Dec. 22, 2010

            Even I get the wrong impression when it comes to my sexual encounters with Peggy when transcribing my journals from 1987.

            From my writing, it sounds as if she took me home and we jumped in bed, when nothing could be further from the truth.

            Actually, I don’t think she intended to sleep with me at all when all this started up, and that it just happened.

            Looking back, I realize she probably eyes me as just another one of her usual victims, a slightly pudgy middle class guy who drank too much and came to go-go-clubs to sneak a little look at what he couldn’t get elsewhere. If not a loser, than someone so lonely that she could easily squeeze out of me whatever she wanted, giving a little as possible for it. I was out of shape and drank too much, and extremely lonely – even though I was involved with several women at the time. I really wanted love and couldn’t find, and came to dance joints like the My Way more or less to drown my misery along with others of my kind.

            What made Peggy different from many of the other dancers is that she really was smart enough to realize that prostitution was not a valid next step for her. She didn’t want to have to put out for what she got, so she played a few suckers like us, took us home, got what she wanted out of us, then spit out again, never having to make the final compromise.

            A resentful as some men might have been about it, she actually gave us something we would not have gotten otherwise, imitation affection that made us feel important enough to warrant her attention – at least for a little while.

            She never intended to fall in love with me (if that’s what she did) or expected to allow me to get passed first base with her, which is why it actually took so long for us to get involved in that way.

            The bar owner on Wall Street where she worked a few times claimed she would lure men up to her place, drain them of coke, and put them out again, teased by not satisfied. If so, then my first time to her apartment must have been pretty typical.

            She sat me down on her couch, while she went and changed her clothing.

            This meant she went back through the kitchen to her bedroom, undressed and came back dressed only in a shirt or Giant’s jersey, nearly all of her legs exposed. Then, she sat down on the couch beside me, the stereo or TV already on.

            She sat so close I could hardly breathe. She smoked, joked, drank and teased me with smiles and suggestive glances, and then after a long time, pronounced it was time for bed.

            She did not mean sex. She meant she was going to sleep. But she also meant that I should come into the bedroom and keep her company so that she wouldn’t feel lonely.

            “Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep,” she told me.

            She had a black and white television with a remote in the bedroom on a movable stand. The room was painted blue so it had an ethereal quality, as if whoever came in with her was also sharing some dream. Almost everywhere she had images of unicorns, some of them stuffed animals, some of them posters, many of them knickknacks.

            “Men are always giving them to me as gifts,” she said.

            With her shirt still on (she apparently slept in it and nothing else), she slid under the covers of a well-made bed, and then patted the bed beside her for me to sit down. I wasn’t supposed to lay down or get into bed with her, I was supposed to sit beside her until she started to drift off.

            Things went slightly amiss when she actually fell asleep and started talking in her sleep, and worse when I fell asleep and she woke up to find me snoozing in the bed beside her in the morning.

            But she kept up this routine for several weeks, which is something she may have done with other men as well, while she kept a 38 caliber pistol in her night stand if we misbehaved. I never did find out who the man she shot was or why she shot him.

            I’m not sure where the routine stopped and the honest affection actually began. She loved to touch me – especially when she had me playing guitar at her bedside. I would be in the middle of a song and suddenly feel her hands on me, but when I started to respond, she would say, “Don’t stop.”

            It was extremely frustrating, but also very tender.

            This was the innocent Peggy, the place where she was the tenderest, and the most vulnerable, and even though she apparently grew to care for me, she remained distrustful – and perhaps as it turned out – with good reason.


April 26, 1987

            The events of the last week are enough to drive a sane man mad.

            Perhaps there is a reason for all of it, I can’t see caught up in this whirl wind affair with Peggy, unable to control myself or the events.

            I am becoming extremely irresponsible, going to work late, rushing through my job when I get there in order to go home early so I can get some sleep – although even that has changed through the course of the week.

            It is difficult to think that a week ago prior to Easter everything was relatively calm.

            But there were omens, hints of possible disaster, when made the mistake of waking Peggy, and the sound of her hissing response from the other side of the closed door sending chills into me that even that evening’s more pleasurable time could not cure.

            Everything began to fall apart on Monday.

            Some of it had to do with my coming home late from seeing my mother in Toms River. Peggy wanted me to meet some of her friends. She apparently had done some serious partying Sunday night, guitar playing and such.

            I could not come back in time Sunday for the event, and even coming back Monday was a chore since my mother was only one leg of a three-hundred mile triangle that included a visit to my uncle – still in the hospital at the time. Too many miles in one day had left me exhausted by the time I reached Peggy’s house. All I wanted to do was relax when I got there.

            But she was in pain.

            Her back bothering her, part of a recurring problem that made it impossible for her to sleep or relax. She said the twinge had started the day before.

            “I must have stood in a draft or something,” she told me.

            The revelations from the previous week about her drug dealing and use of needle had convinced me that I needed to end this relationship, but I had decided to wait until after Easter do tell her.

            My resolve evaporated when confronted with her pain. So instead of breaking it off, I spent the night with her, rubbing her back – which she claimed helped her, and when she fell asleep, I slept on the floor beside her bed like a dog.

            Was the pain real?

            Was it brought on by some need I still don’t understand?

            I haven’t a clue as to what goes on in her mind and what exactly she expects from me.

            I suspect she has eyed me for something special for some time before she actually spoke to me at the bar.

            Anyway, she claims the pain was much less when she woke the next morning, and slept late.

            She went off later to do laundry while I went home to write.

            A while later, she called me to tell me to meet her at her mother’s house, saying she wanted to spend some time with me and play some board games.

            It proved a remarkably enjoyable afternoon, and we stayed there late, taking her mother’s car to get food.

            That’s when the really tricky stuff started and those things hinted at the previous weekend because suddenly deadly and real, bringing back flash backs to my own past when police and corruption were every day events.

            We took too cars back to her house, me, charging like a nut to get ahead of her so I could meet her at her door.

            The idea was for me to get there to help her up the three flights of stairs, carrying her things so that she wouldn’t hurt her back again.

            This, of course, was something of a game. I HAD to get there first, and I did.

            Peggy’s car never showed in my rear view mirror the whole time I drove there, and I waited a half hour at her house and she still hadn’t come.

            Had she taken my race to her house badly? Did she think my hurrying there was somehow a sign that I was running away from?

            Anything is possible with Peggy.

            She could have, of course, simply broken down somewhere between here and there.

            I waited a little more before going to the phone to call her mother.

            “El” as Peggy called her had heard no news but sounded worried.

            The idea that Peggy might have been stopped by the police also crossed my mind, but I suppressed it as a bit of weekend paranoia.

            Finally, I drove back, retracing the route which Peggy might have taken, hoping to spot her car if indeed she broke down on the side of the road. When I got to her mother’s house, I did not stop, but circled around, searching again all the way back, figuring to find an angry Peggy there, waiting and wondering about what had happened to ME.

            But she was not there when I got back to her apartment.

            Now I got really worried, and the idea that she might have been picked up by the police became a much realer concept, although I still dismissed it.

            More likely, Peggy was angry at me for some reason.

            So I started to write a note, figuring on leaving it at her apartment before going home where I had access to a phone and she could call me – if she wanted to.

            Just as I finished the not, I saw a police car pulling away from in front of her apartment building. Her apartment light on the third floor, which had not been on a moment earlier, was glowing into the night.

            I jumped out of my car and bounded up the stairs, and found her shaken and laughing hysterically.

            The police indeed had stopped her, and busted her, and they had confiscated her car (which she called Charlie). Somehow (I dared not ask how) she managed to talk the police officer out of putting her in jail, and somehow managed to get the officer to drive her home, even posting the bail for her -- $1,500 or ten percent of the $15,000 bail she needed. Why the cop would do that for her I dared not dwell on, but apparently, she also managed to convince the man at the pound to release her car to her the next morning.

            She claimed she bribed him, offering him $50 bucks.

            He came to her apartment three times on Saturday morning, but she couldn’t find the keys – forgetting that the police had removed them from her key chain. I wasn’t aware of this last part until I walked in on Saturday afternoon to find her standing in the kitchen with her arms folded across her chest.

            “Did you take my car keys, Alfred?” she asked.

            “Why would I do that?”

            “You tell me. I’m being nice about this because you’ve been so kind to me over the last few nights,” she said.

            It hurt to be accused. But it hurt more for her to misinterpret an act of love for mere kindness.

            She left with the guy from the pound and eventually found the keys and returned to the apartment with her car. But the seeds of disaster had been planted, and I began to see something dark ahead, she seemed to enjoy her role as villain, and would not deviate from the path of self-destruction she had embarked on. Maybe she was already moving too fast along it and had no way to stop.

            On Wednesday, things got even darker.

            She apparently had been talking to other men about me, how she had fallen in love with me and how this scared her, and now vulnerable she felt because of it.

            Perhaps she sensed my doubts and my intention at one point to break things off.

            I was blind with fear and hurt, and decided I needed to tell her, but not in person. I wrote a letter to her and stuck it under her door.

            She went into a rage over it, not because anything in it was untrue, but perhaps because it was all too true, and caught her at her weakest. I had managed to attack her at her most vulnerable.

            She told me to get my things and that she never wanted to see me again.

            I got my things and left.

            This was a big mistake. I should have stayed and fought it out, and thus the matter would have been settled sooner.

            But I vanished, leaving some of my fiction and a painting I had purchased for her birthday, both which she dumped on my doorstep with an hour.

            This sent me back to her apartment for the eventual battle.

            She said, “Go away.”

            I said, “No!”

            She threw open the door, and again told me to leave, smashing a glass and then an ashtray on the floor to make her point.

            I began to pick them up.

            She said, “Don’t. I just want you to go.”

            “I’ll pick these up first.”

            “Which will allow you to say here a little longer, won’t it?”

            After that, it became a nearly inarticulate screaming match, and I left.

            None of this was supposed to have gone this far, of course. I presumed everything was settled finally, perhaps even part of some plan not of my design.

            I’m not great at picking up one clues – especially when I’m emotional stirred up, otherwise I might have noticed my guitar pick she had put on a chain and hung around her neck.

            If she truly hated me as much as she claimed during that exchange, she would have removed that as well. She would have also rid herself of the shirt I gave her, which she was also wearing at the time. She had also carefully removed all the other things I had given her over the last few weeks, tucking them away before she started the scene of crashing glass.

            This is not to say there wasn’t a lot of pain for both of us.

            But if this was designed by either of us to end our relationship, it didn’t work. I went to work and could think of nothing else but her, talking to the night staff at the mall to see if they could enlighten me about what I might be doing wrong. I just couldn’t figure it out.

            The next day in the afternoon she called to tell me that she intended to return my fifty dollars, the cash I had given her to help bribe the man at the car pound so she could get her car back.

            “You don’t have to do that,” I said.

            “I want to,” she said, then hung up.

            All that night, I continued to dwell on it, concluding that I was wrong, that I had let my insecurities fester into something that had hurt us both.

            Some of the things she’d said to other men about me seemed to be designed to reassure herself, and that she feared getting too attached to me, when it was clear she already had.

            Being the fool I am, I snuck back up to her apartment and slid yet another note under her door, telling her that I finally understood.

            She called me, exploding with rage over the telephone, and then gradually back tracked and agreed to see me at her apartment again that evening.

            We continued to bicker when I got there, but she didn’t throw me out. Yet I left with the presumption that what we had was over, and I went home wounded to write some more, and for the next two days gradually got used to the idea that we were no longer a couple.

            I still feel her in control of things, perhaps more now than before – especially in regard to the concept of freedom. She tells me to think less and enjoy more, even as she tightens her grip on me.

            Maybe she sensed my pulling away with the first letter. She certainly misinterpreted my intentions, although I suspect more than I touched on some deeper insecurity in her that I didn’t know I was touching and she didn’t need touched.

            So where does all this leave me now?

            Strangely, I’m in two frames of mind – one telling me that I have to be more careful about what I reveal and how I need to control my passions.

            But I am aware now how doomed the relationship was from the start and how at some point in the future everything is going to catch up with her and it won’t be pretty.

            A lot of this depends, of course, on how much of her criminal past is true.

            I still don’t know how much of it she is making up or if there are even more, terrifying levels she had yet to reveal.



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