Part 11: Love, in all its forms
The mood had surreptitiously changed from genuine concern to fear for what his answer might be. His eyes darted about and he nervously racked his brain for an answer he was willing to give. Feelings of both regret and hope pervaded his countenance. “I can’t tell you that,” he hesitantly replied. In a moments notice, our connection was replaced with a nonchalant barrier to his emotions. “That means you have killed before,” I stated with certainty. There was no answer to this ugly question staring him in the face and I decided to drop it. The question lay dead in its tracks.
Sadly, I was able to compartmentalize that information for the sake of preserving the trust we had established. My narcissistic need for him to believe I understood, coupled with a regret for his exploited childhood allowed me to bury the possibility of his actions deep within. The night ended with vague stories of him running “errands” all over the world for the crime ring he was involved with. It left me wondering if he was really in Milan to model, or if this was a fictitious cover-up for something bigger. We continued to spend time together and he expressed his love for me which I attribute to my naïvely compassionate ear. I knew deep down that we were entirely wrong for each other, but felt compelled to love him back until I left Milan. He was after all, human–full of infinite potential, despite living the life he knew, wasn’t he?
“Anger” image courtesy cyberartgallery.org
There were nearly 200 castings and several test shoots I would go to while I was in Milan. I was run ragged by the barrage of critique and rejection. It would take a strong girl to withstand the business on all fronts and I didn’t know if I was cut out for it. Before I could come up with any resolution, my agent unexpectedly announced, “You are going to Tokyo.” I felt I had barely arrived and had yet to make my mark on the fashion industry but I didn’t know what I wanted for myself either. To add to the uncertainty, I was too insecure to ask about the ins and outs of the business and why I was suddenly going. My agent in San Francisco had obviously come up with a game plan and had conveniently forgotten to inform me. Like a puppet, I agreed and began making preparations to leave the very next week.
I said my goodbyes to the girls in my apartment without regret and we planned one last night out. I was sad to say goodbye to Vasko but put my feelings aside and invited him along. I danced the night away with all of my new friends and left my anxieties about Tokyo behind. Suddenly and without warning I was yanked off the dance floor. “What are you doing?” Vasko demanded to know. In a mass of confusion, loud music and crowds of people I was drug by the arm up a narrow and dark stairwell to the club’s exit. Within moments I stood face to face with Vasko in the middle of a crowded Milan street at midnight. Without warning I felt a sharp and swift blow to my cheek. Could it be that he just swung at and hit me, I processed? This was completely foreign to any type of experience I had been privy to in the past. At least a hundred people in line had witnessed what had happened yet none of them came to my defense. I was in a different culture and it was apparent. Stunned and afraid, I quickly tried to regain my sense of self. Immense anger immediately welled up from the pit of my stomach. “Don’t you EVER touch me again!” I said shaking my bony index finger and fiercely staring into his eyes. “You shouldn’t be out on the dance floor like that!” he yelled in a jealous rage. Determined to get myself out of the situation, I hailed a cab but realized I didn’t have enough money to get all the way home. I was desperate to remove myself from the situation and decided to walk the 4 miles back to my apartment in my high heels. My mind raced at what could possibly have been going through his mind to justify such behavior. I knew our backgrounds were different, but it was only then that I understood their truly dichotomous nature. It was after midnight and I was only halfway to my apartment in a strange city far from the safety and comfort of home. I was scared but sheer adrenaline overpowered my better judgement. Vasko crept up from behind and insisted on getting me home. The irony of his concern was more than I could handle and I knew that would be the last I would ever speak to him.
“Tokyo Lights” image, courtesy scientopia.org
The next day I boarded a plane to Tokyo, bag and portfolio in hand. It was cut and dry, with no long goodbyes from the agency or Vasko. I had plenty of time to ponder the ramifications of the previous night and speculate as to what my agency’s plan was for me. Perhaps this was another daring rescue by my guardian angel.