He was the single most powerful man I had ever met. Ev-er. It tickled me to my funny bone how his mere presence or the mention of his name would cause my colleagues to piss themselves. We always knew when he was in the region. The hotel switchboard would light up like a 7-11 as each manager notified one another of his recent visit. No one wanted the wrath of "Big". He was a perfectionist! He walked the halls like a warden in a prison. Checking every little detail. Everything had to be perfect. They admired him. He could have lead them into a burning building and they would have followed. He had this way about him. I found it so amusing. Of course I was 23 and found most things to be amusing.
I loved nothing better than to tease and toy with him. Although in front of colleagues I had to address him in a professional manner. "Freak" was not appropriate". He was afterall "The Big Guy"! I think everyone knew what was transpirring. Why was I in the dark??
The memories of how it all began are a little blurry but as I recall he really was pretty crazy about me. HE. WAS. I don't know that I fully knew at the time. He wore suits. I wore mini skirts and ridicoulously high heeled hooker shoes. Not to mention the mile high hair bigger than Dolly Parton's! It was a scene straight out of "Pretty Woman". I don't know why I was so surprised when he finally asked me out. I mean, I had to know. He had hinted (strongly) that he wanted to take me out. I couldn't have been that dense. I wasn't fazed at all when he fianlly popped the question though. I was a wild child! He was conservative. He even ordered his drinks "tall". I guess he didn't want me to take advantage of him. I drank bottled beer! Nice. In his 28 years he had already owned 5 or 6 homes. I was impressed. He was recently divorced. This did not fare well with the parent's. They thought he was going to "influence" me in the ways of evil. He was focused. Chasing the carrot faster than Bugs Bunny. Again, parent's thought he was "too experienced" for me". I would sit on the edge of my seat laughing as he shared stories of the latest and greatest scandal in the hotel world. And let me tell you, there was some shit. Those were the days though. He had goals. He was a planner. If you can imagine(you probably can't) I barely was able to balance my check book. Ok. I didn't balance it. I hoped that I had money in my account at the end of the week. And what's worse I didn't know what I was going to be when I grew up. But one thing I knew for sure. I was going to marry this man.
We had a story book relationship. Oh sure, there were moments filled with terror. There was that time I amost killed him trying to learn how to drive the boat. Ok, so I didn't almost kill him, but he insisted. Not on me killing him, but on teaching me how to drive the boat (note to self not a good idea after numerous beers--and no I don't condone this either!). He was a skiier and he made it very clear that he loved nothing better than skiing. But, as I babbled, "I've never done this before" he looked at me and said "if you can't do this, I don't know that I have room in my life for you"! I still remember the sting of his words and how I hid the tears behind my big Jackie-O sunglasses. Quickly shaking my head saying "yes, yes, I can do it, I can". I did not want to dissapoint him, but I really had doubts. I was going to give it my all. He gave me the thumbs up. My heart was beating so hard I swore it was going to pop out of my chest. Momments later as the boat came reeling out of the water "Big" hanging onto the ski rope for dear life yelling "neutral, neutral, NEUTRAL"as I paniced what to do and thinking "where is the g-d damn neutral"! apparantly I was supposed to ease the boat out of the water instead of flooring it. Smiling from ear to ear with glee from the backwash of water he got as the boat slide in beside him with a splash bigger than the Titanic as I finally found neutral. Yes, I thought to myself I can do this! I was not going to back down either. It would be safe to say there was lots of yelling when we were on the river, which was every weekend! We were a sense of amusement for all within a 12 state radius. He was an excellent solom skiier and unlike most people he could pop up on one ski. None of that kicking off one. Oh, no. That was for wimps! And much to my surprise I finally mastered manuevering the boat through the course that summer without picking off all the cones (or him) in the process! He would weave in and out with the precision of a pro. Each cut sharper than the last with hand tickling the water with such ease. It was amazing.
I would anxiously wait to see him all week. Anticipating where and what we would do. Counting the hours until it was "Big" time. Waiting and watching for his shinny black sportster to pull up in the driveway each weekend. I would spend hours in the bathroom perfecting the mile do making sure every hair was in place and make-up was perfect!! Bag sitting by the door awaiting his arrival. We spent most weekends at his home where we would hole up to enjoy one another's company. Lying in bed some weekends until the middle of the day and only getting out of bed to feed our bellies or grab the paper.
I loved this time with him. No interruptions from the outside world. I had him to myself. I dreaded Sundays the most. I knew I would be going back to my dull life and would not see him again until the following weekend. I would share the events of our "oh so exciting" weekend with my girl friends and they would ewww and ahhh over all the details. They were not dating anyone nearly as important or as sophisticated as "Big".
He introduced me to so many new and exciting places. The opera. I sobbed the first time I saw Oh Salome. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. We traveled. G-d did we travel. We dined out and we only ate at "white" table establishments. His shadow in the doorway of the many eateries we frequented guaranteed the best table along with first rate service. He knew anyone who was anyone. We never waited. All he had to do was mention his name. Ahhh, yes the name. "Big". It was paralyizing the power he had. And, yes, I got use to it too. I loved all the attention. Something was happening. I was drawn to him like an alcholic to their next drink. I didn't want to trust him. But I did. Desperately. I found it so easy to fall into his arms. It felt right. I was falling in love with the lifestyle but more shocking, I was falling in love with him............