It was the mid-60s. I was a reporter and she was the most sophisticated woman in the room.
I was on assignment, picking up the local color at a cocktail party for a big show that was about to hit Broadway. There were dozens of beautiful women in the room, each vying for attention, eager to be the next leading lady.
I knew why she was there. Her father was the director, and famous in his own right, but she seemed to have no interest in the cast or the hopefuls. I think she just liked being noticed, and she was. I thought her the most beautiful woman present. In those days, I was not an unattractive young man. I had a prestigious scholarship, I was a football hero. I was a young man for the world’s fight.
I was 23 and she was 15. But I’m telling you, she was a young woman. Not a girl. She was a woman of the world. She’d been to school in Europe!
They brought us up to his room and I—an oft-disciplined Catholic boy—was certain it was going to be very bad. When he figured out I was a reporter, however, he brought out the Scotch. I suppose he thought he could charm me into writing a good review. I said little as he encouraged me to see more of his daughter. I wondered how she felt, hearing her father offering her up for a bit of publicity. But for that moment, I was happy to drink his Scotch rather than suffer his punishment.
We saw each other two more times. She was a sweet, sweet woman, but it was destined to be over. I had a set ticket to grad school overseas and she was, well, too young.
I still think about her every so often in that thin summer dress.