I was in a bar on the Upper East Side of NYC. I had recently turned 23 and I felt very adult. I was there with my boss and one of our clients. My boss was about 34, he seemed so old to me! The client was in his 50’s but very handsome, suave and had a mad, sexy voice. We had all been out to dinner and then went for some drinks.
It was one of those bars, ubiquitous at the time, brass rails, ferns and lots of well-dressed people, all on the prowl. Men in 3 piece suits and with moustaches, women with hungry eyes and sunken cheeks. I think my eyes were that, my cheeks- not so much. I can tell you that I was wearing a teal dress with a multi-colored teal belt that was woven. There was a slit on the side and my thigh showed through. Mad sexy.
The two guys were getting drunk and I was bored and thinking that I better get in a cab and get to Grand Central. They decided to play pool – another ever-present symbol in these bars. I was alone at the bar, feeling slightly sorry for myself and like I did not belong.
Monday night football was on but I was not really watching. Then the special report came on – John Lennon was shot! I ran over to the guys, but they were drunk now for real and playing pool. They did not care. No one seemed to care, save a handful of us misfits who sat at the bar, where we were now getting free drinks from shocked and saddened Irish bartender.
I felt so sad and so raw but I could not exactly identify why. I kept thinking of a kid that I had worked with during HS and college who was obsessed with Lennon and wondering where he was and how he was taking this all. And I kept wondering who would shoot John Lennon and why.
By time I came out of my gin-infused tv watching I had realized that I missed the last train. Now I had to admit to myself that not only was I a misfit, but that I lived at home. I had to (gulp) call my mother and say I wasn’t coming home. She was pretty pissed off- to hear this and to be woken up at 2am.
I went over to the now very drunk boss and client. The client wanted me to go to his hotel room with him. Suddenly I felt revulsion – how did he not feel this pain of Lennon’s death? How could he think of sex? I also suddenly did not feel as old and adult as I had when we strode in there a few hours earlier.
My boss got very protective and took me to his apartment. I remember being shocked that he was the big sales manager but his bed was a mattress on the floor, just like college. Complete with milk crate night stand! He let me sleep in his bed and he took the sofa, but I couldn’t sleep. I listened to WNEW-FM and cried.
Many images were shattered that night, many.
The next day I felt overtired and shameful, showing up at work, looking a bit disheveled and wearing the teal dress again.
And John Lennon was dead.