Vida Janulaitis
I could feel the heat of his words across the room. He came to the Drake Hotel to lecture about his latest novel, one about regaining a lost love. To me he will always be Gatsby and no one else. As our eyes met I felt the tension that warned me to go slow.

At the reception with the jazz singer performing his magic, I held my glass of champagne while watching him with his entourage of fans. I stayed my distance till he looked my way smiling. His eyes bore through me but I wouldn't, couldn't, look away. Each step towards me emphasized the pounding of my heart. This man had wealth, power, influence and a wife. For some strange reason we both knew that this time belonged to us. I also knew that I would regret it someday, but the day was not today. As we talked he made my heart laugh by sprinkling in small bits of the chaff at the most interesting moments.

He left briefly, coming back with champagne and when he held out his hand I didn't hesitate at all in taking it. We walked in heavy silence to the elevator which took us to his room. The night was all it should have been. But I learned a hard lesson, one which I will never forget.

" ... in a real dark night of the soul
it is always three o'clock in the morning,
day after day.........."

First published: February 2000