I Ran Away to Manhattan with a Rich Girl

by

02/12/2002

W 23rd St & 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Neighborhood: Chelsea

I ran away to Manhattan with a rich girl. Well, it was more of her sweeping me away than running away with her. I was actually running away from a different rich girl, who had introduced me to this new rich girl. I was 19 years old, halfway through my studies at a prestigious university in Boston. I had grown up poor white trash from Connecticut, but I was blessed with enough smarts to escape, and good enough looks to attract the type of girls who realized two things: exactly how beautiful they indeed were, and how much chagrin I would cause their family were they to bring me home. That’s how I found myself associating with these girls in the first place. The girl I was running away from was my then-girlfriend Alice, a fiery redhead who, in spite of her abject beauty (or perhaps because of it), was completely insane. She was an angry woman. And I couldn’t ever determine what caused this profound rage. She displayed the same anger whether I had spilled wine on her carpet or I picked the wrong Ani Difranco tape to play in her car stereo. She was completely manic with her anger, so much so that I was completely terrified of her, but when she was tender, she was so soft and sweet that it was nearly impossible not to like her. She was the first woman that ever made me feel truly beautiful. But more often than not, Alice would be off in a fit of rage, screaming at me for something.

When Alice brought me home to her family estate over the summer, she announced our engagement on the first day her parents met me. I began to become uncomfortable. That she didn’t consult me about this ramping up our commitment wasn’t really troubling, as I was by now used to being used as a pawn for women’s family conflicts. However, at this time, I was already starting to plan my escape from Alice, and perhaps my revenge. I was young and in love, but I had realized that I was, in fact, allowed to leave this girl. We weren’t married, at least not yet.

I was afforded this opportunity when Alice introduced me to her best friend and confidant from her childhood, Mary. Mary and I took to each other right away, if not because of our common interests, than for our shared experiences with Alice’s strange and vicious personality. I spent hours and hours with Mary, and we mostly discussed Alice, the lovable evil witch. It was quickly discovered that Alice had a stock repertoire of emotional manipulation, and that Mary had gone through most of Alice’s rehearsed anger fits before I had. She too, had learned to forgive Alice, because Alice had a way of making people love her unconditionally. The mood was ripe for Mary and I to plot our revenge on Alice. Neither Mary or myself had any intention of actually harming Alice’s body, but her mind and heart were fair game. Thus it was decided: I was to leave Alice for Mary. I called her from Mary’s house and announced that I was never coming back, not today, not tonight, not ever. It was over, and Mary and I were in deep love, deeper love than I had ever felt. Th! ere was no reaction over the phone, which didn’t surprise us, but we both knew what was really going on: Alice cherished the control over and the loyalty of her friends above all else. For her, loyalty and submission were really the same basic emotion. She was the queen and no one dared cross her. To lose her boyfriend and best friend to each other on the same day was an unimaginable blow to her control of us. We had escaped. But what to do now?

Had I known that Mary was as crazy as Alice was, I may have reconsidered my escape plan. But luckily, Mary was a different kind of crazy. She was fun-crazy. She was naughty-crazy. She was boy-crazy. And I was her boy. I experienced the complete opposite of Alice’s attention. Mary professed such deep love for me, with such fervor and complete devotion that I instantly believed everything she told me, with no questions. Mary somehow convinced her father, who was an elected politician representing a very affluent section of Upstate, that I was upstanding and decent, and that they should really take me in. I was invited to live up in the family hunting lodge, which was nicer than the house that I grew up in. I was accepted by the parents, played tennis with the other offspring, and I was even trotted out at fundraisers, where my education was touted, and my charm was utilized to raise money for the New York Republican party. This acceptance was why I didn’t question Mary when she told me one morning that we were going to take her father’s car to New York City. It seemed like a good idea at the time, Mnahattan was only two hours at most away from Mary’s house, and I figured she had had this cleared with her father, and that we’d be back in time for dinner, or dessert at the latest.

I was to drive, as Mary never did get a license. But when we got to New York, I realized that even though I had driven, I too, had been taken for a ride. Mary directed me to Chelsea, where she had me pull up to the Chelsea Hotel. “This is where Sid killed Nancy, you know”, she told me matter of factly. Prior to this, I had not known that she was a Sex Pistols fan. I hadn’t quite figured out why this was significant until a valet came up to my window, and before I could say a word, Mary smiled at him and said, “Park the car, please.” She looked at me, and said, “Let’s go in. I want to spend the night in this hotel.” I asked her, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Without missing a beat, Mary assured me, “Everything I’ve done since I met you has been a good idea.”

My heart thus melted, I had no choice but to oblige. I was in for another set of surprises: Mary had reserved the very room that Sid had strangled his girlfriend in, and she had it reserved for 100 days. I tried to talk her out of it. How did you pay for this? Its crazy. They will come looking for you. Don’t you care if you get in trouble? None of this seemed to matter to Mary. She had called in for the room, putting it on her father’s credit card, which she swore that he would never notice. “Abbey” she said, “we have money. My father spends nearly half a million dollars a month. Do you think he is going to notice eight thousand dollars?” The way that she was confidant, smiling at me like everything was ok, i couldn’t help it. I gave in and took her hand. Mary had taken the trouble to pack up two suitcases and sneak them into the trunk, so we were covered for the meantime. We went upstairs and after the bellhop was gone, we ha! d sex on top of the covers.

The next three weeks were a frenzy. We went shopping all over New York City, ate at fine restaurants, went to museums, the opera, and the theatre. I got a tattoo. We had lots of sex. Lots and lots of sex. And there were the drugs. Mary had somehow gotten her pretty little hands on 1,000 pills that contained 100% pure ectasy. I was feeling really good, 24 hours a day. I wasn’t sleeping much, but it didn’t matter, because everything felt really good, and there was a beautiful nymphomaniac with lots of money and lots of drugs making it all happen. We never fought, we said “I love you” about 500 times a day, the weather was really nice that summer in New York, and everything was going well.

As my first voice of reason had told me some three weeks earlier, Mary’s father would notice something amiss, what with his daughter, her guest, and one of his cars missing. He did keep the faith for a while, perhaps assuming that we had went up to the family ski lodge in Vermont, or to visit his mother in Buffalo. But when we never called, he must have started to wonder. Then he needed wonder no more: his accountant alerted him to a bunch of mysterious purchases made with one of his credit cards in Manhattan, and also to the fact that $6,000 in cash was missing from his office vault. The records stated exactly where most of the money was being spent: The Chelsea Hotel, room 102. A call to the hotel confirmed that yes, his car has been parked in the garage for some three weeks now.

Mary and I were walking home to our hotel after seeing a movie. I was getting really tired at this point, the drugs were still going strong, and i hadn’t slept in days. Mary and I were getting along as well as ever, but things didn’t seem right anymore. I needed normalcy, not this hedonistic, illegal lifestyle. I thought to myself, “this needs to end soon”.

When we strode up to the hotel, there were cop cars out front, cops in the lobby, and a commotion everywhere. Mary, who was currently carrying about $500 worth of drugs in her purse, decided that we should go in through the back. We had befriended several of the hotel’s employees, since we got so much room service. We slipped around to the back of the hotel, where, luckily, one of our favorites, Manuele, was out sneaking a smoke. “Hey, you two, what’s going on tonight?” he asked. “Maybe you could tell us the same thing, Manuele” Mary replied, as if there wasn’t anything odd about cops swarming a hotel in Chelsea. “Well, it seems that some guy stole a Senator’s car, and took off with his daughter. They’ve been staying here and spending lots of his money, and I think tonight is the bust”. I nearly paniced at this point, but Mary never flinched. She took me by the arm, and we walked away from the hotel, about 3 blocks. She looked me in the eye, and smiled at me. “You will probably have to go now,” she said. “I’m sorry I got you involved in this. I’ll go back alone, and take all the blame. My dad knows how crazy I can be. I won’t even get into trouble, but if you go with me, you will. I love you.” She reached into her purse and took out $500 in fifties and handed them to me. “This ought to get you out of the city”. Then she leaned in and kissed me one last time, broke the kiss, and headed in the direction of the hotel. I stood there for a moment, completely broken down. I just wanted to sit down, but I had to get out of the area

I started heading east towards the park. I kept walking through the dark, and when I got to the park, I forged in. I just wanted to get away from everything. My life had been dragged around and toyed with by two girls who had nothing to lose by loving or losing me. I realized then that I was no more than an article to either of them, a toy that could be played with, then discarded. I was angry at them and myself. I had allowed myself to be victimized by women just because they were attractive and rich. I began to question the very value of friendship, when sheer exhaust set in. I was in the southeast corner of central park, near a pond. I climbed up into something and fell asleep.

July, 1997

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