Catherine, the starlet

21Jan09

catherineI didn’t care much for Catherine when we initially started seeing each other. Ours was a casual, three month affair, marked by high end binges and, for Catherine at least, jealous rage. Once, while at a cocktail party celebrating Manhattan’s latest literary wunderkind, I received a text message on my cell phone that read:

I SEE U MAKING EYES AT THAT CCKTAIL WAITRSS. IF YOU KEEP IT UP, I’M GOING HOME WITH THIS PUSSY BUYING ME JAMESONS

I looked up from my conversation and saw Catherine across the room, fully stewed, one hand on her blackberry, the other, leaning against the bar, which was strewn with empty shotglasses. She was talking to a sawed-off Spanish journalist type, who clearly thought he’d found his wounded gazelle for the night. I winked at her and continued to make eyes at the cocktail waitress. Later that night, when Catherine threw up all over my lap in a taxi, I thought to myself, maybe I won’t call her again.

After not speaking for a couple of months, Catherine called me out of the blue and invited me to a barbeque at her apartment in Brooklyn. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that I was the only attendee. I’d been expecting to have to make small talk with her greasy, acting-school friends.

On the roof of her building, Catherine served me a grilled ahi tuna steak and cold mexican beers while she told me how well her career was going.”You should have seen it, Knox. I walked into the casting director’s office, smoking a cigarette. I exhaled right in her face and said, ‘If you cast me in this movie, I’m going to break the heart of everyone on the set.'”

Turned out Catherine was headed to Prague for six weeks, to shoot an indie horror film and had invited me over to say goodbye.  It was around that moment I realized what an exhilarating young woman Catherine was and I found myself more attracted to her than I’d ever been. When I told her I wanted to accompany her to Prague, she lit up like a kid at Christmas.

Two weeks later I was in Prague and our relationship began to unravel. While she worked 12 hour days, I spent my time chasing old haunts and working out grant proposals for a new research project on techno cults in a Spain. She’d come back to the hotel, devastatingly tired to find me drunk, in love and lonely. By the fourth week, she stopped coming back entirely, instead, going to stay with her male co-star.

We didn’t break up officially until we got back to New York, each affirming to the other that we’d make better friends and it was important right now that we each focused on our respective careers. Later that year, Catherine invited me to a cast and crew only premier of the film, though not as her escort. I sat by myself and observed the combustible chemistry between Catherine and her co-star, thinking to myself, I was there for all of that, but alone at the same time. At the afterparty, I told Catherine that she was a star, then proceeded to drink myself into a stupor.



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