It seemed whenever a girl had their choice of whom they were going into the closet with, or whom they were going to take a dare with, I was the guy. It probably helped my chances that our mutual friend was going through some dramatic voice changes. His voice was very high pitched. Some thought he was gay and in the closet, so of course they picked me. I loved it when he joined us. It always worked out for me, lol.

At first, my girlfriend did not mind the game. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying it immensely. We were advancing our relationship as a result of the game, although we only played a few times. Like many adolescents we went into the woods to ride bikes and the mini-bikes I was building at the time. There was a fort behind Parkway School. It was on a narrow strip of land, between the highway and the school. To be precise, it was the woods on the side of Wantagh Parkway. There, we could always make out privately. Hand jobs were a regular routine. I was terrified of getting her pregnant. Back then, if you got someone pregnant, you would have to marry the person. Whether you loved her or not was irrelevant. That was just the way it was back then. If you helped make the baby, you took responsibility for it. You helped raise the child, for better or worse. It didn’t matter that you were 16. No one got abortions back then. I believe they were illegal at the time. So, you were very careful. Still, we were not using protection. I started to love her so deeply; I felt I wanted to marry her, even at that young age. If she became pregnant, I would propose. That is what my heart told me when we made love. That’s the way your heart works when you are so young.

Our first time was in the woods. We had been together for over a year, on and off. We wandered into the woods and found a huge, fallen tree to lay down on. We made love for the first time. At that age, it doesn’t last very long, no matter what my baby sitter might have taught me years earlier. Sex is almost over before it starts. All the same, what started as innocent experimentation, became so much more. We both drew the “go all the way” card, while playing my sex game. That took us from the very innocent, experimentation stage, to the passionate, heart-pounding, I love you stage.

I think that even though it was over in a few strokes, she felt as much love as I did. She was a virgin, so it meant a lot to her. We knew it was risky since we didn’t use protection. I thought she was going to get pregnant, but she didn’t, even though I came inside her. I didn’t mean to, but I didn’t know it would happen so quickly. By the time I was cuming, my instincts overruled my brain and I pushed in deeper, as opposed to pulling-out, as I swore to her that I would. I could feel myself pulsating harder than I ever had before. Her body was pulsating with mine. We were melting into one another. The only thing good about that age was that as soon as you came, you could take a piss and do it again. Most of the time, over and over. And that is exactly what we did. We totally lost any semblance of self-control.

This went on through our final year of junior high school. I was such an idiot. Other girls would want to go out with me, so I would break up with her. In most cases the other girl would ask me to help her lose her virginity, as If I was in the business of training virgins. Typically, immediately afterwards, I would ask my girlfriend out again. In my naivety, I didn’t want to cheat on her and felt breaking up with her was the only fair way I could have sex with another girl. The virgins wanted a guy they could trust to not tell the entire school. I was as safe as any guy could be. Many girls simply wanted to know what it was like. I started to get a reputation as being experienced. So, I was kind of a go to guy. Not for being a long-term boyfriend, just someone to do it with.

At the time, many of the kids would have home parties, either in their parent’s basements, or when their parents weren’t home. I was invited to a lot of them. Often, it was just a cover for another girl wanting to fool around with me. By the time I turned seventeen, it was even happening with girls I met at movie theaters. As I started to travel to other schools to compete, especially as a wrestler, everyone would look for a girl to hook-up with from that school. Before long I was with girls from several other schools as well. My father used to drive me and my date to movie theaters where we would always find some private spot to make out and experiment.

Everyone’s favorite spot to pick up girls was at the Levittown Roller Rink. They had a couple’s skate on the weekend where they would turn the lights down and you could ask any girl to skate. If she said yes, it always meant she was interested. You always held hands until the song was over. If you were lucky the girl would join you for a soda and you could get her number. I was a pretty good skater, so I got my share of phone numbers.

I met this incredibly beautiful girl at the movie theater. I was with several of my friends. We were watching Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields. This girl looked like her twin. I was throwing popcorn at her and being a pest to get her attention. Eventually, after I passed a series of notes to her, she agreed to meet me at the beach the next day. I was about fourteen at the time, and was allowed to take the bus to Jones Beach on the weekends. I was particularly excited about meeting her at the beach because we just watched Brook Shields swim naked with her teenage lover. The movie was porn for teenagers. Every teenager who watched that film wanted to go skinny-dipping with his or her significant other.

The following day, a group of my friends and I went to the beach and met her and her friends at the tunnel that connected the parking lot to the boardwalk. Eventually, all our friends left. We stayed until after the lifeguards went off duty. We started making out on the beach. We were reenacting Blue Lagoon. We took our clothes off and snuck into the water. The waves were rough that day. We tried to have sex in the water. The choppiness of the water along with the strong current made it difficult. To compound the problem, the salt water was getting into our eyes. We swallowed copious amounts of sea water. The movie romanticized the process. It was almost impossible to duplicate, especially if you wanted to stay low in the water to be discreet. Eventually, we stood up in the crashing waves and managed to make it work. It was nice, but again, jack rabbit fast.

We left the water and lounged on the sand until we knew the last buses were about to leave. We had to take different busses because we lived in different towns. Neither one of us had a private phone, nor was there internet in those days. She gave me her number at the movie theater but I lost it. So, after our beautiful Blue Lagoon style, romantic encounter, I never saw her again. I was so upset. I shed a few tears over her. But, like the clueless person I was, as soon as she was gone, there was a new girl to take her place. Or, I would hook- up with my on and off again junior high school sweetheart. No surprise, by the time we were in high school, she had enough of my antics and broke up with me. She fell in love with a guy and spent almost all of high school with him, as I bounced from partner to partner.

In my senior year, my girlfriend and I broke up. She was the college girl who taught me how to play the guitar and much more. Originally, she was to be my prom date, but that ship had sailed. We were both sad after our relationship ended. We avoided each other for the most part. I was so shallow and full of myself. No excuse, but I was following orders from the wrong head. I was on my way home from wrestling practice on the day of the prom. For some reason, I took the bus home. Usually, I ran. Guess who was on the bus? It was my junior high school sweetheart. She had broken up with her boyfriend days earlier. We decided to go to the prom together. This was after three years of her dating her ex. It was a romantic bus ride home

I was excited to be going to the prom with her. She was such a close friend. I always felt that when we were together, we were home. I loved her, but I was not ready to be with one woman for the rest of my life. We went to the prom. I was so skinny I was able to sneak an entire bottle of liquor into the event in my pants. We shared a nostalgic yet romantic evening. Something in my heart told me we could get back together and give it a real shot. We went to Long Beach, as many couples did after the prom and slept under the pier. We reunited in more ways than one.

As the night waned, it became apparent to us both, that our chapter of love had ended long ago. Any hope we could rekindle the relationship was unrealistic, as graduation was just around the corner. We lost touch shortly afterwards. Today, she is a schoolteacher and single mom. I often reflect on our extended, on and off, chapter of love with fond memories. We were so innocent. I would get butterflies in my stomach every time we kissed. I wish I kept the design for that board game. I think Sex Games would have been a real treat for new generations of experimenters. What an APP it could be!

 

Chapter 36 – Sex 101

I had not seen her, or even spoken to her, in over thirty years. As soon as I heard her voice again, the rush of adrenaline and love overwhelmed me. It was as if an arrow from Cupid’s bow pierced my heart. I have felt this before, with my rock star, so I knew the feeling was real. It was unbelievable that love could last that long. She felt the same way and wouldn’t meet, for fear of losing control of herself. I met her at a disco bar called 1776 when I was seventeen. It wasn’t legal for me to be drinking. A rather legendary bartender who lived down the block from me owned an interest in the place. When I arrived, he let me in, along with some of my other under aged friends. He was friends with my father and knew I would never say anything. Almost everyone there was older. There were a lot of local college girls there as well.

I had never dated a college girl. I was bouncing between different girls from my high school. At the time, I was throwing keg or victory parties for my classmates at other people’s homes. At almost every one of them, I hooked-up with someone. My father knew we were drinking, but if it wasn’t excessive, he seemed OK with it. Dad drank a lot himself at times and wanted me to be careful, but have fun. Dad was my pseudo wingman that night, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Dad was always my wingman. I try to be that for my own son to this day.

I was almost six-feet tall, one hundred-forty-five-pounds. I was an athlete with very little body fat. I was as obsessed with sports as I was with sex. I ran marathons and earned four varsity letters in high school. My favorite sport was wrestling, but I wasn’t a great wrestler. I was just good enough to give the talented wrestlers a run for their money. On occasions, I could outperform them on sheer heart and conditioning, but I was no match for true grapplers. All the same I was in Olympic condition when I met her. She was dancing with some girls on a mostly empty dance floor. The disco lights were flashing and the DJ was playing the Bee Gees. She was beautiful and sexy in a wholesome way. I don’t remember how, or why, we started dancing. I do remember that we weren’t dancing for long before she started kissing me.

I had not seen her, or even spoken to her, in over thirty years. As soon as I heard her voice again, the rush of adrenaline and love overwhelmed me. It was as if an arrow from Cupid’s bow pierced my heart. I have felt this before, with my rock star, so I knew the feeling was real. It was unbelievable that love could last that long. She felt the same way and wouldn’t meet, for fear of losing control of herself. I met her at a disco bar called 1776 when I was seventeen. It wasn’t legal for me to be drinking. A rather legendary bartender who lived down the block from me owned an interest in the place. When I arrived, he let me in, along with some of my other under aged friends. He was friends with my father and knew I would never say anything. Almost everyone there was older. There were a lot of local college girls there as well.

I had never dated a college girl. I was bouncing between different girls from my high school. At the time, I was throwing keg or victory parties for my classmates at other people’s homes. At almost every one of them, I hooked-up with someone. My father knew we were drinking, but if it wasn’t excessive, he seemed OK with it. Dad drank a lot himself at times and wanted me to be careful, but have fun. Dad was my pseudo wingman that night, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Dad was always my wingman. I try to be that for my own son to this day.

I was almost six-feet tall, one hundred-forty-five-pounds. I was an athlete with very little body fat. I was as obsessed with sports as I was with sex. I ran marathons and earned four varsity letters in high school. My favorite sport was wrestling, but I wasn’t a great wrestler. I was just good enough to give the talented wrestlers a run for their money. On occasions, I could outperform them on sheer heart and conditioning, but I was no match for true grapplers. All the same I was in Olympic condition when I met her. She was dancing with some girls on a mostly empty dance floor. The disco lights were flashing and the DJ was playing the Bee Gees. She was beautiful and sexy in a wholesome way. I don’t remember how, or why, we started dancing. I do remember that we weren’t dancing for long before she started kissing me.

She was several years older than I was and going to college. It was obvious she was extremely popular. In fact, she could easily have been the star of one of those campy college girl-centric movies. She was voted best looking in her high school. If the Brady Bunch had another sister, she would have been it, just a hotter Jewish one. When I met her, I probably was wearing white bell-bottom jeans and a shiny shirt. It was the era of Members Only jackets and crazy styling. We were all following the music and fashion trends. I loved rock and roll. As a young boy, I started listening to fifties music on eight track tapes in my father’s car. I knew my rock and roll. But once disco became the rage and John Travolta was dancing his way into girls’ pants, every guy wanted to be him. And, every girl, wanted to be a disco queen.

But, she was no disco queen while she was going down on me, that very night, at her parents’ house. She had “A Man Needs A Maid” by Neil Young, playing on her stereo. It was a song I never heard before. It was beyond erotic to get head while it was playing. She knew what she was doing, I didn’t. Despite the fact I started young, most of my chapters of love came long after high school. I had girlfriends in high school and loved them all. She was the one who gave me an education. She was as much my sex education college tutor, as she was my girlfriend. For some reason, she was happier when she had my penis in her hand or mouth. As any high school, teenage boy will tell you, finding that in a girl does not come easy. We would hang out at schoolyards, make out and fool around for hours. I always considered her a hippie of sorts, because she was.

We didn’t go out very much, as most of our time was spent in her bedroom listening to music and engaging in hours and hours of sex. She did teach me how to play guitar and she was the first girlfriend I ever photographed. I always loved photography but I never shot any of my girlfriends. It never occurred to me. My parents took the family album shots, so other than people taking photographs of me for the yearbook, I never got into it. Taking photographs of her, with her little instamatic camera, was a turn on. I loved it. She loved it as well, as she was already into photography. She was the impetus for my love of photography as well for the guitar. The incredible sex was more than a bonus.

Thirty years later, she sent me the photos we took of each other in her bedroom, which at the time, became my home away from home. I would run three miles each way to see her. She would teach me how to play guitar, as well as her favorite sex moves. She was the first girl who knew more about sex than I did. At that age, almost every girl I dated was a virgin, until I met her. The closest most would come to sex was playing Spin The Bottle or Truth Or Dare, at parties.

She even looked like a hot schoolteacher. When she came to my high school to pick me up after sports, I felt like a rock star. It was great for my ego. I was very shy. I put on that tough guy, jock attitude to compensate. Most of the guys I knew did. She would drive me everywhere. I didn’t have a car yet. I don’t think I had even gone for my road test at the time. I was so used to running everywhere that I didn’t feel I had a need to. I ran everywhere, even before Forest Gump made it popular. My father had gone from a chain smoker to the founding partner and president of the Long Island Road Runners Club. I was running thousands of miles a year between the off-road races and sports at school. I was a rock. That obsession with sports helped me control my sexual obsession and kept my hormones in check. With her, I didn’t have to. It was a short but extremely happy time in my life. We didn’t date long. I found out thirty years later, she had as many complications in her personal life as I did. College girl or not, she had a lot of growing up to do.

When we spoke thirty plus years later, she literally rubbed one out while catching up with me on the phone. It became apparent as to what she was up to when she started to breathe heavily and climax quite loudly. It was obvious that I had just as strong an effect on her heart as she had on mine. We never dared see each other, as we are both terrified that we wouldn’t be able to control ourselves. She was married and didn’t want to violate her marriage vows. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a part to it either, but then again, I never could control myself when we were together. She was my sexual tutor of sorts in my first college class, Sex 101.

Chapter 35 – Too Young To Love

One of the oddities of the entertainment industry is that many models and performers use stage names. A stage name affords performers a certain amount of anonymity. In the 80’s, it afforded a hint of actual privacy, before everything about everyone was captured and stored on Facebook, The NSA, Chinese, Russian and countless other databases. In the eighties, you could maintain some level of anonymity simply by changing your name. Most models would have two first names, like Cindy Ann or Deborah Mary; just like strippers. I was listed as John Joseph on my modeling comp card simply because an agent told me to use my first and middle name.

That’s why so many people who leave the industry are typically almost impossible to locate. They can’t be found using their stage names. In some cases, it’s for the best. In this case, I just turned eighteen. She was sixteen. I didn’t know she was only sixteen when I met her. To compound the issue, she hadn’t actually turned sixteen yet. She was dancing like a disco queen at a club called Feathers, in Levittown. As far as I knew, they proofed everyone, so it never crossed my mind that she might be under eighteen. She was one of a few under aged girls I ever dated. I didn’t understand why they were considered too young. I was only two years older and had just turned eighteen myself. However, I never pursued relationships if I found out a girl was using fake I.D. and lying about her age.

The first time I met her she was dancing in a particularly suggestive manner at Feathers. Girls from all over Long Island would frequent that disco. The guys would dress like John Travolta. We mimicked the dance moves we saw in movies. No one had a clue as to what we were doing. But, some of the girls were hot. They seemed to instinctually know how to move their bodies and were far superior dancers. They had natural rhythm and it showed. Dancing is, and always has been, as much a sexual expression as a creative or romantic expression. When a girl who was dancing was also very beautiful, it could be quite erotic.

One of the oddities of the entertainment industry is that many models and performers use stage names. A stage name affords performers a certain amount of anonymity. In the 80’s, it afforded a hint of actual privacy, before everything about everyone was captured and stored on Facebook, The NSA, Chinese, Russian and countless other databases. In the eighties, you could maintain some level of anonymity simply by changing your name. Most models would have two first names, like Cindy Ann or Deborah Mary; just like strippers. I was listed as John Joseph on my modeling comp card simply because an agent told me to use my first and middle name.

That’s why so many people who leave the industry are typically almost impossible to locate. They can’t be found using their stage names. In some cases, it’s for the best. In this case, I just turned eighteen. She was sixteen. I didn’t know she was only sixteen when I met her. To compound the issue, she hadn’t actually turned sixteen yet. She was dancing like a disco queen at a club called Feathers, in Levittown. As far as I knew, they proofed everyone, so it never crossed my mind that she might be under eighteen. She was one of a few under aged girls I ever dated. I didn’t understand why they were considered too young. I was only two years older and had just turned eighteen myself. However, I never pursued relationships if I found out a girl was using fake I.D. and lying about her age.

The first time I met her she was dancing in a particularly suggestive manner at Feathers. Girls from all over Long Island would frequent that disco. The guys would dress like John Travolta. We mimicked the dance moves we saw in movies. No one had a clue as to what we were doing. But, some of the girls were hot. They seemed to instinctually know how to move their bodies and were far superior dancers. They had natural rhythm and it showed. Dancing is, and always has been, as much a sexual expression as a creative or romantic expression. When a girl who was dancing was also very beautiful, it could be quite erotic.

She was from Brookville. We danced for at least five hours, with a few alcohol and water breaks mixed in. We didn’t talk much. With every new song, we started grinding into each other, more and more. Eventually she ditched her girlfriends. We danced until we closed the place. Then, I drove her home. She lived in a mansion. It was the largest house I had ever seen, until I began photographing weddings at Oheka Castle decades later. At one point, Oheka Castle was the second largest private residence in the United States. The Brookville residence was even larger than my grandfather’s mansion on Camelback Mountain in Arizona. This house was gigantic.

As soon as we walked in, she kissed me and ran up the stairs. She was up there for a long time. Finally, I went upstairs to find her. As I called her name, looking into each room, I was worried she might have fallen asleep. I was also worried that her parents would come home and find me wandering through their mansion. But, as I turned the corner to a totally pink room, she came running out completely naked! She grabbed me, kissed me and ran away saying “you’re it.” She wanted me to chase her, so I did. I ran after her, following her down the stairs looking for her. After searching through almost every room in the house, I found her in a room with a swimming pool. It was enormous. She was swimming and waiting for me to join her.

I immediately took my clothes off and dove in. We started to kiss. It was so romantic. The lighting was dim and the pool was heated. It was perfect. We kissed for a good fifteen minutes. Then, she started to touch me more intimately, smiled and swam to the other side of the pool. I swam towards her. Every time I swam closer she would move further away. As I walked up the pool steps, she ran in the opposite direction, laughing and screaming. She wanted me run after her again. The chase was on. As she was running up the stairs, I was passing the front door. I could hear the door opening. I was like, holy shit, what do I do? I ran up the stairs so I wouldn’t get caught, but I was completely naked. My clothes were at the pool! I went upstairs to her room and we both hid under the bed. I didn’t understand her strategy. We were both soaking wet and naked.

She grabbed my hand and then hugged held me tightly when she heard her father calling her. Eventually, he said, “we are going to wait right here, until you come down.” She put some clothes on and tried to dry her hair as quickly as possible. She left me in her room wearing nothing but a towel. A few minutes later she came upstairs with my clothes and I got dressed. Once I was dressed, her father came into the room and told me she was only fifteen. I thought he was lying and then I thought he was going to kill me. I couldn’t believe that this well-developed, yet petite, girl was only fifteen. I told him I enjoyed dancing with his daughter and really liked her. His reply was kind and considerate. He said “don’t sweat it John, maybe in another life.” He knew I was from a middle-class town and wanted something more for his daughter. His primary issue wasn’t the age difference but my “middle class status”.

He walked me out and for some reason, tried to give me a few hundred dollars. I wouldn’t take it and said, “no way! Are you kidding me?” It was the first time in my life I felt different knowing that he was writing me off simply because I was not from a wealthy neighborhood. I figured I would see her the following week at Feathers, where I saw her almost every weekend prior, dancing wildly. I knew it meant he never wanted me to come back and I never did. As I got into my car, the sun was rising. I saw a light in her bedroom window. She was wearing the same pink pajamas she put on when she left to talk to her parents. It looked like she was crying. Of that, I’m not totally certain. Her father told me she brought home a different guy every weekend, but I didn’t believe him. Maybe I was a fool, but I had fallen in love with that petite dancer over the months of her flirting followed by our dance marathon at Feathers. In retrospect, she was not too young to love, but she was too young to love at the time. I never saw her again, even though I went to Feathers every weekend afterwards for months, hoping she would be there. I’ll never forget our naked race through the mansion, swimming in her indoor pool, or dancing with her.

There was one other love affair with a girl who was too young to love that occurred before I was officially living in NYC. I was staying with friends in their NYC apartments quite often. I was eighteen, almost nineteen. I had just started photographing professional NYC models. An acquaintance introduced me to a young lady who was looking to create a portfolio. She was studying at a music academy, as opposed to a traditional high school. In addition to her music, one of her goals was to model. Her academy was a performing arts high school, with a very high price tag attached to it. I was invited to her family’s apartment many times by her mom. She was one of the first girls I met who did not have a father; at least he was not around or engaged in her life. She never wanted to speak about it. All I knew was that he was MIA and her mother was rather sad. She was tall for her age. She was sixteen chronologically, but was an old soul. Her mother would always make us tea and ask me when I was coming back to the city.

I wasn’t sure who liked me more, her or her mother. I only got into the city once a month, or so, back then. I was a novice, albeit talented, photographer. Her mom was trying to set us up. It was the first time I ever remember a mom setting me up with her daughter. What made it even stranger was that she was only sixteen. She was tall and mature, but still, she was just sixteen. Then again, I wasn’t yet nineteen myself. She was considerably more mature than I was. She may have been more mature then her own mother. We met for tea, at least five or six times, over a year or so. At that point she started to model more formally. She hired an agent and a manager. Her mother was seeing millions in her daughter’s future. She had that kind of grace and beauty. Once my friend started to allow me use his studio in Hell’s Kitchen, her mom would have a driver drop her off. This was long before I sublet the place from him. The sessions were more like play dates. We would shoot for a couple of hours and then go to dinner at one fancy restaurant or another.

At the end of every shoot, she would beg me to let her stay. For some reason, she was terrified of her mother.. But, I was always respectful. Her mom made it clear that there would be no sex until she was eighteen. She was very controlling. The severity of it was lost on me at the time. I thought that was how rich, cultured kids were all treated in New York City. I had no frame of reference other than the girl from Brookville and we all know how abruptly that ended. At the end of shoots, she would hug me and say, “please just one more hour of shooting…just one more hour. I can’t bear to be away from you.” She would try to kiss me, but I was trying to do the right thing. The desperation and longing in her voice was intoxicating.

The last time I saw her we were laying on the floor, taking in the sunset, after we had shot for hours. She was sad, upset that she was going to have to leave soon. I was joking around with her, as I always did, trying to keep her spirits up. I knew I would have waited years for her, if she would wait for me. I was falling in love with her. On this occasion, it was just too much for me and we started to kiss. They were soft little butterfly kisses. She giggled and looked into my eyes the entire time. After almost a year I was giving in to the passion. But, she wasn’t seventeen yet, so I stopped at kissing. I was enamored with her and wanted to marry her. I wanted to spend my life with her. I had more chemistry with her than any woman I ever knew.

I told her I couldn’t see her again until she turned seventeen. I couldn’t control my sexual desires and I wouldn’t do anything that could put me in jeopardy, no matter how much we loved each other. It escalated to beyond kissing. We started to touch each other in ways that were pushing me to break my promise. She became very sad and started to cry. As her driver came to the door, she kissed me, right in front of him. As they left, I could see the look on the driver’s face. It would be the last time I saw her. When I called, I was told not to call back. I didn’t understand why. I went to her house and learned that they had gone to Japan where she landed a huge modeling contract. Her mother went with her. Her mother never wanted us to fall in love, she just wanted me to build an amazing portfolio for her, for free.

Often, I think about those two girls who were too young to love. I wonder what would have happened if they were just a little older. I don’t think I have ever had such organic loving connections. There was a time when I also was too young to love. That never stopped older girls from hitting on me or acting on their crushes. There were however, two times in my life when I was told that I was too young to love. Once it was by a girl I used to catch grasshoppers with at Humarock Beach, on Cape Cod. For summer vacations, we used to go to my mother’s aunt’s cottage. It was on a narrow strip of land that had a river on one side and the ocean on the other. Once, I almost killed myself while surfing. Not only were there sharks in the water, but the current pulled me out to deeper waters. I was rescued by cousin Tommy, who swam out and guided me back to shore.

When my sixteen-year-old grasshopper-catching partner found out, she ran to me and hugged me passionately. She then started kissing me under a very bright full moon. As people started to come outside, she ran away. Even at that young age, I realized she had feelings for me far more intense than catching grasshoppers. I had similar feelings for her, despite the fact I just turned twelve. She told me that she loved me. Soon afterwards her family left their cottage for some reason. A day or two later they were gone for good, even though they were supposed to stay the entire summer. I often wonder how different my life would have been if any one of those three chapters of love were allowed to take their natural progression. I have unsuccessfully tried to locate all of these past chapters of love despite the fact I can’t remember their names. I often wonder if they would even remember me so many years later. Now even decades later, they are all still deeply embedded in my heart. If only society was different and we were allowed to love anyone we wanted to and not confined by so many rules.

 

Chapter 34 – Tripped Out Love

After my tomboy girlfriend had enough of New York City, I was still having a great deal of fun. While it was terrifying to see a person go through such a horrific experience, she was alive and smarter for it. I can’t swear to it, but I think I saw her on a few television commercials as well as in a television series. Knowing that she was succeeding, or at least making some headway, was a relief. It was also part of the reason I continued to stay in the city.

Unfortunately, her earlier experience would be far from the worst I would see. At the time, I was bartending and being treated like a rock star. I loved every minute of life. I would wake up at dawn and photograph models at sunrise, take a quick shower and make it to the early business-networking bartending shift. I’d work through the early morning, closing out the registers and counting out the drawers. After the FBI raided our registers and gave us all polygraphs, only a few of us from the original crew were left. The others, who they caught stealing or drug dealing, were fired. The few of us who were honest, became the default head bartenders at each bar. They let go almost the entire bartending staff and quickly hired some great new bartenders. The ones who were fired continued to hang out at the club, selling drugs or promoting their modeling or acting careers. In the 80’s, it was about being seen by someone who could help advance your career, or the next hook-up.

One night, I was uncharacteristically working the main bar. That bar was predominantly for the tourists. You had to know someone to get to the upper level bars. If you got to the next level, you needed to know someone to get to the ones that were even more private. There was VIP and then private VIP, up to seven levels and specific bars. The most exclusive was the Michael Todd Room Bar. That was the one I worked at most of the time. Just like in the movies, we would flip glasses and bottles and entertain our customers any way we could. We did not originate the practice, but we did make it popular in the eighties. Hollywood and Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, made it even more visible. Regardless, we had a shit load of fun throwing glasses twenty feet into the air and catching them, spinning bottles in our hands and using Sambuca to light our fingers on fire.

After my tomboy girlfriend had enough of New York City, I was still having a great deal of fun. While it was terrifying to see a person go through such a horrific experience, she was alive and smarter for it. I can’t swear to it, but I think I saw her on a few television commercials as well as in a television series. Knowing that she was succeeding, or at least making some headway, was a relief. It was also part of the reason I continued to stay in the city.

Unfortunately, her earlier experience would be far from the worst I would see. At the time, I was bartending and being treated like a rock star. I loved every minute of life. I would wake up at dawn and photograph models at sunrise, take a quick shower and make it to the early business-networking bartending shift. I’d work through the early morning, closing out the registers and counting out the drawers. After the FBI raided our registers and gave us all polygraphs, only a few of us from the original crew were left. The others, who they caught stealing or drug dealing, were fired. The few of us who were honest, became the default head bartenders at each bar. They let go almost the entire bartending staff and quickly hired some great new bartenders. The ones who were fired continued to hang out at the club, selling drugs or promoting their modeling or acting careers. In the 80’s, it was about being seen by someone who could help advance your career, or the next hook-up.

One night, I was uncharacteristically working the main bar. That bar was predominantly for the tourists. You had to know someone to get to the upper level bars. If you got to the next level, you needed to know someone to get to the ones that were even more private. There was VIP and then private VIP, up to seven levels and specific bars. The most exclusive was the Michael Todd Room Bar. That was the one I worked at most of the time. Just like in the movies, we would flip glasses and bottles and entertain our customers any way we could. We did not originate the practice, but we did make it popular in the eighties. Hollywood and Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, made it even more visible. Regardless, we had a shit load of fun throwing glasses twenty feet into the air and catching them, spinning bottles in our hands and using Sambuca to light our fingers on fire.

While I was there, people like Robin Williams, Robert Palmer, BB King and a ton of other celebs, politician and famous athletes came to my bar. Even Deborah Harry and Andy Warhol came to me regularly for bottled water. Robin Williams and I would talk quite a bit. He loved the expression on people’s faces when I would dip my fingers in Sambuca and then light them on fire while loudly saying, “how about a Bud Light?” a trendy slogan at the time. It made me feel quite cool that I had a celebrity following at my bar. Many of the models that wanted to shoot with me would meet me there and hang out as well. So many were coming to see me that I didn’t have time for them all. After a while, one or two beautiful women a day would become the focus of my shoots. I did this almost every day, for well over a year. I had a pretty big fan club even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was so naive.

I was personally ringing up over seven thousand dollars a night, the most of any bartender. I was loving life and rocking it, even though my schedule was grueling. Many bartenders worked five days a week, 9-5 in a day job and then worked all night and into the morning bartending. I had a similar schedule. It was grueling to say the least. I jammed as much life into a day as I possibly could. I felt free. I was making people happy with my photography. Sculptures and other artists were using my photos as the subject matter of their art. That was a double win. One of the models who came to see me, modeled with Wilhelmina. My friend Karen introduced us. It was reciprocal, as I introduced Karen to a few guys as well. One guy, Dale, turned out to be the love of her life. They were going to get married. She was grateful, so she hooked me up with the most natural, beautiful, and creative models she could find. I was busy night and day, bartending and shooting comp cards, portfolios; even national campaigns and fashion magazine editorials for famous designers.

One model Karen introduced me to was particularly stunning. I really liked photographing her. Karen was a booker and talent agent at Wilhelmina as well as a dear life-long friend. I was always extra polite and generous with my time when it came to her models. My deal with any agent was simple. I would always be a true gentleman to anyone they sent to me, but if the model wanted me and made it obvious she wanted something more, it would be our call if it was to get sexual. This model hit on me every time see saw me. When we finally shot, she did not throw herself at me. She made me chase her. She would walk around the studio naked and ask me what I wanted. She had an amazing accent. She would ask if I wanted a blowjob or if I wanted to take her from behind; graphically explaining why she was so talented beyond her modeling. She intentionally teased me quite often but made me wait months before we did anything.

Finally, one evening when I least expected it, and had given up trying, she just went down on me. Beyond that, we were enjoying each other’s creative collaboration very much. As a result, her career was skyrocketing. She knew I had many sexual partners and I assumed she did as well. Women, in the city, in the 80’s were just like men. It was a free-for-all. Since many of the male models and photographers were gay, if you were straight you were a target. I was definitely a target. It probably comes as no surprise that female models who were that gorgeous were also a target, and she was definitely gorgeous.

One weekend, one of the bartenders was handing out packs of chewing gum. It wasn’t unusual for any of us to bring samples from promotions or shoots to the bars. It was just regular chewing gum, with sticks of gum in small packets. He left them on the bar for us to help ourselves. Most of us took quite a few throughout the night and thought nothing of it. The bar got busy fast that night. Suddenly I came down with a terrible fever. Several of the bartenders felt ill as well. We had to work as long as we could. Management would be furious if we lost fifty thousand dollars of revenue because all the bartenders at the main bar got sick the same night!

We constantly broke our own unofficial records for how much we took in revenue wise, per bartender. Some of the new recruits, like the mafia kid, were doing great. All the new female bartenders seemed to be very capable as well. I could always tell how we were doing, by the pace of the registers. I knew we were having an amazing night. Then, my fever got worse. My manager came over and felt my head. I didn’t feel hot to him. Then the hallucinations started. I thought it was from the fever. Within an hour or two, I couldn’t take it any longer, I called the manager over and told him I had to leave. I was getting worse. So were many of the other bartenders at the main bar, but the club was packed and he couldn’t get in touch with the stand- by bartenders as it was too late in the evening and most were out partying themselves. He offered to take me home. He didn’t think I should try it alone. He probably knew that something was up. Nothing like this ever happened to me before. I was terrified and thought I would have to go to the hospital. Instead, my model, pseudo girlfriend arrived and said she would take me home. She knew as soon as she saw me that something was very wrong.

Once we got home, we took a shower. I saw faces coming out of the faucet. Real 3D spiral hallucinations, in every color and shape you could imagine. I thought I was going mad. I thought something poisonous stung me, or I ate something bad. As the hours went by, it got worse. I was in a surreal place. After a while, she said, “holy shit, someone gave you acid.” I was tripping. I had no energy. I was afraid to turn on the TV or radio, as I was paranoid that anything new would cause more hallucinations. Just imagine a vampire Dumbo coming out of the faucet and spirographic fractal images floating in space in every color imaginable that suddenly would turn into other evil Disney style characters and attack you!

Finally, after a few hours, I started to come down. She wanted to fool around to see how sex would be while I was tripping. She wanted me to experience “a good trip” as she called it. Her thinking was it would bring me back to some level of reality and realize that I wasn’t going crazy, just tripping. She had taken mushrooms before and figured out what was happening to me. We took my futon mattress up to the roof. We fooled around under the stars. At one point, she was turning from one cartoon character to another. First she was Snow White, then Cinderella. Then she became Cat Woman and a Playboy bunny. It wasn’t like she had a mask on. It was as if she morphed into actual cartoons. That’s how serious a drug acid is.

Most people don’t know that acid can kill you. I did. LSD was its’ street name at the time. I would never touch the stuff or anything like it. Mescaline and mushrooms were regularly being used by many people in the entertainment business back then. I was pissed when hours later, I came down. My girlfriend was right, someone had given me acid. We slept all day. When we woke, we both went back to the bar. I confronted the bartender who gave us the gum when other bartenders suggested he was the one who drugged us all. He was laughing as soon as he saw me. He asked if “I had a good trip.” He was leaning over the bar and I punched him in the face without even thinking about what I was doing. It wasn’t a fight. That one punch ended the entire thing, but it also ended my job at the Palladium. The manager told me his father was connected and that he had no choice. He made me wait there until the mafia kids father arrived. I was nervous to say the least, but felt that punch was nothing compared to what I really wanted to do to him. My manager told me if I didn’t stay, the guy’s dad would make me wish I had. I felt justified in what I did, so I waited like the wise ass I was. I didn’t know I’d be going for a limo ride, along with the other bartender and a few goons.

A limo pulled up and I was beckoned inside. Like a fool, I got in.. My manager said “please drop him off here after you talk?” The guy inside the limo said, “maybe we’ll drive him home. Don’t worry about it.” I was like, holy shit I’m going to get wacked. My manager’s face turned white. The mafia kid’s father introduced himself and asked me why I punched his son. I looked directly at him, terrified, knowing my life could end at any second. Then instead of being polite I looked right into his son’s eyes and said, “because if that fuck every drugs me again I will kill him, never mind punch him; that was a love tap.” I was bluffing of course. Then I told him the entire story. I spoke to him with the utmost of respect “and if I were you, I would get your son as far away from the Palladium as possible. There are half a dozen maniacs that want to kill him right now.” I was not exaggerating, as there were some guests, also looking for him, who were known to be bad-asses. Word traveled quite fast between us back then and it was not only the other bartenders at the main bar that he drugged.

With that, the father started screaming at his son, as loud as I have ever heard any man scream. At first I thought he lost it and was screaming at me. He was screaming in Italian but was looking at his son. He got up from his seat and smacked him in the face hard, many times. I actually felt bad for the guy. I wished I had never hit him, but it was too late. It seemed that he was beaten up more than a few times. He apologized for his son’s stupidity, but warned, that if I ever touched anyone in his family again, he would kill me. At that point I realized that we only drove around the corner. We were back at the Palladium right where he picked me up. It felt like an eternity, with every minute taking forever. He made us both apologize and shake hands. He told his son to tell the manager to come out. My manager came out and fired us both. They had it planned, even before we got into the car. I will never forget the look of relief on his face when he saw me get out of the car in one piece.

It was the end of my career bartending at the Palladium, but my photography career had taken off. I was on my way to California with Miss Canada for a body shot session the following two weeks anyway. Also scheduled was a celebrity filled evening shoot with Mohammad Ali and two hundred A-list Celebrities, so the Palladium was the last thing on my mind. I was tired of shooting all day and bartending all night. The blow I was using to stay awake was starting to get to me. I never liked it. I was only doing it to stay awake for my shift. I was assured by the models other bartenders that it was harmless in small quantities..

I was taking a long, hard, look at my choices, and my life. I was a human sex machine at the Palladium, or as we nicknamed, it the “GetLaidium.” I wanted to clean up my act and put all my efforts into photography. Once I left the Palladium, the opportunities were coming at me faster than I knew how to handle. Somehow, I found a way and stayed in the city until the rest of the puzzle took shape. Lots of people were trying to get their hooks into me one way or another. Not for my talent, but as a means to tap into my endless supply of hot women. I wanted nothing to do with any of it. Later, I would learn that this practice plagued the industry.

That sexy Wilhelmina model was really crazy. She actually brought mushrooms with her after the gum incident. She wanted me to drink some kind of mushroom potion or tea, prior to having sex with her. I wanted nothing to do with it no matter how much she tried to bribe me to “go on a good trip” with her. I never did. She however did and was particularly kinky when she was tripping. She would want to experiment with so many different positions and do it in public places like Central Park. She particularly loved it when people were watching. Not literally out in the open but under sheets and on balcony’s or in front of the windows. When other models were over for cocktail parties she like to do it in the bathroom, intentionally leaving the door slightly ajar. She was a true exhibitionist.

The night she turned into cartoon characters, while I was unknowingly tripping, was one of the craziest experiences of my life. She later was booked by a major Japanese designer and moved to Japan. Back then, there was no convenient way for us to keep in contact, but we did share a great chapter of love. For that, I am eternally grateful.

 

Chapter 33 – My Waterfall

I do not know many people who have their own waterfall. For almost twenty years, I did. I didn’t own the actual deed to it, but it was “mine” all the same. I have many memories of that waterfall, but only a few photographs. My buddy called me after reading some chapters of love after I was posting them on social networks. He was a model, as was his girlfriend. The very first day I introduced them, they stole my waterbed and kept it for three weeks. When they came up for air, they got engaged and later married. They have kids now and have spent their lives together. We often laugh about the times they joined me at my waterfall. The reason we laugh is that it was on a very expensive piece of private property. I met the owner when I was lost, trespassing on his property without knowing it. We became friends. He said I could come back anytime I wanted. I went to that private waterfall for almost twenty years, until long after I found out he sold the property. That same waterfall became a robust local tourist attraction. But when it was just vacant land I would camp there, photograph models and fish where it met the Delaware River, lower down the mountainside. I even brought my children camping there when they were very young. Too young to remember it now.

Before I brought my friends and children to my waterfall, I would go there to take photographs. It was a few hour drive, north of Port Jervis, on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. I would drive along the river for about an hour and then hang a left at the railroad tracks, where they crossed the river on one of those, marginally safe-looking, bridges. I’d hang a quick right at a clearing in the trees. There was no real road, just dirt and gravel. Unless you knew it was there, you were not likely to find it.

Over the years, I probably brought a hundred different models to that waterfall. Often, I brought groups of models. One time I was there with my wife and another couple. The same couple I introduced who took my waterbed over for weeks. It rained heavily in the mountains. The roar of rushing water woke us just prior to the flash flood that wiped out our campsite. At that point I realized how dangerous camping on a waterfall could be. The flat area, where the tents could be pitched, was only ten feet from a fifty-foot drop.

I do not know many people who have their own waterfall. For almost twenty years, I did. I didn’t own the actual deed to it, but it was “mine” all the same. I have many memories of that waterfall, but only a few photographs. My buddy called me after reading some chapters of love after I was posting them on social networks. He was a model, as was his girlfriend. The very first day I introduced them, they stole my waterbed and kept it for three weeks. When they came up for air, they got engaged and later married. They have kids now and have spent their lives together. We often laugh about the times they joined me at my waterfall. The reason we laugh is that it was on a very expensive piece of private property. I met the owner when I was lost, trespassing on his property without knowing it. We became friends. He said I could come back anytime I wanted. I went to that private waterfall for almost twenty years, until long after I found out he sold the property. That same waterfall became a robust local tourist attraction. But when it was just vacant land I would camp there, photograph models and fish where it met the Delaware River, lower down the mountainside. I even brought my children camping there when they were very young. Too young to remember it now.

Before I brought my friends and children to my waterfall, I would go there to take photographs. It was a few hour drive, north of Port Jervis, on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. I would drive along the river for about an hour and then hang a left at the railroad tracks, where they crossed the river on one of those, marginally safe-looking, bridges. I’d hang a quick right at a clearing in the trees. There was no real road, just dirt and gravel. Unless you knew it was there, you were not likely to find it.

Over the years, I probably brought a hundred different models to that waterfall. Often, I brought groups of models. One time I was there with my wife and another couple. The same couple I introduced who took my waterbed over for weeks. It rained heavily in the mountains. The roar of rushing water woke us just prior to the flash flood that wiped out our campsite. At that point I realized how dangerous camping on a waterfall could be. The flat area, where the tents could be pitched, was only ten feet from a fifty-foot drop.

I was playing guitar and singing almost every night. At the time, I enjoyed playing and singing very much. What I loved most about camping, was that my playing very often turned into sing–alongs. Everyone would join in. Herb was almost always present at these gatherings. There was something very primitive and tribal about camping on a waterfall. I would have loved to live there. Log Cabin, camera, fishing and of course a soul mate to enjoy it with. Yep, always dreamed of a simple life in the woods, until I would have to chop wood in the freezing winters!

In any case, for many years I had my very own waterfall. It was easy to fall in love there and coincidentally; it was only a short ride to where my parents went on their honeymoon and my father took me fishing as a boy. I always thought of Washington Lake and the Delaware Water Gap as my home away from home. It was where I would go for my quiet, Milky Way lit vacations, hoping each time to discover my next chapter of love.

I shared many romantic nights under the stars, by that waterfall, laying on the rocks covered with nothing but a blanket, singing in total privacy. Well not total privacy, as typically a woman was beside me. I probably played more guitars and sang more songs on that waterfall than I did anywhere else.

The mornings there almost always meant a freezing bath in the river, and later, if I was lucky, a smallmouth bass or pike on the end of my fishing pole. I loved to smoke fish and was very into the outdoors. That’s why when I had my home in Centerport I loved it so much. It was like being upstate while still living on Long Island. I just didn’t get around to building a waterfall. I did build a Koi pond and a seventy-five-foot staircase made of stone. I also built a three-hundred-foot wall made of almost a hundred thousand pounds of stone. I did that to try to build my heart muscles as well as increase the value of my property. I was always building something when I owned a house. For the most part it became necessary physical therapy.

I first met her on the streets of NYC and we shot a few times. She was the actress who introduced me to Centerport, even though I never told my wife that. I didn’t want my wife to associate Centerport with one of my former lovers. She was one of the cutest models I ever photographed. She was also one of my most memorable adventures. She went on to make many movies for Disney and modeled all over the world. Our first meeting was on Seventh Avenue. We stopped dead in our tracks and just stared into each other’s eyes, almost as if we were the leads in a romance movie. Everything seemed as if it was moving in slow motion as she walked directly towards me. We stopped, inches from each other, never once blinking or taking our eyes off one another.

The first thing I said to her was, “what agency are you with?” It wasn’t a line. I simply had to know, before I stepped to the side and let her pass. I was in a trance and didn’t know what else to say. She answered; “Pretty People.” I knew the agency, as well as the owner. It was a legit agency. She took out her portfolio right there on the street. The pics were more than sexy. She was half naked in the lingerie shots. She seemed more than a little interested, so I invited her for lunch. We had baked clams and one of my favorite cocktails, Bloody Mary’s. We then went back to my apartment on 57th street and within minutes we were making out and tearing each other’s clothing off. It was over in a flash. I was young and she was hot, so what could I do. She didn’t want to do it again, so I offered to take her home. I drove her back to Centerport. That was my introduction to the area. I fell in Love with it as much as my waterfall.

The first time I photographed her it was in Cold Spring Harbor at a park and then later at a hot tub rental place in Huntington she introduced me to. You could rent a private room with a hot tub for an hour or two. It was inexpensive and private. We took photographs in one of the suites and fooled around again. She teased me until just before our time was up. She knew how to get what she wanted; photographs, sex, pretty much anything with that beautiful body and innocent looking eyes.

When I took her to the waterfall the first time, we were alone. We made love under a full moon, all night. It was summer and the waterfall was almost dry. We made love as the water trickled by us. It was magical. We could hear the crickets and the bull-frogs. The most beautiful part of it was, I could see her and the moon reflected in the glass-like pool of water on the flat rocks of the waterfall. It was enchanting. So was she. It wasn’t soon afterwards that I became quite possessive of her, even though I was sleeping with many other models. There seemed to be an endless stream of beautiful women stalking and seducing me. I never really understood why. She had a boyfriend in Centerport. I found out later they were engaged. She never spoke about him, but it was apparent that he existed. She didn’t try to hide it and alluded to the fact she was ending it, but had to do so slowly for personal reasons. About a year later, we went back to the same waterfall, after they broke up. We brought a male and female model with us. I knew on the way there that something changed between us. She jumped the guy that night and the girl jumped me, literally right next to each other. We shared two romantic nights by the waterfall, but only one of them was together. It was strange listening to them moan while I was inside another woman, who I didn’t care too much about, but who was making a play for me for weeks prior to the shoot.

I don’t know how many people can say they had their own waterfall and were fortunate enough to make love on it. To this day I still want to go back. I hope it is still there. I’m sure there is a future chapter of love, that would like to join me. Many years later, after not seeing her for decades, I ran into her father at church. It was the one they invited me to the first time I met her family. I had been a guest of her family several times. Her father told me that my photographs helped jumpstart her career and that she enjoyed making the Disney films that followed.

I have not heard from or spoken to her since. I don’t believe she would be happy to read this chapter, as I believe later in life, she became a very religious woman and abandoned the entertainment industry. Quite possibly because she slept her way into many powerful peoples’ hearts. But, she was a very special chapter of love to me. Coincidentally, almost my entire family now lives in Centerport. As for my waterfall, it’s been about fifteen years since I’ve been back but I will one day search for it. How quickly life passes us by, it seems like only yesterday we were holding hands looking up at the beautiful Milky Way on a starry night.

 

Chapter 32-The Kiss That Stole My Heart

The memories of my chapters of love are quite vivid and clear in my mind. Not just the visual or auditory memories, but the actual kinesthetic feelings associated with those chapters. Recently, I watched a video that explained love at a biochemical level. They use a functional MRI to look at the brain chemistry of people who are in love, who are mourning a chapter of love and those who claim to feel love at first sight. What they found is that the same area of the brain that releases endorphins when you are in love, becomes more active when you lose love. So, at the end of every chapter of love, biochemically, you feel that you love that person more and yearn painfully for them, despite how you may think you feel. We feel more when we are longing for love than we do when we are in love. Love becomes stronger with desire, especially unrequited love, even painfully so. With respect to love, the way our brain works is the greatest mind fuck in nature. Other mammals react to losing love this way as well. Scientists have even tested people who experience love at first sight and proved the biochemical reaction is not based on lust and is identical reaction to those who have been in love long term. That is why love at first sight is more than simple infatuation.

In my case, I carry the deep memories of love with me from everyone I have loved. My reflections of love, as I call them, are so clear that at times my heart races. I see and feel the love I have shared so vividly that I am often moved beyond my current state of being. The sparks of feelings that have stayed with me, my entire life, spur these vivid memories. Writing about them helps me channel that energy and is an emotional outlet for any lingering emotions that are still very much entangled deep within my heart.

Many people have near photographic memories. Some for history, some for math equations, or science. For me it is feelings. Scientific research suggests that we remember through our visual memories, auditory memories and kinesthetic memories. I am extremely kinesthetic. That’s why it is such an emotional process to share these chapters of love. I am very often moved beyond words. I share them as vividly as possible to share the passion that was shared between my lovers and myself. Every one of my lovers are extremely significant to my heart no matter how long we have been apart or how long we were together. Sometimes it was the act of creating together that built so much sexual tension. With one woman, who came to live with me, that tension became unbearable. In many cases, it was unfulfilled passion that drove me to extraordinary levels of originality and creativity.

The memories of my chapters of love are quite vivid and clear in my mind. Not just the visual or auditory memories, but the actual kinesthetic feelings associated with those chapters. Recently, I watched a video that explained love at a biochemical level. They use a functional MRI to look at the brain chemistry of people who are in love, who are mourning a chapter of love and those who claim to feel love at first sight. What they found is that the same area of the brain that releases endorphins when you are in love, becomes more active when you lose love. So, at the end of every chapter of love, biochemically, you feel that you love that person more and yearn painfully for them, despite how you may think you feel. We feel more when we are longing for love than we do when we are in love. Love becomes stronger with desire, especially unrequited love, even painfully so. With respect to love, the way our brain works is the greatest mind fuck in nature. Other mammals react to losing love this way as well. Scientists have even tested people who experience love at first sight and proved the biochemical reaction is not based on lust and is identical reaction to those who have been in love long term. That is why love at first sight is more than simple infatuation.

In my case, I carry the deep memories of love with me from everyone I have loved. My reflections of love, as I call them, are so clear that at times my heart races. I see and feel the love I have shared so vividly that I am often moved beyond my current state of being. The sparks of feelings that have stayed with me, my entire life, spur these vivid memories. Writing about them helps me channel that energy and is an emotional outlet for any lingering emotions that are still very much entangled deep within my heart.

Many people have near photographic memories. Some for history, some for math equations, or science. For me it is feelings. Scientific research suggests that we remember through our visual memories, auditory memories and kinesthetic memories. I am extremely kinesthetic. That’s why it is such an emotional process to share these chapters of love. I am very often moved beyond words. I share them as vividly as possible to share the passion that was shared between my lovers and myself. Every one of my lovers are extremely significant to my heart no matter how long we have been apart or how long we were together. Sometimes it was the act of creating together that built so much sexual tension. With one woman, who came to live with me, that tension became unbearable. In many cases, it was unfulfilled passion that drove me to extraordinary levels of originality and creativity.

Her constant flirting, the intentional brush of her breasts against my shoulders, the placing of her hand on my upper thigh, crawling into my bed while I was sleeping all led to heightened creativity and a desire for more. Most anything you could think of, she would do. Most of the time it was after she downed a bottle of wine or two, so I never acted upon any of her actions. I ignored them, which frustrated her. I did not invite her to live with me and create so I could destroy it all because of her flirtatiousness, or the sexual opportunities she offered.

As I finished shooting her music video, featuring her actual lover, it became clear she was willing to do almost anything to tease me or to get the money shot. They were both barely wearing any clothing and passionately locked in each other’s embrace. Although she was performing with a man I could only describe as “Tarzan-eske,” she looked at me with a certain longing. She was classically beautiful, but for some reason her career was going nowhere. I intended on changing that. She had the look of a classic Greek goddess. Her voice was soft and sincere. After the shoot they went upstairs to her pseudo apartment in my house. Before long she came back down and while I was editing sat on my lap in her wet black bikini. Before I knew what she was up to, she kissed me. The ringing in my ears was so loud; I could hardly hear what she was saying. She said it twice, so I am sure I didn’t misunderstand her. With a very disappointed tone she said, “I haven’t had sex in months while I was waiting for him to get here. If I go back upstairs and he can’t get it up, I’m coming back down here and you better be ready!”

With that, she looked into my eyes and then slowly turned and went upstairs. My heart was racing. She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever known, both spiritually and physically. I tried to focus and continued editing her music video, which was turning me on even more. I could hear them upstairs. He was drunk in the bathroom, laying on the floor moaning. She was pissed. She came back down with an empty bottle of scotch. I am not sure who drank more. Earlier, oddly, he wanted to massage my shoulders, not hers, after the music video shoot. It made me believe he was just using her to advance his career and that he preferred men, but I wasn’t positive. He tried to keep up with her, but he was no match for a girl that could drink more than anyone I ever knew, even as a bartender for many years. He may have looked like Tarzan, but he was a lightweight when it came to Scotch. She literally drank him under the table. Now, she was coming for me. I didn’t know what I should do. The months of her living with me, teasing me and flirting with my friends, while looking over their shoulders into my eyes told me a lot about her. She helped make me feel very good about myself during this period. Not only would she look at me as if I was a Rembrandt, but she was a lot of fun and enjoyed being submissive when we created, intentionally teasing me. We shared many private stories about our lives, hopes and dreams. But that was the extent of it until she kissed me that afternoon.

I first met her after I received a phone call from a mutual acquaintance. He told me she was stranded, without a phone or cash. He was out of town, so he couldn’t help her. She was a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model at one point of her career. As I found out later, the drinking and drama that followed her made it impossible for her career to reach the levels her beauty and charisma would have dictated otherwise. I didn’t know that when I took it upon myself, to go find her when I was told she was absolutely desperate. I drove three hours, picked her up, lent her a phone and paid for her plane ticket home. I had no expectations of receiving anything in return. I truly practice what I preach, when I say I continually pay it forward as often as possible.

I didn’t know what she looked like in her post Sports Illustrated modeling days, or if she was even ever going to repay me, but when I picked her up I could see in a second she was stunning. I never thought it would go any further than a goodbye at the airport, but it did. She told me she was robbed and her landlord was hitting on her. She packed a bag and waited for someone to help her. She knew someone would. Women with that level of insane beauty are used to things coming to them easily. Regardless, her gratitude and sincerity seemed quite genuine. It was hard to believe that a woman of her beauty would be broke, helpless and all alone in a small town in New Jersey. But, all the same, she was. It would take me months to understand the reality of her circumstances.

A few months later, she moved in with me. We worked on a pilot for her reality series focusing on modeling in New York City. It was surreal. A Sports Illustrated swimwear model was going to live with me for months. We became very close. Being no different than most of the male population, her beauty blinded me. Often, it is easy to create expectations and make presumptions about the character of one so beautiful. After a while, her true self started to emerge. She was miserable working as a model. Her sports injuries made it worse. She began to open-up to me. From that point, I knew our relationship would help change her destiny. Years later she confided to me that it did.

While we were living together we both partied quite liberally. As she said in her parting interview, we became family. I gave her the movie star treatment. I even got her an on-stage gig with Martin Short. When she was partying, she totally opened-up and told me everything. She treated me as a boyfriend in every way but one. But at the same time, she knew how to work every man she came in contact with. Few could resister her. She worked every guy I introduced her to like a pro. it was obvious that this was how she was able to advance her career, but I refused to be seduced by her.

All the same, she was now walking directly towards me. Her black bikini barely concealing her stunning figure. She was carrying the empty bottle of Glenlivet, which pretty much told me the story. The two of them were drunk. She waited months to see him. He couldn’t get it up, so she was coming for me. Again, as I turned to her from editing, she sat on my lap. I wanted her, but not in that condition. She kissed me and started taking her bikini off. I was in shorts. I was getting harder and harder but doing everything I could to restrain myself. I don’t know too many men who could have resisted a horny, Sports Illustrated, swimsuit model. As she was taking her bathing suit off she was trying to take my shorts off as well. But I was resisting the best that I could. I doubt I would have been able to if not for her next few words.

She told me that she had been waiting for him ever since I picked her up in the park that day in New Jersey. That made absolutely no sense, as she was supposed to be stranded and alone. It was at that moment I realized that they made up the entire story. It was a cover-up. They were together. Both her mom and her manager were trying to find her. She would have gotten in serious trouble if they did. In her drunken stupor, she told me all of it. She lied to me. No matter what she was offering, as well as how beautiful she was, I was so disappointed she lied to obtain my help, I was turned off completely. Part of me wanted to fuck her because she used me, but part of me pitied her for having to lie in the first place.

She also told me that she didn’t want to model anymore. She wanted to be a nurse or a hairdresser. I asked her why she continuing to model. She said she was supporting her entire family and they wouldn’t let her stop. They forced her to leave high school many years earlier. She felt like a slave. When she tried to stop, they threatened to throw her out on the street. She had never obtained any education and her parents were controlling all her finances. It was the most incredible case of “stage mom control” and exploitation I ever heard.

After thinking long and hard about all the sexual opportunities I could have had with her, and what was best for her, I decided to do the honorable thing. The very next day I cancelled her co-production agreement and insisting that she get enroll in a twelve-step program before we ever shot again. I cared for her enough to try to save her despite the great economic loss abandoning the project cost me and the plethora of threats from both her mother and the original photographer who introduced us. It turns out he was a genius sociopath.

Fast-forward many years. She went through a twelve-step program and is sober. She no longer models. Instead, she completed her courses in cosmetology and is currently cutting hair. Unfortunately, she had a car accident that almost killed her. She was literally scalped, but they were able to restore her hairline and she is as beautiful today as she was back then. Today, she derives pleasure from making others look beautiful. When we spoke and texted last she sent me a photo of a tattoo she put across her wrist, the same wrist she considered severing many times before she met me. It contained one simple word “BELIEVE.”

Not every chapter of love requires a sexual experience for it to be genuine. She expressed gratitude that I stood up to her mother and told her to stop enslaving her. She told me it was the impetus for her to get a proper education and to get into a twelve-step program. She also told me that she wished we were together, creating again and that she would no longer tolerate the slavery imposed by her family most of her childhood and into her twenties. I told her we would always have that kiss. That was one loving kiss. I will never forget it, or my Sports Illustrated swimsuit model roommate. I knew then that I had control over my sexual obsession and that my spiritual awakening had changed me forever. I no longer needed a woman’s love to feel whole or wanted. In her final interview, she said, “John is family now” and she meant it. That was worth more than anything she could ever have given me physically. But that one kiss truly stole my heart.

Chapter 31 – Sisters

After the first few short chapters of love after my divorce, I realized that I could possibly find love again. If I met someone I thought might be my true soul mate and we spent years together, I would consider living with her. I thought if by some miracle they came up with a cure, I might even get married again. I was flip-flopping on the commitment and love thing. I had hope, but then again, I never thought I would survive, or have a life partner again. But, with each new chapter of love, and time, the crack in my heart was healing. I didn’t know it, at the time, but it was.

I started to believe even more, as I picked up my camera again. I was shooting like I did when I was a younger man. All the interaction with women gave me even more confidence. Then it started. Everyone I knew was trying to set me up with someone. It was obvious to them that I was heartbroken. They wanted to help me through these rough times. I was shocked when some of my friend’s wives’ and my children’s friend’s mothers, were throwing themselves at me. I couldn’t understand their thinking. I would never fool around with a married woman, period.

Then a family member set me up with her best friend’s sister, not realizing that I had been in a serious chapter of love with her best friend, decades earlier. She never told my family that we were involved. She wanted to keep it that way for some reason. I had not spoken to her in years, although I saw her occasionally. I knew she had gotten married and had children. Clearly, there was no future for us. But maybe there could be with her sister. At that point, the more absurd the possibility, the less fear I had of the opportunity. As I thought more about it, the full ramifications set in. I was being set-up with a woman who was the sister of my former lover, a woman I would have married in a heartbeat, if she had wanted me and I was not in such a wild stage of my life at the time. I was confused. This was a bit of a moral dilemma.

After the first few short chapters of love after my divorce, I realized that I could possibly find love again. If I met someone I thought might be my true soul mate and we spent years together, I would consider living with her. I thought if by some miracle they came up with a cure, I might even get married again. I was flip-flopping on the commitment and love thing. I had hope, but then again, I never thought I would survive, or have a life partner again. But, with each new chapter of love, and time, the crack in my heart was healing. I didn’t know it, at the time, but it was.

I started to believe even more, as I picked up my camera again. I was shooting like I did when I was a younger man. All the interaction with women gave me even more confidence. Then it started. Everyone I knew was trying to set me up with someone. It was obvious to them that I was heartbroken. They wanted to help me through these rough times. I was shocked when some of my friend’s wives’ and my children’s friend’s mothers, were throwing themselves at me. I couldn’t understand their thinking. I would never fool around with a married woman, period.

Then a family member set me up with her best friend’s sister, not realizing that I had been in a serious chapter of love with her best friend, decades earlier. She never told my family that we were involved. She wanted to keep it that way for some reason. I had not spoken to her in years, although I saw her occasionally. I knew she had gotten married and had children. Clearly, there was no future for us. But maybe there could be with her sister. At that point, the more absurd the possibility, the less fear I had of the opportunity. As I thought more about it, the full ramifications set in. I was being set-up with a woman who was the sister of my former lover, a woman I would have married in a heartbeat, if she had wanted me and I was not in such a wild stage of my life at the time. I was confused. This was a bit of a moral dilemma.

When I was with the older sister, I was a teenager dabbling in photography. I never forgot our affair. Nor did I forget just how much I loved her. When we were kids, she and her family were close to my family.. I never spoke to her much. So, when she called and asked me to photograph her, I was surprised. I had known her most of her life, but had no idea she blossomed into such a beautiful young lady. But, she was not only calling about a photo-shoot, she was flirting and giggling. It didn’t take long for me to agree to help her with her portfolio. I was living in New York City and had not yet started the relationship with my neighbor, so I was still looking for love. I just moved from Thompson Street to the Upper East Side by Central Park. I was making great money and having the time of my life.

The first time we shot she was more than willing to take her clothes off. That was not unusual, as she was also an artist and most artists are also very carefree. Perhaps, she was trying to seduce me. I was never quite sure. I was on my best behavior since she was a family friend. At first I was just interested in creating abstract nudes and experimenting. She was affectionate, intelligent and well spoken. She also had a great sense of humor. She followed my directions incredibly well, even though I was a fledgling photographer. We shot everywhere. We shot in bathtubs and at the beach. We shot on sand dunes even though it was freezing! In addition to the nude shots she posed in various outfits. She looked incredibly exotic and mysterious in traditional kimonos.

Her creative instincts were spot on. I loved working with her. I spent hundreds of dollars on film and hundreds more on processing, without even giving it a thought. When the slides came back from the lab, we met a local place called The Wine Gallery. At one point, I was a waiter and bartender there, so I knew the staff. They were cool and gave us our space. The setting was unique. The booths were antiques taken from old church confessionals. They offered a great deal of privacy. It was a naughty place to look at nude photographs, especially given the origins of the seating.

Back then there was no instant gratification as with today’s digital photography. You had to wait days or even a week to have your film processed. A lot depended on the film choice and how much you were willing to pay to get the film developed quickly. I paid a premium to get them processed and messengered back the next day.

As it turned out, the confessional was the perfect spot. We drank wine and looked at the art we created in pretty much total privacy. After we went through quite a few of the photographs, I went to my car to get fresh batteries for the slide viewer. When I came back, something had changed. She was no longer looking at me as an artist. She wanted me. It was very clear. She kept touching my hands while laughing and giggling. It was both erotic and adorable. She invited me to her car to see some additional photographs she had in a makeshift portfolio. Within minutes we climbed into the back seat. It was a, freezing cold, winter night, so the heat was blasting. It was so hot in the car that the leather seats were sweating and the foggy windows had streaks of water running down them. We spent hours in that back seat and obviously, we were doing a lot more then reviewing her portfolio. I never understood how the car didn’t run out of gas. From that night on, we went out quite frequently. For some reason, she did not want anyone in my family to know.

I honored her request for privacy even though I was falling in love with her. Eventually, we started meeting at hotels in Cold Spring Harbor, her house and in my new penthouse in New York City. She was so much more comfortable with her body and sex than I was. She was one of the most erotic women I had ever known, even to this day. She was a different kind of lover. She wanted it in ways I had never considered previously. Frankly, in a place most women do not want to go. She said she preferred it there. Since I played guitar, my fingers were quite strong so I could fully satisfy her demands. For me, it was a completely different experience. Beyond that, there was nothing she did not want to do, or try, or experiment with. Despite the incredible chapter of love, we were engaged in, when my family started to get suspicious, she wanted to end it. It made no sense to me. Apparently, she had become one of my sisters’ best friends; only I thought they had lost contact years earlier.

For her, they were experimental hook-ups. For me, it was love. My idea of love has nothing to do with getting along with a person, as I got along with just about everyone. It’s a karma thing. I also believe that you cannot love anyone, unless you love yourself first and everyone else. It’s a spiritual thing. Even when I was very young I knew I could not be with someone sexually unless I gave my heart to her. But giving one’s heart is both a curse and a blessing. The more one loves, the more pain one feels at the end of each chapter. Even functional MRI’s have proven that now.

Eventually, we stopped seeing each other and our relationship faded, despite the fact I was in love with her. She was one of the women I would have married if we kept seeing each other. I was so naïve back then. I had no idea that women were using me for sex. I had no confidence. I always thought women would only have sex with men they loved. I was young and fell in love with just about every girl I was with, no matter how long or short the relationship. I was as naïve as a puppy.

That is why it was such a mystery, years later, to be set-up with her younger sister. I learned that she was also coming off a ten plus year relationship. Rumor had it that she was even more heartbroken than I was. At the very least, her wounds were fresher, but the betrayal was just as deep. Both of our families were worried, knowing we were depressed and heartbroken. Eventually I was introduced to her. I asked if she would like to join me to see Billy Joel on New Year’s Eve. She loved Billy Joel and was excited about the evening. It perked her up. She seemed to be very flattered and happy. I thought she knew that I was in love with her sister decades earlier, but didn’t think it mattered. It was an old chapter of love that didn’t seem to mean much to her older sister. In fact, she acted as if it never happened. All I ever got from her was a polite hello and some routine chitchat. So, I simply thought it had to be trivial to her. Why would she take part in setting me up with her younger sister otherwise?

We spoke on the telephone quite a bit before the concert. We had floor level seats, on top of it being New Year’s Eve! She was charming and charismatic, just like her older sister. She had the same exotic look and calming sound to her voice; it was a bit of déjà vu. She worked for the executives of one of the largest software companies on Long Island. She was very smart. After a few calls, during which we bared our hearts, we started to become friends and both found sanctuary in our conversations. On New Year’s Eve, she got the flu. She was vomiting all day long. Clearly, she would not be able to make the concert. I was devastated. I had started to enjoy her giggly and witty ways. She was evoking many memories from my chapter of love with her sister. I was probably confusing some of my feelings for her, with the love I had shared with her older sister. I didn’t realize it at the time.

I went to the concert without her. I held my cell phone up for most of the concert so she could hear it live. She thought that was a very kind thing to do. She said she couldn’t wait to see me. She didn’t know how sick I was and since she was trying to escape her own depression, I never told her. Ten years was a long time for her to invest in her recently ended relationship. She shared with me how dangerously depressed she became when another year went by without an engagement. So as much as she had loved him, she was leaving him and it was killing her inside. When we eventually did go out, we shared our stories and wound up crying on each other’s shoulders. The tears turned into hugs, which turned into kisses, which turned into much more. What started out as an introduction to attend a single concert together was turning into a new chapter of love. Both of our broken hearts were healing with love from each other. She was so much like her older sister. It was a bit surreal. We started to get together regularly. Easing her heartache was helping me overcome my own. We were both escaping the misery of our mutual realities. We were doing so in each other’s arms and much more.

I threw myself into the relationship, not even thinking that it would turn into anything. It was however, turning into something significant. At the time, we were going at it quite a bit, but she could never orgasm. I thought it was because of my heart condition and how difficult it was for me to go at it fast and hard. I had become a much gentler lover. I don’t know if she was just trying to make me feel ok about her not cuming, or if her claim of never having had an orgasm was true. Not having an orgasm by age thirty was sad in and of itself. It was that sadness, that broken wing, that was making me fall in love with her. I recognized the feeling. She was not the first I had fallen into “rescue love” with. I had mistaken that sorrow and sadness for love so many times in my life.

We tried and tried! I went down on her for so long my jawbone hurt and my tongue cramped up. But, I just kept going and taking verbal cues from her. I tried everything in my repertoire. No matter how hard I tried, or how long I lasted, it was impossible. She could not cum and I was close to having a heart attack trying.

Eventually her older sister told her about us. She sabotaged our relationship. I think she was jealous, even though she was married. Our private chapter of love, decades earlier, became the reason she told everyone why she didn’t want us to see each other. Her actions made me think she was secretly in love with me. I had no idea. If I did, I never would have started to date her younger sister. Although we were falling in love, we knew we had to stop seeing each other. She was upset with me because I hadn’t told her about my experience with her sister. I thought she had to have known. We had to think of her sister’s feelings above our own. Before long and after many heartfelt goodbyes, she asked for and got a job transfer to Europe. I never saw her again. I have seen her older sister quite frequently since, but never discussed either of the relationships. It was strange to have loved two sisters, two decades apart.

Some chapters you remember by the love, others you remember by the loss of love. This would be one of those chapters. It was a short but steamy chapter and it helped me through one of the worst times of my life. Eventually, she did tell me that she loved me. She left me the cd we listened to every time we made love, “You’re My Home,” by Billy Joel. It was one of her favorites. She told me it expressed the way she felt when she was with me. I don’t know if I would have survived without the love she gave me at one of the most critical times of my life. In return, I gave her love at a pivotal point of her life. For that I am grateful.

From Facebook, I learned that she married and settled in Europe. I was happy she found love. I don’t know how it was possible, but I fell in love with both exotic sisters, twenty years apart. I will always have a place in my heart for them both. I certainly hope they have a place in their heart for me. I truly loved them both.

 

Chapter 30 – Rebooting

She worked for one of the local vets and lived on a makeshift farm of sorts out east. She would come to my house to take care of me, my aquarium fish, my home, just about everything, with the one notable exception of my children. When my children came to dad’s house, they were always the focus of my attention. My ex was living with another man. Any chance of reconciliation was over. I was so medicated I was a just short of being a walking zombie. The surgeons had tried many times, but the arteries in my heart and around my body were failing faster than they could be repaired. My health was again deteriorating quickly and the medication that was meant to keep me safe had so many side effects I was in constant pain and tired all the time.

She was cute, shy and down to earth, a real country girl. She flirted with me every time she came to clean, organize, or help with the laundry and maintenance. I was so weak and limited I couldn’t do it myself without painkillers and I hated the way they made me feel. Often I would just lie there in bed, trying to not have a heart attack. Just walking, in the cold, from my front door to my car was life threatening. I resigned from my friend’s software company in Northport and started working for a much larger software company near Penn Station, on eighth-avenue. Getting out of my house and into the city was nearly impossible, but they were paying me a shit- load of money. Taxis and trains became my way of getting around. I walked as much as possible every day, but always with pain radiating throughout my entire body. I would go about twenty yards and then have to rest and catch my breath. She started coming more often than she was being paid to. I wasn’t paying her very much at all. She seemed to love my plethora of pets from my dog and cats, to my salt-water aquarium fish. When she was around I was much less sad. It was easier when she was with me on the days my children were at their mom’s house. No matter how badly I felt, she would make me laugh. She wore very conservative baggy sweat pants and sweatshirts every time she came to my home and although she was very pretty she hid her body quite well.

She worked for one of the local vets and lived on a makeshift farm of sorts out east. She would come to my house to take care of me, my aquarium fish, my home, just about everything, with the one notable exception of my children. When my children came to dad’s house, they were always the focus of my attention. My ex was living with another man. Any chance of reconciliation was over. I was so medicated I was a just short of being a walking zombie. The surgeons had tried many times, but the arteries in my heart and around my body were failing faster than they could be repaired. My health was again deteriorating quickly and the medication that was meant to keep me safe had so many side effects I was in constant pain and tired all the time.

She was cute, shy and down to earth, a real country girl. She flirted with me every time she came to clean, organize, or help with the laundry and maintenance. I was so weak and limited I couldn’t do it myself without painkillers and I hated the way they made me feel. Often I would just lie there in bed, trying to not have a heart attack. Just walking, in the cold, from my front door to my car was life threatening. I resigned from my friend’s software company in Northport and started working for a much larger software company near Penn Station, on eighth-avenue. Getting out of my house and into the city was nearly impossible, but they were paying me a shit- load of money. Taxis and trains became my way of getting around. I walked as much as possible every day, but always with pain radiating throughout my entire body. I would go about twenty yards and then have to rest and catch my breath. She started coming more often than she was being paid to. I wasn’t paying her very much at all. She seemed to love my plethora of pets from my dog and cats, to my salt-water aquarium fish. When she was around I was much less sad. It was easier when she was with me on the days my children were at their mom’s house. No matter how badly I felt, she would make me laugh. She wore very conservative baggy sweat pants and sweatshirts every time she came to my home and although she was very pretty she hid her body quite well.

One night I invited her to stay for dinner. She accepted and then left for a few hours, which seemed strange. A few hours later she returned, all decked out. It was as if she was another woman . She was gorgeous. It was obvious she was looking at my dinner invite as a real date, as opposed to a casual dinner invitation from a friend. It had been quite a while since my divorce. I still saw my former wife even though I would have preferred not to. We had to see each other as we shared custody of our two children. At this point we rarely argued or even spoke other than a polite hello, or to discuss matters concerning our children. There was not even a hint of love, affection, or emotion from her. Frankly, I became a happier man without her. Maybe she realized long before I did that we were not really meant for each other, or that our chapter of love was over. I have since learned and share with everyone who is hurting, that chapters of love have an organic beginning and an organic end. There is no way to change it, no matter how much you love a person.

I prepared a gourmet dinner for my nanny dinner date, as I did for most of my family and children as often as I could. We had a candlelight dinner in front of the fireplace. After dinner and a few drinks, we laid on the floor facing each other and started to talk about relationships and sex. She was also hurting from a recently ended relationship. That was why she was coming to see me so often. It was not because she was being charitable and felt sorry for me, but because she was escaping her own heartbreak and found it easier to get through it with me in her life.

It did not take long for us to start kissing. It was a very gentle and rather quick love affair. We held each other all night. I could not help but think about my wife and all the times we made love in front of that same fireplace. Shortly after what was a very heartfelt, but for me a kind of sad interaction, we fell asleep. When we woke the next morning, my ex was dropping off our children. Again, she must have known that I was with someone, as she came into the house for the first time since our divorce. My pet-sitter/friend was very embarrassed and bolted out the side door. That was the last time I was to see her for years. I had no idea why she disappeared. I called her often, but she was missing in action. She was the first real chapter of love after my divorce and although it was short, it was healing. She gave me hope that over time, I myself might heal as well.

I believe her friendship and love saved my life. Several years later, when my dog ran off and was brought to the pound, I saw her again. She was working there. She was long over her breakup. I was in a better place too, so we hooked-up right there at the pound, to the sound of dogs howling. By the way, she recognized my dog when he was brought in, but waited until I showed up to say anything. More or less I truly believe she was extremely excited to see me.

A few months later I could tell she was getting very attached to me. I made it clear that I would never get married again. I told her I was dedicating my life to my children. I did not have the heart to tell her that I was so sick I couldn’t work any longer and was on disability, literally waiting to die. I thought when we hooked-up I was going to have a heart attack right there. She not only rebooted my heart the first time but did it again, in a moment of passion. I don’t know what came over us. It was just one of those moments. I left with my dog and went back home, hoping that somehow, some doctor would find a way to make the pain go away. It would be many years before I had a chance for a medical breakthrough. I knew I had to walk every day no matter how painful and lonely my walks were. I did them many times a day, one step at a time and one photograph at a time. It was lonely and so very boring. My children were my constant inspiration. I was so grateful to have them.

I was on disability for six months and was ready to shoot myself. It was one of the most dangerous, yet boring, times of my life. To top it off, I was having negative reactions to the massive dosages of statins I had been taking for years. I was having short-term memory loss. No one knew if it was from the long-term use of painkillers, the actual pain, or the statins themselves. I was simply not able to function in a corporate environment anymore. I knew things were coming to an end when I blacked out during a boardroom presentation. Momentarily, I lost my sight and hearing. I had no idea where I was. I was told later it might have been the meds I took to perform better in bed or a micro stroke. I was in Syracuse when it happened. I flew back to NYC and resigned. I told my boss I couldn’t concentrate and that the cause was something much worse than my broken heart. Something was wrong with my memory. As it turned out the ringing in my ears and dizziness was just the beginning. Months later I went in for another life and death surgery. It was moderately successful, giving me back more functionality than I had in years, but I was still in pain.

While walking, I was taking photographs again, of most anyone I saw. Especially, when I was walking in the city. There were so many interesting people and so much great architecture. I was fortunate to be alive. I started my new chapter of health by taking myself off disability, against the doctors and surgeons recommendations. I went to work as an event photographer at one of the largest studios in the Northeast. I was back to working in the arts. Photography started to change my life, as it did when I was a teenager. I started photographing events anonymously for one of the largest and most expensive photo studios in the country. The owner of the company was injured. He needed someone with real talent to justify his ten-thousand dollars per day rate. After a while, I was photographing all the events he had booked himself for. Since we were both John, no one knew better. My photographs were highly praised and my life rebooted. For the first time since my divorce, I was happy, even though I was still hurting.

I put myself on an online dating service. It was as if the floodgates opened. Older women, younger women and very beautiful single moms, started messaging me. I was shocked that women would be so forward as to ask me out, but they did. Although my health had improved, I was still very ill. But, if I had my painkillers, I could get by. My first online match was a very beautiful woman from Queens. She drove to my house to have dinner with me on our first date. This was NOT something I would recommend to anyone for a first, singles site, date.

I was not into going out much as my life still focused on being a Mr. Mom. Every time I shot an event, it was like being at a party, despite the grueling physical challenges, which was enough entertainment for anyone. Her name was Patty. I will never forget her. We had a romantic dinner. Before I knew it, we were in my bedroom. We were all over each other. It had been many years since I was with another woman other than my nanny. With all the meds I was on, I was lucky to be able to get it up. But this was different. I was temporarily in a much better place, both emotionally and physically, despite my constant memory problems. The painkillers were helping me walk and do much more. We went at it all night and into the next morning.

When my ex-wife dropped off my children, they were very surprised to see that I had a girl at the house. We all went to the beach and played baseball, a sport I rarely if ever played, other than when I was a kid. She just happened to have her bat and glove in the car. For those few hours, we were a family. I could tell that my children were happy to see me happy and with someone. They immediately got attached to her, but I didn’t want to complicate their lives with another woman. After a few dates, I pulled the plug on the relationship, but not because of them. My health was too unstable and I didn’t want to put another woman through what ultimately made my former wife have a nervous breakdown.

I was still very confused, but my heart had rebooted. Later that day we said our goodbyes. After a while we stopped seeing each other. I continued to shoot events for almost a year, until I started to get dizzy again and faint at events. I knew that despite the short period of “fantasy-health,” I was no better off than when I went on disability. I was relying on painkillers to get through the day. Rebooted or not, I had to find a way to get better. I survived so many life and death moments and I wanted more life. So, I resigned from the studio and started walking again, all day and night, trying desperately to grow new arteries. I reopened my photography studio and shot one wedding a month. The rest of my time was spent walking, or with my children, or photographing everything in my path. As I had years before, I had to give up everything I worked for to continue to ensure I would be here for my children. It was lonely and painful to walk alone the entire day. I started to feel as if I was walking even when I was not, as if my life had become a never-ending treadmill of things just passing me by one at a time, over and over. Without photography, I don’t think I would have been able to go on. But I did and even volunteered at every charitable event I could, so I would have people to photograph and I could pay it forward to charitable causes. I had rebooted again, but at the same time was still living with significant risk.

 

Chapter 29 – My Resurrection

Some people believe that our souls are transformable, or that we live many times, moving from one life to another. While Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected in the physical sense, many believe it was a spiritual awaking and resurrection. I was never a very religious person, but that would not always be the case. I stopped going to church as a young boy. I just followed the traditions of religion. When the truck left my home with my soon to be former wife and most everything we owned, I thought I would die right then and there. My mind was a blur of regrets, confusion and anguish. She didn’t leave me due to the lack of love or at least I thought so at the time. When I begged her to tell me why, she was direct. She said it was for power and money. She wanted both more than she cared about anything else. The man she left me for was very successful financially. She was lured away with power, the promise of country clubs and money.

I was enraged at first and incredibly jealous. Anyone would be. I drifted between wanting to kill him and wanting to win her back. I thought I could somehow reinvent myself and build a financial fortune, a fortune that would bring her back. Although it was almost impossible to walk, with the help of pain medication, I made the effort. I dusted off my camera. Walking and taking photographs became my way of mourning. At first, I would walk alone on the same beaches and parks I had photographed all the models. I started to pray again, mostly for her, hoping that she would find happiness with him. I forgave them both. It was the only way I could survive. I put her life and happiness above my own. I felt I never deserved her in the first place. I would live on until my heart condition took me, dedicating my life to my children. The first time they she brought them back I broke down, not because I was seeing her again, but because I knew that, with or without her, I had my children.

Although I was still alive, something died inside me. I didn’t think I would ever get it back. My heart was broken. Not only was I suffering emotionally, but physically as well from the intense pain. The mega dosages of statins, experimental drugs and peripheral artery disease was ravaging my body. My liver was failing, as were my kidneys. Between the mega dosages of medications and the pain, I was all but dead anyway. There was no way that I was going to allow my four-year-old son and my newborn daughter to see me suffering. I would take large doses of pain meds each time, prior to their arrival.

Some people believe that our souls are transformable, or that we live many times, moving from one life to another. While Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected in the physical sense, many believe it was a spiritual awaking and resurrection. I was never a very religious person, but that would not always be the case. I stopped going to church as a young boy. I just followed the traditions of religion. When the truck left my home with my soon to be former wife and most everything we owned, I thought I would die right then and there. My mind was a blur of regrets, confusion and anguish. She didn’t leave me due to the lack of love or at least I thought so at the time. When I begged her to tell me why, she was direct. She said it was for power and money. She wanted both more than she cared about anything else. The man she left me for was very successful financially. She was lured away with power, the promise of country clubs and money.

I was enraged at first and incredibly jealous. Anyone would be. I drifted between wanting to kill him and wanting to win her back. I thought I could somehow reinvent myself and build a financial fortune, a fortune that would bring her back. Although it was almost impossible to walk, with the help of pain medication, I made the effort. I dusted off my camera. Walking and taking photographs became my way of mourning. At first, I would walk alone on the same beaches and parks I had photographed all the models. I started to pray again, mostly for her, hoping that she would find happiness with him. I forgave them both. It was the only way I could survive. I put her life and happiness above my own. I felt I never deserved her in the first place. I would live on until my heart condition took me, dedicating my life to my children. The first time she brought them back I broke down, not because I was seeing her again, but because I knew that, with or without her, I had my children.

Although I was still alive, something died inside me. I didn’t think I would ever get it back. My heart was broken. Not only was I suffering emotionally, but physically as well from the intense pain. The mega dosages of statins, experimental drugs and peripheral artery disease was ravaging my body. My liver was failing, as were my kidneys. Between the mega dosages of medications and the pain, I was all but dead anyway. There was no way that I was going to allow my four-year-old son and my newborn daughter to see me suffering. I would take large doses of pain meds each time, prior to their arrival.

I was with my father, changing my daughter’s diaper. At the time my dad was very ill, suffering from cancer. I was the only who knew. He told me something that inspired me. It was his mantra. He said, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going. You have two children to think about now, not a wife.” With that, I got out of bed and started looking for a new career so I could support myself and my children while I was resurrecting my life, body and soul. Before long a partner in my software business offered me the opportunity to come and work for his software company. Just getting out of bed and into a working environment helped. I was on so many medications. I don’t even remember what they were. I was very much an emotional zombie at first. Every time I picked up my children it was like Christmas. If it were not for them I am sure I would have died.

I could not let my children down. They needed me more than ever now, as my ex became too unstable to take care of them or herself. No one could blame her. I felt sorry for her. When I asked her where my wife was, she was only too quick to reply, “she is dead, and you will never see her again.” She was dead inside. The person standing in front of me was no longer the woman I fell in love with. I mourned her as if she had actually died and I was a widower. Her words were the saddest I have ever heard. She was angry, feeling sorry for herself and blaming me for getting sick. She was impatient and did not manage the responsibility of caring for two young children very well.

She hadn’t worked outside of the house, as she was a stay at home mom. She did help with my consulting business, but that was only because I wanted her to feel part of something. I realized that if I did not take care of our children her career would never take off. Beyond that, if I didn’t spend as much time with my children as possible, my children would forget I ever existed shortly after I died. I mustered up the will power and started to be as much of a mother to my children as I was a father. I was so medicated that I was not feeling much. But, feeling pity for her was a lot better than feeling as if I was dying from the inside out. After our divorce, she became mean and angry. Her therapist who acted briefly as our marriage counselor told me that people sometimes develop serious mental illness later in life, or after having children. She told me that there was nothing I could do to help her. Her suggestion was to be patient and never respond to her anger with anger of my own. So, I moved on as quickly as I could. My former wife, despite having significant education, went back to school for her masters and took years off from mothering as a result. It was something not many people would choose to do with two young children. I “Mr. Mommed” pretty much night and day, taking care of my children whenever she was too occupied with her new found social life and everything else that allowed her to avoid her parental responsibilities. She simply had no patience at all for my children when they were young and needy.

It was absurd. I was in so much emotional pain; despite the fact I was sedated twenty-four seven to keep from having another heart attack. When my children were with me, I would medicate myself just enough to be functional. When they were at their mom’s house, I would regress into a depressed mess and just sleep. I never slept deeply, but I did dream. As I looked back on my marriage I thought of all my previous chapters of love and realized that together we had a very long and successful chapter of love. I had my children even though I lost my wife. I went to work for my business partner. He gave me a large draw and commissions. As hard as I worked there was no talent in the software industry available during the millennium. Every possible body was already engaged in a Y2k fix. It became obvious that they could not find bodies to handle the actual work for the sales I was bringing in. I realized after a few months, that my dear friend was carrying me because of our friendship. I couldn’t ask that of him. I started looking for another way to make a living. Before I left, I met a younger woman at the office and that changed everything.

She was a beautiful young lady who worked in marketing. She would come to my office at lunchtime and try to cheer me up. It was obvious to everyone I was depressed. She started to flirt with me. That gave me a much-needed ego boast. After a few months, I started easing up on the tranquilizers and went off anti-depressants. I was surviving one day at a time. I never thought I was going to be ok without my family intact. On the other hand, my now former wife must have been planning for it for a very long time, based on how quickly we were divorced and the fact that she moved directly into her, soon to be, new husband’s house the same day she left mine.

At that point sex was so dangerous for me I didn’t think that I would ever engage in it again. Nor did I care. All I cared about was my children and spending time with them. However, one day after months of that same young lady coming into my office and bringing me chocolate chip cookies, she said, “you know I can have you anytime I want.” It took me by surprise. I blew it off as if she was just teasing me, or trying to lift my spirits. But, that night, after work, she met me at the exit and followed me home. Before I knew it, we were in my former marital bed. She was on top of me, taking her shirt off. I had not even thought of being with another woman. But, if I was going to die, I figured I might as well die happy. I was doing anything I could to try and move on knowing that there was no turning back and my time was limited. We started to kiss and a spark of love hit my heart. It was at that moment I realized that I could love again. There are simply no words to describe how I felt. It was as if my soul was flowing back into my heart. She was completely naked at that point and still on top of me and we were starting to go at it.

As we became more and more physical, out of nowhere, I heard my nearly five-year-old son knocking at my bedroom door and calling me. I threw her off me, put my clothes on and went to the door. I didn’t know what he was doing there all by himself. It wasn’t my day on our schedule. Somehow his mother had seen me with that beautiful young woman and left my son at my front door. I couldn’t imagine why, but later learned it was out of jealousy. Jealousy is a much stronger emotion than love. Maybe she lost it for that one little moment. I picked my son up and went looking for my daughter who was still in the car with my ex. She said it was my turn, so I just took them. She drove off in a huff. I had never seen her that way. She said nothing about the girl, but I could tell she knew and was for that moment unstable.

I never did invite her back to my home or continue that chapter of love, as the next day somehow the entire office knew she and I were together. My boss called me into his office and shared with me that it was the security cameras outside the office that gave it away. He also told me that she was engaged to a friend of his. So, I ended it. I was not going to interfere with another man’s engagement no matter how delicious those cookies were. I was so sick I did not believe I would have much of a future anyway.

About fifteen years later, while photographing a party at the Garden City Hotel for kicks and exercise, I took a photo of a very attractive woman who started to flirt with me. We wound up having a few dirty martinis at the bar. She asked me what my name was and I told her. She was shocked, as was I, to learn we knew each other. Yes, it was her. She had just gone through her third divorce. I will never forget the girl who followed me home, brought me chocolate chip cookies and restored my faith in love. She was the chapter of love who gave me the hope that my broken heart could one day heal.

 

Chapter 28 -My Bride

We met in the airport. I was so hung-over it was almost impossible to stand and talk without getting queasy. Her plane was cancelled. So was mine. It was going to be a several hour delay, a reroute via Puerto Rico and then our flights home. She was chain-smoking and walking back and forth to the airport bar. It was obvious she wasn’t happy with the delays. Personally, I didn’t care if my flight was cancelled. For me it was just a short trip back to the casinos and the girls. She had me enamored the first time I saw her. She was intelligent, laughed at every one of my jokes, had a beautiful accent, and most of all, seemed to have be sculptured by some great Nordic artist. She was perfect.

Eventually, she got her flight to Connecticut, where she was living and I flew to Long Island. We immediately were on the phone and talked for hours. The Saturday after we returned, she took the train from Boston to New York. It was not much longer than two weeks and we were engaged. We eloped a few months later.

I barely had time to check with the women from Saint Maarten to make sure none were pregnant. Prior to all of this, upon my return from Saint Maarten, my former fiancé came to see me. She had lost a lot of weight and was looking incredible. We had sex a few times, but I couldn’t see her again. I didn’t want to go back to a woman I knew was not ready for marriage and a family. I was also falling hard for the girl from the airport. I had already been diagnosed with the terminal disease. The doctors at the hospital didn’t know which variety of the disease I had, only that it would kill me. I never told my now unofficial fiancé about my diagnosis because I thought I could exercise my way through it and beat it. More likely I was still traumatized by my diagnosis and obsessed with having a child.

We met in the airport. I was so hung-over it was almost impossible to stand and talk without getting queasy. Her plane was cancelled. So was mine. It was going to be a several hour delay, a reroute via Puerto Rico and then our flights home. She was chain-smoking and walking back and forth to the airport bar. It was obvious she wasn’t happy with the delays. Personally, I didn’t care if my flight was cancelled. For me it was just a short trip back to the casinos and the girls. She had me enamored the first time I saw her. She was intelligent, laughed at every one of my jokes, had a beautiful accent, and most of all, seemed to have be sculptured by some great Nordic artist. She was perfect.

Eventually, she got her flight to Connecticut, where she was living and I flew to Long Island. We immediately were on the phone and talked for hours. The Saturday after we returned, she took the train from Boston to New York. It was not much longer than two weeks and we were engaged. We eloped a few months later.

I barely had time to check with the women from Saint Maarten to make sure none were pregnant. Prior to all of this, upon my return from Saint Maarten, my former fiancé came to see me. She had lost a lot of weight and was looking incredible. We had sex a few times, but I couldn’t see her again. I didn’t want to go back to a woman I knew was not ready for marriage and a family. I was also falling hard for the girl from the airport. I had already been diagnosed with the terminal disease. The doctors at the hospital didn’t know which variety of the disease I had, only that it would kill me. I never told my now unofficial fiancé about my diagnosis because I thought I could exercise my way through it and beat it. More likely I was still traumatized by my diagnosis and obsessed with having a child.

We decided to elope. Immigration wouldn’t let her out of the country to actually get married without waiting six months to come back in minimum. She was not a citizen and her student visa had elapsed. We planned a traditional Swedish wedding in her hometown. Eventually she received her permanent Visa. We bought a house together, before we were even married. I had managed to save a great deal of money while working at AT&T as well as by providing private consulting and telecom analysis to my clients. She sold her condo in France. It had been a gift from her father. During the mortgage process, they would not consider her credit, but I was approved. She chipped-in, and upheld her part of the bargain for closing. I signed half of the house over to her, without even adding her name to the mortgage. It was a strategic move. If I was as sick as the doctors thought and something happened to me, I thought she would get the house free and clear because of that and the mortgage insurance I purchased privately.

She wanted to have a child as much as I did and we never did anything to prevent it. After I asked her to marry me, I learned that she came from one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. I was trying hard not to worry, even though I was terrified I would leave her a widow before my child was born. But at least I knew she would be ok financially. When you are young and get diagnosed with a disease that no one could pronounce never mind even heard of, you simply are traumatized, at least I was.

When she was six months pregnant I was rushed to the emergency room. Despite my complete denial of my condition, the doctor’s predictions of “do not make any long-term plans,” started to seem more and more accurate. I was in denial the entire time we courted and was obsessed with giving my parents a grandchild. Now, my wife was pregnant. I was crazy worried she would lose our child when she developed diabetes early on. Now, my health was deteriorating rapidly.

I told her I was having problems breathing. We went to so many doctors. All they ever did was give me nitro pills and say there was nothing they could do. Neither I, nor the doctors, told her how serious it really was. They could see she was pregnant and knew it would be dangerous to tell her. At one point, I was having heart pain every day, almost hourly. We went to Syosset Community Hospital when it was so bad I could not take the pain in my chest. I truly believed I would die that day never getting to see my unborn son. The emergency room cardiologist could not find anything and he asked me when I felt the worst. I told him after I eat anything. So he had me eat a bologna and cheese sandwich. Within minutes I was starting to have an actual heart attack. I was not even thirty years old and my life was going to end.

They caught it just as it started. It turned out that it was a good thing that they had me eat. As we later learned, every time I ate anything with salt or fat, my clogged arteries and newly formed capillaries were put to a test. Often the collateral circulation as they called it would fail when I as eating from the fat that would clog the network of capillaries that were enough to barely keep me alive, but not nearly developed enough even to eat or walk up a small flight of stairs. Eating a fatty sandwich was putting me in the ideal condition for a life ending first heart attack. Just after I had the sandwich, I felt my chest tighten and it became hard to breathe. The bells and monitors all started to flash with a CODE SOMETHING coming out of the loud speakers. It all happened so fast. It was a blur. The nurses came running and hooked me up to an intravenous system. By radio, a doctor instructed them to give me nitro and God knows what else. Out of desperation, one of the nurses slapped a nitro patch right onto my chest. They had the paddles at the ready, to jump start my heart, just in case. It happened so fast, yet, it seemed to take forever. The EKG machine was ringing and all kinds of alarms were going off. I saw my wife the entire time. She was looking on from a distance, in shock. Despite the fact I was having a heart attack, all I could think about was her and my unborn son.

My heart did not stop. But, as the we later found out during surgery I did have a mild heart attack. The nurses saved my life. I guess it was not my time to die, but I believed that these were to be my last few minutes on earth. The nurses and the doctors were in shock that a guy in my condition, at my age, was having a heart attack. Prior to this, my BP and EKG were taken, time and time again, at the HIP Centers. The HIP Centers were a new concept of managed care. In reality, it was inferior rationed health care. Clearly, HMO’s were not working, at least not for me. The insurance companies forced the doctors to quota out procedures and base decisions more on profitability than what the patients needed.

No one knew about capillary circulation back then and how limited it was. It was terrifying. My poor wife sat there by herself, six months pregnant and watched the entire episode. I could have died right in front of her, never to see my unborn son or her again. My entire life flashed before my eyes. The guilt of marrying a woman in my condition started to haunt me. It later became my personal emotional plague.

She was tough, a true Viking. But, this was more than she was prepared for. I knew at that moment, that no matter what I did, she would never look at me the same way again. It would be replaced with fear and sorrow and coldness. The doctors sent me, by ambulance, to North Shore Hospital for a catheterization. I purposely distanced myself from the rest of my family. I knew my parents would be a mess and I didn’t need any extra stress. Frankly, I didn’t think that my heart could withstand the pressure of seeing them from a surgical room; I simply loved them too much to tell them. I went through the heart surgery with only my wife at the hospital. She was so alone and I was sad for her. I wasn’t thinking about my life or death, just my wife and unborn son. Going into that surgery, I had no idea if I would ever see her again. They opened all the arteries in my heart. They learned that every major artery in my heart was blocked, either completely, or over 95%.

We left the hospital and I tried very hard to minimize the event. She was never the same. Neither was I. I was more worried about her and my son than I was about myself. It was only a few months afterwards, at that same hospital, that my son was born. It was the most incredible moment of my life. I had a son and I was alive. Life was going to work itself out. But, even while she was in labor, my heart was missing beats. I was chewing on nitro pills to prevent another heart attack. I knew the surgery had was not going to be a permanent solution.

I had my second failed heart surgery not long after my son was born. They put stents into my collapsed arteries. This was at Saint Francis Hospital. The hospital was known for pioneering this procedure and was supposed to be among the best in the world. Dr. Shlofmitz was kind as well as being incredibly talented. Dr. Shlofmitz made the surgery (then a completely new procedure) seem routine. They put me in a stainless steel, mission control style, surgical room. I had to stay awake for the procedure. It was terrifying but Dr. Shlofmitz was amazing choosing to listen to loud rock and roll during the surgery did give me some relief from my fear as did the tranquilizers.

It was not long after the second surgery that the stents failed. I had to go back for drug eluding stents that eventually were recalled. They failed almost as fast. On the bright side, I was a father. I had an amazing wife and my bloodline was intact. For a few years, I thought I might be ok, but as time went on, all the symptoms came back. I was even worse as the blood thinners caused me to bleed extensively and the statins were raging havoc on my system. The pain was unbearable. Even though they fixed my heart the “cure” was not a cure. All it did was buy me time. I knew it was just a matter of time before I died, or she left me. I wasn’t sure who was in worse shape, my newlywed wife, or me. I couldn’t believe she stayed with me. After all, I never told her about my condition, or at least the extent of it. She found out after we were married for a few years and my health deteriorated exponentially.

I loved her more than anyone or anything in my life. We had a magical relationship. We traveled to France, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden. We spent months at a time in Europe. I was smoking a lot of weed. For some reason, it not only helped control the pain, but also the growth of the xanthomas, the cholesterol bumps, that were growing all over my joints as well as throughout my arteries and organs. I was extremely handicapped, but always tried to hide it from her. I was buying nitros on the black market from pharmaceutical salespeople. Often, I was chomping on them right in front of her to avoid another heart attack. She never knew what I was doing to survive. I certainly did not tell her. She encouraged me to walk but just did not realize that walking was like being under water for way too long and not being able to get to the surface. I tried but I just could not keep up.

Eventually the pain of claudication in my legs and the side effects from the medications were too much for me. I could barely walk. I knew she thought it was all in my head, or at least that was her way of coping. She was a terrific mother and an incredible wife. She was everything I ever dreamed of in a soul mate and more. But she was extremely depressed. Eventually I couldn’t go on walks with her or do much more than take photographs. We were together for several years at that point and I had lived with her longer than anyone but my parents. She was everything to me, as was my son. We spent many years together trying to recover from all we had been through. Despite the fact my condition was getting worse, my bloodline was intact.

At this point I was earning a living through telecom analysis. I put the camera aside, other than to photograph my family. I was a wreck. Shortly after we met I had a water skiing accident and fractured some vertebra. Then, when for the first time, I went snow skiing with her; I almost had a heart attack on the slopes and crashed into dozens of skiers. The adrenaline from any event like that was simply too much for my now fragile heart and I lost control when I nearly fainted. I wanted to be the athlete I was most of my life, but I couldn’t even walk to the ski lift without fear. I was making very good money as an analyst, but I never knew if I would wake up the next day and it got to both of us.

When my son was about three years old, I found out I was going to be a father again. This time we were going to have a daughter. I was amazed and happy. We both went through major depressions due to my surgeries and inability to live a non-handicapped life, even though I did my best to hide my pain from her. As soon as she told me, I knew I had to get my heart checked again. Shortly afterwards I had many more stents put in by Doctor Shlofmitz. He couldn’t believe the rate the xanthomas were growing all over my body and how fast the stents were failing.

About the time my wife was pregnant with my daughter, my analysis and software company was also failing. I couldn’t tell her. I changed my career from photography to technology and became an expert at analyzing data and generating designs for voice and data networks. But, I was having severe memory issues, from either the medications or the incredible pain the xanthomas were causing throughout my body. They were not only growing in my heart, but in every artery of my body as well as in many joints in my legs, elbows, and in my abdomen. Later as they found out even some the size of golf balls.

Although I had been earning significant dollars, we were spending money faster than I could make it. Our family income was supplemented by advances from her inheritance. For several years, I found new clients, just when it looked like we would run out of money. We were living well, but the house we bought in Centerport was starting to fall apart and my health was getting much worse. She was only too willing to contribute, by becoming the data entry administrator at my software company. I started that software project so she would be able to do the analysis without me. I even recruited her genius brother to architect the software. As we later found out, software development was an extremely risky and expensive undertaking. Eventually, we ran out of money. Sprint killed my business when they introduced a flat rate program. That program allowed callers to call anywhere, anytime, for a dime a minute, so no one needed an analysis anymore. Every telecom manager and consultant I knew was out of business within six month.

How could I tell my wife that I was about to die and my plan of leaving her my consulting and software company was failing? I attempted to start a business building e-commerce sites for electronic shopping malls, but someone and something was working against me. Everything got to her. I was sure that if she didn’t have a nervous breakdown, I was going to have one. Although I didn’t truly know her when we got engaged and eventually married, I grew to love her more deeply than anyone I ever loved.

As the truck pulled up to our home, to move her out, my heart started to miss beats so frequently I didn’t think I would live long enough to try to convince her to stay, nor did I think it was fair of me to ask. I cried a lot over my lost rock star. It paled in comparison to the utter anguish and feeling of loss I experienced when my wife left. I was on the Grim Reaper’s short list and almost didn’t care. Without her, I thought I deserved to die. I hit rock bottom.

When she left, she told me I didn’t matter anymore. She said she had to do what was best for her and our children and that it didn’t matter, as I was dying anyway. She said that I simply did not make enough money any longer and she had other choices that were promising her country clubs and life of luxury. Those were the last words she said to me as she left with all our furniture. I was alone in an empty house with just a bed, my computers and my old cameras. I hated life at that point and wanted to punish myself for marrying her in the first place. If I did not die from a heart attack, I was going to die from pure misery and depression. I pulled as much cash out of the house as the mortgage banks would allow, gave it to her, paid off the company debts we accumulated after Sprint’s program put us out of business, and signed a divorce agreement without even reading it. What did it matter anyway? I was in no position to support her and she didn’t want to draw on her inheritance to support us both. I was screwed financially and had gambled every relationship and every dollar I ever earned on our consulting business. She was no longer the free spirited, beautiful, European princess I fell in love with. She had toughened herself and made logical decisions, closing her heart to everything but herself.

I would be a single father from that point on. Our marriage counselor told me she was so far gone that there was no way to fix the relationship and that she was in a worse mental condition than I was physically, despite the fact I was suffering and about to die. Watching that moving truck pull away was one of the worst moments of my life. I didn’t leave my bed for several weeks. The following day I went on antidepressants, tranquilizers and sleeping pills, on top of all the heart medications. The stress nearly killed me right there. For weeks all I did was sleep, barely eating a thing. At times, I thought I would be better off taking all the pills at once. The pain in my chest and arms was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. No longer was life about my obsession with sex or having children. It was about survival for my children. I had to carry on, despite how deeply sad I was, filled with gut-wrenching guilt for bringing children into a world where they would soon have no father with a mother so distraught over my health she could barely function herself.

 

Chapter 27 – Love Conspiracy

I was getting in and out of quick hook-ups and quasi relationships faster than I could get to know many of the women I was screwing around with. I knew I had to slow down. I was going night and day. What I wanted was a real girlfriend, like my friend from Allentown, but we all know how that ended up. I seemed to attract some of the most beautiful woman in the world, but every one of them seemed to have issues, or maybe the issues were with me. I started on a period of intense self-evaluation and psychotherapy, wondering why I kept choosing the wrong women. I was frustrated. I wanted a soul mate, a wife, not just a girlfriend. I was approaching the age when most men and women start to dream about having their own families. It seemed like I was a better lover and sexual partner than a life partner. Or, was I just choosing the wrong women? Mostly, they were choosing me. Typically, I was just going along for the ride and I was still as naïve as ever.

By this time, I was a seasoned New York City bartender. I was working twenty-four seven, trying to build my photography business while bartending six days a week. I did not bartend on Sundays, as traditionally no one would put me on the schedule. I never thought much of it. I figured the bar was closed after the two late nights on Friday and Saturday. I would shoot at the beach all day, rush to the bar for the corporate networking events that started at five and then bartend until four in the morning, often getting home two hours later. I was working twenty hours a day most of the time. I was also hitting the psychologist twice a week. He told me I was playing the role of a rescuer in my relationships. He helped me recognize that I was naturally attracted to women with broken wings. I started to re-evaluate my playboy lifestyle. But it would be decades before I could manage my obsession with sex and my attraction to wounded souls.

For a short time, I dated many fewer women. The experience with my friend from Allentown had a lot to do with that. I was also a bit wiser by then. At least I thought I was. Some of the back-story, I have not shared in my chapters of love, will help clarify where I was in my life at that time. After finding out my roommate was doing blow every day, I moved from Hell’s Kitchen to SOHO. I thought I would put some distance between us, despite the fact he was a good friend. He was in and out of rehab. His girlfriend was doing so much blow she might as well have been a dealer. I had no other real friends in the city and was starting to get lonely. All the parties and sex in the world doesn’t replace genuine friendship or love.

I was getting in and out of quick hook-ups and quasi relationships faster than I could get to know many of the women I was screwing around with. I knew I had to slow down. I was going night and day. What I wanted was a real girlfriend, like my friend from Allentown, but we all know how that ended up. I seemed to attract some of the most beautiful woman in the world, but every one of them seemed to have issues, or maybe the issues were with me. I started on a period of intense self-evaluation and psychotherapy, wondering why I kept choosing the wrong women. I was frustrated. I wanted a soul mate, a wife, not just a girlfriend. I was approaching the age when most men and women start to dream about having their own families. It seemed like I was a better lover and sexual partner than a life partner. Or, was I just choosing the wrong women? Mostly, they were choosing me. Typically, I was just going along for the ride and I was still as naïve as ever.

By this time, I was a seasoned New York City bartender. I was working twenty-four seven, trying to build my photography business while bartending six days a week. I did not bartend on Sundays, as traditionally no one would put me on the schedule. I never thought much of it. I figured the bar was closed after the two late nights on Friday and Saturday. I would shoot at the beach all day, rush to the bar for the corporate networking events that started at five and then bartend until four in the morning, often getting home two hours later. I was working twenty hours a day most of the time. I was also hitting the psychologist twice a week. He told me I was playing the role of a rescuer in my relationships. He helped me recognize that I was naturally attracted to women with broken wings. I started to re-evaluate my playboy lifestyle. But it would be decades before I could manage my obsession with sex and my attraction to wounded souls.

For a short time, I dated many fewer women. The experience with my friend from Allentown had a lot to do with that. I was also a bit wiser by then. At least I thought I was. Some of the back-story, I have not shared in my chapters of love, will help clarify where I was in my life at that time. After finding out my roommate was doing blow every day, I moved from Hell’s Kitchen to SOHO. I thought I would put some distance between us, despite the fact he was a good friend. He was in and out of rehab. His girlfriend was doing so much blow she might as well have been a dealer. I had no other real friends in the city and was starting to get lonely. All the parties and sex in the world doesn’t replace genuine friendship or love.

My new landlord was a friend of my former roommate from Hell’s Kitchen. He made the introduction for me. I was living in a rent-controlled walk-up on Thompson Street, in the heart of the Village. One night I was asked to bartend on a Sunday and told I didn’t need to bring my bartenders uniform. The uniform consisted of black pants and a custom woven shirt that cost well over three hundred dollars. They were black and made from a water-resistant material. They were from some famous designer. I wondered why we didn’t need our uniforms that night, but I didn’t think much of it. I went to work in one of my black shirts as a backup. When I got there, the place was empty. I went up to the Michael Todd room where I was told I would be working alone for a few hours. I was told to take my shirt off. I was like “what? Take my shirt off?” My manager handed me a white collar that had a bow tie attached to it. The entire staff was shirtless wearing only these collars. The ladies wore tuxedo vests without shirts that didn’t leave much to the imagination. I put the collar on and thought it was going to be a hell of a night. How was I going to kick my sex obsession if I was half naked? I thought it was going to be one of those nights when I went home with another fan. All the same, I wanted to buy some new photographic lenses, so the money would come in handy. Plus, I just moved to SOHO and although it was a three-story, rent controlled, walk up, it was still expensive.

When the guests arrived, they seemed somehow different than the usual crowd. Also, they seemed to arrive at pretty much the same time. We went from empty to packed, so packed they had to close the entrance almost as soon as they opened. But there was more to this night than I knew. It was gay night and I became the toast of the bar. It was tradition, or so I was told, to put the straight bartenders who were working their first gay night at the bar by themselves. It was an initiation of sorts. I called the manager and asked why he put me on for a gay party. He told me that it was an every Sunday night event and that I would make twice as much money as I did on any other night. Plus, he was short a bartender. That appeased me, so I said fuck it and just bartended. It was strange that many of the patrons seemed to know who I was. Many knew my name. They were throwing huge tips at me no matter what size the drink order. It was literally raining money at my bar that night.

I made thousands of dollars. For the first time at the Palladium I was treated like a piece of ass. There were some straight people there, as well as people who loved in many different ways. However, most in the crowd were “Boy George gay” and wore absolutely crazy costumes. I had never seen men kiss and be so openly affectionate. It was not my scene, but I sucked it up and kept bartending. Then my landlord showed up and told me that I was going to have to find another place to stay, as she needed the apartment for herself. She even asked if she could stay with me that night. She also asked if I saw two bottles of prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. They were the same two bottles of pills my bartender friend found and I told to take. Apparently, she was the source of those Valium and Quaaludes. Holy shit! I thought now I was going to have to pay for them! So, I said, “No, I haven’t seen any prescriptions.”

After one of the weirdest and most lucrative nights of my bartending life, I went home with my landlord. She told me she had a friend who had tons of apartment buildings that were rent controlled and that, as a favor, she would introduce me. We slept with each other that night. It was nothing to write home about. She took a few pills and jumped me in the middle of the night. It was strange because she was much older than I was, maybe the oldest woman I ever slept with at that point. She had huge breasts, but they were hard as rocks. They must have been breast implants prior to the process being perfected. They stuck straight out. She kept calling me “Papi, Papi, Papi” and speaking to me in Spanish. She was from Puerto Rico. Eventually, I found out she was a prescription drug dealer long before it became popular.

Like so many others who hung out at the Palladium, she was making a living selling blow and prescription drugs. When I realized she was the one supplying my uptown friend, I knew I was going to be better off moving to one of the rent controlled apartments as soon as I could. She kept putting blow on my chest and snorting it. She wanted me to do some, but I had a bad experience with it. Frankly I was afraid of it. She would snort a line off my chest from a clear glass tube she wore around her neck that had a tiny gold spoon attached to the inside of the cap. She would stick it up my nose and say, just take a bump. Like a moron, I did. She started to rub it on my dick and suck it off. It started off being exhilarating, but after a while it just made me numb. She just wanted more and more sex. Apparently, blow would make a man last longer. We did it a few more times with her always on top, calling me Papi. The entire experience was surreal. It was one of the weirdest nights of my life. I had to keep from laughing at her. It was j comical.

The next morning, she wanted me to pack up my things and leave. She told me to call her friend. At first, I refused. I told her I would have to see him and sign a lease before I left. Plus, I just moved there from Hell’s Kitchen and moving in the city was a bitch. I had to do it with taxis and the subway. That same day I went to her friend’s skyscraper and he just handed me the keys to a 3-bedroom apartment on fifty-seventh street. He asked me if I knew how to paint. I said “Sure, my father taught me how to paint when I was young.” That’s all it took. Now, I had my own apartment on 57th Street, right by the bridge. It looked more like a hotel suite than an apartment, because it was completely furnished and had mirrors everywhere. I moved in a few days later. The few days I stayed in SOHO, my landlord crashed with me. The entire time she kept asking to join me in bed. I wanted out of there as soon as possible. I just couldn’t get past that Papi thing, or how she was obsessed with my body. She was getting off more on the blow than from me. I might as well have been a vibrating mannequin.

She was pissed when I didn’t want to sleep with her anymore. She was yelling all kinds of shit at me in Spanish, pissed she couldn’t find her blow. I sure as hell didn’t have it. I was sure she snorted the entire vile off my cock, but she swore she had a few grams left. By that time, I hadn’t slept much in days as that shit was cut with something like speed. It made both my heart and brain race, I didn’t like it. There was one benefit. After a twenty-hour day of both shooting at the beaches in the morning and then bartending all night, it would help me stay awake. When the other bartenders who did bumps regularly, heard I was doing it too, they started openly breaking it out behind the bar every night and trying to drag me into the bathrooms with them. I was no longer an outsider. I was one of them, snorting bumps most every night at about 2 am, to make it through my shift.

Living on fifty- Seventh Street by 1st Avenue was boring. It was nothing like the art district downtown where there were tons of restaurants and boutiques. It was a community downtown. Here it seemed like a business district. Plus, I was near the bridge and the cars were loud. I couldn’t leave my windows open without hearing the commotion. To make it worse, there was no natural light and no place to comfortably shoot. But, all the same, it was going to be my apartment and all I had to do to get It, was to paint the place. I didn’t even have to pay rent. So, I started painting.

It was not long after I started painting that my landlord started sending over a very hot model to bring me supplies. He asked if it was ok if she stayed with me from time to time. He said he was trying to get rid of her. She was one of those girls who had very little motivation. All she wanted to do was hang out and party. She would always bring tons of blow and booze with her. Just when I thought I got away from my drug-dealing landlord, I now had a drug obsessed roommate of sorts. She would come over and try and blow me most every time. There was no mystery or romance just, “do you want a blow job?” It was pretty much the first thing she would say to me when she came over. Like most men, I accepted every one of them. In between painting, she would blow me several times a day, without ever asking for anything.

She wasn’t a very successful model. She was in a different class than most of the models I would photograph. She was a decent runway model, until her coke habit started to get in the way. After a while I called my landlord and asked him if he could find another place for her. He refused and instead said he had another place for me. It was an uptown duplex with cathedral ceilings, a balcony and skylights. It was perfect for a photo studio. He said all I had to do was to paint it and manage the building; I could pay my rent by supervising contractors. I thought it was a great idea. Growing up I learned a lot about construction from my dad. We renovated so many bathrooms and kitchens. I had enough knowledge to pull this off.

After only being on 57th Street for a few weeks, I was moving uptown, quite close to Central Park. Pretty amazing! My new landlord seemed cool and he gave me a lease, which I didn’t even read carefully, I just signed it. My new coked-up model friend helped me move my things to my new prestigious penthouse duplex. I was feeling like, “The Man” now. I ran my photography studio from there, but shot at the beaches most weekends. I was bartending seventy to eighty hours per week and was now also managing the renovation of a sixty or seventy-unit building. I went from not liking blow and fearing it, to taking frequent bumps, just to just to stay awake through the now twenty-hour plus work day. I was getting it for free from the coked-up model and the other bartenders. Just about everyone at the Palladium had it. It was the eighties and blow seemed to be part of the NYC culture at that time. It certainly had taken over the entertainment industry.

I was living a photographer’s dream. Now that I had my own studio, models were coming to me around the clock. The agencies didn’t even make appointments, as I had an open call daily. From two to four pm the sun was in a bad position for shooting, so I just met with models anytime they rang my buzzer. That was when I tried to rest. I would get to the bar by five for happy hour and business networking. I was invited to many high-end corporate parties and I always had some model on my arm. Sometimes, even two. Often, models would come for a call and just throw themselves at me before I even took my camera out. There were many days and nights spent servicing women from around the world. I wrote about a few of them that were more than quick hook ups. I don’t remember them all. I was practically a gigolo, as they were always bringing me gifts. The young models from around the world, many just eighteen, were equally sexually free. This was about when AIDS became a real threat, so I used protection almost every time. If I knew the model was a virgin, I would make an exception. I learned that virgins did not get as wet as non-virgins, until after the first time. I started to feel as if the virgin models were telling each other about me and I became the go to guy to lose one’s virginity to. It was an unbelievable time.

But then I started to fall in love with my Midwest farmer’s daughter – neighbor and it was also not too long after my model friend from Allentown was raped by her agent. I was still very concerned about the city and how devious people could be. After I punched out that bartender for giving me acid on a piece of chewing gum, I was fired from the Palladium. But now that I had a studio, and I was in high demand and shooting full time, it didn’t much matter. By that time, I had supervised the renovation of most of the bathrooms and windows in the building, even getting some of my childhood friends’ contracts to perform the work. But, I was still burning the candle at both ends, scheduling photo shoot after photo shoot in addition to setting up exhibitions at clubs and restaurants all over the city. After I left the Palladium I no longer was given free bumps by the bartenders. I got most of it from the coked-up model who was relentless in her quest to see me as often as she could. She would bring me coke whenever I wanted, with a side order of head. I started to realize when I didn’t have blow, I would not only crave it, I had to sedate myself until I got more. I was addicted. One day when I asked my friend to bring me a gram or two she said, “you have to get it from the boss this time.” I was like…”the boss? Who’s the boss?” She quickly replied, “Our landlord. Who do you think is paying for all the blow I’m giving you.” And that’s when the problems began.

I went to see my landlord. He was no longer the nice guy who just wanted someone to watch his building and paint his apartments. He wanted to know how I was going to pay for the thousands of dollars of coke he was sending over. I was so incredibly naïve. I had no idea he was playing me. He kind of laughed it off and then said, “Just do me a favor and we are even. Take this cash to the racetrack and bet on this horse. Once you get the ticket give it to the guy in the hat by window. Once you give him that ticket, we are even.” I said what if the horse doesn’t win. He told me not to worry, that it would. I went to the track, placed the bet, gave the ticket to that guy in the hat and my debt was paid. I checked and the horse did win, so the fix was in. I started to realize it was not just people in the entertainment business who were obsessed with blow. Even millionaires and real estate tycoons were doing it. It just seemed like the entire city was hooked on blow, including me.

I started to shoot editorials for magazines regularly with designs from Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Henry Grethel, and numerous other designers. The Stock Market was selling my photos to Fortune 500 companies. There were huge paychecks attached to those sales. I was still modeling here and there, occasionally for GQ. However, the city was getting played out and I longed for my true home, Long Island.

Despite being home sick, all was going well. I was becoming a celebrity photographer. I frequently traveled between NY and LA to shoot catalogs, fur coats, Miss Canada and “Miss Everything.” More and more pageant contestant models were coming out of the woodwork. I just didn’t have the time to photograph or even interview them all, so they started to bribe me with travel and sex. Meanwhile, my Midwest farmer’s daughter, who lived next door and who I was falling in love with, was doing blow with her roommates. I must have been juggling a hundred different women at that point. My landlord kept asking me to come to his skyscraper to hang out. I didn’t have the time and I was more than a little leery of him, knowing he was doing blow and feeding it to many models. He asked me if I liked the blowjobs from the girl who was supplying me with blow. It became obvious that he was up to more than just dealing.

Shortly after I went to Hollywood for an assignment for Vidal Sassoon I learned the full truth. My landlord was connected to some very bad people, including the agent who raped my friend. When I got back to New York, my girlfriend had moved into my apartment! Now things started to make sense. My landlord was working with that deplorable agent to recruit girls, promise them careers, lend them money, get them addicted to cocaine, and then turn them into high end prostitutes. This was his major source of income. He took all the money he made illegally and laundered it in real estate. He was a pimp, drug dealer and a criminal. He maintained all the apartments so he had a place for his coked-up models to live and work. He was running a prostitution ring. His girls were thousand dollar plus a night call girls who he got addicted to coke and then were blackmailed to pay off their bills. They would threaten them, even rape them, if they did not pay.

When I moved out, he asked me for back rent and told me to give it to the model agent who raped my friend. I never even knew he was friends with that crook. I was terrified but I stood my ground and told him “I don’t owe you a dime because I painted and took care of your building as we agreed.” He responded by telling me we could forget any back rent if I pushed a guy, who was going to testify against him, off the train tracks. I wanted no part of it. I told my father the entire story. He went to the city that very day and I never heard from my landlord again. My father probably saved my life. Dad was tough that way. So, I left NYC and moved back in with my parents. I confessed to him about snorting blow. He cried and I swore I would never do it again. And, I never have and have preached about the dangers of drugs every since including counseling many friends who were addicted to get into treatment.

I started my life over at a film laboratory in NYC, New York Film Works. I was paying off my father who fronted me some money. It was a huge blow to my ego to have to start over, making minimum wage. However, I eventually obtained an amazing education from the top photographers in the city on a variety of proprietary lighting and film processing techniques. Also, over time, I learned how to print and use every darkroom tool in the business. I was now smarter and humbled by the experience. It was not soon afterwards that I met my rock star girlfriend, on the train, while commuting to work. I didn’t have a car or even bus money, so I walked three miles every day to the train station and back. I had not saved a penny. I spent everything I made as a top photographer, partying and on women. It was good therapy to walk. After a few months, I stopped thinking about and craving blow. Eventually I eliminated every single NYC friend, concerned that they were part of that group of notorious people intentionally ruining peoples’ lives to turn them into slaves and worse, unwilling prostitutes.

This was the point in my life that I started getting crazy feelings in my chest including pain and tremors. It started when I was living in the city. It felt as if I was going to have a heart attack and I was having issues breathing. I thought that I was self- destructing from all the drugs, booze, twenty-four hour back-to-back work days, and the wild partying with women all night long. I went back to being an athlete and tried to start running again, but eventually was not able to do much more than walk. That was a sign that it wasn’t the partying that was causing the breathing issues. It was much worse. It was not long afterwards that I fell in love with my rock star fiancé. It was also the time I learned why I had all that pain in my chest, issues breathing, and growths all over my elbows. I was told I was dying.

 

Chapter 26 – A Bitter Sweet Chapter

By this time I was shooting for almost every modeling agency from NY to LA, as well as some of the most elite models from all over the world. I was living in Hell’s kitchen and just getting to know the city. Other than family events, or as a child, going to work with my father, I didn’t know Manhattan. For the first time in my life, I was learning the streets of New York. Not just as a passenger in my father’s car, or a school field trip, but by living and working in the city. It was a virtual playground with huge nightclubs and millions of women from around the world. I was in a single man’s paradise, as there was a plethora of opportunity and a smorgasbord of women from just about everywhere. That is why I found it so strange that I was falling in love with a shy coal miner’s daughter from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I don’t understand how I could fall in love so often, or why certain women immediately triggered that love at first sight switch in my brain. But those love hormones, like dopamine and all the others, would simply drive me wild at times. I would experience these amazing floodgates of love for certain women. She was one of them. After our first shoot I thought we would spend a lot of time together. It was a simple shoot. She modeled in a torn pair of jeans and a ripped t-shirt. She was slender and much cooler looking than most models. She carried herself like the main character in the feature film “Flash Dance.” That was the style at the time. She was definitely a tomboy, but shy. Acting and modeling was drawing her out of her shell. She had long curly brown hair. Not naturally curly, just part of the act. Kind of her unique style. She was very fashionable. She wore outfits that looked like they came out of Vogue or Elle’s sportswear section. She came off as a sexy, hot, jock, dancer chick.

By this time I was shooting for almost every modeling agency from NY to LA, as well as some of the most elite models from all over the world. I was living in Hell’s kitchen and just getting to know the city. Other than family events, or as a child, going to work with my father, I didn’t know Manhattan. For the first time in my life, I was learning the streets of New York. Not just as a passenger in my father’s car, or a school field trip, but by living and working in the city. It was a virtual playground with huge nightclubs and millions of women from around the world. I was in a single man’s paradise, as there was a plethora of opportunity and a smorgasbord of women from just about everywhere. That is why I found it so strange that I was falling in love with a shy coal miner’s daughter from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I don’t understand how I could fall in love so often, or why certain women immediately triggered that love at first sight switch in my brain. But those love hormones, like dopamine and all the others, would simply drive me wild at times. I would experience these amazing floodgates of love for certain women. She was one of them. After our first shoot I thought we would spend a lot of time together. It was a simple shoot. She modeled in a torn pair of jeans and a ripped t-shirt. She was slender and much cooler looking than most models. She carried herself like the main character in the feature film “Flash Dance.” That was the style at the time. She was definitely a tomboy, but shy. Acting and modeling was drawing her out of her shell. She had long curly brown hair. Not naturally curly, just part of the act. Kind of her unique style. She was very fashionable. She wore outfits that looked like they came out of Vogue or Elle’s sportswear section. She came off as a sexy, hot, jock, dancer chick.

She took the train from Allentown to the city. She would stay with me as often as she could. We always shot at sunset. There was a beautiful golden glow emanating from the windows. The entire floor to ceiling wall of windows, facing the sunset, was the reason I sublet the place to begin with. That wall of light was my first natural light studio. She would come by unannounced. I was always happy whenever she buzzed up. It made the apartment start to feel like a home. She was generally in the city for casting calls and to see her agent, so I was pretty much last on her list. But I was a steady stop. She had a boyfriend back in Allentown, which is why, at first, we never became more than, friends. We would order in Chinese food or pizza and hang out. She was very affectionate and was always hanging onto me. I loved that feeling.

What we became is rather difficult to describe. I did have that initial love at first sight feeling, but it took so long for us to become intimate, that I was screwing around with a lot of other women. Plus, I had to control my feelings, because she had a boyfriend. It was an entirely different story after she broke up with him. We would have sex every time I saw her, even though I was screwing around with everyone else. So as much as I began to love her and build on that incredible, love at first sight feeling, I was in a strange place, juggling many women at the same time.

I may have had many chapters of love, but I did love every woman I slept with. I have chosen to love them all, almost as a religion. I often think that love is the universal foundation of any religion or society. Even though we had great sex, often in front of those enormous windows, we were never exclusive. Oh yes, the windows. At first we thought the coating on the windows would prevent people from seeing in. Later we learned that at sunset you could see everything. We were more careful after that, but we were certain scores of people had seen us.

It must have been very erotic for our neighbors whose windows faced ours. There was a month we were going at it almost every day while we were playing house together. Sex with her was almost always the same. We would shoot at sunset, smoke some herb or hash, put on Cat Stevens and screw. Most of the time we would just strip in front of the windows and make love standing up. I think she got off on it. Outside of photography and sex, we didn’t speak about too much else. We had three to five hours for each other at a time and then we were both off doing our own thing.

Eventually she started getting a lot of attention, becoming quite a bit more polished, but had less and less time for me. When she wasn’t there I hooked up with other women, but I always hoped it would be her who rang my buzzer. I started to feel I was as much a hotel room to her as I was a fun hook-up, but nothing more. Over time, we drifted apart, but occasionally, we would meet for lunch. Our relationship turned into more of a friendship again. We just hung out instead of hooking-up. We never discussed why. It just changed. I had a feeling she was seeing someone else in town. I wasn’t jealous. I was kind of relieved, as by that time, I was hitting everything that moved. She became family to me. I loved her like I would if I had grown up with her as a neighbor, or true friend. The city was no bed of roses. I started to see the real underbelly of New York City, especially with what was about to happen to her. It was a playground, albeit a dangerous one.

She didn’t know where she was or what had happened when she awoke, naked in a strange bed. She had no recollection of how she got there. She knew she had been violated. She was terrified. She saw guys with guns standing outside the doorway of the bedroom she woke up in. She heard a voice she thought was her agent. She told me she never trusted him. She said there was something creepy about him. Somehow, she got caught up with some bad business dealings and now she was paying the price.

When my phone rang, I didn’t know who it was at first. The woman on the other side of the phone was crying and absolutely terrified. She sounded familiar, but as she was whispering I thought it might be a crank call. But, the crying was too real for it to be anything but a call for help. As she started to calm herself, she told me everything she knew. What she couldn’t tell me was where she was. She was terrified of the guys with the guns. She saw them on their ankles through the doorway that was intentionally left open. As she became more lucid, I could tell it was my friend. She told me she had been raped and she was afraid to get up and leave. She was afraid the guys with the guns would kill her.

Since she thought she heard her agents voice I told her I would call him and to hang up and not say a thing. I told her to call me back in a few minutes. If she didn’t hear a phone ring she would call me back, or the police. As soon as she hung up I called the agent. He picked up as if nothing was wrong. I asked him if he had seen her because I had a booking for her first thing in the morning. It wasn’t unusual for me to call him, as I originally booked her for a gig through him. He started to get suspicious but I played it cool. I could tell he was lying when He said, he would have to make a few phone calls to find her.

Then the impossible happened. She picked up the other phone and started dialing me. I couldn’t believe it. She was dialing as I was speaking to him. Now, I was terrified for myself as well. If he was a rapist and killer, he would come for me as well. She heard my voice and said “John, Is that you?” I played it so cool. I couldn’t believe I thought of this. I said “yes! I was just asking for you. I have to come pick you up right now. We have a shoot at dawn.” I acted like I had no idea she was in trouble. She just kept saying, “Ok. Ok. Ok,” to everything I said. She couldn’t say much more. I said she sounded tired and she took the hint. She said she had fallen asleep and asked me what time it was.

The agent thought he had gotten away with it. He said he would send her down when I got there. When I got there, she was a mess. They did a job on her. Her makeup was running down her face from crying so much. I said, “oh man you look drunk. Are you drunk again?” They fell for it and let her go with me. I saw the guns and knew that if anyone said anything about it, we were both dead.

I took her home to my apartment and bathed her as if she was my child. She cried a good part of the night. Later, she admitted that she had taken advances from the agency to pay for her family’s food and other bills, thinking that she had a huge booking coming that would pay for it. I had no idea her family was having such a tough time of it. I began to realize that the reason she started spending time with me was that her agent wanted her to. When she stopped being his eyes in my apartment, he punished her.

Apparently, all the hash and herb we were smoking was stashed in my sublet apartment. She was picking it up and transporting it to him to pay her family’s bills. I was the fall guy in case the place was raided. He was also using her to make sure none of it went missing. The very night she came back to my apartment she asked me for a pair of socks. I didn’t have any so I went to my roommate’s drawer to borrow a pair. He was never there, so I didn’t think he would mind.

When I opened the drawer, I saw at least a hundred kilos of Lebanese brown hash. I was done. I knew I had to get out of there. I told no one what happened and that I just had to move downtown for work. My roommate helped me find a place downtown. I learned later that there was more of a connection between my roommate and the agent than I knew, but it took months for me to find out. When I left her at the train station we both said we were going home, never to return to the city. She left. I stayed, but I never spoke to her or her agent again. Her last words to me were that the only reason she slept with me was because she wanted to and that she loved me. No matter what she did, or how she deceived me, I loved her and was devastated by what happened to her. It taught me how dangerous the city could be. I thanked God my father taught me how to survive challenging situations.

Later, I learned the rest of the story. She took an apartment from her agent on credit. He promised her she was going to get that big break and threw phony contracts at her to convince her she was going to be rich and famous. He advanced her money for her fancy outfits and she got lost in the dark underbelly of the industry. She was a great friend and a unique chapter of love. If it were not for her getting into that trouble and me learning from it, I could have been next in line, as there were so many notorious people working within the entertainment industry back in the 80’s.

 

Chapter 25 – My First Modeling Shoot

I was in many school plays in elementary school, even the holiday concerts that were optional. I loved the theatre even though I had terrible stage fright. I would get so anxious before I was going to sing or act that it took much of the joy out of performing. However, I generally loved to entertain people and it was as close to a feeling of love I believed anyone could feel. It was all love and warmth when an audience was enjoying your performance. When I graduated from elementary school and went to Junior High, I continued with the arts by participating in chorus. I sang a solo or two during those three years. Until I started to wrestle, in seventh grade, I thought I would always be involved in the theatre. I was auditioning for one of the school’s major productions, when sports won me over and I made it my priority for the next six years.

I didn’t think too much about theatre for the rest of high school, other than going to every performance I could. I stayed engaged with music, thanks to my godfather, who bought me a guitar at a garage sale. I loved it and brought it to school often. I was taking lessons during lunch breaks from a member of the school band. She was hot.

My father’s cousin Michael was a world-class photographer and musician, who toured a lot. I always looked up to him. He played with the Eagles from time to time and many of the sixties bands. He lived on the West Coast, but would visit every time he came to New York. He gave me some lessons and from that time on, I knew I would be playing the rest of my life. I continue to write love ballads and play guitar to this day.

As talented a musician as he was, he also was an amazing photographer. He would sell stock photographs through a photo agency called The Stock Market, which later became Corbis Stock Market, when Microsoft purchased the company. He always photographed our family when he visited, to say thank-you for the hospitality. He would hand color the prints. To me he was amazingly talented and we had a great rapport, even though he was my father’s age. The summer after I graduated high school, he wanted to photograph me for the agency he was selling his work to. He asked me to find the prettiest girl I could and invite her to model.

I was in many school plays in elementary school, even the holiday concerts that were optional. I loved the theatre even though I had terrible stage fright. I would get so anxious before I was going to sing or act that it took much of the joy out of performing. However, I generally loved to entertain people and it was as close to a feeling of love I believed anyone could feel. It was all love and warmth when an audience was enjoying your performance. When I graduated from elementary school and went to Junior High, I continued with the arts by participating in chorus. I sang a solo or two during those three years. Until I started to wrestle, in seventh grade, I thought I would always be involved in the theatre. I was auditioning for one of the school’s major productions, when sports won me over and I made it my priority for the next six years.

I didn’t think too much about theatre for the rest of high school, other than going to every performance I could. I stayed engaged with music, thanks to my godfather, who bought me a guitar at a garage sale. I loved it and brought it to school often. I was taking lessons during lunch breaks from a member of the school band. She was hot.

My father’s cousin Michael was a world-class photographer and musician, who toured a lot. I always looked up to him. He played with the Eagles from time to time and many of the sixties bands. He lived on the West Coast, but would visit every time he came to New York. He gave me some lessons and from that time on, I knew I would be playing the rest of my life. I continue to write love ballads and play guitar to this day.

As talented a musician as he was, he also was an amazing photographer. He would sell stock photographs through a photo agency called The Stock Market, which later became Corbis Stock Market, when Microsoft purchased the company. He always photographed our family when he visited, to say thank-you for the hospitality. He would hand color the prints. To me he was amazingly talented and we had a great rapport, even though he was my father’s age. The summer after I graduated high school, he wanted to photograph me for the agency he was selling his work to. He asked me to find the prettiest girl I could and invite her to model.

I was so excited because his photographs were routinely used by the largest magazines and publications in the world. Even companies the size of American Express were licensing his photos from stock. He offered me a cut of anything he sold and I was hoping to score a campaign. That night, I went to every bar, searching for the hottest girl I could find. After going to Uncle Sam’s and every club I knew, I came up empty. For some reason, it was a slow weekend. No one seemed to be around. Maybe everyone was in the Hamptons, but I was too young to know about the east end back then. I continued my search at smaller dive bars. When I entered a pub in Levittown, I found her. She was tall and slender. She was exactly the type he described. Her looks and outfit made her a dead ringer for Pat Benatar. The resemblance was uncanny. Women and guys were all over her, asking if she actually was Pat Benatar.

She was rather shy, or at least she came off that way. As I started to tell her about the opportunity the bartender started pouring us free drinks. I knew him. He was a cool guy who could see I was making headway with this beautiful woman, so he hooked us up. I was a generous tipper so he would always do right by me. After a few drinks, she agreed to do the shoot the following day. We were both excited. I showed her some of his prints, which she thought were extraordinary. Not surprisingly, everyone always told her she should model, but she truly was the shy type.

The following day I picked her up and we shot with my cousin, as I have always referred to him, even though he is my father’s cousin. I’m not quite sure what that makes him to me. We went to a local park. He made it fun by making sure she kissed me for photos and we got really cozy. I was surprised that as soon as the camera came out she went from shy to bold. She was striking poses, hamming it up and having a great time. It was a different story for me. I was just about puking from stage fright as soon as the camera came out.

She was a few years older than me and certainly seemed to know how to handle herself in front of the camera. For a while my cousin was flirting with her and I thought she was going to start something with him, but when the shoot was done, she asked me to dinner to celebrate. There was a lot of hand holding and cuddling going on during that shoot. I was bursting out of my pants almost the entire time, even during the shots my cousin had us running.

She took me back to the bar we met at and had appetizers, drinking as much as we were eating. We did shots for hours and before I knew it she was hanging all over me. I would say she was probably four to six years older than I was, so she had more life experience. She certainly had more experience drinking shots. I was getting hammered. We sat at that bar and drank shots for hours. At one point a guy said something off color to her. When he refused to apologize, I got into a fistfight with him. It didn’t last long, as my friend the bartender threw him out. I did take a punch or two. She was turned on by the fact that I defended her honor and within minutes was dragging me out the front door, kissing me passionately the entire way.

We went directly to the back seat of my car. That was a common thing back. At eighteen, where were you going to take a girl to have sex? Not at your parents’ house. So many people would use the back seat of their car. It was very common at drive in movie theaters like the one in Westbury. So, we went at it, right into the middle of the brightly lit parking lot. She was wearing leather pants for the shoot, as was I. It was a challenge to get them off. Eventually we had our clothing off and were going wild. She was a very physical kisser and lover. At first, she took control.

As soon as she spread her legs, I inserted myself into her. She was so wet. Although we were in the back seat of my car, it seemed very romantic. As soon as I started to stroke back and forth, she started to cry, so I stopped. I would stop and look at her. She would look at me, confused, wondering why I had stopped. Each time I stopped pumping and thrusting she would stop crying and as soon as I started again she would start to cry. It was not a loud cry of anguish, as if she had lost someone she loved. It was more of a crying whimper, but she was definitely crying.

I was only eighteen so hearing a woman crying while I was making love to her was more than a bit disturbing. I had never experienced it or even heard about anyone crying during sex. I was more concerned that something was wrong with her, than getting laid at that point. I continued to stop frequently, until she just came out and said that she couldn’t help it. She explained while still whimpering that anytime she did it she would cry. She asked me to just ignore it, but it was impossible. However, looking down on her, with her extra-long legs on the ceiling of my car and her tear-filled eyes staring into mine, started to turn me on. I kept going, but for the longest time she did not cum. Nor did I. We were too buzzed.

It felt like we were screwing forever. Then, without much change in my pendulum type rhythmic pumping, she grabbed me and pulled me very close to her. She made sure my head was tightly squeezed against the side of hers and she came. Her cries increased in intensity to a point someone would have thought I was forcing her. She screamed “no, no, stop, stop,” while at the same time was crying rivers, yet holding me close to her in a vise-like grip, not allowing me to pull out of her, or move my head away to see what was wrong. She had the longest and most pronounced orgasm I ever heard a woman have. It seemed to go on for minutes. I was cuming as well, but it was very quick. She milked the moment for everything she could, using her legs and vagina to squeeze my cock incredibly tight. After I came I thought it was over, but with her crying and screaming, I got hard instantly and came again. This time I had a long pumping orgasm that seemed to last a very long time. I hadn’t experienced anything like it before. I’m not sure if it was the crying or her acting like she was being taken against her will, was what turned me on. It was both sexy and weird.

After we came the second time, she wouldn’t let go of me for at least an hour. She cried violently in my arms, staying in the missionary position, not allowing me get off her. I was getting worried and had no idea what to do. It went from strange, to being a turn on, to being strange again. Finally, she let go of me and we got dressed in almost complete silence. We didn’t say much of anything on the ride home. We kissed as I dropped her off. She said she wanted to get together the next day and pick out the best shots for her portfolio, a portfolio my cousin was going to give her as payment for her time. She also had to sign the release for the stock photo agency.

When I called her the next day she made believe she didn’t know who I was and said she wasn’t interested in the photographs. She said she was only interested in meeting at the bar again. I had to get a release signed, so I went. She signed the release and then just left. As she left, the bartender that had served us the night we met, brought extra-large shots for the two of us. He made a toast and asked, “did she have a good cry?” It became apparent that last night had not been the first time she walked out of that bar into someone’s back seat.

Within a few months our photos were turning heads. Many of the other photographers from the stock photo company started to call and ask if I would shoot for this sports magazine or that. I wound up modeling quite a bit. I rarely discussed it as I always thought each modeling job would be my last. I was content to take the clothing they were offering as payment, or at times, actual cash. Being around so many photographers I learned a lot and started photographing my girlfriends for the same stock agency

That’s how I became a photographer and a model at the same time. Eventually after two crazy runway gigs, I made the decision to never model again. When the money was right or the photographer was well known, I did, but mostly I stuck to photography. Not only because I was kind of gifted with the camera from day one, but also because I loved creating with women, as much as I loved making love with them.

Although it was the first time I slept with a woman who liked to cry, it wouldn’t be the last. My midlife crisis took that experience to a whole different level.

 

Chapter 24 – Strawberry Fields

When I first started modeling I did not talk about it much because I didn’t think I was going to get a lot of work. Not when I saw the competition, guys who looked like chiseled statues. I always loved photography, so I moved to the opposite side of the camera. Not only because I loved photography, but also because of my passion for the female figure. As fate would have it for a brief period in my life, I was modeling and going to interviews and casting calls. Often I would meet incredible models who looked like goddesses. They had to have super hero DNA, or the blood of actual goddesses running through their veins. They were not mere mortals.

She was one of those models. When she walked down the street, everyone, stopped in their tracks and stared. People thought she was a movie star. She looked very much like a European Barbie doll. Perhaps I put her on a pedestal, but she was undeniably gorgeous. She had golden blonde hair and blue eyes, a combination I found particularly alluring. Add perfectly cut cheekbones, full lips, almond eyes and perfect curves and you have a true goddess. Every man, especially if he is a male photographer, wants his mate to be his muse, no matter what else she does.

I don’t remember what the casting call was for, but only the top male and female models in the city were invited. An agent tipped me off to it. I wasn’t with an agency at the time. When I arrived at the casting call there were many female models, but only a few men. They wanted a very specific look for the male model, so the invitations were limited. As I waited my turn to see the casting team I met my goddess. She was shy. She shared a few stories of her modeling experiences. She modeled all over the world. She was staying at John Lennon’s apartment, near Strawberry Fields at the Dakota. We laughed and flirted. She was very calm and tranquil, as if she had everything anyone wanted and not a care in the world. Girls, well goddesses like her have so many opportunities it creates a certain inner confidence. In her case, it was accompanied by inner beauty.

When I first started modeling I did not talk about it much because I didn’t think I was going to get a lot of work. Not when I saw the competition, guys who looked like chiseled statues. I always loved photography, so I moved to the opposite side of the camera. Not only because I loved photography, but also because of my passion for the female figure. As fate would have it for a brief period in my life, I was modeling and going to interviews and casting calls. Often I would meet incredible models who looked like goddesses. They had to have super hero DNA, or the blood of actual goddesses running through their veins. They were not mere mortals.

She was one of those models. When she walked down the street, everyone, stopped in their tracks and stared. People thought she was a movie star. She looked very much like a European Barbie doll. Perhaps I put her on a pedestal, but she was undeniably gorgeous. She had golden blonde hair and blue eyes, a combination I found particularly alluring. Add perfectly cut cheekbones, full lips, almond eyes and perfect curves and you have a true goddess. Every man, especially if he is a male photographer, wants his mate to be his muse, no matter what else she does.

I don’t remember what the casting call was for, but only the top male and female models in the city were invited. An agent tipped me off to it. I wasn’t with an agency at the time. When I arrived at the casting call there were many female models, but only a few men. They wanted a very specific look for the male model, so the invitations were limited. As I waited my turn to see the casting team I met my goddess. She was shy. She shared a few stories of her modeling experiences. She modeled all over the world. She was staying at John Lennon’s apartment, near Strawberry Fields at the Dakota. We laughed and flirted. She was very calm and tranquil, as if she had everything anyone wanted and not a care in the world. Girls, well goddesses like her have so many opportunities it creates a certain inner confidence. In her case, it was accompanied by inner beauty.

That evening, I picked her up in my parents second car. I didn’t have one at the time. I took her to Hammerheads in Levittown. It was the only place open that had a dance night. This was the Saturday Night Fever days. Disco was huge, as was dancing to the songs of the Bee Gees. We danced all night. All eyes were on us. People started to dance next to us and interact with us. We managed to have fun anyway. Eventually, she started to grind against me and shortly afterwards we were kissing on the dance floor. The crowd was getting into it as much as we were. They were considerably older.

We went to the car, but it was so cold I invited her to my apartment. I was nervous. It was hardly the mansion I picked her up at. When I did, I distinctly remember her saying, “don’t you know who that is?” She mentioned a name I didn’t recognize and I said, “yes, of course.” I just wanted to appear cool. It very well may have been John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, but I’m not sure.

She was demure, until we hit the bedroom. She was a screamer and was particularly loud when I went down on her. I had to put my hand over her mouth to keep the decibels down. When she was orgasming I had to keep both hands over her mouth. I learned later, the reason she had such intense orgasms was putting my hands over her mouth was a huge turn-on for her. In fact, she was screaming so loud to get me to do so. The fact that my father was sleeping upstairs and the door was open, was a non-issue for her. In fact, it was a turn on. I started to think she wanted him to catch us. My apartment at the time was my parent’s empty apartment. We were going at it for hours. Every round was accompanied by more screaming. I was amazed that this “Wonder Woman” was making love to me.

She told me she never went anywhere until she was 19. She lived a very sheltered life. I was surprised her legal guardians allowed her to go out with me. She was going to do so no matter what they said. It was more than a year since she turned 18 and could legally do whatever she wanted. It was obvious her parents had died and various legal guardians ruled her life. So, I was her rebellious interlude. I took her home that night and walked her to the Dakota.

That was to be the last time I would ever see her. Her guardians wouldn’t allow it. They still had a lot of pull over her. I brought her home hours after curfew and we were both an absolute, sweaty, wrinkled mess. It was a sight they could not miss, as they were waiting for us by the front door.

I have loved women that many people would consider average looking… tom boy types, as well as some of the most beautiful women on this earth. I can tell you that love has little to do with physical beauty, even if that is the initial attraction. It always comes down to chemistry and chemistry we had. All the same, for a Long Island boy who was modeling for about five minutes, sleeping with such a beautiful woman was quite an experience.

Within a few years, I would see her in hundreds of magazine editorials and knew her career had taken off. I always wanted to contact her agent but never had the courage to deal with her guardians again. They were pretty threatening when I dropped her off, so I just let it be. I am sure if she could have, she would have gotten in touch with me. Her eyes told me she was falling in love with me. Throughout my career I learned just how devious and underhanded people can be to control others. The extent of control some utilized to manipulate people’s lives was unreal. Often, I dreamed about her. Eventually I forget her name. What I will never forget is that of all the people she could have disobeyed her guardians for, she chose me. It was the first time she rebelled. Despite the short duration of our chapter of love, I was honored that she chose me and I keep a special place in my heart for her.

 

Chapter 23 – The Sub & The Dom

I was walking up fifth-avenue with a friend who had worked in sales for Playboy magazine and a few other high-end publications. He was also an actor and a director. We were on our way to Bryant Park. We were going to have a beer or two and then catch one of his students who was appearing in a small stage performance of monologues. Over the years, I had taken my friends head shots. In return he often referred me to different magazines when he knew about a shoot. I was not sure how talented he was as an actor, as his stand up was ok, but nothing special. As we got closer to the park we would stop at different restaurants to warm up, as it was bitterly cold. I didn’t have much experience acting. At the time, I was focusing on photography, almost exclusively fashion and glamor. Mostly, I photographed women.

I was coming off a bad breakup. My heart was again injured and I was feeling insecure. I think we all go through those times when everything seems to go wrong with a chapter of love, no matter how hard you work to make it successful. I was living on Long Island and although I was long divorced, I was still licking my wounds. I was working hard to recover from my most painful chapter of love. I was trying to make the best it. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right for me to be dating, when I just ended what was to be a lifetime commitment to my former wife. So, despite the feeling of freedom most people experience after divorce, I felt nothing but sadness. My health was a roller coaster of despair and hope. This made it even worse. I never knew what each day would bring.

Walking during the, freezing cold New York City winter, in the snow and wind was not a very good idea, but I needed the camaraderie of friends to help me get to the next chapter of my life, never mind love. As we got closer to the venue, a woman dressed in all black leather walked up beside us as we waited for a light and the cars to pass at the intersection. When I saw how she was dressed, I thought she must be freezing, so I offered her a pair of gloves. She was only too happy to accept. As we continued past the intersection, she started to walk with us and as we made small talk it became obvious she was from Germany, as her accent was distinct. She was not a particularly good conversationalist, but she was beautiful and her leather outfit was form fitting. It was obvious that she had an amazing body.

I asked her for her number. She gave me a comp card with her hand-written number on it. She was clad in leather, in all the photos. There was a definite vibe to her and it was all about leather. It went beyond the head to toe black leather outfit and jacket she was wearing. Every shot on the card featured whips and chains. I thought it was hot and as we made a turn towards the theatre, we parted company, but not before we agreed to have dinner the following night. Presumably she was going to give me back my gloves. I thought it was an ingenious way of picking up a girl on the streets of New York City. My friend said I just lost my gloves. He doubted she would ever show. I didn’t care. Losing a pair of gloves was worth the risk. The upside was a date with this hot, leather-loving, German actress. We decided we would meet at the View, which is the glass walled restaurant in the Marriot Marquee in Times Square. It was her idea. I was unfamiliar with it. With that, we parted ways and headed for my friend’s student’s performance.

I was walking up fifth-avenue with a friend who had worked in sales for Playboy magazine and a few other high-end publications. He was also an actor and a director. We were on our way to Bryant Park. We were going to have a beer or two and then catch one of his students who was appearing in a small stage performance of monologues. Over the years, I had taken my friends head shots. In return he often referred me to different magazines when he knew about a shoot. I was not sure how talented he was as an actor, as his stand up was ok, but nothing special. As we got closer to the park we would stop at different restaurants to warm up, as it was bitterly cold. I didn’t have much experience acting. At the time, I was focusing on photography, almost exclusively fashion and glamor. Mostly, I photographed women.

I was coming off a bad breakup. My heart was again injured and I was feeling insecure. I think we all go through those times when everything seems to go wrong with a chapter of love, no matter how hard you work to make it successful. I was living on Long Island and although I was long divorced, I was still licking my wounds. I was working hard to recover from my most painful chapter of love. I was trying to make the best it. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right for me to be dating, when I just ended what was to be a lifetime commitment to my former wife. So, despite the feeling of freedom most people experience after divorce, I felt nothing but sadness. My health was a roller coaster of despair and hope. This made it even worse. I never knew what each day would bring.

Walking during the, freezing cold New York City winter, in the snow and wind was not a very good idea, but I needed the camaraderie of friends to help me get to the next chapter of my life, never mind love. As we got closer to the venue, a woman dressed in all black leather walked up beside us as we waited for a light and the cars to pass at the intersection. When I saw how she was dressed, I thought she must be freezing, so I offered her a pair of gloves. She was only too happy to accept. As we continued past the intersection, she started to walk with us and as we made small talk it became obvious she was from Germany, as her accent was distinct. She was not a particularly good conversationalist, but she was beautiful and her leather outfit was form fitting. It was obvious that she had an amazing body.

I asked her for her number. She gave me a comp card with her hand-written number on it. She was clad in leather, in all the photos. There was a definite vibe to her and it was all about leather. It went beyond the head to toe black leather outfit and jacket she was wearing. Every shot on the card featured whips and chains. I thought it was hot and as we made a turn towards the theatre, we parted company, but not before we agreed to have dinner the following night. Presumably she was going to give me back my gloves. I thought it was an ingenious way of picking up a girl on the streets of New York City. My friend said I just lost my gloves. He doubted she would ever show. I didn’t care. Losing a pair of gloves was worth the risk. The upside was a date with this hot, leather-loving, German actress. We decided we would meet at the View, which is the glass walled restaurant in the Marriot Marquee in Times Square. It was her idea. I was unfamiliar with it. With that, we parted ways and headed for my friend’s student’s performance.

I had never been to one of those small makeshift stages before, nor did I even know what a monologue was back then. I was not into video or producing yet. Still photography was my expertise. I just started shooting professionally again. Most of my shoots were in my basement and converted garage, which I turned into a large studio. I didn’t shoot in the city much anymore, but was looking forward to rebuilding my career. For quite some time, I was turned off to it. The constant drama and devious people I met in the entertainment industry, in my youth, turned me off. So, I was not engaged in the NYC fashion or entertainment industry any more. Now I was getting leads for assignments from friends as well as legitimate work from many of my old Long Island clients.

After my friend left Playboy, he became a minister and a director. He became much more conservative in his senior years than he was as a younger man. Back then, he hung out with Playboy bunnies and partied hard. In fact, significantly harder, then I did. Years prior, he would get me gigs to judge wet T-shirt contests at places like the Limelight. He was a player for sure, who changed his life, or so I thought. I admired him. It was what I wanted for my own future.

We both sat down in the audience. Just prior to when his student went on, he went back stage. While he was back stage, a beautiful blonde actress came up to me and said hello. I was taken with her beauty. She looked like a young Scarlett Johansson. I showed her some of my photographs and before I knew it she asked if we could shoot. I said we can shoot tonight if you want or anytime, I was taken with her.

She said,” ok let’s shoot after the show.” I was surprised she agreed. Never in a million years did I think she would say yes. I wasn’t prepared, but I was going to figure out a way, as this was too good to be true. Two different girls had accepted invitations to spend time with me within an hour. Both were stunning. The student was more than beautiful. She was supremely talented. Her monologue was a sad one that turned into a sexy one. She had everyone in the audience in tears. Then, almost as quickly as she had everyone crying, she had us all turned on. I had never seen anyone do that in such a short period. I believed she deserved to be on a Broadway stage. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to direct, like my friend. In fact, I was determined to turn myself into a professional director, as I knew my skills far outweighed his.

After her performance, she sat with me in the seat vacated by my friend. He had gone back stage to coach her and another student. He didn’t return until after his second student completed his monologue. I was surprised how many talented actors there were in that show. Most of my life I only paid attention to movie stars and celebrities. I never realized how much talent there was out there. After my friend’s second student finished, he came back to his seat. He was surprised to see us sitting together and didn’t react well to it. He became very jealous. This was surprising to me. Not only was he a minister, he was involved in a long-term relationship. He had gone so far as to tell me that he was completely over his womanizing ways. Clearly, he had plans for this actress. She immediately gave him a hug, but continued to sit with me. He sat in an empty seat on the other side of me. It was not long afterwards, the actors all joined the audience for drinks and a small after party. Before I knew it, she was holding my hand and telling my friend that we were going to shoot on Long Island. While he was cool about it, I could tell that he was upset. Typically, I would not have left with her, but she kind of dragged me away from him and grabbed her backpack.   So, we left.

We took a taxi to the train and the LIRR to the Huntington railroad station where my car was parked. We drove right to my house. Instead of shooting in the studio, we shot in front of the fireplace. I didn’t have a digital camera. I was using an older film camera, which generally required stronger light than the glow of a fireplace, but I wasn’t thinking art at that point. I was hoping I met my next chapter of love. I needed the ego boost. It was a pretty down time in my life.

The fireplace was crackling. I had candles all over the living room. She was laying on the wood floor, directly in front of the fireplace. As I was photographing her, she grabbed my camera, put it on the floor and pulled me over to her. We started to kiss. Despite the passion she wouldn’t allow me to touch her anywhere, just kiss. Even though she initiated the contact, she seemed to be extremely shy. It was hot in front of the blazing fire, so our sweaters came off. We continued kissing. The mood was soft and romantic. It seemed she was not looking for a one night stand and wanted something more from us. I was enjoying the beautiful kisses and holding her in my arms. We looked into each other’s eyes and kissed for hours.

As the sun started to rise, she continued to hold me. We were drifting in and out of sleep. Every time we woke, we would start to kiss again. At one point, I got up to put more wood on the fire. As I did, she slowly took off her shirt and bra and slipped her stretchy black pants down and off her ankles. She then took my hand and pulled me to her. As we kissed, she pulled off my clothing. We were rolling around and kissing. She was totally naked, laying on top of me, but she wouldn’t let me inside of her. I was feeling so much love I didn’t care. I didn’t want the passion and kissing to stop. I didn’t want to ruin it by being too aggressive or making her think all I cared about was sex. As she ground her body against mine and rubbed her pelvis against my leg I could feel her cum. She wasn’t just dripping wet. She exploded. My leg and midsection were drenched.

She looked into my eyes the entire time she was rubbing herself against me. What started as an attempt to get me off, got her steamy and she was going for another. While she managed to keep her passion in check all night, she could no longer contain it. It was driving me wild. Finally, she positioned her legs around my body and pulled me on top of her as she rolled us both over. She slid her body in between my legs and pushed my head down softly giving me the go ahead to go down on her. She was soaking wet and incredibly orgasmic, cuming time and time again. After her fourth moaning orgasm, she pulled me on top of her and inserted me inside her. I was shocked I didn’t immediately cum all over her, or inside her. I was having some issues making things work, as I was having difficulties pushing all the way in. It was as if she wanted me in, but as soon as I started to push in a bit, she would squeeze her legs together, keeping me from going in more than just a bit. Even so, she was so tight it felt amazing.

As I slowly started to move my hips to go deeper, I felt something blocking my way and then suddenly it just gave way. I was now deep inside her. She cried out a bit, as if she was in pain, but it was passionate sound. I had just broken her hymen. What seemed like an extremely tight fit, gave way to a deep, wet and warm woman. She didn’t say anything about being a virgin. I was surprised, as she was in her late twenties. I was very soft and went very slow. Before long I was cuming inside her while she was grabbing my ass and pulling me deeper inside her. We didn’t use any protection, so part of me was nervous she was going to get pregnant, but it was beyond our control to stop. We just melted into each other as if we were one pulsating mass. We were sweating profusely. The room was so hot from the now roaring fireplace. She pulled me close to her and wrapped her arms around my neck so tight I could barely breath. She was squeezing me so hard, although, she wasn’t aware of it. She began to cry. Not softly. She was sobbing. She wouldn’t let go of me the entire time. I didn’t know what to do, so I just held her. Eventually, she cried herself to sleep in my arms. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was crying because she never had sex before. She wanted to save herself for her future husband. I didn’t know why she chose me, or why she became so passionate that night, but I needed it and apparently, so did she. When we woke, the fire was out. We were freezing. We decided to shower. The entire time we were showering, all I could think about was how romantic and special she was. I thought I could easily fall in love with this girl.

In the shower, she dropped to her knees and started to go down on me. I couldn’t believe that this virgin was so experienced on her knees. She was working my shaft and head really well. I told her I had to pee. I said babe,” I have to pee.” I said it again and again, but she wouldn’t let me out of her mouth. Each time I said it, she would pull me deeper inside her mouth and roll her tongue around my head. Finally, I said, I’m going to pee right now. I was trying to force myself out of her mouth, but she kept sucking on me even after she could feel me starting to pee. At first, she was swallowing my urine. I was shocked, but it was going so fast and it felt so good. About half way through, she let my penis out of her mouth, but kept her mouth open. She held my penis an inch or so from her mouth and was swallowing my urine as she looked up at me, with very submissive eyes. I didn’t know what to do. She was shaking with passion, euphoric over the experience.

As soon as I was finishing peeing, she pulled my penis back into her mouth. I started to cum almost immediately. She pulled me even deeper inside her mouth. I was ejaculating against the back of her throat. As she swallowed my cum, she started to gag, but wouldn’t stop. By the time I finished cuming, her face was beet red. I could barely stand. My legs and body were quivering, shaking to the point I almost lost my balance. I didn’t cum like that the night before. Where that came from, I have no idea. I never experienced anything like it. Later I learned that some people get off by being involved in submissive fetishes. She truly did. After she swallowed every ounce of cum she could possibly suck out of me, my penis was extremely sensitive, so she let me go and just hugged me for the longest time. When we ran out of hot water, we jumped into bed, where she licked my face like she was a dog. She asked me to spank her. I had never done anything like that. I was sexually active but I had always pretty much been involved in traditional activities. This fetish stuff was new to me, but I was willing to try Much earlier in life, I did have a few handcuff moments with my cadet, but nothing like this. She laid on top of me and I started to tap her ass. She whispered in my ear,” harder, harder.” Each tap became harder until her ass was turning pink and red on one side.

She started grinding against my body and then went down on me again. This time she didn’t go for my penis. She lifted my penis and started to lick under by testicles. What started as long licking motions almost immediately turned into her licking my ass. The licks turned into sucking everything, including my ass. Her tongue was going in and out of my butt. I didn’t enjoy the experience, so I stopped it quickly and inserted myself into her again. By this point it just wasn’t doing anything for me. I could barely get it up, but I did manage to stay hard, albeit rather numb and she had another orgasm. She flew solo on that one. I couldn’t get the vision of what she did in the shower out of my head.

How could this virgin possibly be into such kinky sex? I was taken aback. As I drove her to the city, she told me she had tons of oral sex. That was how she managed to stay a virgin so many years. After I dropped her off, I met with my director friend. He was pissed at me for sleeping with her. He obviously had feelings for her. Although he was involved with a woman he had been living with for years, he had a thing for his student. Eventually he admitted that she paid for his coaching with sexual favors and he wanted more. That was the clincher for me. I was turned off to the possibility of having a future with her. I was exhausted, but I had meetings all day and a date that night with the German actress.

That night, the German actress arrived in another all black leather outfit. This time it was shiny. She looked like she was wearing a Cat Woman outfit. It was costume like. I was shocked that she was wearing it, but she was an actress and after the night before, I figured anything could happen. As I always did, I asked her if it was ok if I ordered for us. She said No! She not only said no, but she went on to order hundreds of dollars of caviar and champagne. When I reached for a strawberry, she slapped my hand and said don’t eat it! I thought something must be wrong with it, so I asked why? She didn’t explain. Instead, she took my hand, brought it to her mouth and ate it right out of my hand. I was shocked. I had no idea what she was doing. She started to give me orders, such as, “drink now” and “stop drinking now.” It was as if she was in the military, barking out orders. She grabbed my hand when I reached for the caviar and said, “you will eat when I tell you to eat and not before.” With that, she took the caviar away. It was bizarre. I didn’t understand why this nice girl was acting like a, controlling, bitch. I thought it might be a German thing.

She was eating the caviar. I was rapidly losing interest, not understanding how she could be so demanding. I thought she might have gotten her period. Then, she lifted her foot to my face and told me to take her shoe off. It was a shiny, laced, high heel shoe. I went along with it and took her shoe off. She then spooned caviar onto her toes, which were also painted black to match the rest of her outfit. She raised her leg and rested it on the table and said lick it off. She didn’t say it jokingly. She was ordering me to do it. I lifted her leg and started sucking the caviar off her toes. It was kind of sexy, but it was weird, as we were in a restaurant; a fancy restaurant.

I figured, ok she got that out of her system, but then she ordered me to lick between her toes and clean her foot completely…spotlessly. She was dead serious! I thought I must be on Candid Camera. I said to her, “what the hell is going on here?” The night before I was with a submissive and tonight this girl was acting like a Gestapo Commandant. I couldn’t believe women had become so crazy over the years since I was married. She was looking at me very intently, upset that I wouldn’t lick her toes. If the surroundings were more private, I would be the first to suck any woman’s toes. This woman was treating me like a slave. And then she said, “I am a dominatrix. Why do you think I have this outfit on?” I didn’t know what a dominatrix was. I asked if it meant that she was going to order me around and I had to do what she said. She said yes.

I got up dropped a few hundred dollars in cash on the table and said, “ you have no idea what my life was like. My mother and sisters ordered me around my entire life and you think that is going to turn me on?” As I started walking away, she ordered me to come back. I just kept walking and never saw her again. I was exhausted. I met two women on successive evenings who were equally kinky, yet in totally opposite ways. How was this possible? As I was leaving I wished that the actress from the night before hadn’t fooled around with my friend. Between the two, the submissive actress was the least offensive. And, she was so hot!

But at the time it was just too kinky for me. We spoke several times, but she continued to take acting lessons from my friend, so I knew what was going on between them. I swore to myself that I would never date an actress again and started looking for my next chapter of love. I have never shared this with anyone, as I just thought it to be just too absurd for words. Later in life I learned how many people are into fetishes. That was the weekend of my submissive and my dominatrix. Although it led to me swearing off actresses, I would probably invite both back today.

 

Chapter 22 – Quaaludes and MTV

I worked at the Palladium during the height of its popularity. I photographed many of the bartenders in NYC and played a significant role in helping start some of their modeling and acting careers. Richard Grieco was a bartender there. I photographed him in Central Park, two weeks later Elite signed him and he got the 21 Jump Street gig. The bartenders were mostly male, as Steve Rebel, the owner was more into guys than girls. He gained a reputation for being flamboyantly gay, but more so as a, tax-evading, drug addict despite the fact he created one of the most amazing nightclubs the world had ever seen. Quite possibly it was the availability of drugs that made those clubs so popular, worldwide.

He would come to the main bar and impatiently say, “get me a glass of vodka.” It had to be Stoli or he would fire you on the spot. We were all coached that if Steve came to the bar to give him anything he wanted. And, if it was vodka he wanted, to give it to him quickly so he would calm down. It seemed he would always come to me when I was working the main bar. Typically, I worked the second level bar, for the celebrity parties in the Michael Todd Room. That was where Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd screened movies before the venue became a nightclub. On this night, the place was slower than I had ever seen and Steve was not in a good mood. He literally dumped what looked like an eight ball on the bar, rolled up a one-hundred-dollar bill and snorted it right there. Not that I had all that much experience, but it appeared to be several grams of blow. I don’t know how anyone could do that and survive. He also dumped a handful of pills onto the bar. As he was going through them, he shouted, “where’s my vodka,” many times, even when it was sitting right in front of him. Not that he was mean or even loud just totally drugged and typically intoxicated. Most nights you would never even know he was there as he was back stage with a celebrity or a musical performer. No matter what else he was, he was as cool is it got back then. He was the host of the most popular night club in the world twice. First with Studio 54 and then with the Palladium.

In any case, I quickly poured him another glass of Stoli. He downed the first one like it was water. I served them up and chilled the way he liked them. Shortly afterwards he downed many of the pills and then asked who the bartender was next to me. I said I had no idea. He said, “he’s fucking ugly, fire him right now.” The guy was one of the new bartenders. He was friendly and most of us thought he was a good bartender and co-worker. I did not want to see the poor guy fired. I heard that he screwed around with Steve to get the job. It was obvious what was going on. The guy was not putting-out for him any more so he was going to fire him. I told the guy to hide, but Steve called the manager who fired the guy on the spot. I was pretty shaken up, so when the manager asked us if anyone wanted to leave early, one of the female bartenders and I accepted the offer. She saw the entire incident and wanted out of there. We knew that Steve was messed up and didn’t want to take the chance that we would be the next one fired, especially me, as I ignored his demand to fire the guy.

I worked at the Palladium during the height of its popularity. I photographed many of the bartenders in NYC and played a significant role in helping start some of their modeling and acting careers. Richard Grieco was a bartender there. I photographed him in Central Park, two weeks later Elite signed him and he got the 21 Jump Street gig. The bartenders were mostly male, as Steve Rebel, the owner was more into guys than girls. He gained a reputation for being flamboyantly gay, but more so as a, tax-evading, drug addict despite the fact he created one of the most amazing nightclubs the world had ever seen. Quite possibly it was the availability of drugs that made those clubs so popular, worldwide.

He would come to the main bar and impatiently say, “get me a glass of vodka.” It had to be Stoli or he would fire you on the spot. We were all coached that if Steve came to the bar to give him anything he wanted. And, if it was vodka he wanted, to give it to him quickly so he would calm down. It seemed he would always come to me when I was working the main bar. Typically, I worked the second level bar, for the celebrity parties in the Michael Todd Room. That was where Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd screened movies before the venue became a nightclub. On this night, the place was slower than I had ever seen and Steve was not in a good mood. He literally dumped what looked like an eight ball on the bar, rolled up a one-hundred-dollar bill and snorted it right there. Not that I had all that much experience, but it appeared to be several grams of blow. I don’t know how anyone could do that and survive. He also dumped a handful of pills onto the bar. As he was going through them, he shouted, “where’s my vodka,” many times, even when it was sitting right in front of him. Not that he was mean or even loud just totally drugged and typically intoxicated. Most nights you would never even know he was there as he was back stage with a celebrity or a musical performer. No matter what else he was, he was as cool is it got back then. He was the host of the most popular night club in the world twice. First with Studio 54 and then with the Palladium.

In any case, I quickly poured him another glass of Stoli. He downed the first one like it was water. I served them up and chilled the way he liked them. Shortly afterwards he downed many of the pills and then asked who the bartender was next to me. I said I had no idea. He said, “he’s fucking ugly, fire him right now.” The guy was one of the new bartenders. He was friendly and most of us thought he was a good bartender and co-worker. I did not want to see the poor guy fired. I heard that he screwed around with Steve to get the job. It was obvious what was going on. The guy was not putting-out for him any more so he was going to fire him. I told the guy to hide, but Steve called the manager who fired the guy on the spot. I was pretty shaken up, so when the manager asked us if anyone wanted to leave early, one of the female bartenders and I accepted the offer. She saw the entire incident and wanted out of there. We knew that Steve was messed up and didn’t want to take the chance that we would be the next one fired, especially me, as I ignored his demand to fire the guy. We were kind of spoiled. When you are bartending six or seven nights a week and you get the opportunity to get a Saturday night off, knowing the cash is going to be limited that night, you look for an excuse to go out yourself.

We decided to go on a date and went back to my apartment to freshen up and get ready. I just moved into a third story walk up on Thompson Street between Spring and Broom, just down the block from the Manhattan brewery. I was relatively new to New York City, so she was going to give me a tour of the underground nightclubs. Not the commercial places, the underground clubs you couldn’t get into unless you knew someone. She knew everyone, partially because she was ridiculously sexy. She had a downtown, New York City, Latino look. They also knew her because she was exceptionally talented.

Most people didn’t even know these clubs existed. We took a cab back to my place. She brought a big bag of clothes so she could change out of her work outfit. After work, I would generally go home with a random woman. She would go dancing. We never hung-out before. I didn’t think she liked me. After she saw me protect the other bartender, especially because I was straight and he was gay, she seemed to change her opinion of me. I think it moved her. She went on and on about how brave I was. Frankly, I was just very naïve as to how many bartenders lost their jobs on his impulsive drug induced mood swings. Even with my naiveté I was a cocky guy who knew I was ringing up almost twice what the other bartenders were ringing up most nights, and never thought he would lose a cash cow like me. I simply put more effort into the job than most people did.

After a few drinks at the Palladium to calm us down, we made it back to my apartment. I just finished moving in so I had a bed laying on the floor and a closet filled with clothing. Other than my photography equipment and a fireplace, there wasn’t much else. She was in the bathroom and came running out screaming, “Where did you get this?” She had two bottles of prescription drugs in her hands. She was freaking out. I said I had no idea that they were even in the apartment. I never opened the medicine cabinet. I thought it was just a mirror. She found a bottle of Quaaludes with about 200 pills in it and a bottle of Valium with just about as many pills. She was flipping out. She told me that they were worth thousands of dollars and that we should sell them and split the money. I said, “You can take them. I’m not selling drugs.” I didn’t want any part of it.

In fact, the only reason I was living in SOHO was because my uptown roommate hid over a hundred kilos of hash in his sock drawer. When I found it while I was looking to borrow a pair of socks, I flipped out, realizing that I was the fall guy if anyone discovered the hash. He was never there. I liked hash. He gave me a several thousand-dollar chunk of it when I left. As far as I knew, hash was just condensed cannabis. All the same, I wanted out of there. It was a risk I never signed up for when I sublet the place. She convinced me to take a Valium. That relaxed me. She took half a Valium and a full Quaalude before we went out. By the time we hit the street she was all over me, hanging onto me like I was her boyfriend. We kissed a few times. I wasn’t sure if it was the pills that were increasing her affection, or true admiration. Ten minutes after we left my apartment, she said she had to get something to eat. She was so fucked up and I thought that food would help.

She took me to my first health food restaurant. I remember her ordering a sprout, peanut butter and sardine sandwich, on homemade, dry multigrain bread. Even the thought of it was disgusting. As she ate, the sprouts were sticking to her tongue and lips. She was smacking her lips together because the peanut butter was like glue. It was hilarious to see such a beautiful woman smacking her lips with sprouts stuck to them. After a while her mouth was so sticky and covered with sprouts, she couldn’t even eat properly. We left to go to the White Bar which was a very exclusive underground basement club that movie stars and celebrities would go to, so they wouldn’t be hassled by paparazzi or the press. It was almost impossible to get in. When we got there, it became obvious that she knew the security team. We had to walk down a long flight of white steps. Inside, she introduced me to the owners and got the ok to bring me in. She slid down the stairs one stumble at a time in her giant high heels. She literally slid across the floor, at the base of the stairs, into a group of VIP’s. Everyone ran over to check on her. I held her tightly after that, as we went to our table.

We ordered champagne, as that was the cool thing to do back then. Jack Nicholson sat down at the table in front of us, in the middle of the room. He was with two incredibly beautiful models. I could swear the models were doing lines. I kept seeing the girls put their head down and then come up sniffing. I was so drunk, or possibly it was the Valium, that I pulled my chair over to his table and told him that I loved One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I also told him that my schizophrenic, uncle spent time in Creedmoor undergoing electric shock therapy, just like his character had in the movie and that his performance moved me because of it. He thanked me for sharing my experience and we had a drink before he left with the models. I remember he was so much shorter than he looked in his movies. He was also much more handsome.

My date thought that I was going to be thrown out of the place. It had the opposite effect. We instantly became the coolest people there. I really only sat down to him to thank him for making people aware of what was really going on in mental hospitals. They were mistreating our family members and experimenting on them with unproven very radicle procedures at that time. They were treated more like inmates then they were sick people in need of help to manage their lives. In any case it was a great honor to meet him and for him to invite me to sit with him after I shared my gratitude. My friend was speechless. Shortly afterwards, she was slobbering on the table and spilling drinks, so we decided to go back to my apartment. She wanted me to take a Quaalude. She promised me that we would have great sex if I did. When we got back to my apartment she took off all her clothing and got into my bed. She made me take one of the pills and then off came my clothes.

We woke up the next morning in each other’s arms, naked. I remember her looking into my eyes and asking me if anything happened the night before. She didn’t let go of me until I told her the entire story. She remembered nothing. After I took the Quaalude, things got fuzzy for me so I couldn’t remember anything after we took our clothes off. When she asked me if we had sex, I said no. She was not the type to sleep around and the thought that she had, troubled her. She was, as far as I knew, quite conservative in that area. My package was sore so we must have done more than simply hug.

I gave her both bottles of the pills. She gave many of them to the other bartenders and to many of the actors and famous models that were regulars at the Palladium. She told everyone that they were a gift from me, so I became even cooler. It was not long after that the FBI raided the club and focused on the bartender’s cash registers and tip buckets. Steve Rebel was known for having gone to prison for tax evasion and the FBI thought he was cheating again. As it turned out, most of the bartenders were stealing from the club by not ringing up expensive drink orders and taking huge tips from the patrons. As we didn’t always pool our tips, they could get away with it. I think she along with almost every other bartender failed the lie detector test the FBI gave us. I don’t remember if she lost her job along with so many others. They asked us about drugs and what we knew about stealing by the other bartenders.

I lied about using drugs. For some reason the polygraph didn’t pick it. I thought I was going to be fired. I was actually promoted. I was not only getting the best shifts and more celebrity parties but also working the VIP list at some of the more prestigious celebrity events. I don’t believe she made the cut. I never saw her again until she got her big break as a video jock. Rumor is she gave the casting directors some of the Quaaludes. She was a short but memorable chapter of love and the evening was one of the funniest of my entire life. She is still incredibly beautiful. We bumped into each other on the street in New York City, when she was on a date. It was rather awkward. We never spoke of that night again. It was several days before my package felt right again. Whatever we did, it must have been intense.

I stayed at the Palladium for months. I left after I became involved in a fistfight with one of the other bartenders. The guy dripped acid on chewing gum and gave many of us pieces without telling us. But, that is another chapter. As for this chapter of love, the strangest thing about it is that I can’t remember anything about the evening, from the time we got back to my apartment and our clothes came off.

 

Chapter 21 – College Roommates

After REDS I started promoting many nightclubs part time to help pay for college. I started in high school, when I would throw keg parties for my fellow athletes. It carried over to college. In addition to promoting clubs I started bartending also. One of the bartending jobs I already shared was at the Salty Dog. That gig turned into more than just bartending. The restaurant was failing and the bar was not doing the kind of business it did in its heyday. I thought it was ridiculous that a bar and restaurant across the street from two colleges was serving whisky to locals, as opposed to promoting college nights. So, I asked the management for an opportunity to take on marketing and promotions. Within a few months they went from grossing less than seven thousand a week, to over twenty-one thousand, with the majority of that revenue coming from the lady’s nights and college nights I was promoting.

I was effective as a promotional and marketing manager. One way I promoted was to carry free drink cards with me everywhere I went on campus, give out a few hundred a day and then meet the people at the bar that night. The free drink cards always expired quickly, so people would often come for their drink that same day. I engaged them in conversation at the bar and introduced one to another. As a result, the people who I invited became friendly with each other. I loved bartending and the combination of bartending and marketing was a natural fit for me. But, it was not always so easy. There was tons of competition. The only thing we had going for us is that we were within walking distance or a short taxi ride from the colleges. The huge discos were always more exciting.

I was doing everything I could to grow revenue. I would go to area colleges, including the one I was attending and seek out the cheerleaders and athletes. I would flirt with the most beautiful girls I could find. It was working so well that I bought a tuxedo, purchased roses and gave them out daily to the cheerleaders. I did not let anyone see me give out multiple roses to many girls. I only carried one at a time. I would leave them in my car, see a beautiful girl, walk up to her and hand her a rose. I would flirt with her and make believe I purchased that rose just for her. They were always flattered, often blushed and would ask what the rose was for. I would always say the same thing, “Come to my bar tonight and I will show you.” Then I would either walk away, while making eye contact as I walked, or walk her to class. I did this hundreds of times a week, for months.

After REDS I started promoting many nightclubs part time to help pay for college. I started in high school, when I would throw keg parties for my fellow athletes. It carried over to college. In addition to promoting clubs I started bartending also. One of the bartending jobs I already shared was at the Salty Dog. That gig turned into more than just bartending. The restaurant was failing and the bar was not doing the kind of business it did in its heyday. I thought it was ridiculous that a bar and restaurant across the street from two colleges was serving whisky to locals, as opposed to promoting college nights. So, I asked the management for an opportunity to take on marketing and promotions. Within a few months they went from grossing less than seven thousand a week, to over twenty-one thousand, with the majority of that revenue coming from the lady’s nights and college nights I was promoting.

I was effective as a promotional and marketing manager. One way I promoted was to carry free drink cards with me everywhere I went on campus, give out a few hundred a day and then meet the people at the bar that night. The free drink cards always expired quickly, so people would often come for their drink that same day. I engaged them in conversation at the bar and introduced one to another. As a result, the people who I invited became friendly with each other. I loved bartending and the combination of bartending and marketing was a natural fit for me. But, it was not always so easy. There was tons of competition. The only thing we had going for us is that we were within walking distance or a short taxi ride from the colleges. The huge discos were always more exciting.

I was doing everything I could to grow revenue. I would go to area colleges, including the one I was attending and seek out the cheerleaders and athletes. I would flirt with the most beautiful girls I could find. It was working so well that I bought a tuxedo, purchased roses and gave them out daily to the cheerleaders. I did not let anyone see me give out multiple roses to many girls. I only carried one at a time. I would leave them in my car, see a beautiful girl, walk up to her and hand her a rose. I would flirt with her and make believe I purchased that rose just for her. They were always flattered, often blushed and would ask what the rose was for. I would always say the same thing, “Come to my bar tonight and I will show you.” Then I would either walk away, while making eye contact as I walked, or walk her to class. I did this hundreds of times a week, for months.

Many of the girls would come to the bar looking for me. I would wait until there was a large crowd, so I could get to the bar without being swamped by every one of them at the same time. Most of the time guys would come with them, or their girlfriends, so they were not there alone. When I did not meet them early, as promised, I would have the other bartenders befriend them while I was still in the manager’s office. I met a lot of women that way. I would wait for the prettiest girl to show up and invite her to dinner. Yes, I was very shallow at times. I’m not proud of it. But, it is a fact. I would have the other bartenders tell the girls I was in a business meeting. I would typically conduct those meetings with one of the girls who came early, at one of the second-floor tables that overlooked the bar, so all the girls could see me. I wanted to meet one great woman, but it seemed impossible. Anyway, I was meeting so many beautiful women that it went to my head. I was becoming a player and was getting good at picking-up girls. Previously, I was always involved in a relationship, so being in college and meeting a host of new faces was a new experience. After a while, the girls started to catch-on and I had to find a new way to get girls to come to the bar. I was starting to feel guilty about it anyway.

I asked the owners of the place for a marketing budget to publish a small college newspaper. I recruited a few college newspaper editors to work on it with me. That was not my first experience writing. I wrote in high school and took a creative writing class. But, this was a different kind of writing. It was marketing and editorial. Nothing like college newspapers or Chapters Of Love. I sent the newspaper to the editors of the individual college newspapers. They loved it! I tried to get them to reference it in the papers they published. Often, they did. One of the contributing editors was a beautiful and intelligent writer and photographer who was the editor of the Farmingdale College newspaper.

She was one of the girls I gave a rose to. She had not come to the bar but she was taken with me and we did speak often. I always teased her about how she blew me off. She was way ahead of me and knew what I was up to. I didn’t much hide it, at that point, anyway. She was the nerdy girl you would see in teen movies. The one with glasses, yet with a subtle hidden beauty. Then at some point in the film they would do a makeover and a stunning babe would emerge. For some reason, she would always hide her amazing body by wearing loose fitting clothing. I could tell what she was hiding under those, loose fitting, sweats, anyway. One night she invited me to the college to interview me for an article. I was thrilled. I was even able to get a budget for a small paid ad, so we would be featured in more than editorial alone.

We met at a bar that was either on campus or just down the street. I can’t remember. After many pitchers of beer, we were hammered. I do remember almost everything else about that night, including how inexpensive the pitchers of beer were. After we got hammered she took off her coat. She had an amazing body. Before she revealed it to me she waited to see if I liked her, or if I was just playing her with the rose. At that point, I was honest with her and pretty much everyone. I told them all that I was promoting the club. The intrigue of a guy wearing a tux, when handing them a rose, was enough of an enticement anyway.

It was getting late. She invited me back to her dorm room to have a few shots. I never did shots, unless I had a good reason. At the bar, I often filled vodka bottles with water for that reason. In this case, I just went for it. I figured the invitation was for something more than just a few shots. As soon as we entered her dorm room we were going at it. Although we were passionate it was just a hook-up. She knew it. I knew it. She even told me she was thinking about getting back together with her boyfriend. There was nothing particularly romantic about the connection; it was purely a hook-up for sex. Her body was even hotter than I thought. She had lots of curves but not an ounce of extra weight. Just pure “shake and bake,” as I called it back then. Her room was small and she shared it with another student. She told me her roommate would not be back. They prearranged for her to not come back until after midnight. It was clear that she wanted me. The beer eased her inhibitions and she started telling me everything she planned for the night. It was a huge turn-on.

She wanted it doggy style. If ever a woman was built for doggy style sex, it was her. She was fit. Her breasts were huge, yet perky. As I pumped her from behind, her breasts would swing back and forth. The slapping of our bodies had a distinct sound to it, so it was both a visual and auditory feast. You know it is intense when that loud, wet, slapping noise starts. That’s when a woman forgets her image and just lets go. She was very free with herself so it didn’t take long for her to roll me over and sit on top of me. I was surprised, when making eye contact, she started to grind just as hard and rough as she did when I was behind her. She clearly was more into herself and her own orgasms then my pleasure. Even so, it was one of the roughest and longest nights of non-stop passion I ever shared. She liked it fast, hard and rough. At one point, she even insisted that I spank her while she laid across my body and fingered herself, so I did, but as gentle as I could while still getting her off.

After she came a few times, she got up, turned off the dim light in the room and we went to sleep. We were sleeping for about an hour. I woke up and was going to make a quick getaway. Yes, I was going to be that guy who left in the middle of the night. I was a bit nervous that her roommate was going to come back at midnight. I was quite shy, despite the number of partners I was with. I was behind her. We were both naked. My penis was nicely tucked against her ass and she had her arms wrapped around mine. We did not shower or even kiss much afterwards. We both passed out from all the beer and shots. It was almost midnight.

I slipped my arms out from hers and started getting out of the bed very slowly and carefully. I didn’t want to stay. Nor did I want to wake her, as I knew she would insist I stay. She was not typically promiscuous, so she wanted me there in the morning. I got out of bed slowly and was stepping on the floor tippy toeing to not to wake her. At that moment, I heard a key unlocking the door. I froze. I stood there like a statue. The door opened and in walked her roommate. I froze in place and stayed rigid as if that would prevent her from seeing me. I had no idea what to do! There was no way I was going to be able to get back in bed without waking her up. I couldn’t make a quick exit. As soon as her roommate entered the room and saw me, she turned and locked the door. She then turned around and crossed her arms. She stood their leaning against the door, just staring at me. She looked me up and down as I stood there hiding my package and then signaled me to be quiet. For some reason, I thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do. I thought her shhhhh signal was because she was being considerate of her roommate.

She made a circle motion with one of her hands, instructing me to spin around, as If I were a piece of meat. I had no idea what to do, so I just dropped my hands and spun around slowly, I was still drunk. She was a petite Latino girl who was even better looking than the editor. I probably should have put on my clothes and bolted. But, she was stunning. After I finished my spinning reveal, I stood there in the dark. I couldn’t see much. Within thirty seconds, she pulled her jacket off, then her shirt and bra. She pulled her pants down next. I couldn’t believe what was happening. She went to her bed, slid under the covers and patted the bed, as a gesture for me to join her. This was a tiny room. The bed was right next to her roommate’s. I figured this would never happen again, so I just slipped under the covers with her and we started making out. She almost immediately started to fondle my package and I quickly got hard again. I sat on the bed and before I knew it she was going down on me. I quietly whispered to her, “what about your roommate?” She said she wouldn’t care, but didn’t want to wake her. I thought they might have planned this, but I was too intoxicated to think much about it, or care.

She was more romantic and a much softer lover than her roommate. She was also a better kisser. She was so small, that while her roommate was sleeping right next to us, , I stood up and lifted her. Her hands were around my neck and I was rocking her back and forth, pushing the bottom of her ass away from me and then letting gravity do the rest of the work. She started to pant and moan and was whispering words to me in Spanish. At that point I lowered her back onto the bed quietly and we started to kiss even more passionately. We did it, very slow and quietly, in the missionary position with her legs over my shoulders most of the time. I didn’t want to wake her roommate. Neither did she. We made love in almost complete silence. It was stimulating to see her eyes and facial expressions. She was in ecstasy, yet, not a sound was coming from either of us. All the passion while at the same time knowing we could get caught was a total turn on for both of us. When we both came together, it was in complete silence. If you never had an orgasm in complete silence, I suggest you try it. It was surreal. It was almost one in the morning and I had so much to drink earlier. I was so tired. We fell asleep in each other’s arms.

The following morning when we woke, the sun had risen. I could see the editor sitting up in her bed with her arms folded, looking confused and pissed-off. I had no idea what the fuck to do, so I woke the Latino girl. I was a bit delusional thinking that I could convince them to fool around with me together. That was not going to happen. Within a few seconds they started yelling and screaming at each other, the editor in English and the Latino in Spanish. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My heart was racing. I had never experienced anything like that in my life. It was getting physical, so I grabbed my clothes and left. I was in my underwear as I ran down the hallway, putting my clothes on as quickly as I could. As I backed into a doorway to pull my pants on, I could hear them both calling me to come back. The calls to come back seemed genuine and the tone seemed much calmer than when they were screaming at each other. They must have realized just how ridiculous it was to fight with each other, but I just kept going. Much to my surprise, she ran a great article on the Salty Dog for me. She even admitted that she was breaking the rules by featuring a bar in the school paper. I never did see either one of them again, but I will never forget the time I slept with two roommates, in the same room, the same night. Both made me feel very wanted. Not quite as much as the coat check girl, but it did take my mind off her.

 

Chapter 20 – The Coat Check Girl

I was working at REDS as a promoter. Each week I would recruit thousands of teenage girls to come to a REDS Teen Dance Party. I originated the idea, handled the marketing, business development and exclusively promoted it. The lines around the club on Sunday afternoons were longer than the lines at the movie theaters. They were not paying me the way they promised, so I said screw it, and started to work as a bartender and part time manager at the Salty Dog. There are so many stories from my time at the Salty Dog, I could probably write a book about those experiences alone. However, the one that stands out as the most memorable chapter of love, was with the coat check girl. She was not the coat check girl when I started bartending there. Over time, she hung out at the bar so often that the GM gave her the job just to keep her busy. She was very beautiful, petite, black hair and a body to die for. She was down to earth and smart. We talked all the time. She became a good friend.

There was a lot of sexual tension between us. But, she was shy and also, engaged. I don’t know why her engagement ended, but as soon as it did, the flirting became much more extreme. I started hanging out at the front door, with the bouncers, just because I wanted to spend more time with her. She started working just before the holidays. It was cold, that year, so there were always tons of coats. In fact, there were so many that they could barely fit in the coatroom. Often, coats would be tagged and brought to the second floor. That was the restaurant area. That area closed at about ten pm so all the booths became another spot to store the overflow of coats the de facto second floor coatroom so to speak.

I was working at REDS as a promoter. Each week I would recruit thousands of teenage girls to come to a REDS Teen Dance Party. I originated the idea, handled the marketing, business development and exclusively promoted it. The lines around the club on Sunday afternoons were longer than the lines at the movie theaters. They were not paying me the way they promised, so I said screw it, and started to work as a bartender and part time manager at the Salty Dog. There are so many stories from my time at the Salty Dog, I could probably write a book about those experiences alone. However, the one that stands out as the most memorable chapter of love, was with the coat check girl. She was not the coat check girl when I started bartending there. Over time, she hung out at the bar so often that the GM gave her the job just to keep her busy. She was very beautiful, petite, black hair and a body to die for. She was down to earth and smart. We talked all the time. She became a good friend.

There was a lot of sexual tension between us. But, she was shy and also, engaged. I don’t know why her engagement ended, but as soon as it did, the flirting became much more extreme. I started hanging out at the front door, with the bouncers, just because I wanted to spend more time with her. She started working just before the holidays. It was cold, that year, so there were always tons of coats. In fact, there were so many that they could barely fit in the coatroom. Often, coats would be tagged and brought to the second floor. That was the restaurant area. That area closed at about ten pm so all the booths became another spot to store the overflow of coats the de facto second floor coatroom so to speak.

I knew her at least six months prior to her starting to work the coatroom. Within a few weeks it was clear that there was a connection. Not just as friends. We wanted each other. But, we were both shy. Neither of us wanted to be the one to start something, fearing that the other person was not interested. Plus, as I said, in the beginning she was engaged. It was safe to flirt with humor. If it wasn’t met with a return flirt, you always had an out. When I finally worked up the courage to ask her on a date, we skipped the date and went immediately to sex. We started by making out in the front vestibule, where the coatroom was. It was isolated, so we felt safe enough. Everyone was busy inside, at the holiday party. No one was leaving anytime soon, as we had an open bar.

The soft first kisses and hugs turned into wet lip action and much deeper kisses, as we wrapped our bodies tightly around one another. We were both lost in those kisses and the grinding of our bodies against one another for at least an hour. We moved to the coatroom, which had barn style split doors. We were both rather intoxicated and once we felt safe inside the coatroom, our clothing started coming off. We were lost in the passion. We were standing up inside the coatroom, going at it like seasoned, passionate, lovers. But, soon enough, people did start to come to get their coats and we had to stop.

She would give coats to the exiting patrons and we would immediately go at it again. She decided to take her underwear off and have me take her from behind, as she stood at the opening of the coatroom, leaning on the bottom half of the barn doors. We moved a coat rack filled with coats parallel to the opening and arranged the coats close to her body so you mostly only saw her, even though I was inside of her, it looked like I was simply standing in the coatroom helping her. Of course, I had to pull out and reinsert more times than I cared to, almost cuming every time I went back in. I held off, as I wanted this to be as good for her as it was for me.

We were as intoxicated as the guests. I am sure that many of those people knew what was going on, but we didn’t care. Either did they, for that matter. We were so engaged in raw, physical pleasure, that we kept going even when we heard voices coming towards us. We waited until heads started to turn the corner to the entrance of the coatroom lobby. My head said pull out. But sometimes I just couldn’t stop. She was bouncing back and forth as patrons came up to her. I would pull out and pass her most of the coats. As the evening progressed, she was going to have to retrieve coats from the second level.

She had to get about a dozen coats so I came with her. Once we got upstairs our clothing came off and we started to passionately fool around on a pile of fur coats. We went at it for a few minutes but we knew we had to get the patron’s coats. She stayed up there locating them and I brought them down, sometimes as many as ten coats at a time. Many of the coats left that night with wet spots on them. We didn’t much think about that at the time. We were obsessed. As more and more people left, we were spending more time upstairs and less in the coatroom. As we ran out of coats, people started to hang-out on the stairs, so we couldn’t use the second-floor booths anymore. Instead, we went into the juice room that was under the stairs.

It was tight, but she was petite and I was determined. We stripped down to our shirts and went at it for about a half hour, until we both came together. The stairs were old and as people stood on them, the treads would bend and let thin streams of light shine down on us. We were nervous someone was going to see us naked and we would both be fired. The GM who was our boss had to walk down those stairs, right over us, to get from his office to the bar. He did this several times. We could even hear him ask people where we were. They were cool and said we were outside getting something from the car. They knew where we were, but they did not share it.

We knew we had to make an appearance quickly so we fixed ourselves up in the bathrooms. She went back to the, fairly empty, coatroom and I busied myself buying some of the VIP guest’s drinks, to make sure people saw me. Finally, she was out of coats and was allowed to leave. Neither of us wanted it to end there. I walked her to her car. We got in. I sat next to her and we started making out again. It was a small sports car. We managed to put the passenger’s side seat down and started at it again. It was fortunate she was so petite. It was freezing. The windows were coated with ice when we started. I loved going down on her. I kept at it for a good thirty minutes, before we realized the ice on the windows melted and the few stragglers leaving the club were getting a good look at her half naked body. By that time, I was mounting her and driving deep inside her. She was in an orgasmic state when I released inside her. She grabbed me fiercely and dug her nails so deeply into my back that I had eight or nine bloody scratches by the time we were done. It must have been about four in the morning. We held each other and fell asleep in each other’s arms with the heat on.

When we woke up, it was to a full-fledged brawl between two of the guests. I had to get out of the car and break it up. I was shocked to see it was the Editor of the Hofstra College Newspaper and his Assistant Editor. They were pissed at each other and it ended badly. I made sure the cops didn’t arrest them by hiding them in the, now closed, club. I told the officers that they already took off. Someone called them when the fight got bloody prior to me seeing what was going on. It may have been the neighbors who called the police. With all of this going on, I suggested that she go home. We would see each other at the Salty Dog the next evening anyway.

When I came back the next day, I found out that she quit. I didn’t have her phone number, or even know her last name. The GM would not give it to me. He said it wasn’t allowed. But, he gave her my number. Unfortunately, she never called. I had no way of finding her. Months went by. I thought about her almost every day and asked everyone if they knew her last name. No one did. I was so disappointed. I liked that coat check girl very much, so much so that I know that we would have spent a great deal of time together if she just showed up the next day and shared why she was quitting. Months later I was in a relationship with a cocktail waitress who worked there. Out of the blue, she showed up. I didn’t know what to do or say. I had been so disappointed that she bailed on me. Dating the cocktail waitress was convenient, but it was not turning into love or anything close. It was just an ongoing hook-up. She tried to explain that many of her friends saw us that night and was embarrassed even though she was falling in love with me.

She could tell I was disappointed, hurt and feeling rejected when I first saw her. I was trying to be cool about it. When I told her I could not see her again because I was involved with the cocktail waitress, she told me she had been grounded for months. Somehow, her parents found out what happened when she went home, apparently still intoxicated. They were incredibly strict. She was not allowed to use the phone, or car, until the very day she came to see me. When I told her we were done, she cried and started to leave. I got emotional as well and tried to stop her. I started to tell her I would end my relationship with the cocktail waitress. I realized that she would never want me again, knowing that I did not wait for her. It was a tough moment. My heart sank so low I thought it would stop beating. As is the case with so many of the girls I dated, in the hospitality industry, we shared a short chapter of love. For me it was meaningful. She was a great young woman, with a beautiful smile and laughter in her heart. She was also humble despite her great beauty. I did see her again years later, when I was visiting Long Island, after moving to the city. We shared a nice conversation but she was rather cold. As I found out shortly afterwards, she had gotten back together with her fiancé and he was there with her. When he excused himself to use the bathroom, she gave me an incredible kiss and said that she never got over me despite her return to her fiance.

I was not over her either, but I let it fade away, knowing I was now in the city and a reverse commute was not going to be my gig. Especially, since I was already involved with NYC women and bartending at the Palladium. To this day I can still visualize her ebony eyes and silky, long black, hair. Of course, the memories of making love to her in that coatroom with the door completely open, the juice room and her sports car, will stay with me forever. A few years later when I went for a stroll down memory lane, back to the Salty Dog, I stopped at the coatroom for an extended reflection of our short chapter of love.

As I was leaving, the GM said, “You better not do that at the Palladium, you two were going at it all night.” He was much older so I said something like, “that’s great advice. Thanks.” and left. I had no idea that he knew what was going on that night. I found out from some of the bartenders months later that they all knew, but thought it was cool that one of us was able to hook-up with her. I never did screw around in a juice room or coatroom again, but there was this one girl who grabbed me during a concert at the Nassau Coliseum and pulled me into a walk-in freezer, but that was just a quickie and another chapter all together.

 

Chapter 19 The Kiss That Broke My Ribs

I went to Switzerland to test my heart while it was still freezing in the Swiss Alps. At the time, I was living in Southern Florida. I had to leave New York, despite my life-long love for the city and the beaches of Long Island. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was depressed, lonely and lost, as I knew no one and nothing about Florida. I did know it was over eighty degrees, year round- It was the perfect climate for walking, but it was the most boring place I have ever lived. It was like being stuck in a perma-vaction nightmare. Granted, if you were on vacation for a week or even three months and living as a snowbird, it was paradise. But to give up everything and everyone I knew; friends, clients, family, to live in Naples, was nothing short of waiting to die in paradise. I was deathly homesick.

I left New York knowing that the cold winters would kill me if I stayed. I cheated death so many times, despite the fact the surgeons couldn’t fix my heart completely for almost fifteen years. I was walking a marathon (26.2 miles) every two days, seven days a week, for almost six months. I recently learned, when one has stents inside failed stents, the arteries become less flexible. When it gets cold, there is more pressure. You can feel it because the walls of your arteries do not give as much as they normally would. It could cause a heart attack. So, when I left Florida for Switzerland, I did not know if I would survive. A heart attack was a distinct possibility. Yet, this was a rare opportunity to live on a farm in the countryside, so I packed my three hundred pounds of production gear and computers and was on my way. At the very least I would know if I could move back to New York, or if I had stay and try to build some kind of life for myself in Naples. Or even more concerning, If I could survive in the cold again at all.

I was going to stay with one of my best friends. I photographed her for years. On her birthday, she would always fly to NY, without her husband, to shoot with me. She did this for eight years. She extended an invitation to stay with her while we looked for backing for a feature film we started in Florida, months earlier. It was definitely an experiment. My friend was a world-class model, but I didn’t know if she would to be able to develop her acting skills fast enough to pull this off. I cared about her and we were very close, but we never crossed that line. She was married. I thought that there might be something between us, but I would never lure a married woman away from her husband, no matter how beautiful she was, or how close we had become. I had been in love, with creating with her, for at least five of those eight years.

I went to Switzerland to test my heart while it was still freezing in the Swiss Alps. At the time, I was living in Southern Florida. I had to leave New York, despite my life-long love for the city and the beaches of Long Island. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was depressed, lonely and lost, as I knew no one and nothing about Florida. I did know it was over eighty degrees, year round- It was the perfect climate for walking, but it was the most boring place I have ever lived. It was like being stuck in a perma-vaction nightmare. Granted, if you were on vacation for a week or even three months and living as a snowbird, it was paradise. But to give up everything and everyone I knew; friends, clients, family, to live in Naples, was nothing short of waiting to die in paradise. I was deathly homesick.

I left New York knowing that the cold winters would kill me if I stayed. I cheated death so many times, despite the fact the surgeons couldn’t fix my heart completely for almost fifteen years. I was walking a marathon (26.2 miles) every two days, seven days a week, for almost six months. I recently learned, when one has stents inside failed stents, the arteries become less flexible. When it gets cold, there is more pressure. You can feel it because the walls of your arteries do not give as much as they normally would. It could cause a heart attack. So, when I left Florida for Switzerland, I did not know if I would survive. A heart attack was a distinct possibility. Yet, this was a rare opportunity to live on a farm in the countryside, so I packed my three hundred pounds of production gear and computers and was on my way. At the very least I would know if I could move back to New York, or if I had stay and try to build some kind of life for myself in Naples. Or even more concerning, If I could survive in the cold again at all.

I was going to stay with one of my best friends. I photographed her for years. On her birthday, she would always fly to NY, without her husband, to shoot with me. She did this for eight years. She extended an invitation to stay with her while we looked for backing for a feature film we started in Florida, months earlier. It was definitely an experiment. My friend was a world-class model, but I didn’t know if she would to be able to develop her acting skills fast enough to pull this off. I cared about her and we were very close, but we never crossed that line. She was married. I thought that there might be something between us, but I would never lure a married woman away from her husband, no matter how beautiful she was, or how close we had become. I had been in love, with creating with her, for at least five of those eight years.

When I went to Switzerland to meet with potential financiers and investors, I knew it was a long shot, but I needed something to believe in. I was lonely and depressed. Traveling with her, dancing with her and creating with her, gave me hope. She even walked with me. Even dreaming that our friendship might turn into something more was a dream to hold onto. This trip was different, as I could tell that she was no longer in love with her husband. She was dropping hints and suggested that I should move to Switzerland and continue to create with her full time.

Florida was not anything like I expected it to be. Not that I had a choice. I needed someplace warm to live while I was recovering from numerous surgeries. I had a multi- foot bypass surgery on my right leg that not only saved it, but also relieved the agonizing pain of intermittent claudication and from the gigantic aneurism that went undetected for so long the main artery in my leg was 100% blocked from my hip to below my knee. I was in agony for over ten years before they diagnosed it. That damaged artery was causing intermittent blood clots in my calf, so walking was extremely painful. At times, I could barely walk. Before I left for Naples, the surgeons finally fixed my heart, both of my legs and removed a golf ball sized blockage in my abdomen. The surgeries were so painful I was traumatized. I was not only in Florida to avoid the cold and lose weight; I was there because my brain was as fried as my body. I needed to get my body back and I needed to be out of pain. If I continued to suffer, even my children wouldn’t be enough motivation for me to continue to fight. I would have thrown in the towel. I just had enough.

Being on massive amounts of painkillers was not an option. It was an absolute necessity and a recommendation that ultimately saved my life. The surgeries were done at a time that I was in so much pain I stopped eating. I would rather have died of starvation than be in pain any longer. I was either going to lose the weight and make it through the surgeries, or die trying. I quit working, other than writing my memoirs. I quit everything. I gave up medical coverage, my home, everything and just started walking. I had walked for many years prior, but nothing like a marathon every two days. It was a pace I didn’t think anyone could sustain, let alone a guy with 27 stents and a three-foot bypass in his right leg. Not to mention, complication from the other surgeries that caused me to bleed profusely, on and off, for years. I was walking every day post-surgery. I even walked home from the hospital after my heart surgery. I walked everywhere and even gave up my car to make sure I had no choice but to walk. The painkillers did their job, or there is no way I would have survived. I hated the feeling of being on heavy pain meds. It affected my memory and caused me to constantly repeat things. The greatest side effect was that it acted as a truth serum. I started writing emails to everyone I knew. I said and shared things that were best left unsaid. And for the first and only time in my life, I became angry that I was suffering so much, not grateful for more life. I believe it was a side effect from the prolonged pain, as MRI studies have proven that pain over long periods of time will change the way your brain functions.

Tramelan, Switzerland would be the place I either got back my life, or died. I had to put some space between myself and my children and everyone else I loved. I had been an athlete in my youth. Years of disease had ravaged my body and I wanted it back. Even at the expense of going bankrupt, losing everything and temporarily leaving my children. I truly owe my life to my children. They were the only reason I could endure the years of pain and push on. Everyone wants to live. I decided life was not worth living if I was disabled and useless to my family. It was time to kick the painkillers before I moved back to Long Island. If the cold was going to kill me, it was not going to be while I was with my children. I wouldn’t allow them to see me suffer or die in front of them. I didn’t want them to be traumatized, so Switzerland would become my test.

So, with that, I flew to Geneva. There, I walked to the train station and took a several hour train ride to the country farm I was to live on for the next three months. I had three one hundred pound rolling suit cases with me, so it was a small miracle that I managed to traverse my way around, pulling all that weight.

I was walking every day in the Alps, often alongside my friend and her children. It was reminiscent of The Sound of Music. Beautiful snow-covered mountains complete with the smell of cow manure in the fields. They were adorable black and white cows. They would run to greet you, carefully avoiding the electric fences. And yes, I did get shocked once while photographing a model. As I tried to duck under the fence, my arm hit a wire and I was knocked on my butt. It shocked the hell out of me, but acted as sort of stress relief. It reset my “fear factor”. It was a hell of a jolt. The cows knew not to greet me when I was too close to the electric wires. They also had natural stone barriers to keep the cows corralled. They were much like giant dogs, very affectionate and so much more intelligent than you would think. Keep that in mind the next time you eat a hamburger a.k.a. a cow burger. It was at that time I decided to become a vegetarian. For the most part I have maintained that diet ever since. I do eat burgers and steaks occasionally, but I always think of those beautiful cows and feel guilty about it. So, on those rare occasions, I only eat grass-fed, humanely handled, animal products.

I would walk for miles in the freezing cold. I couldn’t believe I was surviving. Not only was I surviving, I was doing well. I still had to deal with the effects of withdrawals from three plus years of taking strong painkillers. I did not take a single pain killer with me. In fact, as soon as I called my primary care physician and told him I was now walking a marathon every two days he said to throw the painkillers out and get ready for all hell to break loose. AS is evident from all the data out there, getting off pain killers after that prolonged a period was going to have side effects. Going cold turkey was going to complicate it even further. Before leaving for Switzerland I threw them in the toilet, took a photo and sent it to my doctor. He was very supportive and literally put his medical license on the line for me knowing that it was my only hope. With that, I was prepared to go through everything I had seen in the movies about going cold turkey and the horrendous withdrawals that came with it. They were horrendous, so I will spare you the details. After living through it I understand why even the strongest willed individuals become heroin addicts when they can no longer get pain killers. I was never going to be one of them. I went through withdrawals over the next year, while I was in Switzerland and couldn’t get more pain killers anyway. Well, not easily. As you will read, I could have gotten them for my two broken ribs, but I chose to suffer without them rather than extend my addiction to them.

I made a great deal of progress. It was also apparent that my life would no longer be the same in winter. The arteries in my heart would forever be somewhat stiff. Still, it was better than being three hundred and fifty pounds and alone, basically in solitary confinement. Apparently, I could tolerate the cold, even though it did slow me down. The next challenge was to see if I could shoot in the cold. Would my heart hold up? Did all the walking and resistance exercises grow enough new arteries? If so, could I start over with nothing but my health? The only way I would know was to try. I had tried for decades and it was not possible. I was always limited, even disabled. I prayed for better results and the opportunity to rebuild my life so I could leave something to my children. During this period, I wrote my memoirs. Often I would post excerpts on social networks and man did I piss a lot of people off. When I was on painkillers, even my emails were six pages long. The first draft of Chapters of Love was a mess. It was over nine hundred pages long, most of it written on my smartphone while I was walking. I was seriously lost.

I vomited daily as my body went through withdrawals. In retrospect my doctor really should have put me in rehab as we both knew I would become addicted taking pain medication for over three years. But back then the pharmaceutical companies campaigned heavily that Oxycodone was safe, but that was a joke. I managed to keep it a secret, but it was ugly. I started to shoot and promote my production company as if I was already in New York. I was again walking and shooting for free to build a reputation in Switzerland and test my heart. My friend was a huge help. To return the favor, I made her the focal point of my photography. Years earlier she was hit by a truck and had to go through a tremendous amount of rehab to get her life back. I always did what I could to help her. Love is not always about sex. It is often about unconditional compassion, loyalty and giving. She was the object of my “paying it forward” when I had nothing to give but my photography. I was hoping to somehow help her build her career to the point she could live her dream of acting in a movie. Soon after arriving and reviewing her screen tests, it was obvious that she had made little progress. She could speak five languages, but she could not remember her lines or express herself in a role. I didn’t know how I could help her. It was then I decided I would dedicate the rest of my life to paying it forward, with my camera, to everyone I could, as I had done so many years prior while walking the country and living in an RV; even for hundreds of charity events.

I came up with what I believed to be a brilliant Idea. I was going to shoot, write, edit, and do the layout for an international magazine that recognized model citizens. I bought the domain ModelCitizensMagazine.com and was on my way to becoming an international publisher. Within days of sharing the first layouts on Facebook I had hundreds of models contacting me about being in the magazine. Since this was about my friend, I put her on the cover and made her the focus of the entire 110-page issue. I included her family, friends and clients. When I saw how hopelessly in love her husband was with her, I knew that despite our chemistry and her assurances that she wouldn’t be with her husband for long, we were never going to be a couple. Neither one of us wanted to cross that line even though at times I was tempted. I am sure she was as well. After all, she lived with me every time we shot, no matter where I was living. She even came to stay with me in Florida, all the way from Switzerland.

I was proud of myself. I again turned downtime into something productive. After a while, many of the top models in Europe were coming to shoot with me. I was humbled by the experience. I also loved the Swiss people and their culture. I was fortunate to see how the farmers lived, while at the same time working with some of the most attractive and charismatic models and actors in Europe. Most importantly, I realized although limited, I could manage my life in cold weather again. Life was by no means perfect, but I was no longer disabled, even though I was still quite handicapped. I could no longer carry my own equipment. Nor could I shoot every day. Photography was no longer going to be my career. It was going to become a compliment to my writing. I had been writing most of my life. Most people seemed to think I was pretty good, so it was natural to blog and to write copy for social networking and web sites. Model Citizens Magazine was a way to help her and of course test myself. What it became was an artist’s dream. I have so much gratitude to the incredible models and people who came together to participate in the very first issues. I was writing about them, showing them love and was sharing their stories with everyone back home. I was honored.

One of the shoots was with a young lady who had not always had it so easy. She was a recovering heroin addict. I wasn’t aware of her past when I agreed to photograph her. After she modeled nude, on the train tracks and in the forest, she told me how much the photographs meant to her and how much it meant for her to be featured in the magazine. It touched my heart. We shot together many more times. Once she brought me some medicinal herbs and wax to help when I fell down a mountain and broke two ribs. Yes, I fell while filming on the side of a mountain. That fall would set my health back years, as nothing can be done to fix broken ribs. They heal, but slowly. I refused to take narcotics of any kind, as fate had it, I was literally still going through massive pain killer withdrawal at the same time.

I was only in Switzerland a month or so. My plan was to stay the legal limit before I had to apply for a work visa. I had approximately three months. When I took that bad fall, I was not photographing the model with the past heroin issue. It was another model who excited me even more. She was the reason I fell. Not only did I fall down the mountain, I fell for her. I had met her online. She was coming to shoot with me in Tramelan. She was gorgeous. She didn’t look Swiss at all. In fact, she looked Italian. She spoke Italian quite well and seemed to have an Italian accent. However, I was no expert in accents.

We shot, after my friend did her hair and makeup in her downtown Tramelan salon. Then she drove me to a lake. On the way, we stopped for bread, cheese and wine. The bread was fresh baked. And, everyone knows the Swiss reputation for great cheese. We drank both bottles of wine in about an hour as we shot on stone stairs that were on the side of a mountain, overlooking a beautiful lake that in the valley below. The stairs that went up to that hill were very steep. They were carved right into the stone hillside. The scene was straight out of a French magazine or postcard. It was there she took her shirt off and posed. I had thousands of watts of portable strobe lights on her. The shots were magical. She was magical. After a while I realized that she was not just posing, she was flirting. When we finished shooting by the lake, we went to another mountain, which was much rockier and steeper. We drove around until we found a perfect view. I could photograph her with a majestic view of the snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps in the distance. It was a winter wonderland paradise.

We were now finishing yet another bottle of wine and I think we even had some champagne. She was so European. Her accent was driving me crazy. When she spoke, she was very expressive with her hand gestures. She would gently touch me. I liked it. My body was responding to her touch. The more she touched me the more I wanted to see if it was just flirting or she had something more in mind. Out of nowhere I had a rather impulsive thought. What if I asked her play the role in the film I wanted to produce with my friend? Maybe she could be the lead and my friend who was not doing particularly well as the lead, could play a supporting role? Maybe that would get us funding?

I asked her if she had a monologue and she said no. That burst my bubble because I realized that she was a model, not an actress. If she couldn’t improv a monologue I doubted she could carry a film. So, with that I said, “You’re not an actress, we’ll never pull this off” and went back to our photo session. What happened next was quite unbelievable. I was photographing her. She was in lingerie and out of nowhere she walked directly over to me and kissed me with the most passionate kiss I ever had. It warmed my entire body as if I had been injected with passion. I kissed her back and we kissed again until we were enthusiastically making out. Then she put her finger to her mouth and made the shhhhhh sign, literally communicating that the kiss was just between us. With a wink of her eye we were back to shooting. My heart was beating so fast; I could barely focus. The adrenaline was rushing through my body. I was so dizzy I literally fainted and fell to the ground like a shy teenager and knocked her down the side of that mountain. She fell right on top of me.

I didn’t pass out, but I did go down hard. To protect my camera, I did what any red-blooded photographer would do; I held it up and sacrificed my body. I broke two ribs. Her elbow was bleeding; despite the fact she fell on top of me. That didn’t help my cracked ribs. If I wasn’t buzzed I would not have been able to continue shooting. I was in so much pain. To top it off, I was still in the middle of going through pain killer withdrawals. All I could think about was that amazing kiss. For a brief moment, I believe the cracks in my heart started healing and love flowed throughout my body. Endorphins were washing into my brain. Was this love? Was this somewhat famous, younger, gorgeous model my soul mate? Or was I just dreaming, or even worse, did I have a cardiac event or a stroke?

It was going to take much more than two broken ribs to stop me, so I continued to shoot the rest of the day. The following morning, after she spent the night in the country house with us, we drove to a smaller more intimate lake that had a winding path around it. It was cold and foggy that morning. We were going to shoot video to see if she could act. That one passionate kiss motivated me to see if she could pick it up quickly. I had already started writing Chapters Of Love and thought it would make a great screen play. I used a working title, “Chasing Sunrise,” but never let anyone see the story. I didn’t want anyone to steal it. I also didn’t know if I had the health or the courage to ever share it, so I used that working title while I tried to recruit both investors and actors.

She was a model by profession, not an actress. But, the Italian looking Miss Switzerland runner- up was a natural. All it took was that one kiss and she touched my heart. I thought to myself, maybe I could start my life over in Switzerland, publish a magazine and produce another film. If I had to, I’d shoot in Switzerland, where I was becoming more and more popular. The people in town were treating me like a movie star. That kiss was making me think of all kinds of ways to try to co-mingle our lives. I had very little money left. In fact, I had practically nothing. I had just enough to fly back to New York and with some luck get a place in in the city. I was simply not thinking straight. Her kiss had totally taken over my heart.

When we went to the lake the next morning, we filmed a great amount of video. All I had her say was, “I love you.” This was a directorial technique I used many times to judge the ability of an actor to make me believe what she was saying even though I knew she was just acting. By the end of that days filming I did not believe it was acting. I believed she loved me. She wanted me to believe and she wanted the part. I wanted her to have it, but I had to find out if she was going to be truly dedicated and if we could raise money with her in the lead role.

I thought that putting her on the cover of Model Citizens Magazine might give her the credibility we needed, but I would never take my friend off the cover. So, after thinking about it, I came up with the idea to publish another issue at the same time. It would be the Italian version of the magazine. She agreed and said she would help me write it and translate it into Italian, as my fifty-fifty partner. I agreed. A few weeks later, despite my broken ribs, the three of us flew to Venice to shoot “Model Citizens Magazine Italy” and give her a real screen test. She would start by hosting a travel style magazine, both for the issue and for a video version of it. We booked a tiny hotel room and started filming every day and drinking Prosecco every night. The hotel was giving us as much as we wanted gratis because they were thrilled with the publicity. Both models were pretty much becoming local celebrities as we shared the photographs with the merchants who supported our efforts. Within hours of our arrival, I was getting hit on by dozens of women. It would start almost as soon as I put my tripod out in the square and started shooting.

But something had changed with both models after our arrival in Venice. They were no longer competing for my attention, or even camera time. They started hooking-up with each other and were falling in love. They tried to keep it a secret, but it soon became obvious. Later, my Swiss friend’s husband told me it was the reason their marriage ended. It had nothing to do with her obsession with my photography any longer, or our almost ten year friendship, that extended a bit beyond. It was because she was expressing more love for a woman than for him. Venice was the most beautiful city I had ever seen. The people were so warm. I felt love from everyone; the shop owners who donated clothing for our shoot, to the restaurateurs who comped almost every meal. It was like being a celebrity, if even for a few months. We left Venice a few days later. We would never kiss again, nor would we make the film. My photographs put her on the map and her career skyrocketed within days. She was not supposed to use them before the issue came out, but did so against my wishes. She became quite the diva. It became rather apparent that the kiss was strategic and not the least bit authentic.

When we got back to the farm my dear friend was a mess. Her marriage was falling apart. She was miserable, no longer in love with her husband and totally obsessed with her new girlfriend, who was hooking-up with everyone, both men and women. Each of them were the object of so many admirers’ obsessions. It was not surprising they became the object of each other’s. My friend was building a small house in the country, on property given to her by her mom. For a moment, I thought, maybe I would stay. She wanted me to. They both did. They were both bi-sexual and thought we might live out a three’s company kind of arrangement. It was very tempting, but nothing was going to keep me from my children and my true home on Long Island. Not even the thought of building a publishing empire in a European paradise, while engaging in a modern family with two of the most beautiful women in Switzerland.

I left Switzerland with three issues of Model Citizens Magazine and very little money. But, I had proven to myself that I had my health back. I also was fortunate enough to go to Paris and Stockholm where women were much more sexual and free spirited than they were even in Switzerland. I knew my career as a full-time photographer was coming to an end, no matter how much I loved it. I also knew that my heart was healing in more ways than just physically. The crack in my heart was on the mend. That single kiss, gave me hope I could find my true soul mate and could love again. I had finally started to heal and was ready to look for true love. That passionate kiss that broke my ribs was one of the most romantic and passionate kisses I ever was blessed with. When I am asked, “was it worth it?” I always say yes. I was in Switzerland for only a few months, but I experienced some of the most creative and romantic experiences of my life. I am sure if I took them up on their invitation to stay that we might have all shared a very long and modern chapter of love. I just could not keep my heart from wanting to go home to my island, Long Island so I left as soon as I was healthy enough to fly back.

 

Chapter 17 – Honeymoon Affairs

The same day I was diagnosed, I quit my job and started spending eight hours a day at the gym, or working out elsewhere. I would walk around the indoor track so many times I would lose count. When I couldn’t handle the gym anymore, I would ride my bicycle in the park, at least ten miles. I was up to a few hundred crunches a day and lost at least fifty pounds. Not that I was fat, but I could be as in my past, extremely skinny. Prior to my fitness commitment, I hadn’t been eating well, but I had been eating a lot. Money was plentiful and so were my restaurant visits. Salad was hardly an intimate acquaintance. In between the exercise sessions I would cry. In fact, I’d cry all the time. Why I cried, I did not know. I was never afraid of dying, at least not consciously, but I was concerned for my parents. They had suffered so many heartaches. I didn’t want to be the biggest one. That was what helped me through some of my toughest times.

I was not sure if I was going to live long enough to go on what was supposed to be my honeymoon. However, as the months passed, I began to realize that I might live long enough to do so. At the time, I was being paid ongoing commissions despite the fact I left my job. I was also working part-time as an analyst, after I resigned from AT&T. I think I was having a nervous breakdown. I told my sales manager that I would be dead in mere months. A more empathetic company might have put me on a trauma-based leave of absence or on disability. Instead, they just accepted my resignation.

I was experiencing major chest pain when I exercised. For some reason my hips hurt as well. I thought from riding my bicycle and walking so much, but as it turned out it was related to poor circulation. I went from out of shape and just a bit overweight, to a rock-hard cardio machine. But, I knew something was very wrong. My second set of blood tests showed my numbers were off the charts. What made it even worse, was no one could even tell me what I had. It would take a very expensive blood test and genetic mapping to make that determination. That technology did not exist commercially at the time. One doctor concluded I had asthma and another said I had asthma and eczema on my elbows. They could not have been more wrong. Another doctor told me it was my inner ear that was causing the issue and put me on steroids. The doctors were literally just guessing and the plethora of diagnoses made a dire situation even worse. My hands were turning orange and xanthomas, growths of rock hard cholesterol, were growing all over my body and inside it as well. It was disgusting to say the least.

The same day I was diagnosed, I quit my job and started spending eight hours a day at the gym, or working out elsewhere. I would walk around the indoor track so many times I would lose count. When I couldn’t handle the gym anymore, I would ride my bicycle in the park, at least ten miles. I was up to a few hundred crunches a day and lost at least fifty pounds. Not that I was fat, but I could be as in my past, extremely skinny. Prior to my fitness commitment, I hadn’t been eating well, but I had been eating a lot. Money was plentiful and so were my restaurant visits. Salad was hardly an intimate acquaintance. In between the exercise sessions I would cry. In fact, I’d cry all the time. Why I cried, I did not know. I was never afraid of dying, at least not consciously, but I was concerned for my parents. They had suffered so many heartaches. I didn’t want to be the biggest one. That was what helped me through some of my toughest times.

I was not sure if I was going to live long enough to go on what was supposed to be my honeymoon. However, as the months passed, I began to realize that I might live long enough to do so. At the time, I was being paid ongoing commissions despite the fact I left my job. I was also working part-time as an analyst, after I resigned from AT&T. I think I was having a nervous breakdown. I told my sales manager that I would be dead in mere months. A more empathetic company might have put me on a trauma-based leave of absence or on disability. Instead, they just accepted my resignation.

I was experiencing major chest pain when I exercised. For some reason my hips hurt as well. I thought from riding my bicycle and walking so much, but as it turned out it was related to poor circulation. I went from out of shape and just a bit overweight, to a rock-hard cardio machine. But, I knew something was very wrong. My second set of blood tests showed my numbers were off the charts. What made it even worse, was no one could even tell me what I had. It would take a very expensive blood test and genetic mapping to make that determination. That technology did not exist commercially at the time. One doctor concluded I had asthma and another said I had asthma and eczema on my elbows. They could not have been more wrong. Another doctor told me it was my inner ear that was causing the issue and put me on steroids. The doctors were literally just guessing and the plethora of diagnoses made a dire situation even worse. My hands were turning orange and xanthomas, growths of rock hard cholesterol, were growing all over my body and inside it as well. It was disgusting to say the least.

Eventually, a doctor found a match for my condition in a medical textbook. But he only got half of the story. The reality of the situation was that I had two genetic mutations. The growths on my elbows, knees, and other joints were similar to the growths on the “Elephant Man.” They were growing even faster in my arteries and organs. Although this is a form of uncontrolled cell growth, it is not cancer. My body simply has a hard time processing any lipid, no matter if it was plant or animal fat based. The resulting, rock-hard, plaque growing in my body, was going to kill me. According to Nassau County Medical Center it would happen within months. When I left the hospital, I called my boss and quit. I never shared the diagnosis with my rock star fiancé. I just scared her away and she ended our engagement. I was not only going to die. I was going to die heart broken, as I loved her with all my heart. Depression set in and then, I think, shock. I was not even twenty-five and my life was ending.

There was no such thing as statins back then. Even stenting was uncommon. All four arteries in my heart were over ninety-five percent blocked. The walking and the exercise was keeping my arteries from getting worse, but barely keeping me alive. The true miracle was that my body somehow managed to grow new arteries. But at this point no one knew that I was one of the small percentage of people who could. My diagnosis stood as a death sentence.

At the time, my fiancé thought I had lost it. I experienced frequent episodes where my eyes would tear. I couldn’t control it. It happened most often when we were together physically. I couldn’t make love to her without thinking that she was about to be a widow, before we were even married. I lost it. I couldn’t maintain any sense of normalcy during those moments. Oddly enough, she never did ask me what was wrong. For me it was just too emotional. I was planning a way to end the relationship so she would not be going to my funeral in her wedding dress.

She became more and more distant, as did I. I did all I could do to reverse the damage and grow arteries but no one knew what I was going through. I was trying to exercise myself into Olympic physical condition. I loved her, but I tried hard not to think about her. If she had agreed to have children immediately after we were married, I firmly believe I would have married her. I was torn. I didn’t want to leave this world with my bloodline ended. At the same time, I didn’t want her pregnant at my deathbed. I also could not tell her. If I had, I knew she would not leave me. Eventually, I came up with a plan to chase her away. All the same, I was hyper-focused on having a child before I died. My plan was to have a child and leave a note for my father to take my place after I passed. My father lost his father to a train accident when he was only eight. He never recovered. I was determined to give him a grandchild before I died.

Before our relationship ended, we actually had a date for the wedding and the venue selected. We even had our engagement party. I had to get away, so I planned to go on what was supposed to be my honeymoon with a friend. In Saint Maarten, I played my wedding date on a roulette table in a local casino. I wanted verification from above that I had made the right choice in ending our relationship without telling her I was dying. Starting with only fifty bucks I won thousands of dollars! People started to put their chips on top of mine and the place started going crazy. It was the first and only time I every gambled in a casino. I won a small fortune. Almost immediately, I was upgraded to fine champagne and gorgeous women were hanging all over me.

I started spending like there was no tomorrow, as I thought there would not be. I brought a few of the casino women, as well as other willing women I collected along the way, back to the hotel. Several bottles of champagne later, I wound up in my room with one very pretty, intelligent, college girl. I came inside her without protection at least three times. I was trying to get her pregnant. I was a bit drunk and totally obsessed with making a child. After I planted my seed in her, I found another willing participant downstairs by the pool.

My entire stay, I was photographing everything while walking and sleeping with one woman after another. I used no protection. I must have slept with six or seven women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Not a single one asked me to use protection. This went on all week. I would switch back and forth from one to another. I didn’t even know their names. We would just meet, drink, have hot sex and then I would leave. It was a blur of photo shoots, sex, snorkeling, walking and popping nitros.

Nitroglycerine is one of the drugs the doctors gave me to keep me alive, during cardiac events, when my capillaries were pushed past their limits. I would frequently suffer from severe angina attacks. Despite my workout routine, I had still not grown enough arteries to manage wild, hot, sex. I was putting my life in grave danger. I was also potentially fathering more babies than any man should, especially a dying man. I gave every one of them my contact information. I was hoping at least one of them would tell me she was pregnant.

I was hoping it was the girl I went sailing with. We took a sixty-foot catamaran to a small island, where we all snorkeled in the nude. Most of the girls on the boat sunbathed nude as well. I joined the party. I was snorkeling for hours. The coral reef was so beautiful. As I floated on the surface of the water I forgot my troubles. I didn’t even feel the angina. It was an extremely peaceful experience. The beauty of the reef below me, the sun beating down on my back and the warm water caressing my body took me to a different place. A place of comfort, I had long since forgotten. She would swim alongside and under me. She was very overt in her flirting. Eventually, we floated to the shoreline. She laid on her back, partially hidden under the water. I mounted her partially submerged. We made love with our genitals under the water. Since I was partially suspended in the water, it was not as grueling a physical effort. I wound up with quite a sunburn on my back, but it was worth it. The cannabis I was indulging in helped with the pain and for some reason, my breathing as well.

As my time on the island vacation my planned honeymoon was ending, my reality came crashing back to me. I was likely not going to be around much longer. And, she, amongst other women might be carrying my baby. Yes, I was completely heartbroken after losing my rock star fiancé and of course about my diagnosis, but I was obsessed with trying to get all, or any, of these women pregnant.

Having, wild, unprotected sex with virtual strangers was the most insane thing I have ever done. However, I was at peace with the fact that after I was gone, my mother and father would have part of me still…. a child…a grandchild to love. Quite possibly several.

 

Chapter 16 – My Ballerina

Not long after I broke things off with the cadet, I moved to New York City. I was subletting a friend’s apartment on 45th street in Hell’s Kitchen. Once I moved to New York City, my career started to take off. I was photographing many more models and making a lot of money, most of which I spent on photography gear and going out with those same models. I was photographing hundreds of guys as well. I became friends with many of them. Often, we would go clubbing or should I say, hunting. I shared some of the funniest and best moment of my life with those guys. We hunted and partied from New York to LA. My social life was on fire. I was popular and felt appreciated as a person, as well as for my photography. I wanted to help artists advance their careers whether they could pay me or not. Often, I would take things in trade. Once, I even got a python. Often I would trade those items for things I did need. It was a surreal time in my life.

In addition to my wild ways, I had a reclusive side. This came out when I wrote or edited and almost always when I printed in the dark room. Occasionally, I had actual photo shoots in the darkroom, which were typically followed by sexual encounters under the red lights.

I was bartending at the Palladium when I met my ballerina. Getting a job at the Palladium was not easy. It was a hot spot and there was a lot of competition. My friend who was one of those professional models knew a dancer whose boyfriend was the head of security. She was a tremendous break-dancer. After I photographed her, she introduced me to her boyfriend who got me the job with Steve Rebel. I was very fortunate. It turned out to be a tremendous experience.

Like every young man, I had both wild sexual desire for a variety of women, as well as a need for real love and companionship. It seemed as if I couldn’t find both passion and an intellectual connection in the same person. So, I had many different chapters. That too I am grateful for. How boring would life be to only have had one lover and one soul mate. Boring, but perhaps fortunate. I honestly do believe that there is a novel of love waiting for me somewhere out there.

Not long after I broke things off with the cadet, I moved to New York City. I was subletting a friend’s apartment on 45th street in Hell’s Kitchen. Once I moved to New York City, my career started to take off. I was photographing many more models and making a lot of money, most of which I spent on photography gear and going out with those same models. I was photographing hundreds of guys as well. I became friends with many of them. Often, we would go clubbing or should I say, hunting. I shared some of the funniest and best moment of my life with those guys. We hunted and partied from New York to LA. My social life was on fire. I was popular and felt appreciated as a person, as well as for my photography. I wanted to help artists advance their careers whether they could pay me or not. Often, I would take things in trade. Once, I even got a python. Often I would trade those items for things I did need. It was a surreal time in my life.

In addition to my wild ways, I had a reclusive side. This came out when I wrote or edited and almost always when I printed in the dark room. Occasionally, I had actual photo shoots in the darkroom, which were typically followed by sexual encounters under the red lights.

I was bartending at the Palladium when I met my ballerina. Getting a job at the Palladium was not easy. It was a hot spot and there was a lot of competition. My friend who was one of those professional models knew a dancer whose boyfriend was the head of security. She was a tremendous break-dancer. After I photographed her, she introduced me to her boyfriend who got me the job with Steve Rebel. I was very fortunate. It turned out to be a tremendous experience.

Like every young man, I had both wild sexual desire for a variety of women, as well as a need for real love and companionship. It seemed as if I couldn’t find both passion and an intellectual connection in the same person. So, I had many different chapters. That too I am grateful for. How boring would life be to only have had one lover and one soul mate. Boring, but perhaps fortunate. I honestly do believe that there is a novel of love waiting for me somewhere out there.

I was working at the Palladium for just a short time when I noticed a very petite and beautiful ballerina dancing near my bar. She was with a guy. We had the opportunity to speak when she came to the bar for water. I assumed she and the guy were not romantically involved. She was not a model, but she had such a beautiful face and was so graceful. She was a classical ballerina who was living at a world-famous school of dance in the city. Her parents lived upstate, in New York. Because the school was very strict with their curfews she had to sneak out of the dorm to see me. When she did, she was always sore from that day’s ultra-high-paced and demanding schedule. She was shy. I admired her beauty and talent. She was talented yet humble. Both those qualities drew me to her.

It was such a turn on. She would demonstrate the most beautiful dance moves. Our relationship centered on art and the creation of it. I wish I had those photographs now. She was one of the only subjects I gave my negatives to, thinking I would be able to get them back. But, I never did. Same thing happened when I photographed Andy Warhol. I lent the negatives to a model and never saw them again.

She would come to my apartment and dance for me. Eventually, I would lose it and interrupt her routine by kissing her softly and gently everywhere. She had such sad eyes and mannerisms to match. I think it was her inner sadness I fell in love with. Whenever she could get away from school, we dated. Unfortunately, that was not very often, so I dated others as well. As much as I loved her, she was dedicated initially to dance more than our relationship and her school was extremely demanding on her time.

I remember how she would call me from a pay phone at the school and ask me to let her come over. The answer was almost always yes. Even my Midwest, farmer’s daughter neighbor, would get the boot when she called. I would order Chinese food and we would get high together and create. She never considered it work, as she loved the photographs. They were always black and white. She was far too graceful for color. We dated for months, until I started to fall in love with my neighbor. But that was not what ended our relationship.

She started to come to the Palladium and just sit by the bar, watching me, for hours. She didn’t like the fact I was dating other women. So, she would stay late until I got off to make sure I didn’t go home with anyone. That, she was available for. However, she was always dancing when I was free during the day. I told her that if she were more available, I would see her exclusively. I was bartending six to seven nights a week and she could only get out one or maybe two times a month during the day. That was simply not enough, so I never made it exclusive. I wanted to. I loved her. But, she was more committed to her dancing than to love. I didn’t blame her. I was equally as dedicated to my photography career. Despite our loving relationship, we both knew what our priorities were.

She started to come to my apartment when I didn’t pick up the telephone. That became a problem. I told her that it was not fair and that I was dating other women. I did not lie to her. I certainly didn’t want to hurt her. I was always honest with her as I was with pretty much every girl I dated. She became overly jealous and unpredictable. She began to flirt with guys at the bar. Although I was jealous, I tried to ignore it until I saw her with a much older guy. At first, she was trying to get me jealous so I would agree to be exclusive with her. When that didn’t work, she started to show up at my apartment and beg me to see her.

It turned out she was doing blow with that older guy. That ended it for me. I didn’t want to see her anymore. That only made the begging more frequent. Oddly, it started to turn me on. Everyone in New York City seemed to be doing blow. She was no exception. At one point, she invited me to a party sponsored by a major corporation. There next to the crudités and dip, was a mound of cocaine laid out on a mirror topped table. People were snorting it in the open, like it was nothing. We got hammered. That was one of the first times I indulged. I not only liked it, I loved it. It was much different than the cut blow I had done a few times with my cadet. It was crazy. I was beyond stupid. Being influenced by the NYC in-crowd was no excuse.

From that point on, she would bring some over and we would create all night long and screw all morning. It was pretty much impossible to get it up with that much blow in me. So, we always did it in the morning. I did not even consider it a drug. I was so naïve. I considered it recreation. Eventually, I didn’t want to do it anymore. That angered her. She began to try to bribe me with immediate oral sex if I agreed to let her in, when she showed up unannounced.

It got to the point where she was showing up to service me and leaving, even when she knew I had another woman coming immediately afterwards. She would swallow as I jammed my package as deep down her throat as possible. I held my hand on the back of her head, so she had no choice. It became fetish-like. She enjoyed it when I was rough with her. I liked it too. It was not something I engaged in prior. It certainly did not fit my idea of love, but it definitely fit hers. This went on for months. I would look forward to the begging phone calls and immediate oral sex. For a young man it was just a short lived “power trip”.

This is a bit bizarre, but occasionally, she would spit my cum into my potted rubber tree. It had not been doing so well. Believe it or not, that rubber tree became huge. There had to have been a connection.

The older guy she was seeing was about thirty. She was getting the blow from him. He asked to come to my apartment with her. He wanted to free base. I wanted no part of it. He brought a duffle bag that held a machine gun and kilos of cocaine. That was the last time I hung out with her friend, the dealer, or her again. I was terrified. I told her that I would not see her again if she continued to use drugs. She chose blow over me.

The separation didn’t impact me greatly. I was heavily involved in my career, plus women were throwing themselves at me. My new neighbor became more of a factor in my life. That made my dancer even sadder. The last time I took her call, she told me she was totally dependent on blow to get her through her dance routines. At that point she left school to live with her parents.

Despite the drugs and the fetishes, I did love her. I did everything I could to talk her out of seeing the dealer. Time after time, I would tell her that she would find someone better than me to love. Eventually we lost touch. Her parents were very strict and wanted her to remove herself from her former life. They forbade her from using the telephone. So, we had no contact even though my intent was to help her start a new drug-free life. I never saw or heard from my ballerina again. But, I think of her often. I regret not keeping those negatives, as photographs are often the connection to my past chapters of love, long after they are over. I sincerely hope she is continued her dancing, as she was the most graceful dancer I ever saw personally or professionally. Looking back on it now I truly believe we would have had a very long chapter of love if she had avoided that dealer and stopped begging me to party with her.

 

Chapter 15 – Cadet Training

I was very naïve about love; despite the fact I was sleeping with more women than I could have ever imagined. I was bartending. It was the 80’s. Just about everyone was experimenting with fetishes. I was no different. This was a very strange chapter of my life. She was a police officer in training who really liked her handcuffs. I had no idea she was training to become a cop when we first met, at my bar, as she was in street clothing. I was still shy, so I occasionally tapped into the liquor supply to give myself a little extra boost of courage. I had worked in the hospitality business for a short time, but typically as a waiter. This was both my first full-time management and bartending gig. By the time I found out she was an actual cadet she had me in handcuffs. While in uniform, she started cutting up lines at the then infamous Bethpage Hotel on Hempstead Turnpike. I was ridiculously nervous because I couldn’t believe a future cop was doing blow.

There was no way for me to escape. Frankly, I did not want to. But, I never did blow and never wanted to. This was going to be my first time, except for one tiny bump when I was drunk with a cheerleader. She was not only hot, but also very persuasive. For those unfamiliar, blow is an extremely dangerous drug, especially to anyone who has obsessive or addictive personality. This was a very bad decision. It became a weekend ritual. She would handcuff me to the bed and go to town on me. She was the more active participant in the actual thrusting and pumping. I was kind of her sex slave of sorts. Our relationship was completely based on role-play and sex. I really didn’t know her. I did know that she was related to many different families of cops to much later on in our relationship. Almost every working adult in her family was a police officer, so the fact that she was bringing blow to the hotel freaked me out. As much as it terrified me, the sex was so different and so intense I couldn’t bring myself to end it.

I was very naïve about love; despite the fact I was sleeping with more women than I could have ever imagined. I was bartending. It was the 80’s. Just about everyone was experimenting with fetishes. I was no different. This was a very strange chapter of my life. She was a police officer in training who really liked her handcuffs. I had no idea she was training to become a cop when we first met, at my bar, as she was in street clothing. I was still shy, so I occasionally tapped into the liquor supply to give myself a little extra boost of courage. I had worked in the hospitality business for a short time, but typically as a waiter. This was both my first full-time management and bartending gig. By the time I found out she was an actual cadet she had me in handcuffs. While in uniform, she started cutting up lines at the then infamous Bethpage Hotel on Hempstead Turnpike. I was ridiculously nervous because I couldn’t believe a future cop was doing blow.

There was no way for me to escape. Frankly, I did not want to. But, I never did blow and never wanted to. This was going to be my first time, except for one tiny bump when I was drunk with a cheerleader. She was not only hot, but also very persuasive. For those unfamiliar, blow is an extremely dangerous drug, especially to anyone who has obsessive or addictive personality. This was a very bad decision. It became a weekend ritual. She would handcuff me to the bed and go to town on me. She was the more active participant in the actual thrusting and pumping. I was kind of her sex slave of sorts. Our relationship was completely based on role-play and sex. I really didn’t know her. I did know that she was related to many different families of cops to much later on in our relationship. Almost every working adult in her family was a police officer, so the fact that she was bringing blow to the hotel freaked me out. As much as it terrified me, the sex was so different and so intense I couldn’t bring myself to end it.

For months, every Friday or Saturday night, she would come to my bar after she finished at the academy. We would leave my car at the bar and she would drive us to the hotel and check-in. She got some kind of a cop discount. Then it was off to the room, where we would party all night. We would sleep most of the next day. Then, she would drive me back to the bar for the next night’s shift, or home to shower first and then the bar. She was not a model, as I did not date models at that time. Most of the time I dated fun, tomboy, type girls. She was no different. Except for one key point, to say she was the dominant one in our relationship would be an understatement. She was soft and pretty. It seemed as if she had absolutely no fear, not even of getting caught with blow. She was like the tough female cops you see on television. I think the Bethpage Motel was making most of its revenue from weekend affairs. It was set-up as a kind of sex motel where you could book rooms for the night or even for a few hours. I never knew a hotel to have such an elaborate collection of headboards, especially brass ones. Then again, most of my corporate life I stayed in business or commercial hotel chains.

I was snorting blow off her breasts and teasing her. Not that I wanted to or liked it, I just did it to appease her. Most of the time I would blow it away first and then pretend to snort it. She loved it. It was a huge turn on for her. For me, not so much. It made my heart race and I was paranoid. I hated the stuff. All the same, she was an amazing lover. This was truly kinky sex for anyone, let alone a guy who preferred the standard missionary position. Other than when we were at the hotel, she was quite serious about her future as a police officer. But, at the hotel it was always the same. After meeting her parents, it was clear that her father wanted a son. He treated her more like a fellow cop than a daughter.

Eventually she proposed to me, she actually wanted to marry me. I wanted no part of it. I only stayed with her because she threatened me. She told me that if I ever left her she was going to shoot me. I thought she was just screwing around at first but eventually I knew that I had to end it. I didn’t want a cocaine-using cop as a life partner, no matter how intense the sex was. I felt trapped. If you ever hear a woman admit that she is too afraid to leave her boyfriend, or husband, believe her. I was terrified about breaking up with my cadet girlfriend. If not for a frightening event that gave me the opportunity to leave her, I believe she would have carried out that threat. She was obsessed with me and addicted to cocaine.

I finally found a way to end it. One night, when I was going down on her, we heard sirens coming closer and closer, until they were outside the hotel. At first, it was a turn on for her, as it made things more realistic. She was enjoying the change of being in the submissive role. I enjoyed it quite a bit certainly more than being handcuffed. As the sirens got louder and louder, she was getting more and more turned on. I was wearing a police uniform she brought from the academy… guns and all.

I never felt comfortable doing it, but I would go along with most anything at that point. I was afraid she would use her connections to screw with me if I tried to end it. Even possibly getting me fired from my bartending job. She was even trying to get me to go to the academy to become a police officer. She said with her connections and my reputation I would get in easily. It was something I was considering seriously at the time. She was a virgin when I met her, despite her fetishes. Because of that I couldn’t have sex with her and then just dump her, so I stayed with her much longer than I would have otherwise, especially because she was a virgin. Well, it was that, but also the threats.

So, we were at the hotel and I was going down on her. I was wearing the cop outfit with the entire package. She was handcuffed and completely high. She was screaming quite loud. Mostly, “no no,” “please stop.” I was supposed to gag her but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. What we didn’t know was that someone in another room heard her screaming and called the police. Before we knew it, there was a knock at the door. They identified themselves as police. There was a female and a male cop. I was freaking out. She went to the door without any clothing on and showed her credentials. They left as soon as she said she was fine and they realized that she and her entire family was “on the job.” For a good ten minutes, I was sure we were going to be arrested for breaking what I thought were so many laws. I had idea which laws, but I was sure we were in deep trouble. I was so naïve that I thought I could be arrested for simply “impersonating and officer” never mind the blow she had.

When they left, she wanted to go back at it, but I was done. I called a taxi when she was sleeping and went back to the bar to get my car. After that, I didn’t return her calls or communicate with her again. It was cruel of me. I know she was heartbroken, but I wanted nothing to do with a blow-using cadet who was forcing me to indulge. Eventually, she stopped showing up at my bar and I stopped hiding from her. In time, she became a police officer. At that point she started coming to the bar with other cops. It was obvious they were the ones now going to the Bethpage Hotel with her. A few times I could swear I saw white powder on their noses. But, that was the eighties for you.

Eventually, I left that job and moved to New York City to pursue my photography career. Jobs were coming to me faster than I could shoot them. I was also going to school locally for both business and engineering, but I decided to take a semester off, to see how far I could take my photography. I never did go back for my degree. It is a decision I now regret. But I had to get as far away from her as possible. She was now a police officer. Who knows whom she was handcuffing?

Years later, I was involved in a massive street brawl with two gang members, on Long Island. I was defending my life against two of them, terrified as they attacked me just before I got into my car. I was tough, but these guys were ten years older and wasted. They were trying to steal my wallet and intimidate me into giving it to them by not allowing me into my car. When I refused, they took an entire pizza and wiped it across the front windshield of my car. Then they came at me. Somehow, I left them both face down and bloody in the puddles that accumulated in the mostly dirt parking lot. Finally, the police arrived. Four officers got out of their cars. The two gang members got up and started screaming, “that guy attacked us both. Arrest him.” I never had to defend myself against two people at the same time, let alone gang members. I simply fought for my life and in the end thought I was going to be arrested. I couldn’t believe what they looked like. They were bloody. I really hurt them, but had no choice.

I didn’t have that killer instinct when I boxed or wrestled, but it was better off getting arrested than being killed. Just when I thought I was going to be arrested, several of the store merchants who saw the event, told the officers that I was attacked. Moments later, a detective showed up. It was that same cadet. She spoke to the officers who then left. She followed me back to my parents’ house with her lights flashing. When I got home, she and another officer told my father that the gang members were going to kill me if they found me. She smiled at me as she was leaving. Clearly she kept any mention of our previous relationship from her partner. Later that night my father went to that bar and beat the shit out of every gang member in the place. He was not a violent man but would never allow anything to happen to me. I will never forget that night, or those nights, I spent with my cadet. She was one adrenaline filled chapter of love.

 

Chapter 14 – Monkey Business

I was in elementary school. After a sixth-grade graduation, I managed to convince the principal to let me have the flower arrangements at each end of the stage. I combined them into one nice bouquet and left them outside the classroom of a, very cute, girl who I was taken with. I included a note. It worked, for soon afterwards we were experimenting in my tent, playing Spin The Bottle, or Truth Or Dare. Each of those games was a popular way to tempt girls into fooling around, while at the same time being somewhat innocent. But, by this time, I was not sure how innocent I was.

I had already gone through communion class. I figured I was going straight to hell for having gone all the way with my babysitter. I believed it. The nuns at church solidified that belief when I hinted I was not a virgin. There was something about going to confession I could not stomach at that age. I was not about to ask for absolution from fucking, when I was ten. It just seemed a bit much. Since I was going to hell anyway, I said screw religion. I do not believe in a God that would condemn me to hell. But, all the same, it was always in the back of my mind. I went through communion, but as soon as it was over I never went back to church again. Well, at times I had to and I always sat in the back and never ever went for confession again. I had not real mentoring when it came to religion as my father rebelled against the catholic church for beating him while he was an alter boy in a Christian boys home.

We would mostly pick Truth Or Dare. We would play with other kids who knew we were fooling around. Word spread like wild fire. Not only were we the first kids in the school to be dating, we were the youngest. None of the sixth graders were dating. Most were feeling the first throngs of sexual awakening, but had no concept of what to do about it. When we started to get nervous about fooling around in my backyard tent, we thought that we could use a secluded area of the park. At first, we were going to use that same tent for privacy, but tents were not allowed. So, we improvised and took our bicycles and a blanket to the park.

I was in elementary school. After a sixth-grade graduation, I managed to convince the principal to let me have the flower arrangements at each end of the stage. I combined them into one nice bouquet and left them outside the classroom of a, very cute, girl who I was taken with. I included a note. It worked, for soon afterwards we were experimenting in my tent, playing Spin The Bottle, or Truth Or Dare. Each of those games was a popular way to tempt girls into fooling around, while at the same time being somewhat innocent. But, by this time, I was not sure how innocent I was.

I had already gone through communion class. I figured I was going straight to hell for having gone all the way with my babysitter. I believed it. The nuns at church solidified that belief when I hinted I was not a virgin. There was something about going to confession I could not stomach at that age. I was not about to ask for absolution from fucking, when I was ten. It just seemed a bit much. Since I was going to hell anyway, I said screw religion. I do not believe in a God that would condemn me to hell. But, all the same, it was always in the back of my mind. I went through communion, but as soon as it was over I never went back to church again. Well, at times I had to and I always sat in the back and never ever went for confession again. I had not real mentoring when it came to religion as my father rebelled against the catholic church for beating him while he was an alter boy in a Christian boys home.

We would mostly pick Truth Or Dare. We would play with other kids who knew we were fooling around. Word spread like wild fire.   Not only were we the first kids in the school to be dating, we were the youngest. None of the sixth graders were dating. Most were feeling the first throngs of sexual awakening, but had no concept of what to do about it. When we started to get nervous about fooling around in my backyard tent, we thought that we could use a secluded area of the park. At first, we were going to use that same tent for privacy, but tents were not allowed. So, we improvised and took our bicycles and a blanket to the park.

Because we were so young, we had to tell our parents exactly where we were going. Beyond that, we were worried that someone would see us under the blanket. We had decided to stop with the oral and hand experimentation and go for it. We searched for a private spot, but there weren’t any. People were playing tennis, basketball, football, running and jogging. It seemed that every single sport in the entire world was going on around us.

I was not particularly nervous about doing it again. In fact, I had a major case of blue balls. They were aching like crazy. In between the babysitter and my new love interest, my doctor told me, that I had to rub one out. Truth was, I was rubbing one out at least once a day anyway. I was using my gym socks as a repository. Unfortunately, I was running out of gym socks. Interestingly, they were never as soft afterwards. No matter how many times they were washed, they would always be crispy in places I came. I thought I had super sperm.

I was determined to start the sex games I played before I moved back to East Meadow, a year earlier. We found a few spots that had vegetation so we could crawl in between the plants. Although we could hear everyone and they could hear us, no one could see us. But time and time again, footballs were tossed close to us and joggers would almost be looking down at us as they ran by. If they were walking, they would have seen everything. So, we packed up our bicycles and went to the lake. The lake had many pine trees and hills. It was infamous as the “make-out lake” by most of my older friends who would talk about such things in front of me.

I decided to tell my friend that we were going to take a bike ride by the lake. He was tagging along waiting for his girlfriend to show up. He knew what we were up to and was acting as our look-out. For him, it was more like a spy game than romance. For us, a look-out as we were afraid of getting caught. So, we took our bicycles and rode to the lake. There were couples on blankets making out behind every bush, so there was nowhere for us to go. Eventually, we found a large group of cypress trees with branches that were low to the ground. We rested our bicycles up against the tree to block the view. But we knew we weren’t hidden enough, so without saying a word we looked at each other with a mischievous smile on both of our faces, and then we both started climbing.

The tree had large branches. They were all parallel to the ground, so it was an easy climb. The branches were almost like stairs to a tree house. As we climbed higher and higher, we realized that the foliage around us was so thick that we were well hidden. I was about half a body length above her. I dropped my shorts to my ankles. Without saying a word, she went down on me. I remember the tree was sticky with sap. Everything was sticking to everything. Her hand could not slide over me because it was so tacky. I think that was the only reason she agreed to use her mouth. Even though we kept half joking about going all the way, we were both very nervous.

Shortly after she finished going down on me, she climbed a bit higher and I started on her. She was either shaving or she was bare down there, so it was clean. I enjoyed it immensely. Then, she hung her pants on a tree branch and lowered herself onto me. We were going all the way. We did this for just a short while. My lookout friend was fixing his bicycle chain under our tree, probably sneaking a peak. As fate would have it, the wind started blowing. This was a scenario too inconceivable for anyone to write into a script. The wind was moving the branches so we could now see the ground. We also realized that anyone on the golf course could also see us. I called down to my friend. When he looked up, the wind blew and there was a perfect opening for him to see me still inside her. He was shocked that we were actually doing it, started laughing uncontrollably and then just took off on his bicycle. We dressed quickly and went after him. Don’t ask me why. It seemed like he was upset and the wind was getting stronger.

When we caught up to him she asked if he was upset that his girlfriend hadn’t shown up and if he wanted to go up the tree with her. I said that I didn’t mind. After we discussed it for a while, we decided against it. For me this was like a sport and had nothing really to do with love. There really was no love involved as I did not know her long enough to love her. Although any time you are intimate with another person, I think it is accompanied by a feeling of love.

She was a virgin and was pretty sore, so we walked our bicycles home. Although she did not bleed during, she did bleed a lot afterwards. I didn’t know to be gentle with her, as I too was so inexperienced. We just wanted to do it. She was a tomboy. We played lots of sports together. She was very taken with the time I gave her flowers. The entire school was gossiping about us. That made her happy. She wanted everyone to know that she was with me. I didn’t want her to tell anyone about our tryst in the tree. I thought we would be marked with a scarlet letter. You just knew that sex at that age was not supposed to be happening. We didn’t care enough to abstain though.

Later that evening she called and said that she was sticky and itching all over her vagina. She thought she caught a venereal disease. The next day the skin on my penis started to bubble up. In places, the skin was peeling off. We thought we were doomed, that the devil had given us venereal disease. I made her swear not to tell her mother or anyone. She agreed. The next day was really tough. I was afraid to even take a bath. The skin was bubbling up all over my body. She was suffering the same fate. We were convinced it was God’s wrath. What else could it be?

Finally, she told her mother. Her mom took her to the hospital. They found she was covered in a poison ivy rash. We both were. I found out that I was also allergic to sap, so I was in much worse shape. Her mother and father were livid. The next time I called she told me I was not allowed to call her anymore. We were not allowed to see each other. I cried privately for at least a week and was singing sad songs. I could not tell anyone my heart was broken for a second time. I thought she was just a friend but I really did get attached to that cute tomboy. I think if not for poison ivy, we would have been together for a very long time. Fate stepped in that same year as we both went off to different junior high schools.

Years later, in high school, she came back into my life again. We talked for the first time in years. There definitely was a connection. But, that connection was based only on our shared intimacy. She chose to be with women for the remainder of her junior high experience. By the time we reunited it was clear that she only wanted women. I was shocked. I never told anyone, as she asked me to keep it a secret. We formed a genuine friendship, but every time I saw her I could not forget making love to her in a tree, in broad daylight. At my sixteenths birthday party, my “lookout” and best friend, who was still a virgin, gave everyone at the party a silk-screened shirt that read “Do it in the TREE’S.” With the cat partially out of the bag, he told the story to all my friends, even my girlfriend at the time, who said she wanted to do it in a tree with me too. . So, we did. Only this time it was a much larger tree with no sap. It had fallen behind the school, next to the Wantagh Parkway. I usually rode the minibikes I built there, but this was considerably more fun.

 

Chapter 13 – Ménage A trios’

The sun had barely risen. It was a golden haze partially hidden by the morning fog. As we walked through the sea grass, the morning dew was cold and wet against our ankles. We were approaching the shoreline. The waves were lightly rolling in. They were large enough to create the beautiful white and blue highlights that compliment my swimsuit and body shots. The seagulls were flying low across the horizon. It was a typical, tranquil, sunrise on Jones Beach. I was quite young and would often shoot at the fields I grew up on, field 3 and 4, sometimes the West End and Robert Moses. She was a native Long Islander. Despite the fact I was now living in New York City, I continued filming on the beaches, as I have most of my life.

I was not making a lot of money as a photographer, but I was making a living and meeting women from all over the world. It was unusual that this model was from Long Island. She was gorgeous, very sculptured and European looking. She was a tall blonde. For a model, she was exceptionally well endowed. When she took off her top, it became evident as to how curvaceous she truly was.. She was a teen model who just turned eighteen. I was only a few years older. I had shot hundreds of models, but I had never photographed anyone with breasts of that size. Most models were considerably less well endowed.

I never understood why models loved to get naked when we shot. Later, I learned that they are just as free spirited as I am. For them, it made the shoot more fun and fulfilling. Despite what people might think, every one of my chapters of love was a beautiful experience, even the ones that began quickly after meeting. I never judged any of the women I was with, at least I tried not to. My father once told me, “For every willing guy there is always a willing girl. What makes you think women are any different than us?” He was right, but I was still very naïve when it came to women, what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it. This was despite my obsessive sexual appetite.

The sun had barely risen. It was a golden haze partially hidden by the morning fog. As we walked through the sea grass, the morning dew was cold and wet against our ankles. We were approaching the shoreline. The waves were lightly rolling in. They were large enough to create the beautiful white and blue highlights that compliment my swimsuit and body shots. The seagulls were flying low across the horizon. It was a typical, tranquil, sunrise on Jones Beach. I was quite young and would often shoot at the fields I grew up on, field 3 and 4, sometimes the West End and Robert Moses. She was a native Long Islander. Despite the fact I was now living in New York City, I continued filming on the beaches, as I have most of my life.

I was not making a lot of money as a photographer, but I was making a living and meeting women from all over the world. It was unusual that this model was from Long Island. She was gorgeous, very sculptured and European looking. She was a tall blonde. For a model, she was exceptionally well endowed. When she took off her top, it became evident as to how curvaceous she truly was.. She was a teen model who just turned eighteen. I was only a few years older. I had shot hundreds of models, but I had never photographed anyone with breasts of that size. Most models were considerably less well endowed.

I never understood why models loved to get naked when we shot. Later, I learned that they are just as free spirited as I am. For them, it made the shoot more fun and fulfilling. Despite what people might think, every one of my chapters of love was a beautiful experience, even the ones that began quickly after meeting. I never judged any of the women I was with, at least I tried not to. My father once told me, “For every willing guy there is always a willing girl. What makes you think women are any different than us?” He was right, but I was still very naïve when it came to women, what they wanted and what they were willing to do to get it. This was despite my obsessive sexual appetite.

As the sun rose higher and higher, we started to get tired. It was about an hour or two after sunrise. We had been shooting for hours. We were near a lifeguard stand. I liked to use them as props and it also allowed me to shoot from the God point of view, almost directly above a subject. As usual, I brought a bottle of champagne. Champagne was a great prop that would never go to waste.

We started drinking directly from the bottle before it was even eight in the morning. We laughed and said it was noon somewhere. Soon those tiny beach flies materialized out of nowhere, millions of them and they were biting us. They have a nasty bite. It was getting worse and worse, so we took a sheet and covered ourselves. After the champagne, she attacked me. I thought she was an innocent young lady. Maybe, she was. She told me she was with her boyfriend for almost seven years and never had an orgasm. And now, she wanted one.

We started going at it and she had plenty of orgasms. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she may have been the most orgasmic partner I have ever been with. After about an hour of non-stop pumping and cuming, I suggested that we take a nap. I was dead tired. She agreed. She lay in my arms and we fell asleep with the sheet still covering us. I woke with my penis inside her mouth. She was trying to get me going again, but I was so tired. After a while I was ready. She rolled on top of me, inserted me inside her and started to grind. We were both sweating and came together. This time she really came. She started to scream. She grinded and milked every ounce of cum out of me she could.

She was dripping sweat onto my chest. It was hot, so she threw the sheet off us to get some air, bugs or no bugs. As she did, we realized that we had fallen asleep for several hours and there were thousands of people around us. Everyone saw the entire event, even the lifeguards who were only a few feet away. They were watching us while we were under the sheets. When she threw the sheet off we were completely naked. We couldn’t believe that we didn’t hear the crowd around us, but we were in our own world. While it excited her, she wanted to leave the beach immediately. She was so embarrassed. We drove to a local bar and had raw oysters and a few beers. The drinking age was eighteen back then and it seemed like the thing to do. Neither of us was of a mindset to continue the shoot, plus the sun was too strong and the angle too high. I figured we would have lunch and shoot at sunset. She had a different plan. Of this, I was unaware.

She dropped her swimsuit bottoms at the bar without me seeing and suggested that we play a game of pool. When the bartender was busy stocking the bar, she bent over the pool table to show me show me what was, or in this case, wasn’t under her short skirt. Before I knew it, we were at it again, this time at the side of a pool table in a bar. It was dark for a bar. There were no windows, just faint light emanating from the entrance and a dirty bulb over the pool table. She started to scream. The bartender came up from the basement to see what was going on. As he got to the top he saw my gestures to get lost. You should have seen the look in his face when he spotted her amazing breasts. He was very cool about the whole thing. He knew me, as I had been to this bar many times before. When we were done, she wanted more but I couldn’t perform. I was raw and tired. Every muscle in my body ached. She had worked me all morning and rode me all afternoon. I was shot. The shy innocent girl who showed up for the shoot was, in reality, a firecracker, maybe much more. When I refused to do it again she took off her shirt and sat at the bar. We were the only two people in the bar except for the bartender. He was loving it. I didn’t really know her, but I was getting jealous. I had already assumed that we were going to become boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least something more than how we started out.

She was trying to coerce me into doing it again. She said she was going to screw the bartender if I didn’t. I refused and shortly afterwards we left, but she was angry. We went to shoot at the relatively new EAB plaza in Uniondale. Fifteen minutes later she was going down on me. When I again refused, she got upset. I asked her how many times did she think I could do it. Her feeling was, she waited years for the right guy. When they did it, it was lousy. I was going to be fortunate enough to get it. But, she was insatiable.

I wanted it as often as possible as well. But, a man can only do so much before he can’t go any more. Her break-up was just a day or two before, so she wanted it again and again. She decided before the shoot that she was going to have me. I didn’t know what to do, so I took her back to my apartment. On the way, I left messages for two of my friends to call me after they got off from work. I invited them over to meet my new friend. It seemed as if they got to my apartment before we even hung up the phone. One of my friends put on a suit and tie. It was hilarious. By this time, I knew she was a nymphomaniac. I was never going to be able to keep up with her so I invited them to help. My message was “I’m with a super-hot model. I can’t handle her. Please take a shower and meet me at my apartment.”

They arrived separately. As each knocked on the door she greeted them nude with a juicy kiss. Five seconds later they were all over her. She refused to do anything unless I was in bed also, so I joined them. One of my friends was going down on her. I thought to myself, if he only knew how many loads I dropped into her. Then one moved up to her breasts and was sort of motor boating with his lips. My other friend went down on her and was sucking on her vagina in the weirdest way. I could barely keep from laughing, even when she went down on me, as I was standing by the side of the bed.

It was just too funny for a young man like myself. They were going to have sex with her at the same time. It was too dirty for me. I had no interest in doing it again, especially not in the presence of two of my friends. I was raw and hurting from all the earlier sex. Even my tongue and mouth were sore, as I went down on her for hours over the course of the morning and afternoon. With that I burst out laughing and left the room. They were both with her all evening. They thought I was the man. Of course, I never had the heart to tell them what had transpired earlier that day. The next day, I bought each of them a bottle of strong mouthwash.

They looked at me strangely. I simply said, “don’t ask, just use it liberally.” I did see her many times over the years but she became markedly more conservative. Even when I saw her at Penn Station once or twice over the years I never said anything about that crazy day at the beach. I could tell she appreciated the confidential way I kept my chapters of love. I was only too happy to see that her modeling career was taking off and she was working consistently. For years I saw my photographs on her comp card. That short chapter of love was very satisfying in many ways, both creatively and passionately. Of course my two high school buddies always thought I was the man because of that one day they hooked up with a beautiful model because of me. It would not be the last time I introduced my friends, even my friends with benefits.

 

Chapter 12 – The Girl In The Red Dress

I’d never been in the lady’s bathroom before. This was no way to get my feet wet, but she was making it impossible to refuse. When we agreed to meet by the bathrooms I had no idea that she was going to drag me into one, lock me inside a stall and rip my clothes off. I was working the bar and I would never just leave it, except to use the rest room. Certainly, not for this purpose. She was hot. She wore a tight red dress that hugged her body perfectly. She had an amazing body. She was all-American looking with brown hair and bright blue eyes. She was not my usual type. I was taken with her. I knew I had to get back to the bar, but with every thrust I also knew that this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. I didn’t want to get caught away from my bar for an extended period of time, certainly not with my pants down, in the lady’s room, I just could not resist.

I’d never been in the lady’s bathroom before. This was no way to get my feet wet, but she was making it impossible to refuse. When we agreed to meet by the bathrooms I had no idea that she was going to drag me into one, lock me inside a stall and rip my clothes off. I was working the bar and I would never just leave it, except to use the rest room. Certainly, not for this purpose. She was hot. She wore a tight red dress that hugged her body perfectly. She had an amazing body. She was all-American looking with brown hair and bright blue eyes. She was not my usual type. I was taken with her. I knew I had to get back to the bar, but with every thrust I also knew that this was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. I didn’t want to get caught away from my bar for an extended period of time, certainly not with my pants down, in the lady’s room, I just could not resist.

She had been coming up to the bar every fifteen minutes asking for water. Each time she gave me a huge tip. No one tipped for water back then, even when it was fancy mineral water. It was about the time in the hospitality business when bottled water became popular for the first time. Clientele pretty much felt obligated to buy it, but they were not going to tip you for it, at least not more than a buck or two. So, when this amazingly beautiful girl, in a red dress, started flipping twenties at me and telling me to keep the change, I knew something was up.

We started kissing. After a few minutes, she dropped her dress off her shoulders. She was completely naked underneath. She was tall and slim with a professional swimsuit or lingerie model’s body. I had never seen her before. I recognized most of the models who came to the Palladium from Elle or Vogue, or from their headshots the agencies sent me. I was shooting every day when I was not bartending, so I knew many of the working New York City models by their images, but not this one.

I could not hear her very well at the bar or outside the bathroom. I just kept following her and willingly following her directions. Originally, I thought she just wanted to get my number so we could shoot, but she never asked me for it. Once we were in front of the lady’s room she started kissing me and dragged me inside. There were a few men in there. As a guy, if you went into the lady’s room you were going for a bump, or you were gay. Straight guys rarely went into the lady’s room back then, so I was a trendsetter. As we entered, she put some lipstick on and then took my hand and dragged me into a stall. No one was paying much attention.

It was tight with the two of us inside, but the bathrooms were new, so they were clean. The lady’s room seemed to be much nicer than the men’s room. I never compared them before. They seemed luxurious. She went inside first, turned towards me, put her arms around my neck and pulled me towards her. She was kissing me quite passionately and I was of course loving every second of it. After only a few minutes, or so, she lifted her arms over her head, folded them together and her shoulder straps fell off both shoulders. She pulled me close to her and pushed her pelvis into mine. I rarely wore underwear behind the bar, so I could feel the curve of her pelvis grind against mine. Almost immediately she was unbuckling my belt and ripping my clothes off.

I lifted her legs, as she supported herself with both arms around my neck and I swung her hips towards me and away. She was a tall woman so it was an awkward position. She was supporting herself by bracing her arms on the walls of the bathroom stall. I thrust as deeply as I could but she was slipping from my grasp. There just wasn’t much room. As she slid out of my arms, I spun her around and re-inserted myself inside of her from behind. She braced herself against the back wall of the stall, but still there was not enough pumping room. Eventually, as I was thrusting fairly hard, her hands slipped down the wall until she grabbed the stainless-steel top to the toilet with her right hand and the flusher with her left. By now she was moaning loudly. Between my ass banging against the bathroom door and her moaning, we were starting to attract attention, although we weren’t aware of it.

It became dead quite in the lady’s room. People knew exactly what we were doing, but we were oblivious. At times, we stopped and listened to see if anyone was saying anything, but we heard nothing. I was nervous that someone would catch us. While it was undeniably exciting, I was nervous and self-conscious. Soon she not only was moaning to the rhythm of my ass banging against the stall door, but she started to orgasm, screaming and flushing the toilet over and over. It was moan moan, flush, scream, moan moan, flush, scream. At this point I was pumping so hard it must have sounded like a bull was trying to break out of the stall. Finally, we came together and we started kissing again. As fast as her red dress came off, she put it back on. Then, she sat down on the toilet and started peeing.

I gave her a wet kiss and told her I would meet her at the bar. I opened the bar stall door slowly. She said she would wait a few minutes before she came out, to be discreet. Nice plan, but as soon as I took a step out of that bathroom stall about a hundred women started to clap, whistle and scream all kinds of things at me. They knew what was happening. I was shocked! I figured maybe one or two girls would hear the noise, but this was insane. We had an audience the entire time. I ran out of there, back to the bar, hoping no one would know it was me. It didn’t take long before I was getting tons of phone numbers slipped to me at the bar.

She waited for me to get off. I frequently used a limo service, so I called one of them and we took a ride uptown to my penthouse. We fooled around in the limo the entire way home. I always kept chilled champagne at the bar, so we were drinking Dom before we even got there. When we arrived, we went right to my second-floor bedroom and I went down on her for the longest time. Eventually after several sweaty orgasms we both fell to sleep.

The sun would always stream through the French doors to my bedroom. At sunrise, she was in a deep sleep, but I wanted more. We drank a lot of champagne, so she was probably hung-over. She must have thought we were going to sleep-in, but I had a shoot at the beach with other models that morning. Despite how great the night was, I knew the models would be terribly disappointed if I didn’t keep the booking. I figured that I would wake her up with a “bang”. Then, I would make a graceful exit. I had a great time, but I figured any woman who bangs a guy she doesn’t know and goes home with him, was probably not the kind of woman I wanted to bring home to meet my family. I often laugh at myself because of that now.

So, I started to position myself closer to her and used my fingers to lightly tickle the inside of her thighs until the moaning started again. I slid down and started to use my tongue until she was humping the bed slightly and rolling her hips higher and higher, arching her back to provide me with more access. Once her hips were high enough and she was dripping wet, I kneeled behind her and inserted myself inside her slowly. She was very wet, so before long we were going at it with a much greater degree of thrust and momentum. I remembered from the bathroom stall that she liked it that way. She was using her arms to support herself doggy style as she pushed back into me with every stroke. Even though she started to participate more in the thrusting, something told me that she was new to intimacy. That made it even more of a turn on.

I came so many times I did not think I could cum again. I wanted to give her a parting favor so she would come back. I slid one leg off the bed and then managed to pull her towards me as I put both my feet onto the floor. She was moaning louder and louder. As I was cuming, she started to cum with me. Her entire body started to quiver uncontrollably. As she quivered and moaned louder, her vagina started to tighten around me. It was much tighter than I had ever experienced. She became, what seemed to be, twice as tight. I thought she was orgasming particularly hard, I know I was.

I was in pure ecstasy. Not only from the amazing physical feeling but also from hearing and feeling her intense orgasm. It was one hell of an orgasm. It lasted so much longer than usual. Soon, she turned to me and the quivering started to intensify, so much so, that she started to scream as she came. In the midst of her climax I looked up at her and saw the whites of her eyes. Her entire body tightened. Her hands were ripping the blanket off the bed and she started quivering violently. She looked possessed. It was scary, so scary that I wanted out. But, there was no way I was getting out unless she let me out; and she was not letting go. Finally, she passed out. I thought I had “fucked her to death” and was terrified! I thought she might have taken drugs. I was I shocked at what was happening.

When the quivering stopped, she was out cold. I could not wake her! I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t detect a pulse or a heartbeat. My heart was beating so hard I thought I was going to pass out. Did I kill her? Was she really dead? I ran for the phone and called the emergency room at the hospital, which was only blocks away. She was only out for minutes but it felt as if time stood still. I finally got a doctor on the phone. He calmed me down and told me that she probably had a seizure. He said that most of the time they were not dangerous. He instructed me to make sure she didn’t swallow her tongue, bite it off, or damage her eyes. I held her hands away from her eyes and put a washcloth inside of her mouth to keep her teeth from touching her tongue. It seemed the worst was over, but she was still unconscious.

The doctor said to wait ten minutes and If she didn’t wake up to call 911. He told me to get her ID and to try to call someone who knew her. He also wanted me to try to find out what medications she was taking. She didn’t have medication in her purse, but she did have a learners permit. To my amazement, she was only seventeen. I was terrified. I had no idea how she could get into the Palladium without proper ID was beyond me. They were extremely diligent about ID. No one could get in without a legitimate age verification and I worked the door so I saw how strict they were. I was only a few years older, but never would think of being with someone under eighteen. I never even met anyone under eighteen at the bar. Finally, she woke up. The first thing she said was, “what are you doing in my pocket book?” My response was, how old are you? She didn’t remember we were together. In fact, she didn’t even know who I was or what happened. At that point I was like, holy shit, did she take drugs last night? I started to ask her questions. The doctor said when she woke up she might need some time to understand what happened to her. Meanwhile she was dripping with my cum. She started to become more coherent and told she was seventeen. She was afraid I would not have slept with her if she told me her real age. She was going to be eighteen shortly, but still.

About thirty minutes later she started to remember the events of the previous evening. She would ask, “did we have sex in the bathroom last night? Did we take a limo back here? Is your name John?” Everything was coming back to her. She told me she could not call her family as she told them she was sleeping at her girlfriend’s house. Her father was old school. He ran a sanitation company and would kill me if he found out. Not only was she on the border of illegal, she was the daughter of a mobster. I was now even more nervous. Not for her, but for me! I knew I couldn’t ask her to leave, or take the chance she would have an unattended seizure, so I came to the conclusion that I would have to find a way to get her home. I was completely overreacting, but I didn’t know what to do. She was so unsteady. She wanted to go home, so I put her in a limo.

I never did go out with the girl in the red dress again. She did call to thank me for the evening. She wanted to date, but I told her she had to wait until she was eighteen. She was embarrassed that she had an epileptic seizure during our relations. I told her not to sweat it. Still, she felt I was blowing her off because of it. I did not want her to feel any less a woman, so despite my fear of becoming fish food, courtesy of her father, I continued to speak to her until she finally stopped calling. The moral to this chapter is, the next time you are taking a woman from the reverse side and she starts to get tighter and tighter, tap her on the shoulder and check her eyes. While that chapter only lasted twenty-four hours, it was one of my most memorable and certainly one of the kinkiest. I did shoot the following day with another model and we did go at it all day. But, that is another chapter. It really did take me so long to really understand the meaning of true love, live and learn.

 

Chapter 10 – My Dockgirl

I did not know her. I knew nothing about her. I don’t believe I ever spoke to her. But, when I saw her, I felt I knew her my entire life. She felt familiar and connected and I recognized the feelings. This was a connection I have made many times, so it was not out of the norm. It was not just infatuation but as clear a feeling of love as I have ever felt. This was not just passion; it was a distinct feeling of love. I felt it instantaneously and I do not understand why. Not only did I feel it, but I could tell instantly she felt it as well. She was staring into my eyes. She did not blink or move, or say anything, for at least five seconds, which seemed much longer. We were standing in the middle of the dance floor. She was not staring into my eyes for any reason other than that she too was mesmerized. It was unexplainable, but it was real. Like so many times before, I was feeling love for a woman I knew nothing about. I was not manic, or drunk. I was simply drunk with love.

I did not know her. I knew nothing about her. I don’t believe I ever spoke to her. But, when I saw her, I felt I knew her my entire life. She felt familiar and connected and I recognized the feelings. This was a connection I have made many times, so it was not out of the norm. It was not just infatuation but as clear a feeling of love as I have ever felt. This was not just passion; it was a distinct feeling of love. I felt it instantaneously and I do not understand why. Not only did I feel it, but I could tell instantly she felt it as well. She was staring into my eyes. She did not blink or move, or say anything, for at least five seconds, which seemed much longer. We were standing in the middle of the dance floor. She was not staring into my eyes for any reason other than that she too was mesmerized. It was unexplainable, but it was real. Like so many times before, I was feeling love for a woman I knew nothing about. I was not manic, or drunk. I was simply drunk with love.

It did not take long for her to agree to meet privately, despite the fact she was as terrified as was I. I couldn’t just let it go without exploring why I was so smitten. It had been a very long time since I felt that way. The instant rapport. That instant connection. That invisible link between our hearts was real and I needed to know if it would last. We met again and all doubt faded. I knew it was real. She felt it too, but within seconds, we knew something was different.

We were indulging ourselves in the moment.as we didn’t know how long it would last. We both needed that moment as we had been searching far too long to find it, despite our mutual fear of it. As I waited for her to arrive my thoughts were of love and destiny. What if my romantic destiny is not with one person? What if my it was always meant to have many chapters of love? What if my quest for my soul mate was in vain? Maybe my destiny was already written? Are our chapters of love predetermined? So many questions entered my mind and heart. Yet, it was far from the first time. The feeling was strong. She was texting me, “I’m here.”

When she arrived, I was nervous. I had a glass or two of wine and even took a light tranquilizer, as my blood pressure was spiking. That happens to me when I’m turned-on. Just thinking about her was getting me going. She is that kind of woman. As she arrived it started pouring, not just raining, but an absolute thunder storm.. It was obvious that our plan to go out on the water was not going to happen. For a moment, I thought that she was going to leave, as after I received her text she disappeared for a brief bit. Then, I saw her waving in the distance. She was soaked. She came down the dock to my boat. I left the cabin to see if she needed any help and to greet her. I figured if she was going to get soaked it was only right if I did the same. I am sort of a throwback to the old-fashioned chivalrous gentleman of a different era. As I greeted her, the rain started to slacken, but we were already drenched. We went back to my boat. In less than sixty seconds the wet clothes were coming off. She was wearing a bikini beneath her clothing. We sat in the cabin in our bathing suits and not much more than a front zippered Ralph Lauren sweatshirt for the two of us.

I poured us each a glass of wine. She looked directly into my eyes, just like she did the first time on the dance floor. The butterflies came back almost instantly. This was not a fluke. The feelings were genuine. We had lunch on the boat. Before I knew it, the sweatshirt was off and we were uncorking the second bottle of wine. We were engaged in conversation about love and relationships. We were both trying to understand how or if we knew each other, or for that matter why we felt this connection. I began to feel confident that something was going to happen right then, on my sailboat.

I began sailing before my son was born and made a lifestyle out of it. Being on the water, even dockside, is romantic. Although I did not know her more than an hour we were passionately kissing. The kissing turned into heated passion. Our hot and wet bodies were soon intertwined. The scent of her body and the taste of her salty skin pushed me to erotic limits. I could not only feel her hot body pressed to mine, but smell and taste her.

The rain was back with a vengeance. It was loud and it was dark. Candles provided most of the light as well as a sensual ambiance. We were creating so much heat and sweat from our passion, the boat started to get steamy and the porthole windows were dripping with condensation. We stopped ourselves many times, yet our clothes peeled off without even thinking about it. I had to control my urges as every few minutes we would pull back from each other and say, “What are we doing? We don’t even know each other. Yet, before we could get through a glass of wine, we were back in each other’s arms, going at it again and again and again.

I took another tranquilizer, as I was too worked up. I had promised myself I would not have another chapter of love unless it was with my true soul mate. I was breaking my vow, but the chemistry was just too strong. Even the tranquilizer did not work. For hours, we just went through a routine of giving in to the passion and then withdrawing before any real insertion took place. We both wanted it. The attraction was powerful. We were like two magnets that could not keep from getting caught in the power of the other. It was stronger the closer we got. So, we just kept giving in to desire, stopping ourselves, and then going at it uncontrollably. I was going down on her time and time again and she was panting and pushing me away and then pulling me into her.

I know it does not make any sense, unless you agree that love at first sight, is real. I couldn’t believe we were both struck at the same time. Most people would have given themselves completely to the moment. I had done so many times before. I did not want this to be another one night stand or hook-up. Despite our mutual agreement that we should not be engaging in such activities, it was exactly what happened.

Finally, we decided to stop the insanity. As we walked to our cars we both came to the realization that we had spent hours alone just kissing and caressing and melting into each other,, although we did not even know each other. We agreed that we did not want a hook-up, even though we just had one. We both had unfinished relationships still in progress. Our encounter was neither planned nor proper. Our passion pushed us beyond our control or better judgment. Neither of us wanted it to happen.

We agreed to not to see each other any time soon. We were both terrified of the connection. We knew nothing about each other, other than the fire we shared. I often wonder if that fire could have turned into lasting love. But, I had convinced myself not to attempt to build a relationship out of yet another obsessive connection. My heart beats wildly every time I think of that day and the passion we shared. It was healing and powerful and the connection was strong. Although I decided not to pursue the connection, I can’t help but feel that those few hours were not based on pure lust, but on feelings of love for someone I did not know.

This was not the first time I was overcome with such feelings. In fact, it has happened hundreds of times… even more. But, it was one of the first times in my life I stopped myself. She also had will power. With the help of a tranquilizer we partially controlled it. Well, at least we tried. I don’t know what will happen the next time I see her. I don’t even know if I want anything to happen. But all the same, when you share such a connection and the passion that accompanies it, you are connected for life. As science and experience has proven, there is no way to disconnect from one’s kinesthetic memories of love. I know the next time I see her those sparks will be there. I don’t know if I will be able to resist. But, I will try.

 

Chapter 8 – My Playboy Bunny Muse

If ever I could say I was in an open relationship with a Playboy Bunny-esque woman, she would be the one. It also was the long-term affair that was my midlife crisis romance. She was different than any woman I had ever known. She was carefree, extremely sexual, and had a stripper vibe. As a bonus, she was a tremendous athlete. We fooled around a bit prior, but she seriously entered my life after she suffered an abrupt breakup of a long-term relationship. It was then, she moved in with me.

I was a single father and had two children to consider. It was important to me to make sure it was in the best interests of my children. After all, a woman that hot, who exuded sex out of every pore, was not your typical suburban mom or even girlfriend. Fortunately, she understood and respected the situation, so she had a home. In return, she became the inspiration for my first real professional video and DP work. She brought her Panasonic 720p state of the art HD camera with her. The rest is history. I took to shooting video as if it was photography. In the process of producing videos with her, I learned the art of editing. We produced amazingly sensual beach and love scenes together.

It started when she attended a holiday party in NYC. We were both invited to an after-party and dinner. Later we all went to a nightclub. As is the unfortunate case with many beautiful women, the host was inappropriate to her. She asked me if I would get her home safely. She was drunk and quite vulnerable. I walked her to her door and we shook hands. She promised to call me about a shoot date. I felt good that I got her home safely and that she seemed to be interested in more than photographs. I was inspired to say the least..

If ever I could say I was in an open relationship with a Playboy Bunny-esque woman, she would be the one. It also was the long-term affair that was my midlife crisis romance. She was different than any woman I had ever known. She was carefree, extremely sexual, and had a stripper vibe. As a bonus, she was a tremendous athlete. We fooled around a bit prior, but she seriously entered my life after she suffered an abrupt breakup of a long-term relationship. It was then, she moved in with me.

I was a single father and had two children to consider. It was important to me to make sure it was in the best interests of my children. After all, a woman that hot, who exuded sex out of every pore, was not your typical suburban mom or even girlfriend. Fortunately, she understood and respected the situation, so she had a home. In return, she became the inspiration for my first real professional video and DP work. She brought her Panasonic 720p state of the art HD camera with her. The rest is history. I took to shooting video as if it was photography. In the process of producing videos with her, I learned the art of editing. We produced amazingly sensual beach and love scenes together.

It started when she attended a holiday party in NYC. We were both invited to an after-party and dinner. Later we all went to a nightclub. As is the unfortunate case with many beautiful women, the host was inappropriate to her. She asked me if I would get her home safely. She was drunk and quite vulnerable. I walked her to her door and we shook hands. She promised to call me about a shoot date. I felt good that I got her home safely and that she seemed to be interested in more than photographs. I was inspired to say the least..

Our first shoot occurred just a few days later. The mutual attraction was strong…and obvious. We shot until the very early morning hours. It started in my studio, which was a renovated garage. Before long, we were shooting in my bedroom and her clothing came off. She was the aggressive one. I just went with it. For over a year she was my inspiration and motivation to become a DP and editor. We wrote a script and sourced locations. She was sure she had funding for our film through her extremely wealthy grandmother. It would have been my second feature film.

She had just gotten implants. They looked and felt anything but artificial and the result was jaw dropping. She desired to seduce the world, sharing her enhanced features via a love scene so sensual, it would melt the hearts of most men (even many women). As an aside, her breasts truly enhanced the curves of her smoking hot Brazilian body. She treated them as if they were assets. In fact, she treated her entire body as if it was a bought and paid for asset. This was something I had never experienced before.

She was addicted to our photo sessions. Anyone with an eye for art would have to know we had chemistry. As for the love scenes, no one knew about them until long after we shot them. The unfortunate truth is that while we saw them as erotic love scenes, others saw them as soft porn. It became embarrassing when we showed them to anyone. All the same, she was the woman who inspired me to become a DP and who also chose me as her co-star. That too was a new experience.

It was not my idea to do shoot love scenes with her. It was hers. In fact, she insisted. It did not start that way. She began interviewing and casting for actors. Interviewing for her meant sleeping with many of them. This was the true casting couch interview in reverse.   It seemed that she was using the casting call to get laid by handsome models and actors. Somewhat ironically, she learned that for some reason, most of the men who applied were gay. Few had any real interest in her and most were awful actors.

So, after yet another casting call at which I shot three test love scenes, she finally said, “fuck it, you’re doing it.” I was shocked! She was sick of waiting. This had been going on for months. She was starting to feel as if no one wanted her and that she wasn’t attractive. The truth was they were just bad actors who were not comfortable shooting love scenes in my living room. For that matter, neither was I.

In retrospect, it was more soft porn than love scenes. What made them love scenes to us was simple and undeniable. We were falling in love. She was just coming out of an eight-year relationship that ended when she was caught cheating with me. I didn’t know she had a boyfriend, so I was a part of the breakup without even knowing it. But it was why I believed I was obligated to give her a home. She was tired of being mentally and even physically abused. She put up with it for years because of his money. I knew that she craved wealth. Everything else, aside from sex, came in second.

She was not particularly interested in me long term as much as she was obsessed with becoming famous and putting her new and improved perfect breasts and body to good use. Her dream of riches by marriage to her hedge fund billionaire was over. Her new dream was to make her fortune as a movie star. To her, it was ironic that this would in part be a result of the physical enhancements he paid for. She was determined and she was smart. She believed that becoming famous was well within her grasp. From my perspective, I was now living with a sexpot, intent on making a feature film with me as her love interest. By default, I became the producer. Her role would be both executive producer and the star of the film.

At the time, I was not in a good place health-wise I had several new stents, so the blood was flowing like I was seventeen again. At least for a few months. And then they failed. We were shooting almost every day. She believed the film we were creating was beautiful. The process however was anything but. It went like this. She would come home from a party or a wild night with her friends quite drunk. She would insist that I turn on the spot lights, open the set, and film ourselves screwing around.

Often she would tag along to events I was photographing to network with just about anyone. She was not shy about using her assets to make a deal. I never knew anyone so carefree and willing to literally embrace most anyone with power or connections.

We would often shoot at night, utilizing only candlelight to create a truly mysterious effect. We would also shoot at sunrise, which was the prime part of the day to accentuate her body and many nude shots. We would go to Target Rock, Fire Island, the Hamptons, Robert Moses, Jones Beach, Centerport Bay, Huntington Bay and the Northport Docks. Mostly, we were filming in or around water as the film we were developing was about a girl who worked at a marina with her father and sister.

As such, she was wet a lot. We often timed the shoots to film at the break of dawn. In the middle of the day, when the sun was too high in the sky, we would stop shooting. It was then I got my editing and proofing done for my paying clients. When the bills were paid, I would come back to her project. She became very frustrated in between shoots. Her M.O. was to bribe me with sex to get me to go back on the project. So, I would work seven days a week, twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes a day with the other fifteen minutes reserved for what she would call “mercy fucks.” Yes, I would get up to three mercy fucks a day when we shot. It seemed she wanted Tarzan as opposed to me, an older man. This was despite our intense relationship and our creative collaboration. She was out of my league. Or, so I thought.

Because she would offer a mercy fuck very casually, almost humorously, as if it were simply a back rub, I was never sure if she truly wanted it. After all, three times a day, on top of the sex during filming seemed like a lot. Maybe she was rehearsing for her role, or simply staying in character. She said she was a method actress. When we were filming a love scene she would get horny on demand. I would say, “are you ready?” She was always ready. It was like Christmas morning the moment she found out we would be shooting and she took it seriously. The characters we were depicting made the roles extremely physically demanding. Due to the number of times we would have to shoot a scene, it could be quite an athletic effort. We treated the film as an athletic competition. She could get me going with minimal effort. In return I gave her five-minutes warnings for my mercy fucks. In most cases, she was ready long before the words ever left my mouth. She would spread her legs on demand. Never in my life had I experienced this. But, she was by no means exclusive to me.

Paying clients, even those with small budgets always took priority over our project. We needed the cash flow. We had to eat and the expenses were high and of course I spent most everything I earned on my children. She was a calculated investment with benefits.

Technically, the digital cameras I used were challenging to shoot with. The goal was to achieve the look of film. Often I would use expensive adapters that would simulate a film grain and the shallower depth of field one gets with film cameras. The resulting video looked more like film than video. It was particularly challenging, as you could not crop video the way you could stills. There were many artistic and technical considerations. Digital video, which made this possible, was new. As such, the lenses were extremely expensive that were available to create the shallow depth of field effect, which is the benchmark for most experienced cinematographers. We would set-up cameras twenty feet away and shoot by candlelight. I would focus the camera on her assets. When she was orgasmic and lost in the moment I would use the remote to zoom in and pan. It was all about her anyway. I was just a prop. But it was the best prop-job I ever had. Being her prop had its advantages. She was so obsessed with making the film that she wanted to shoot every day, sometimes for hours on end.

When people suggesting the shots looked too much like porn, we went back to the drawing board. I was not an experienced director at the time, but I learned quickly. We reworked the script. She began to read lines with other actresses. Painfully, it became more and more obvious. She was awful. She was so bad that eventually we realized that we would never get funding for the film. Her grandmother who promised to assist her bailed when she quit college only months before graduating, I thought that was an insane decision and did everything I could to inspire her to finish, but it was too late. She was depressed but wanted to keep shooting, I did not. I didn’t have the time. I had children to take care of and bills to pay. I was having a hard time catching up, after years of bad health and stents failing one after the other.

That was my other concern. For a while I was in better health. When winter came, it was obvious the stents were failing again. The constant stress on my heart was not the best idea. I was taking two nitro pills before we would film. Even later, when we knew she could not act, she still wanted to practice. She would often say to me “hey do you want to pick out the best shots from yesterday’s shoot?” I would tell her that I didn’t have the time and that she could do so solo. Her response was to sit on my lap and offer a quickie. Mostly it worked, as Jessica Alba or even Marylyn Monroe would have been in awe of her body.

At one point, I got her a job as cover model for a calendar. Even with my obsessive sexual desire, I was already becoming tired of her, even more so as the sex became a significant risk to my health. I couldn’t handle her insatiable desire and the frequency of how often she wanted to do it. She was getting angry, even obsessive, like a true nymphomaniac. Finally, I suggested she go to parties to try to find funding. I told her that I could not produce her film without a budget and that I could not spend as much time in the bedroom anymore either. Initially she told me she had the funding. She didn’t and I couldn’t help her get it. I had to do paying work no matter what she used to bribe me.

She started to sleep with many of my friends. I was relieved that I did not have to service her anymore. Not only was it putting too much pressure on my heart, it was killing my back. Eventually I had to undergo lower back surgery because of that affair. Before the surgery I accepted a photo assignment at Hedonism III. It was an erotic adventure. I was photographing a dozen or so models on the beach, many of them nude. Hedonism was a sexual playground for adults. The management paid for the models, the agents and myself to shoot a calendar for marketing purposes. They considered it good practice to stage voyeuristic events featuring nude photo shoots.

I flew down first. We filmed all week. She came down the second week, which was supposed to be more recreational. We were going to swim with dolphins, climb waterfalls and go to private clubs and beaches. She was hammered within an hour, the first day she got there. She dragged me back to our room to put some makeup on. Of course, that turned into twenty minutes on the bathroom sink. It was her idea of a grand welcome to a tropical paradise. When we began shooting again it was a disaster. She had never seen me photograph other models before. She was so jealous she started bringing female models back to the hotel room to have sex, right in front of me. She needed to be the center of attention. She tried to insert herself into every shot, with every model.

Before we left, her jealousy reached new heights. She was also doing drugs. I knew we would not be together much longer. I had pretty much told her when we got back that she would need to find another place to live. It crushed her. She never understood the connection between sex and love. Maybe it could be attributed to the time, as a young girl, she was abused in a shopping mall. She was literally kidnapped. Her family told her never to tell anyone what happened. She revealed that to me shortly after I asked her to find a new living arrangement.

In a way, she was reliving the incident time and time again. At times, she would insist on being submissive and would cry during rough sex. If I would stop and ask her if she was all right, she would get angry and say “don’t stop and don’t step out of character.” All of this was being filmed. She even wanted to have others film us. We did that one time. It was one of the most awkward moments of my life. Looking back, I think the only reason I allowed it was that I was supposed to die anyway, so who cared. Originally the concept was that no one would ever know who the man was. I certainly was never going to let anyone know it was me. In theory that worked, no one would ever know who the man was in the videos, but once we previewed the footage on higher quality computer screens, we realized that the obscurity of darkness and shadows could not hide my identity once the brightness was turned up.

While at Hedonism we knew our creative collaboration was coming to an end. At one point a friend asked me if she liked to cry when we did it. I knew then he had been with her. That was it for me. So, Hedonism would be our last adventure. While we were filming with dolphins, the dolphin handler came over to us and asked if she was pregnant. She said yes. I was shocked. What a way to find out the girl you were living with for almost a year and who was leaving shortly, was pregnant. I could not let her go with the possibility that my child could be inside of her.

But was it my child? When I asked her, she said she didn’t know. She thought she was having a miscarriage when she got on the plane. I believe she took a day after pill. The dolphins knew she was pregnant because of their sonar and were reacting strangely to her. The dolphin handler said it would be difficult to get the shot of her getting thrust into the air by them. They did not want to hurt what was inside of her. I was amazed at the pregnancy, the miscarriage and the dolphins. Truly I was filled with every emotion you could think of. That evening she spent the entire night in the bathtub. Whatever was happening must have been completed that evening. She was sad and then manic. She rested for a day and I did not see her for much for the rest of the trip. She totally lost it and began doing things I wanted no part of. When we returned, she did not leave and I never asked her to leave again. One evening she was on something and was totally irrational. She wanted to film with my children there. I, of course, refused. That was it. She left the next day.

A few years later, a family member of hers told me that after a long love affair with a much older man, she disappeared in Europe with him. They had not heard from her again. I was told that it was the family’s preference that she marry me. She told them she wanted to but it was news to me. I do not know if they ever will hear from her again. But, something tells me that she is still partying and putting her incredible body to good use. In the last email I received from her, she thanked me and told me that she was working for a charity and had raised millions for them. She went on to say that she was completely sober and in love. She thanked me for being kind to her and giving her a home and a real opportunity, and apologized for how our chapter of love ended. I hope that is the way I can remember her always. I loved my mid-life crisis girlfriend and creative collaborator. I kept the love scene we created together, but deleted all the original footage out of respect for her privacy. I wish her well in her new life, wherever that may be.

 

Chapter 7 – Runway Modeling

When I walked the runway for Macy’s in Roosevelt field, I thought I was acting quite professional and looking supremely confident, but it scared the shit out of me. At this point in my life I was no performer. I was still growing up and becoming comfortable in my own skin. Being the subject of cameras or on a runway, in front of so many people, frightened me. But, modeling was proving to be a great way to meet gorgeous women and to score great clothing for free. I was building my wardrobe and getting paid! I couldn’t believe people were willing to pay me to stand in front of their cameras.

But walking down a runway in front of hundreds of women was embarrassing, especially because I had a hard-on the entire time. And it showed. I did not model for long because I was shy and I preferred photography to modeling. But for a moment, I was modeling professionally. At first, it was kind of an ego thing. It felt good that professionals wanted to photograph me and pay me for it. As happens with most who model, it gave me a confidence boost and of course it was profitable.

I had a pup tent in my pants every time I went behind the runway to change. Backstage there were always ten naked, beautiful older, well-developed models. They were exceptionally beautiful women. Two of them were assigned to undress me and re-dress me super-fast. So fast, that they did not have time to get dressed in between walks. So, they were nude. They were models. They were beautiful. And there I was, naked, in a small tent like changing area with them. To top it off, I was the only guy in the fashion show. The music started and every time one of the females was walking the runway, two of the models were ripping my clothing off and quickly getting me into a new outfit. They did not want me to wear underwear. Looking back, I believe they knew what they were doing. The pants were designed to show the male anatomy quite effectively.

When I walked the runway for Macy’s in Roosevelt field, I thought I was acting quite professional and looking supremely confident, but it scared the shit out of me. At this point in my life I was no performer. I was still growing up and becoming comfortable in my own skin. Being the subject of cameras or on a runway, in front of so many people, frightened me. But, modeling was proving to be a great way to meet gorgeous women and to score great clothing for free. I was building my wardrobe and getting paid! I couldn’t believe people were willing to pay me to stand in front of their cameras.

But walking down a runway in front of hundreds of women was embarrassing, especially because I had a hard-on the entire time. And it showed. I did not model for long because I was shy and I preferred photography to modeling. But for a moment, I was modeling professionally. At first, it was kind of an ego thing. It felt good that professionals wanted to photograph me and pay me for it. As happens with most who model, it gave me a confidence boost and of course it was profitable.

I had a pup tent in my pants every time I went behind the runway to change. Backstage there were always ten naked, beautiful older, well-developed models. They were exceptionally beautiful women. Two of them were assigned to undress me and re-dress me super-fast. So fast, that they did not have time to get dressed in between walks. So, they were nude. They were models. They were beautiful. And there I was, naked, in a small tent like changing area with them. To top it off, I was the only guy in the fashion show. The music started and every time one of the females was walking the runway, two of the models were ripping my clothing off and quickly getting me into a new outfit. They did not want me to wear underwear. Looking back, I believe they knew what they were doing. The pants were designed to show the male anatomy quite effectively.

They would quickly restyle or change my hair, tuck my shirt in, never thinking twice about what else they were tucking in. Most of the time they were doing so with little or no clothing on. So, when it was my turn to go back out onto the runway, I was erect and there was not a woman in the audience who didn’t notice. There was no fucking way I could turn it off or tone it down. This went on for about thirty minutes when I was on the runway, but it seemed like hours to me. I pulled it off because I did not have time to think about it. If I knew what was coming, I would never have done it. I only did runway work one other time in my life. Before the fashion show every model was drinking. Afterwards as well. It was very free spirited for such a corporate event. Later I realized that most of the runway modeling gigs, no matter how large or corporate, were always the same. I would go so far as to say that the few models that were helping me dress were intentionally fondling my package, not because they wanted the pup tent for the fashion statement, but because they wanted me.

After the fashion show I wanted to bolt. I was so embarrassed. I did not want to see any of the females who were in the audience. As I learned from the models, no one pays attention to such things. Half the models had their breasts showing through the outfits. That was considerably more suggestive than a pup tent. Given my age and my rather shy ways back then, it was all too unbelievable. As the show ended the models quickly dressed and prepared to leave. I had no idea that one of the models who was dressing me had other plans for me. I was quite happy she did. We went back to her apartment, which was nearby, in Garden City. Before we even had our coats off we were going at it. She was about ten years older than I was, tall and slim the way most runway models are built. There was not much more about it I remember, other than the fact that she was not from the US and was one of the first older women I was ever with. Frankly, it ended almost as soon as it started as I almost came in my pants several times during the runway show itself. The only really unique aspect to the encounter was the mask she wore while we were fooling around. No one really ever did that before other than Halloween.

We kept in contact for a short while but it was obvious that this was just one of those casual hook-ups that happen in the entertainment industry. The age difference made it awkward, other than when we were in bed. This was to be a very short but memorable chapter of love for me as well as a very funny event in my life. But not nearly as funny as the next time I did runway, which was my last. At the time, New York City photographers started booking me more frequently. One of them was publishing a book about lifeguards and Chippendale dancers. He was looking for one more male runway model to walk the runway at Studio 54. It was a world-famous nightclub, even though I did not know it at the time. I was to be paid a grand cash, which was more money for a one-hour gig than I was making in a month. Of course, I accepted. I didn’t even know where it was, or how to get there, so the model from the Macy’s runway show drove me there. She dropped me off backstage where the models were meeting before the show. She parked and went into the audience. It was the last time I ever saw her. I was too embarrassed to call her or even pick-up the phone when she called me. Here’s why.

When I entered Studio 54 via the stage entrance, everything was very dark. We were corralled into a changing room and given tiny speedo like white bikinis. I never wore a speedo or anything like it in my life. My idea of shorts was cut-off jeans that went down to my knees. I was very self-conscious as the bathing suit was small and my package did not fit entirely. I was literally bulging out of the suit. In retrospect, I realized they did it on purpose as that was one of the selling points of Speedo style bathing suits. It was a fashion and sexual statement. I had never seen anyone in a suit like that other than in body building competitions. It was what body builders and professional wrestlers wore not everyday people.

We were brought up to a second-floor stage like platform that surrounded a dance floor we were curtained off from. We lined up around a lifeguard stand and fake beach and were told when the lights came on to start dancing. We were also told, at the end of the show, to follow the guy next to you and jump into the pool. They built a temporary pool on the dance floor. This was a lot more than I bargained for when I took the gig.

The music started and the professional Chippendale dancers started dancing. I felt like a string bean next to them. Not only were they better dancers, but they were much more developed muscularly than I was. I started to dance. The curtains came up, and before I knew it spotlights came on. They were as bright as auto headlights and I couldn’t see a thing. So, I just kept dancing and waiting to follow the guy next to me into the pool. I realized while I was on stage that we were not jumping thirty feet, into a four-foot pool. They set up a slide. But, we were not given proper instructions. It was all happening so fast. The professional dancers/ performers / male models knew what to do. So, as the song was ending, the models began to zip down the slide. Once they were in the pool, it looked like they were hitting beach balls to the crowd. I was trying not to puke from stage fright.

The water was freezing! As nervous as I was, I remember it being shockingly cold. I still couldn’t see a thing, as there was a spotlight on each of us the entire time. It was blinding. When I hit the pool, I was frozen! I quite literally, went into “cold shock” and knew I was going to get the hell out of that pool no matter who was watching, or what future opportunities I might be sabotaging. At the time, I was hoping to get noticed and book bigger gigs.

My eyes adjusted to the light and I started to look for a ladder or some other way to get out of the pool. It was then I was shocked to learn that the entire audience was comprised of gay men! This was Studio 54’s Gay night. I realized I was totally tricked by the photographer. I knew he was gay, as he lived with another man. They would openly kiss. Until them, I didn’t even know a gay person. For a straight guy, from the suburbs, this was humiliating.

I quickly got out of the pool and went backstage to get my pay envelope. The photographer who was the author of the book eventually came backstage with the other models. He and the few male models that knew me were laughing hysterically. I would never have agreed if I knew the audience was comprised entirely of gay men. I got my thousand dollars in cash, left through the back door and totally ditched my model friend out of sheer embarrassment. I never saw her again. That was the absolute end to my modeling career. I was not going to go through that kind of experience again.

How ironic, that years later, the same photographer who tricked me into doing that runway show became my photography mentor. I was working at New York Film Works, the premiere photo-finishing studio in NYC. He requested that I manage his account. My first lighting equipment came from him. Most everything I learned about the technical aspects of photography, I learned from him as well. Ken Haak was the photographer. He has long since passed away. Even back then he was as old as god. Like many photographers, he lives on through his work and the thousands of careers he helped develop.

I am sure the runway model that brought me to Studio 54 got a good laugh that night. I would never see her or anyone else that knew what happened again. I was too uptight about it. Now I look a back on it with great fondness, and think of it as the funniest scene of my life, or at least one of them.

Shortly after the runway show, Gazelle, the manufacturer of the bathing suits booked me and I was photographed and published in GQ Magazine. This was a huge deal for me at the time. There were three of us including the cover model from the Ken Haak’s book “Working Out.” To my disappointment they just used a close-up of our packages in the suits. Our heads were completely cut off. A fitting, and very appropriate end to my modeling career. It was rather uncanny that over thirty years later, I was shooting runway shows for Simon Mall, with some top Macy’s models. Ironically, they had a very similar tent setup. Some things never change.

 

Chapter 6 – Golden Showers

She became a famous actress, but it was long after our chapter of love. Her stardom occurred in her native Israel. When she lived in the America she was a particularly emotional chapter of love for me. She was my first real “international” romance. Reflecting back, I believe the relationship meant more to me than to her, sometimes you never know. We fell in love, even though she was already pre-committed, through family and political arrangements, to marry someone else. It was an old-school, arranged marriage. She kept her commitment. I believe she wanted to stay with me. That would have meant leaving her entire family and everything she knew, for a city she barely knew and for me. It was not a risk she was willing to take. It hurt deeply to lose her.

It was crushing when we split, but I knew it was what she wanted and was obligated to do. Her politically powerful father gained considerable fame by having set himself on fire. He was a formidable man. His political statements were intense and his power base impressive. I could not compete, certainly, not at those levels. Of course, the reality was that it was her choice. For her, New York City was a prolonged bachelorette party prior to the big event.

Ours was a heated sexual relationship. It was smoking hot love and photography. Nothing much else. It was intense and we created beautiful images. She turned her modeling and business trips into quite an adventure. I was a big part of it. She was one of the loves of my life. I cannot even remember how long we were together. It was hot. It was constant. And then, it was over.

She became a famous actress, but it was long after our chapter of love. Her stardom occurred in her native Israel. When she lived in the America she was a particularly emotional chapter of love for me. She was my first real “international” romance. Reflecting back, I believe the relationship meant more to me than to her, sometimes you never know. We fell in love, even though she was already pre-committed, through family and political arrangements, to marry someone else. It was an old-school, arranged marriage. She kept her commitment. I believe she wanted to stay with me. That would have meant leaving her entire family and everything she knew, for a city she barely knew and for me. It was not a risk she was willing to take. It hurt deeply to lose her.

It was crushing when we split, but I knew it was what she wanted and was obligated to do. Her politically powerful father gained considerable fame by having set himself on fire. He was a formidable man. His political statements were intense and his power base impressive. I could not compete, certainly, not at those levels. Of course, the reality was that it was her choice. For her, New York City was a prolonged bachelorette party prior to the big event.

Ours was a heated sexual relationship. It was smoking hot love and photography. Nothing much else. It was intense and we created beautiful images. She turned her modeling and business trips into quite an adventure. I was a big part of it. She was one of the loves of my life. I cannot even remember how long we were together. It was hot. It was constant. And then, it was over.

I have had so many of these short intense chapters of love. I now realize that many women saw me as a sex object. To a degree, I believe she started out using me for sex, but over time fell in love with me. As for being a sex object…it became quite apparent. Models and actresses would come to town for a meeting or for a few days. Inevitably, many of them would find their way to my bar or my photography studio. I was so naïve. I had no idea that they knew each other and told each other about me. Apparently, I was a form of entertainment for many models back then. Later, many of them told me outright that they just wanted to have an affair when they were in New York City. When they met me, no matter what their marital or boyfriend status, they simply went for it.

Often these women would contact me after social networking became widely used. By then, I was older and understood women better. But back then, if you were an artist and bartender you were looked at as a sort of a local personality or entertainer, especially if you were good looking. So, I was just living up to the role and enjoying the lifestyle. All the same, I was looking for my soul mate, while most of these women were looking for a secret NYC one-night-stand. I was young and filled with energy. I was pretty much always ready to go. It was life on constant dosages of passion and endorphins pouring into your system day and night, almost like a drug. I was physically addicted to that passion and the bonding that came with it. I could go and go and go. After all, I was an athlete my entire life. I was in great shape. My body was a well-oiled machine.

I loved her as deeply as I have ever loved. When it ended, it was one of the saddest and most challenging moments in my life. I acted cool and tough, but privately I was listening to Cat Stevens and sinking into a mini depression. But before I mourned the loss of our chapter of love, I first embraced it. I lost myself in the fantasy of photographing and making love to an internationally known super model. When one is young it is easy to become enchanted with someone such as her. She was a cover model and one of a kind. She was very comfortable in bed and very affectionate. She loved the before and the after. She relished the embracing and sweating together while our hearts raced. When they slowed, we would fall asleep to the rhythm of each other’s heartbeats.

I loved photographing her, but even more, I loved sleeping in each other’s arms. I became both accustomed to it and reliant upon it. I felt so loved. It was inconceivable how well she knew me and what I needed. I never had to ask for it. She was as emotionally dependent on my love as I was for hers. The first time we shot together a designer hired me for a Vogue or ELLE shoot. My shots came out great. They were high end photo-journalistic and 80’s model cool. She came out looking both ethnic and European, yet somehow different. Her DNA must date back to Aphrodite. She was a remarkable beauty, somewhat like an 80’s version of Natalie Portman; beauty, talent, and intense sensuality to go with it.

Her agent wanted me to get shots for her portfolio because he knew it would be at least six months before the magazine issues were published. When I arrived at the shoot I could tell right away that she was a higher level of model. She had large, juicy lips, perfect cheekbones and a slim but well-rounded body. That same evening, we drove to a farm in Old Brookville, on Long Island. I shot utilizing the headlights of my car as the only form of lighting. It was the first time I tried that technique. It intrigued her. I drove her back to NYC. She invited me up to her small room in a then, world-famous, commune style actor’s hotel. Once we were in her room she immediately invited me into the shower. We had just met that day, but she was kissing me before we even got to the hotel. I knew she wanted me.

Oddly, she did not have a shower in her room, so we walked down the long narrow hallway with one towel wrapped around the two of us. We entered a small room with a tiny radiator and a shower. The water was cold. She clung to my chest as the water ran down her body and onto mine, slightly warmer as it flowed from her shivering body. Finally, it got a little warmer. Within the first few moments in the shower she began peeing on me. No one had ever done that to me. It was my first golden shower I suppose. It was warm and very kinky. I could see it in her eyes and in her hint of a sneaky smile, that she was getting off on it. She was silently saying that she knew what she was doing was kinky and unconventional, but that it was no accident. She wanted to do it. So, I let her pee on me. She was surprised when afterwards I returned the favor. We both had mischievous smiles on our faces as we embraced under the now warmer water. It was a strange and kinky start to the night. Despite the constant knocking on the door, we stayed in the shower for at least an hour. Many lovemaking firsts occurred that night. Many coming right out of our imaginations. We did everything two people could possibly do with each other and did it over and over, until we finally fell asleep in each other’s arms. We both had shoots the next morning. I left early, but not before she we started where we left off. We continued this for months and months. Not the peeing, but the shooting, sex, showers, and sleeping in each other’s arms.

She left me heartbroken when she told me that she had to go back to her fiancé in Israel. She said, “there’s nothing I can change about my future.” We tried to figure out a way to scrape together enough money for her to stay, but it wasn’t possible. We were young and I had roommates. I didn’t even have a lease in my own name back then. I was subletting, a common practice for many young people. Her politically active father and her modeling and movie career predetermined her destiny. I was not to be part of her future. I was her last affair before she would get married. She was a lot stronger than I was. About a month before she left New York City, she said we had to stop seeing each other, so we did.

Before long I was looking for ways to change her mind. But it was too late. By then someone told her father. He took measures to keep me from seeing her or even knowing her whereabouts. The few times I did manage to see her were brief. I caught glimpses of her being escorted into security driven cars. She would look at me sadly, with longing in her eyes. Often she cried. Eventually, she left New York City for Israel. Despite the distance my heart was with her. But, I would not go to Israel and chase her. She had to follow her path, so I followed mine. After many months of heartache, depression, sadness and literally missing her with every ounce of my heart, I began working at the Palladium. It was during that period I slept with every woman I could, to forget her, but I never will.

Chapter 5- Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

I was promoting a nightclub and bartending in the early eighties. Eventually I found myself bartending at the Palladium, in downtown New York City, the largest and most popular nightclub in the world, at the time. It was an incredible time for music. MTV was all the rage. I was actually featured on the first MTV music awards, drinking champagne and toasting with Mark Goodman. BB King, Robert Palmer, Robin Williams, Andy Warhol and Deborah Harry, were just a few of the celebrities that I hung with at my bar. Hundreds of other celebrities, in the peak of their careers, came to the club and drank with me. In truth, they were not drinking with me, but at my bar in the Michael Todd Room. It was there that I bartended for many celebrity parties. I was in my early twenties and getting bookings that would have me flying around the country. I stayed in places like the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I photographed everyone from Miss Canada to Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Mohammad Ali, Brooke Shields, Patty Duke, Tina Louise, as well as other actors and celebrities I had seen on television most of my life. I was even invited to Tina Louise’s (Ginger on Gilligan’s Island) home for tea and to pray with her minister. That same minister invited me to photograph the King of Tonga and to become his personal photographer, offering me an enormous amount of money. I didn’t, because I was concerned about leaving New York City when my career was exploding. My popularity was growing exponentially and there seemed to be a never-ending source of clients who wanted me.

It was a surreal experience. Not only did I tend bar at the club, but the manager and head of security often had me personally work the VIP list and the ropes at major events like the Directors Guild of America Annual Awards Ceremony. I kept a tux in my locker and I was “that guy.” I had no idea that it was such cool thing. I was just working. Initially I preferred to be inside, at the bar, flipping glasses and meeting beautiful women. After a while, I realized that being, the club gatekeeper and holder of the VIP list made me considerably more desirable. Women thought it was a position of power, but I had no power at all. I simply followed the list, except for that occasional hot model who wanted to slip through.

I was promoting a nightclub and bartending in the early eighties. Eventually I found myself bartending at the Palladium, in downtown New York City, the largest and most popular nightclub in the world, at the time. It was an incredible time for music. MTV was all the rage. I was actually featured on the first MTV music awards, drinking champagne and toasting with Mark Goodman. BB King, Robert Palmer, Robin Williams, Andy Warhol and Deborah Harry, were just a few of the celebrities that I hung with at my bar. Hundreds of other celebrities, in the peak of their careers, came to the club and drank with me. In truth, they were not drinking with me, but at my bar in the Michael Todd Room. It was there that I bartended for many celebrity parties. I was in my early twenties and getting bookings that would have me flying around the country. I stayed in places like the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I photographed everyone from Miss Canada to Andy Warhol, Deborah Harry, Mohammad Ali, Brooke Shields, Patty Duke, Tina Louise, as well as other actors and celebrities I had seen on television most of my life. I was even invited to Tina Louise’s (Ginger on Gilligan’s Island) home for tea and to pray with her minister. That same minister invited me to photograph the King of Tonga and to become his personal photographer, offering me an enormous amount of money. I didn’t, because I was concerned about leaving New York City when my career was exploding. My popularity was growing exponentially and there seemed to be a never-ending source of clients who wanted me.

It was a surreal experience. Not only did I tend bar at the club, but the manager and head of security often had me personally work the VIP list and the ropes at major events like the Directors Guild of America Annual Awards Ceremony. I kept a tux in my locker and I was “that guy.” I had no idea that it was such cool thing. I was just working. Initially I preferred to be inside, at the bar, flipping glasses and meeting beautiful women. After a while, I realized that being, the club gatekeeper and holder of the VIP list made me considerably more desirable. Women thought it was a position of power, but I had no power at all. I simply followed the list, except for that occasional hot model who wanted to slip through.

I was living downtown, on Thompson Street, in a third story walk-up. It was in the heart of the art district where all the movie stars lived back then. There was a definitive artsy and gay tone to the neighborhood and it truly was a neighborhood. It made for easy access to the Palladium, which was located between 13th and 14th street, just a bit uptown. Later, I upgraded to a penthouse duplex when the dollars started rolling in from photography and bartending. All in all, it was a wild New York City lifestyle that lasted for over a year, until I moved back to Long Island. There, I experienced hundreds of chapters of love. Far too many to write about. They were typically short in nature. I simply could not keep it in my pants. I would wake up in the morning and go to the beach with 2-5 international models and shoot their portfolios. By dinnertime I would be at happy hour and then work until four AM. I was going 24/7 for the most part, just occasionally coming up for air. We would always be at the beach before sunrise, as that was the golden hour, so I only had to carry my camera and a reflector. There was no need for bulky lighting setups. At times, I would fool around with one of the models at lunch and then with another while I was bartending, or afterwards.

But there was one girl who captured my heart while I was living in New York City. This was despite the fact that I was completely insensitive to her needs. It was the only time in my life that I was with a girlfriend and still living the playboy lifestyle. I simply could not choose between the two. We were neighbors in the apartment building. Since I was living in a duplex, her second-floor door was right at my first-floor entrance. I thought she used that door because she lived on the second floor. Later, she admitted that the only reason she used it was to intentionally run into me.

She was exceptionally cute and the first Midwest farmer’s daughter I ever met. This is no exaggeration. She truly was a farm girl. For her, the city was a circus and she loved it. She would come out of her door at the same time I did and say sweet things like, “hey neighbor what you cooking?” With that, she invited herself for dinner. We hooked-up every chance we could. I had a balcony facing a huge Upper East Side courtyard, a block or two from Central Park. Her balcony was just underneath mine. I would intentionally go out onto the balcony with my guitar and sing love songs until I got a response from her. I would leave my door open and wait for her to enter.

When she did, I stayed right on the balcony. I wanted her right there. It was an exhibitionist thing. Before you knew it, we were both naked on that balcony. If you had a decent pair of binoculars, or a telescope, you could see everything. We pretty much knew it, but that was what made our relationship so unique. We both loved it. It was kinky and outrageous. We knew others were watching. It was a turn-on and an extreme public display of affection. I never did anything like it prior. I have no idea what motivated me. We said we would never fall in love, that we were just neighbors. But, when your hook-up hundreds of times, sometimes several times a day, you develop feelings for each other. That is when everything went wrong.

After bartending, I was bringing models home in limousines. Sometimes, even two girls at a time. We were making all kinds of noise right above her bedroom. Even though we said it was going to be casual between us, it never truly was. She started to get jealous. When I would sing on the balcony she would say things like “can’t you shut that thing up,” or, “do you have a volume control on that contraption.” She would be steaming and I didn’t understand why she was upset. I thought we were just neighbors who were hooking-up. I was also regularly dating other girls. I was naive enough to think that if I kept the music loud she would have no idea what was going on. We never said anything about being exclusive, but man did she get pissed-off when the music started. I would hear things banging downstairs and all kinds of obscure rantings, but she never said anything to me. Every time I saw her, she was that same cute country girl, “hey neighbor, you have any butter?” which was her way of saying can I come in and can we hook-up. It was always something like that; milk or salt or pepper and it always meant the same thing, great care-free sex. She would refer to me, when her roommates were around, as her sentimental fuck… so why would I have thought anything different?

Of course, over nine months it came to mean more than that. Until I was in the same situation, I had no idea what she was feeling. The first time I heard a man’s voice in her apartment and what sounded like sex, I went into a jealous rage. What made it worse was that I thought I knew who the man was. It sounded like my landlord…our landlord. I was upstairs hooking-up with one of my regular girls from the Palladium and she was hooking-up with our landlord, who was thirty years older?

When I saw her and asked if she had a man over, she denied it completely. She swore I was dreaming or hallucinating. She played it very cool, as if nothing was wrong. Soon I was the one yelling down the balcony, as it became a regular event for them. It got to me. Jealously is a much stronger emotion than love. At one point, my landlord, who I was friendly with, invited me to California to shoot for Vidal Sassoon. I went just to get away from it all. I never had any proof and did not want to approach the subject with him, as I was making a lot of money from him and his associates. Plus, I was not exclusive with her, so what could I really say about it? I was staying at the former Beverly Hills Town Hall, which was a mansion.

There I photographed models from around the world and slept with many of them. I even photographed Sassoon’s daughter and yes, we fooled around at her apartment. I was sort of being set-up with her. Vidal made it known that he approved of me. But, I was surrounded by so many models, who were living at the mansion, that I was hooking up with a different one every day. There were so many that I cannot even remember them all. When I heard my landlord force himself on one of them, I realized the kind of shady individual he was. I left immediately. I began to realize he was sleeping with my neighbor to throw it in my face. He did not know that despite my promiscuity, I loved my neighbor, hook-up, and pseudo-girlfriend. I was just realizing it myself. I had to fly back and see if I could rescue the relationship before he took control of it, or even worse, me.

I flew back to New York. When I got back, my neighbor was in my penthouse. She had packed all my things and put them out the door. She made a deal with my landlord that if she slept with him, she would get my apartment. It was a deal he kept. I was out before sunset and back on Long Island. My heart was broken, but I did not understand why. How could I be hurting so much over this hook-up? We weren’t even exclusive! That Midwest farmer’s daughter played me like a fiddle and taught me a lesson I would never forget. Never play with a woman’s heart. Later, I finally understood that you could not hook-up with another human being, hundreds of times, without it affecting your heart. And, when your neighbor comes looking for butter or milk, know it has nothing to do with baking a cake. She could wind up with your rent controlled apartment, just before it turns into a condo.

 

Chapter 4 – My Virgin Babysitter

Obsession is typically defined by a thought that preoccupies or intrudes into one’s mind to such a degree that he or she is powerless to resist the object of that obsession. It is an all-consuming passion that takes hold of your thoughts until you are totally dominated by your compulsion and persistently overwhelmed by your desire. There is no question in my mind, that without ever realizing it, most of my life was spent powerless to my obsession with romance.

I was so obsessed with romance, that for the better part of my life, I spent most every waking hour searching for it. Typically, I would find women who were also obsessed, but most of the time, with me. I would go so far as to say that most of my relationships were based on obsession… not love. I was powerless. I spent much of my time pursuing that obsession. Photography was a means to feed that desire because I would meet thousands of women from every corner of the world. Typically, I would be alone with those women and we would almost always be shooting in the most intimate of settings. I am not sure what came first, the camera or the obsession, but they fed each other. Not that there is anything wrong with a healthy sexual desire, but I was consumed. Beyond consumed. That is one of the reasons I stopped dating. I wanted to break the addiction. But, as hard as I tried, it did not work. I literally had to take medication to stop myself from obsessing so enthusiastically.

Obsession is typically defined by a thought that preoccupies or intrudes into one’s mind to such a degree that he or she is powerless to resist the object of that obsession. It is an all-consuming passion that takes hold of your thoughts until you are totally dominated by your compulsion and persistently overwhelmed by your desire. There is no question in my mind, that without ever realizing it, most of my life was spent powerless to my obsession with romance.

I was so obsessed with romance, that for the better part of my life, I spent most every waking hour searching for it. Typically, I would find women who were also obsessed, but most of the time, with me. I would go so far as to say that most of my relationships were based on obsession… not love. I was powerless. I spent much of my time pursuing that obsession. Photography was a means to feed that desire because I would meet thousands of women from every corner of the world. Typically, I would be alone with those women and we would almost always be shooting in the most intimate of settings. I am not sure what came first, the camera or the obsession, but they fed each other. Not that there is anything wrong with a healthy sexual desire, but I was consumed. Beyond consumed. That is one of the reasons I stopped dating. I wanted to break the addiction. But, as hard as I tried, it did not work. I literally had to take medication to stop myself from obsessing so enthusiastically.

Most men are driven by their obsession with sex. It has been said, “men are dogs.” I was powerless against that obsession, even when I was in a relationship. My greatest fear was that I would not be able to be faithful, as I had so many opportunities and was powerless to turn them down. I do not know when or why my obsession began, but I started young. When I was ten I shared some intimate moments with a sixteen-year-old, smoking hot, cheerleader. I did not know what the word sex was, but when she took off her bathing suit I reacted physically to her. It did not take long before we were experimenting. She definitely knew what sex was and eagerly shared that knowledge with me.

It was not like those romantic moments you see in movies. It was more like a game in which we laughed and touched each other in ways I had never touched anyone previously. Before very long, I figured out what goes where and we were engaged in full-blown relations. No one had any idea that a sixteen-year-old would experiment with a boy as young as I was. I was so enamored with the experience that I wanted to do it again and again. And yes, everything works, even at that young age.

Relations at such a young age are completely different. It is only later that you begin to understand what sex is and all the emotional baggage that comes with it. At that age, you are innocent and pure. Nothing ever compares to that type of connection afterwards. But from the very moment we started to experiment, until she moved and I never saw her again, we would go at it every time we were alone. Of course, we were secretive about it. The only feeling outside of pure ecstasy we shared, was the fear that someone would catch us.

For some reason, even though we did not know what we were doing, we thought it was wrong. We knew we could not tell anyone or get caught. The world was a lot more conservative back then. All the same, as I look back on my life, I know that my obsession started with that cheerleader and continued for the better part of my life. I would even go as far as to say, that we fell in love. When she moved, I was heartbroken for months, maybe even a year. And, I could tell no one. She simply disappeared. When she did, I had a bad case of “blue balls.” Sorry, but there is no other way to explain it. My father had to take me to the doctor to find out why.

Of course, I never told him that I was engaged in sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old cheerleader. It did not take long for the doctor to see that I was, as he described it, “fully mature at only ten.” He told my father and I that the only way to eliminate the pressure was to masturbate. He suggested to my father that he should to teach me how to do it. It was one of the most awkward moments in my life. Dad bought me some Playboy magazines, but before long I was engaging in relations with girls my own age. I did not know why I was the only one doing it. None of my friends were even talking about it.

As I quickly learned, for every willing guy, there is always a willing girl. And, there were many. I was so obsessed that, later in life, I chose to be celibate. This went on for years. Often I would tell potential girlfriends that it was because of my health that I chose not to engage in sex. The sad truth was, I was trying hard to break a lifelong addiction. It was the only way I could try and beat it. But, I was helpless. I became obsessed that very first time and it continued for the better part of my life.

Of course, I would never share any of the names of those I was engaging in relations with, because I am old school. Even then I would never kiss and tell. I would meet a girl at the public pool, or the park and almost immediately we knew it was going to happen. Maybe the world was different back then, but that obsession and the willingness for girls my age and older to just go for it, dates back as far as I can remember. Back to that cheerleader who was babysitting and decided that I was a safe person to experiment with. I do not think that it was that moment that created the obsession within me. That was just the first time I engaged in sex. The obsession grew stronger every year of my life, as did the choices I made. I became a slave to that obsession, choosing it above most everything else.

I never did see that cheerleader again, nor can I remember her name, but I will never forget the innocent and naive way in which we both learned about life and how natural the affair was. I know most people start their experimentation at a much older age. I consider myself fortunate that we met and the chemistry was so intense that we decided to trust each other. I often wonder if she remembers me, or even thinks of me.

There is no doubt in my mind that she knew what she was doing. For me, it was the beginning of a life-long adventure that became a life-long obsession. I have been celibate for some time now, except for the occasional “oops did that just happen’ moments. To this day I do not even know if I have beaten it. Nor do I want to know anymore. But, this I do know. I will not settle for less than my true soul mate and pray that such a person exists.

 

Chapter 3 – Late Night Facebook Call

One night while working late, I received a video chat request from a beautiful actress I recognized from her television appearances. She was not only a romance novel cover model, but also acted with very famous people, in some major roles. While she was not as famous as those she acted with, she was a very successful actress and model. So, of course I answered the call. When I picked up, she asked me if she had reached a depression outreach service. I said no. She said, I am often up late at night and wanted to volunteer. Within five minutes, I knew that it was not volunteering she was calling for. She was in trouble. Serious trouble. I stayed on the line with her all night to make sure she was ok.

I was still living down south, as I had not yet reached my target weight. I had at least seventeen pounds to go and nothing was going to stop me. I had already gone through massive surgeries and walked thousands of miles to rebuild my circulatory system, but still, I was not myself. That being the case, I was not exactly sleeping around. In fact, I was intentionally avoiding relationships. The last thing I needed was a passion induced heart attack while I was recovering. Also, the surgeries were so challenging and caused such a massive amount of pain that in time I became immune to the effects of pain killers. I suffered greatly. In retrospect, I likely suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was in agony and the recovery period was beyond intense.

I reasoned that if I walked thousands, or even tens of thousands of miles, my arteries would grow stronger and my heart would follow. I was ready to move back to New York and almost ready to test out the ticker the hard way. But, at this point in my life I did not want to engage in casual sex. I decided that the next time I was going to be with a woman, it would be for love, not a hook-up or anything remotely casual.

One night while working late, I received a video chat request from a beautiful actress I recognized from her television appearances. She was not only a romance novel cover model, but also acted with very famous people, in some major roles. While she was not as famous as those she acted with, she was a very successful actress and model. So, of course I answered the call. When I picked up, she asked me if she had reached a depression outreach service. I said no. She said, I am often up late at night and wanted to volunteer. Within five minutes, I knew that it was not volunteering she was calling for. She was in trouble. Serious trouble. I stayed on the line with her all night to make sure she was ok.

I was still living down south, as I had not yet reached my target weight. I had at least seventeen pounds to go and nothing was going to stop me. I had already gone through massive surgeries and walked thousands of miles to rebuild my circulatory system, but still, I was not myself. That being the case, I was not exactly sleeping around. In fact, I was intentionally avoiding relationships. The last thing I needed was a passion induced heart attack while I was recovering. Also, the surgeries were so challenging and caused such a massive amount of pain that in time I became immune to the effects of pain killers. I suffered greatly. In retrospect, I likely suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was in agony and the recovery period was beyond intense.

I reasoned that if I walked thousands, or even tens of thousands of miles, my arteries would grow stronger and my heart would follow. I was ready to move back to New York and almost ready to test out the ticker the hard way. But, at this point in my life I did not want to engage in casual sex. I decided that the next time I was going to be with a woman, it would be for love, not a hook-up or anything remotely casual.

When I made it back to New York for a short assignment, she insisted that we meet. She was beautiful and her portfolio was stunning. Her likeness graced hundreds of romance novel covers. She was beyond successful. That she wanted to meet me was a bit surprising and intriguing. Prior to meeting we maintained contact. Her areas of discussion were surprising. Often, she would express opinions about sexual preferences and topics that were usually reserved for one’s most trusted friends. Clearly not subjects to discuss with an internet friend, or perhaps I should say …. acquaintance.

But as I have learned from so many years of using instant messaging and from movies like “You’ve Got Mail,” you can’t truly get to know someone through pen pal style communications. So, when I arrived in New York, I agreed to meet. Our liaison took place at an Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side, in close proximity to my hotel. I was not making much, if any profit, from the assignment. I accepted it because I needed something new and current for my portfolio and reel.

When I finished filming for the day, I packed my gear and walked to the restaurant. She arrived wearing absolutely no makeup, as would a model at a casting call. But, all the same, she was beautiful; stunningly beautiful. Being the insecure man I am, I had two glasses of wine before she arrived. In keeping with her status, she was fashionably late. We killed the first bottle of wine quickly. Conversation just flowed. We were having fun, taking photographs, eating artichokes and flirting. She was not only beautiful, but also, beyond entertaining.

We had spoken several times about sex and sexual topics prior, but this conversation was more candid by far. I knew she was interested in being with me. I too was interested, but also resolute in my promise to not hook-up and to wait for my soul mate. I was taking photographs of some interesting people walking by. The wine was disappearing at a rather quick rate so I ordered another bottle. And then another. She would pour us both a glass and make a toast. Before I knew it, the wine was gone again. I was getting hammered. I could not keep up with her and I didn’t understand why. After dinner, I was for the first time in decades, kind of wobbly. She suggested that she should walk me back to my hotel. I accepted, as I was quite dizzy. It was a feeling I had never experienced before…at least not to that degree.

The air conditioning in my hotel room was blasting on my feet and I started to feel quite cold. My entire body was freezing. I reached for a blanket and felt a naked body lay on top of me. A woman’s voice whispered in my ear. She was coaching me, urging me to perform. It was almost as if I was dreaming. It was as if I was a character in a romance novel. Time after time I woke to a female voice whispering in my ear… seducing me…urging me on! She was doing just about everything a woman could do to get me excited. It was working, but I had no idea where I was or who I was with. I was completely out of it. At times, I would get my perspective back. Every time I did, there she was, on top of me or dragging me on top of her.

This seemed to go on for at least ten hours. Each time I awoke, the clock on the side of the bed, with its big red numbers, would show me the hour. I would start to thrust and we would go at it again and again. Instinct just took over. The dirty talk would continue until I literally either passed out from whatever drug she had given me, or from sheer physical exhaustion. As time went by, flashes of the previous hours began to come into perspective. Was I in some sort of lurid dream? As morning approached, the sprint like rounds of passion and re-engagements continued. She insisted that we keep going until I “completed the task at hand.” By the time the birds were chirping and a thin stream of light was shining through the hotel curtain windows, I was again coaxed into another round, as she pulled my body into her own.

She was extremely effective at getting what she wanted. She told me that she was long past child bearing, so there was no risk of complications. With that, she pulled me into her with such ferocity I am surprised I lived through it. I mean that literally. This was very risky business for me. We both fell into a deep sleep. We lay together floating in and out of sleep for hours. When I woke, I had an enormous hangover, like nothing I had ever experienced.

When I could finally walk, I took a shower and lay back down in bed with her. I asked her how we got back to my hotel room and how things started. I couldn’t remember much of anything. In fact, it took quite a while for me to remember the entire night and more than a bit of honesty on her part to tell me what happened. She was pouring her wine into my glass when I wasn’t looking and then refilling them both, over and over. So, while I thought we each drank a half bottle of wine, the reality was I had most of that first bottle and the second as well. I don’t even remember if there was a third. She confessed to having put a tranquilizer into her own glass, because she was nervous and that she may have poured it into mine. I knew she did and that it was no accident.

I went for a walk in Central Park. I needed time to think and walked for almost three hours. The battery on my cell phone was out of power long before I got back to the hotel. When I arrived, she was still there. She wanted to go out for breakfast. I didn’t know what to make of the situation, as I was basically drugged to be an easy target for sex. That had never happened to me before. I know that many women have shared stories about how they were manipulated or drugged, but I had no idea that women actually drugged men! I was quite upset, although as I started to remember bits and pieces, flashes of memories, I was amazed. Yet, the idea of being drugged….

I took her to breakfast. Her hands were shaking. She knew that I was about to confront her. As we sat at the cafe she said, “ok I drugged you.” I just could not leave it to chance. I had to have you. That night we first spoke I probably would have killed myself. I hadn’t been out of my house in two years. You saved me and I was intent on being with you no matter what I had to do. With that, I excused myself, dropped a couple of Jackson’s on the table and said both thank-you and goodbye. No matter how great the sex, or how convenient it would have been to look the other way and continue to hook-up, I wanted no part of the drama. To me, drugging someone to get them to do what they would not, is just wrong.

But the drama was just beginning. Within days the phone calls came. She started suggesting that she may be pregnant and that perhaps she was wrong about not being able to conceive. She said that she had no idea that I was releasing inside her. I did not know what to say. I was the one who was drugged and tricked into drinking entirely too much wine. Now, she was telling me that she might be pregnant. At first, I said ok, so what if you are. She said she would have the baby. I said ok and that I would take responsibility for any child I fathered. After about a month of agreeing to whatever agenda she decided to go with, it became obvious that she was using a possible pregnancy to keep me in her life. It was emotional blackmail, pure and simple. When I discontinued communication with her she became irrational and abusive so I just ignored her calls.

Years have passed. From time to time I have run into her. There of course was no child from that evening. At the end of the day, it was a passionate marathon of lurid reflections from one of the sexiest romance cover models I ever met. She went on to do many more television and movie rolls. In one there was a particularly torrid sexual scene. That shook me and my mind replayed a slew of real- life scenes. At that moment, I realized that it was a truly spectacular experience, despite the bad karma. We always think that we know people. But we never really know a person’s intentions until we are both in a position to act out the possibilities. In the end, I do believe that picking up that call, in the middle of the night, did save her life. That made the entire chapter, however drama-filled, worthwhile. But for me, it meant that I again was walking and photographing everything and everyone in my path… alone still chasing sunrises.

 

Chapters 2 – South American Princess

The first time I looked into her eyes, she was walking into my studio. It was just after sunset. She was late. At least two hours late, but she had walked miles, taking several trains and finally a taxi to get to my studio, a good four hours from her home. I lit candles in the studio and had both fireplaces going. I was hoping to start at sunset, one of my two favorite times of the day to shoot, with sunrise my absolute favorite. But, one of her trains was delayed. I had a glass of wine waiting for her, as I was both flattered and interested to see what kind of person would travel so far to shoot with me. As I opened the door I was quite surprised to see that her beauty matched her online photographs. That was not always the case.

The golden flame of the fireplace lit her face as she entered the door. She looked like an Indian princess. She was petite, dark, with eyes almost black and perfect cheekbones. Not to mention, a slender well-curved body. I will never forget her first words to me. “Oh my God, you are as handsome as your Facebook photographs.” I was both flattered and taken aback. Despite her four-hour adventure, her hair and makeup were perfect and she was ready to shoot. She walked in with her flight attendant style rolling wardrobe and immediately gave me a kiss. It was a kiss of friendship like those given in so many countries. I knew she could not be from here and later learned she was from South America.

She took a glass of wine, sat on the stool in front of the seamless backdrop and lights, as if she had been modeling her entire life and we started shooting. She was great. Her eyes were strikingly beautiful, so deep and dark, yet alive and sensual. She was very much a model though she was new to the New York modeling scene. She had modeled and danced her entire life, so the studio was a natural and safe environment for her. I found out rather quickly, photography was not why she came to my studio.

The first time I looked into her eyes, she was walking into my studio. It was just after sunset. She was late. At least two hours late, but she had walked miles, taking several trains and finally a taxi to get to my studio, a good four hours from her home. I lit candles in the studio and had both fireplaces going. I was hoping to start at sunset, one of my two favorite times of the day to shoot, with sunrise my absolute favorite. But, one of her trains was delayed. I had a glass of wine waiting for her, as I was both flattered and interested to see what kind of person would travel so far to shoot with me. As I opened the door I was quite surprised to see that her beauty matched her online photographs. That was not always the case.

The golden flame of the fireplace lit her face as she entered the door. She looked like an Indian princess. She was petite, dark, with eyes almost black and perfect cheekbones. Not to mention, a slender well-curved body. I will never forget her first words to me. “Oh my God, you are as handsome as your Facebook photographs.” I was both flattered and taken aback. Despite her four-hour adventure, her hair and makeup were perfect and she was ready to shoot. She walked in with her flight attendant style rolling wardrobe and immediately gave me a kiss. It was a kiss of friendship like those given in so many countries. I knew she could not be from here and later learned she was from South America.

She took a glass of wine, sat on the stool in front of the seamless backdrop and lights, as if she had been modeling her entire life and we started shooting. She was great. Her eyes were strikingly beautiful, so deep and dark, yet alive and sensual. She was very much a model though she was new to the New York modeling scene. She had modeled and danced her entire life, so the studio was a natural and safe environment for her. I found out rather quickly, photography was not why she came to my studio.

Before long she was wearing sexier and sexier outfits and the small talk between us became sexual. I was not the impetus for this. She was flirting well beyond the task at hand. It was not long before we were taking lingerie and bathing suit shots. Soon, her wardrobe changes started to take place in front of me. She was younger than me by at least twenty years. I was getting nervous thinking, what if she really wants me? What will I do? Will I open my heart to such a young woman? Or, will I just make a joke of it, as I usually do, when approached romantically? Finally, after a bottle or two of wine she suggested that we shoot some nudes. I agreed. Her body was beyond sensational with beautiful curves and firm, with dark nipples.

We started shooting against the seamless backdrop, but very quickly she moved to the couch. I turned the strobe lights off and used one hot light, a technique to best capture nudes or implied nudes. Not that I have photographed thousands of nudes. It was always a gift when a model trusted me enough to experiment with the human figure. Even so, once she was on the couch I knew that she wanted me. I drank more wine to calm myself. It was many years ago that I had last opened my heart and let myself just go with it. Especially, with a model, as I did not want to get a reputation as a player. I wanted to keep my reputation as an artist intact. But she was too hard to resist.

It did not take long for me to go fully mobile with indirect flash from my handheld flash unit attached to my camera. We wound up in my bedroom, where the light was best and I had white sheets that would make for a great prop. Once she started rolling around on my bed and giving me those bedroom eyes, I knew that it was now or never. I sat down next to her. She reached up and started to stroke my lips and hair as if to give me permission to move forward. I starting kissing her forearm softly, working my way down her arm, to her forehead, shoulders and eventually her lips. She had the softest lips I have ever kissed; I was mesmerized by what was about to happen. I was shaking, overwhelmed with her passion and stunned at how comfortable she was in inviting me into my own bed. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Not figuratively, but literally. I was in trouble as she had me going and I had not taken my blood pressure pills, or any of my meds, including my daily aspirin. So, I did what any middle-aged man would do, I excused myself, swallowed my pills, checked my blood pressure, and stalled for a few minutes before I went back to the bedroom. I knew that if I continued, it very well could be my last time. I could die.

This was long before my successful heart surgery, so my blood pressure would go so high during sex that I was putting my life at risk. As I reached out to her, she started to kiss me again and my heart started to beat faster and faster. The wine was kicking in and without giving it another thought I starting kissing her all over her body. I mean everywhere and not just for a minute or two. She was writhing with passion. At times the softness of my kisses tickled her and she flinched. This was clearly a new experience for her. She had not been with many men before. Her inexperience was obvious.

For a petite woman, she enjoyed love a bit rougher than I was used to. Her body had a sexy curve I had never seen, or experienced before. It was a particularly sensual experience. We spent hours and hours in the bedroom. Now that the fireplace light was extinguished, candles were the only form of light in the entire house. We laughed and held each other for hours upon hours, until we fell to sleep. The next morning I did not know what to expect? How much did the wine affect her, or me for that matter? Would we have the same passion in the morning that we experienced the night before? Equally important, what was I supposed to do or how was I supposed to feel? It did not take long to find out. As I laid there, gazing into her eyes as she awoke, her eyes met mine. She pulled me on top of her and we started right where we left off. After a quick breakfast, I drove her home. The thought occurred to me that I might not ever see her again. As destiny would have it, that would not be the case.

It had been so long since my last intimate moment that I was reeling from feelings of love. We all hope to experience this with someone special, but I barely knew her. I was thinking, maybe she is just easy and sleeps around a lot. Yet, she seemed so inexperienced. In time, I learned that I was not only an exception, but also one of her first encounters. We texted day and night and talked frequently, as she was planning her next trip to my studio. The photographs were exquisite. I knew that they were the best photographs of her she had ever seen. By that weekend she made the four-hour trip to see them, and me.

I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I picked her up at the train station. She immediately hugged me and kissed me lovingly. I knew then, this was not going to be a one-time affair. She had the look of love in her eyes. But, she was so young. I did not know what to do. What would people think? I did not care. She came to my home studio to shoot again and again and again, weekend after weekend, for months. Almost every time it was the same. She would get off from work and make the long trip. We would shoot all night, sleep in and she would go back the next day to study or to get to work. I worked mostly on my computer or phone, so my hours were much more flexible. But, I did wish she could just stay.

She was making her own way thru life and paying for her own education. She was a hard worker. I had a great deal of respect for her, but at the same time I started to crave her like a drug. She was passionate, so passionate that before long she walked into my studio and went right to the bedroom. There was no shoot or even lunch or dinner. I figured that she knew that eating a full gourmet meal, which I cooked for her every time she came, was probably not the best idea for a guy with a few stents, in addition to a plethora of heart issues. But it was simply her insatiable desire and obsession with our sexual relationship that drove her. I could not understand why. Surely, if I were a much younger man I would have performed better and found a way to fulfill her insatiable passion.

It had been about nine months and the new-year was approaching. I promised myself, at some point, I would end the relationship. She was just too young. Despite the fact we were in love there was no way I could give her a future with children and a long life together. Her twenty years was the deal breaker. Everything else was pure love and I was still suffering from a broken heart. As the love grew every time we would shoot, so too grew the guilt. I felt that I was stealing her heart. I tried to find ways to drop hints about our age difference and where we were in life. She caught on quickly and it angered her.

At one point, as Christmas approached, I thought I would buy her a powerful vibrator. Maybe she would start to like it and maybe just maybe, stop thinking of me as much. Truth be told, I simply could not keep up with her and eventually started asking her if she was;” trying to kill me,” as we spent more and more time in the bedroom. When she unwrapped her gift, not a holiday present, just a random one, she took it out of the box and asked me what it was. I was surprised. I thought everyone knew what a vibrator was for. She asked why I was giving it to her. I told her, so she could enjoy sex more. Without even batting an eyelash, she took that brand-new vibrator and tried to stick it up my ass! She was very aggressive and pissed off. When I resisted, she threw it against my bedroom wall! For the first and only time since I had met her, she was angry and screamed out with her South American accent, “do you think I travel four hours to see you for that vibrating piece of plastic?” With that she began passionately kissing me and we continued our torrid romance all day and night.

When we were not in the bedroom we were shooting and when we weren’t shooting, I was cooking. Typically, I would cook many of the recipes from my childhood. I frequently merged them with recipes I picked-up from my travels, or from my work in the hospitality business. I was not exactly sure if she was in love with my food or me. I must ask her one-day. For a petite woman she could really eat.

New Year’s Eve was approaching and it was almost a year of weekend affairs, almost every one of them the same. We started in the bedroom or pretty much anywhere. We would shoot and then cook and eat. When it got late I would drive her to the train station and she would go home. She did not want me driving four hours each way late at night and did not mind sleeping on the train. So, the train it was. When we were not together I often would text her. But, never did I feel that she was the one I would spend my life with. Not that I thought I had much life left, but the age difference was too much for me.

On New Year’s Eve, we went to a concert. It was delayed for hours and it was just a mess. She was pissed and did not hide her disappointment. In fact, she took it out on me. It was the perfect opportunity to end the relationship. After she left we both knew that something had changed. We were not using any protection and during the evening she made a sudden movement to suggest she felt a kick in her stomach. At that point the fear factor immediately took control of my heart and I shut down.

The last thing I wanted to do before my heart surgery was to bring a child into the world, especially with such a young woman, who was clearly not ready to be a mother. All the same, for years afterwards, after a brief pause, we would meet and the heat would take over. Again, we would find ourselves in passionate embraces and more. Even though she found herself an age appropriate boyfriend, we just could not control the passion. The sexual chemistry was too powerful. All the same I was not getting any better and I knew I would have to leave New York for warmer winters or further risk my life. Eventually I left. I would have died otherwise.

She remains single, although she is not the cute innocent young woman she was when I first met her. Now she is approaching thirty and remains as young at heart as when we first met. I know that time and heartaches, like me, have toughened her heart. I sometimes think what life would be with a younger woman by my side, probably with a new generation of children with us. But, all the same, I believe I did the right thing ending it. It was a chapter of love I will never forget. I know that the love I showed her helped her get through life as much as it helped me when I was lonely and heartbroken. The fact that she loved me when I was at my heaviest and in my worst health, spoke clearly to how genuine and authentic her passion was. She used my photographs to help her land many modeling and acting jobs, including feature films.

I hope she will always cherish our chapter of love, as she will always be my “South American princess” and will always have a place deep within my heart. As I have found, so many times, love does not need to be a lifetime novel to be cherished. Chapters of love, no matter how long or short, are all sacred.

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“Chapters of Love” Copyright John Joseph Dowling Jr.

Chapter 1 – Chasing Sunrise

The love was gone and she lay empty in my arms like a ghost with no heartbeat. I was falling endlessly into the dark eternity of despair, not knowing just how far the crack in my heart would grow, or if the gap would be beyond repair. Years of emptiness and lost hope were my daily companions. I was alone and unwilling to settle for anyone less than my soul mate and then I met her. But how far had the cracks in her heart grown? Was her smile just a front to hide her own pain? She was no stranger to betrayal and her heart was also challenged. This she shared candidly, when I first met her. And of course, I saw it in her eyes. Maybe the cracks in her heart is what attracted me to her, as I am so accustomed to rescuing broken hearts, as I recklessly expose my own.

I have fooled myself before, blurring the lines between love and despair. What is it about the fluttering of a broken wing that blurs my vision? After so many years of shielding my wounds have I healed? How is it even possible that after so much pain and betrayal I could even consider trying again? Why her? How could this possibly be happening, or was it just in my imagination? What is it about these chapters of love that can be so painful that it takes years to recover, if ever? I do not know if I can or if she is even willing, but she could be the one that will bring some sense or meaning to the years of waiting, hoping and longing for a true soul mate. Is love even under our own control? Is it beyond our own capacity to limit or create, or is it simply destiny? Why would she ever choose me? I am so flawed. Even as I write this I know that beauty like hers, both inside and physically is a once in a lifetime encounter.

The love was gone and she lay empty in my arms like a ghost with no heartbeat. I was falling endlessly into the dark eternity of despair, not knowing just how far the crack in my heart would grow, or if the gap would be beyond repair. Years of emptiness and lost hope were my daily companions. I was alone and unwilling to settle for anyone less than my soul mate and then I met her. But how far had the cracks in her heart grown? Was her smile just a front to hide her own pain? She was no stranger to betrayal and her heart was also challenged. This she shared candidly, when I first met her. And of course, I saw it in her eyes. Maybe the cracks in her heart is what attracted me to her, as I am so accustomed to rescuing broken hearts, as I recklessly expose my own.

I have fooled myself before, blurring the lines between love and despair. What is it about the fluttering of a broken wing that blurs my vision? After so many years of shielding my wounds have I healed? How is it even possible that after so much pain and betrayal I could even consider trying again? Why her? How could this possibly be happening, or was it just in my imagination? What is it about these chapters of love that can be so painful that it takes years to recover, if ever? I do not know if I can or if she is even willing, but she could be the one that will bring some sense or meaning to the years of waiting, hoping and longing for a true soul mate. Is love even under our own control? Is it beyond our own capacity to limit or create, or is it simply destiny? Why would she ever choose me? I am so flawed. Even as I write this I know that beauty like hers, both inside and physically is a once in a lifetime encounter.

My heart has not been my own since as long as I can remember. Maybe the pain was just too much for it to heal. When you do not own your own heart, how can you even offer it again? Does this happen to everyone after losing love? After believing I am living in a world of brokenhearted people, maybe I have literally become one of them myself. I see it everywhere like an emotional plague. So what makes me think that I am immune to the same plight as all of those I see around me who appear to be heartless. Is it just that they too have cracks in their own hearts, so deep, so wounded they cannot go back? So why? Why does my heart bring me here again? Is it possible that time does heal all wounds?

She now knows the truth about the depth of my admiration for her and has neither agreed that it is a path that she wants to take, or denied the opportunity to take it. Of course, she holds all the cards, has all the power and will determine if the massive amount of love I have to share is worthy of hers. I can only hope and be authentic and pray that we are everything that I believe us to be. But hope and reality are so often split by fear and uncertainty, poor timing, and logic used to override desire, that we tend to deny ourselves what really makes us happy. We look to the media and what love is supposed to be rather than what nature dictates it is. We wander lonely and empty trying to buy our happiness with things, so we think we have what we need. In reality, most of us never know what we need, we just know that we want more, but still feel alone. We think love to be a financial security blanket, rather than an expression of our heart.

As I grow older and wiser I realize that life itself is just a series of experiences that last but a heartbeat in time. I understand why we have become so narcissistic as a culture and materialistic. Wanting is a never-ending obsession of what we are brainwashed to think life and love should be. Most of us are simply empty, hardened souls, wishing our lives were something more, something different and something easier. Families are torn apart believing there is more to love than loyalty and life-long commitments and we end up with a roller coaster of unfilled, empty, promises.

The “getting and spending” has become an addiction and love has taken a back seat to beating our neighbors in acquiring toys and brands that mean nothing. We work endless hours and pay impossible taxes, blinded by the desire for more. Then, in the end, we look back and wonder where our lives have gone, where the time went and what the purpose of our life was meant to be; when it is too late. Of course, no one could argue that life is not a bed of roses after the dismantling of the American dream, which started with the Great Recession of 2008 and has continued as a roller coaster ever since. Survival itself is simply no picnic. Despite decades of opportunity, job growth and the good years, globalization, greed and corruption have plagued our society with the middle class being left in the wake. But should love depend on money? Isn’t love supposed to be pure and organic? I just do not understand the world we are living in any longer, or maybe as I have often characterized myself, I am just naive to what modern relationships are truly about, as admittedly I am a life-long helpless romantic.

Having experienced both physical and emotional love younger than most I have known, and with more chapters of love than most, I have not believed in the great novels of love, despite the fact I have always hoped to find one. However, now I’m starting over in this new more challenging economy. I know not that I possess the finances to support a relationship that seems to depend on the almighty dollar. Has love truly become a financial relationship? I hope not, but it seems that it has. Of course, I am as naive as I have always been when it comes to the realities of modern love. People who value dollars over dedication makes no sense to me.

Both sunrises and sunsets show her in the most beautiful light. I still cannot believe the way my body and mind react to her voice and her smile. The warmth of her hugs make me dizzy, a reaction I do not understand to this day; even her scent. I told her today that it was too late, that my heart was already hers and we shared a passionate day at the beach. We were shooting again and we both had more than our share of wine on an empty stomach. It was cold and we were waiting for opportunistic times between the cloud cover to capture photographs as the sunset came and went behind the clouds. In between we spoke of life, love and our hopes and dreams. The alcohol acted as a truth serum and we shared many truths. Truths we probably would not have shared otherwise.

In the middle of it all she cried. She cried with great anguish and told me not to waste my heart on her, that she was too far-gone. She did not realize that I already knew that her heart is broken and even if she feels it is beyond repair, I do not. I see the love in her heart and the joy when we create together and I know that she is not aware that I am looking deep into her soul. If she would only stop worrying about falling in love. Every physical sign tells me she is happy when we are together.

The water was cold and she was dancing her way through it. It was a magical moment. She, for a moment, let herself go and was embracing the day. We created true art and my heart was beating faster than I can remember, only missing a beat when I started to “think”. While it took a few bottles of wine and a day at the beach, I felt her body shivering in my arms and her hips gently rolling into mine as I shielded her from the cold. The brief kisses and intimacy were followed by her refusal to give herself to the moment completely and then suddenly an abrupt change of gears. But before we could think, we kissed and I knew, I knew that we connected and the passion was pure and from our hearts. But then as soon as she gave herself to the moment, she withdrew her willingness to pursue what her heart desired.

We abruptly left the beach and drove to dinner to the other side of the Island. She sat next to me with her body stretched over the center console to lean against mine and she held my hand. It was beautiful. Her scent was so distinct and intoxicating that I did not want to shower, but I had to or it would have driven me insane. I know she felt every bit of love that I did that day, but she was torn, still broken and afraid to heal, afraid to ever struggle again financially. I have everything but money to give her, at least for now. We spoke of a life in the future and we spoke of wants and dreams.

But I know that my kiss melted the ice around her heart, for at least a moment and she told me there is hope for us. And then she disappeared from my life again, putting me in the friend zone and not even discussing the magic between us that day. I am more than confident that it is all it would take for us is to be together, and I know she knows that, but she will keep me at a distance so that she can continue to guard her heart. A heart she has built a beautiful body around to perhaps auction to the highest bidder. I have seen it a thousand times, over and over, where a woman chooses a big wallet despite her moral high ground and claim she cannot be bought.

I would hope she knows at this point, I am not willing to buy love even if it is hers. I have seen love too many times dwindle to nothing over and over with women who sell out, winding up depressed and alone, with more money than they know how to spend and no reason to spend it. I pray this is not her fate. I pray she sees what we felt as genuine and authentic and stops pushing me away. You simply cannot deny a feeling. You do not quiver in a man’s arms unless you are feeling love. It is not possible to look into a man’s eyes with need and desire and then deny love. But she continues to hide.

It’s been a week. We text and chat about photographs and layouts and the next issue of my magazine which will come out in just a few weeks. Of course, I doubt that I would have completed it if it were not for my passion for her. She was my inspiration for the entire issue even if I had to create an entire new magazine just to feature her. She inspires my creativity like no one ever has. I have seen many beautiful women and I have been inspired, but this is different, almost unexplainable.

Even writing this chapter itself, which has become our story, is the only way I can survive in between our time together. I long to see her, hold her, even if I am delusional. At this point I know not that she will ever trust that my intentions are true and my heart is pure. She asks me how she is different than all of those that have come before her. It is very hard to explain that when you are alone, with no love, any excuse for love is better than simply dwindling away. It was almost as if I was in a dessert and drank from a dirty well just to survive. There was nothing pure about it, but it did help me survive.

Now with my new-found health and my life recovering both financially and in most every other way, I know that I will never drink from that dirty well again. I want the purity of real love. I see it with her, and I hope she will drink with me. But again, she has all the power. I just have my heart and my words, words that may fall on empty ears. So, I write them and hope that it helps me survive the days without her. The days without her are not easy, as I think of her most of the time, wishing we were again creating together and sharing those little moments that turn into longer moments, that turn into a lifetime of moments.

I’ve condemned myself to a solo life, minimizing my own space and things, knowing that I do not want to sell myself by offering a treasure trove along with my heart. If my love does not become the unrequited love we read about in novels and see in movies, she will find the happiness that has eluded her most of her life. I often think that there are so many unhappy people because we turn our backs on our destiny, never find happiness and go through life lost. Then when we wonder why we have not found our happiness, we cannot go back in time to where we lost track of our own destiny and remain lost forever. Well at least in this life.

Last night was again magical, just to see her again, feel her and to almost taste her in the air, as there is something about her that is like a warm summer’s breeze over a wildflower field. She intoxicates me. I am of course lost now beyond any hope that I will survive. If my heart has lost its way and she simply is unrepairable, or she cannot, or does not want the love I am offering. But what makes me think I can read a woman as deep minded as she is? I cannot, but know that I do want to help her improve her life, and become self-sufficient, even if my love is not returned. Unrequited love is the worst love any man can endure. Her happiness means more to me than the pain and longing I feel when we are not together.

But what does the broken heart know; especially when two people have both felt the deep pain of betrayal from those they have loved before? Do they learn how to forgive or forever keep a shield up to protect themselves; never again succumbing to the pain? We both know that pain, both have the fear. But why the passion then? Maybe it was just a fleeting moment of weakness and will never happen again. To most, probably just a spark of a moment that ended abruptly. But to me, a spark that ignited a wildfire of emotions.

The cracks in my heart will grow much deeper I fear, as each moment we are apart seems like an eternity and I realize that the words she spoke in tears and despair may have been her most honest.. She is obviously using her beauty like a free pass, and of course I do not blame her. I just believed I was different. Maybe that’s how most men feel. Maybe we are just conduits to goals for hardened women. But something in my heart tells me that is not the case, so I hold on to hope, the one word she agreed we had.

We spoke again this afternoon and again my heart was beating rapidly. I tried to focus on her as she was going through a small but drama filled incident with a friend, or one of those “false friends” very attractive people tend to have. Despite the fact we spoke about that incident I could tell she was truly hurt and disturbed by this person she cared about. She thinks that finding friends at this point in our lives is easy but what she does not know as a beautiful woman, finding friends, real friends who are female, will always be challenging. Every woman finds her not only to be “unfair competition” for the single guys, but also a threat to their marriages in the case of married women, as she has that rare beauty most men will do anything for, even dump their wives.

Each time we speak I feel closer to her and I hope she feels closer to me. I pray for the day she wants to spend our lives together, as I know that my heart is so selective that waiting fifteen years for her to walk into my life, may be my only chance at true love again. Sometimes I believe my gifts are a curse. Why do I have this uncanny ability to see what people feel, I know I am not fooling myself as time has taught me that my instincts, when it comes to human emotion, are far more intuitive than educated guesses. I see what people feel so well that the timing of my photographs capture those instances when people are feeling “more” than they do typically. They capture people who, at least for a moment, let their guards down and feel, something our society has lost to the day-to-day of stresses and responsibilities.

With her, I see it and feel it. I know what is going on in her heart, at least when we are together. But as soon as it is time to part, it turns off like a switch has been flipped and she goes back to a blank state, protecting herself from anything that could penetrate the walls around her fears and insecurities. She turns herself to others who would never find a place in her heart, perhaps an easier road to take than that of real love.

But who am I kidding, no man knows what is going on in a woman’s heart. We just hope they see something in us so unique that they overcome the years of frustration or failed relationships and give themselves freely to love. Love is subjective to the individual. People often find themselves in unrequited love, where they are not loved in return, despite the depth of the admiration for that special person they feel so in love with. I certainly hope that this is not the case. But, the more time in between seeing her, the more I believe she is not ready for love with anyone, or will ever truly consider it with me.

We saw each other again last night and again my heart could not contain itself, beating uncontrollably as soon as she walked into the room. Every time she greeted another man I became more and more jealous, an emotion I had not felt in many years. I could not believe that I was feeling possessive of a woman whose heart did not belong to me; she was only mine while we were shooting. Outside of that I had no claim to her, I knew that, but still my heart felt as if we were together for a lifetime and would not stop pounding, almost out of my chest.

I fell to sleep alone that night, longing for her to be lying next to me, to feel her in my arms again like the one time when she let herself go at the beach, telling me that I was romantic and that she was feeling true love. I still can taste the salt water and her sweat as if she was still with me. I dreamed of spending our lives together, but suddenly like a rush of freezing air blasting into my face on a cold winter’s midnight, I awoke alone. I was alone, and she was gone. I was left to walking and chasing sunrises with only hope as my companion.

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“Chapters of Love” Copyright John Joseph Dowling Jr. 2016