Castles in the Sky

Who: Maggie
Age: 35
City: New York, NY
Profession: Actor/Admin Asst.
Basketball Diaries.

“I am the assistant to the assistant of the richest man in New York City.” This statement grabs our attention with a whip. The moment we hear “richest” anything, people generally go into Ga-ga land. And I don’t mean Lady. I think Maggie knows this and so decides to keep going. She’s got us, and why not, it’s a fascinated story.

“…it’s a bustling office with people coming and going all day. I don’t care for celebrities much but I generally get speechless when this one basketball player comes to visit and says hello to me…” Maggie is a frumpy, energetic ex-actor. She looks like she would wear a huge smile, even during the hardest of times. I think now is a one of those times, since she’s at a crossroads with her acting career, well, the lack thereof, and what life could have in store for her without it.

“…so the first time he came by I had this prepared speech I was going to tell him. He comes from where I was brought up and he’s now in a team of a city I went to college in, I mean, it’s just destiny!”

Maggie works full time and trusts that she can, “leave for an audition at any moment,” it’s just that it hasn’t happened often enough for big brother to see a habit kicking in. It’s hard running from acting job to acting job. All of us shake our heads or give a verbal sigh when she talks about her circumstances. We’ve all been there too; it’s as if actors are blacklisted from the real world when we mention the “A” word to potential employers. It drives me crazy.

“Everyone at the office prepares me days before he comes to visit. I always get dressed up. I put on one of my finest, and do up my hair and face. It’s pretty funny. So, this one time, I went the extra mile. I can’t remember why…I just get so star-struck when he’s around! It’s awful.” She repeats herself, “The biggest of names from tv, film, theatre come through and I don’t bat an eye, but he just does something to me.”

I feel for Maggie. I think that the “knight on a white horse who’s going to save me” mythology really did a number on her, and a lot of women out there the moment we were invited to fantasize about it at a young age. We get all dolled up and have nowhere to go because we’re waiting, anticipating, that he’s just around the corner ready to save us. That, or the painful illusion of what money, fame, power, possessions and looks do to the deprived.

I want to scream at her, “You hate your job! You’re miserable. Bring the mirror up!” We stay on the basketball guy for a while. The story goes into her dress/hair/face preparation, and then the story comes to a screeching halt. Because that one particular, completely dolled up day, when basketball player was suppose to come? He never showed. Thus, in returns that smile with the pearly whites from earlier, that deceptive grin that comes across as indestructible.

I look at her for a long moment.

I picture her taking the train home that evening after a long arduous day at the office; her lipstick dried up, her hair-do decaying, her dress -an accidental coffee stain from earlier, and her feet, swollen from really high uncomfortable shoes. No white knight tonight, but possibly a visit to the White Castle to feed the void.