His eyes haunted me from the first day I met him. Blue, glassy, squinty pair of eyes. Piercing look that left me an uneasy. But the twinkle in them made me wonder Who is this man?
I wanted him to like me right away. I wanted him to see me. My greatness. My flaws. My core. My secrets. Not in a way that a lover sees. But rather in a way that a teacher does. The kind of teacher that I would keep learning from years after he was gone.
One of the first time we sat one-on-one together... the bagel shop? A New York deli...? Coffee shop? I don't remember the setting, but I remember the tone: He sat across from me, with his cap on. A baseball cap that hid most of his eyes. He wore that hat deliberately, as if he was aware of the magnetic pull in his eyes and so he wanted to select his prey, his conquests, his followers. I remember a cigarette in his hand, so must have sat outside.
It was a cold New York day - I assume - as most days in New York are cold.
I can still hear the raspiness of his voice and the sound of his keys jiggling in his pocket.
A sign of nervousness? I always wondered.
No, I think it was only a play. A play to make ME nervous, perhaps. And nervous I sure was...
He looked at me with those piercing eyes: did he see the young actress who only wanted to be told 'you are good...' you are great...' 'you belong....' ? Did he see that desperate need to be SEEN by those eyes? Did he hear my unspoken yearning scream: SEE ME!!!!! ?
No. I don't think he did. I think he saw a pretty young woman who adored him. So he tested her. He taught her that everybody had their price. He asked her in between his words: 'what's your price? How badly do you really want to belong? What would you DO in order to belong?' But she was too naive then to speak the language that exists between words.
She believed he was as transparent as she was, but he was just a man.
Just a man trying to see if the young actress would go to bed with him.
She never did. So he settled on being only her teacher. A great teacher.
But it could have been very very different.
I always wondered whether in his eyes I had aced the test, or whether - I had failed it.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman