Chapter 5. MASTER OF CEREMONIES
With New Years in the rearview mirror, I attended a regional builders convention where I was introduced to Jack Goldman, CEO of Goldman Development. I felt wet between my legs when I laid eyes on him. From tip to toe this man was excitement. But he was married, and I didn’t touch another women’s acreage. So Jack was business only.
By the end of the year, I learned that he was separated from his wife of 20 plus years. His kids were grown, the marriage had always been rocky, including several separations before this most recent break up. He had filed for divorce. I made eye contact.
We had a joyous courtship. He rented an apartment in NYC, fulfilling my dream of exiting the suburbs and moving to the city. He sent me to a couturier for a custom designed wardrobe to fit my petite frame in the finest style. He wined me and dined me and made love to me. He was my Master of Ceremonies and we slept entwined every night in that sweet New York apartment.
It was a natural transition with the kids because Annie was away at college and Susan was a Junior in high school and had her driver’s license. Eager to make life carefree for me, Jack treated her to a cute taxi-orange Chevy Vega, a little runaround compact car for teenagers. Todd finished eighth grade, and headed to boarding school in Princeton for his high school years. It took months of arguments with his father, who resisted paying for anything more than the meager alimony, which was rarely on time. But I persisted, and with letters of support from Todd’s psychologist and the Wildwood Middle School principal, he was persuaded.
This left me free to spend long weekends in NYC with Jack, returning to Wildwood for a short work week. I sold my purple building to cut cash flow and trimmed down Sparklers to my most profitable clients. This allowed me to work from my home office writing articles, placing ads, staging properties and managing a small staff to show and sell model homes. The two or three days a week I spent in Wildwood also constituted parental presence for Susan.
In NYC when I wasn’t standing on a pedestal with the seamstress at my feet pinning a hem line, or learning to count in Vietnamese during a mani-pedi, or shopping for silk ties and satin jockeys, Jack and I enjoyed a whirlwind romance from the upper east side to the lower west side of Manhattan. And from the east side to the west side of our king-sized bed, carpets, sofas, kitchen counters, closet floors... Well, you get the point, we loved making love, everywhere.
Though we enjoyed the culture and excitement of NYC, most of our social life consisted of business dinners or builder’s conventions. This was his domain. I watched him network, charisma capturing everyone’s attention. A clink of glasses, a handshake, a deal made. I was enthralled, this man was my man. As he helped with my coat at the end of the evening, his eyes glistened with exhilaration.
“We shook on the deal.” His hot breath warmed my ear as he leaned in to place the coat over my shoulders and whispered, “I knew the numbers worked. I knew he couldn’t resist the offer.” His voice was husky from talking all night. His confidence and triumph washed over me like the neon lights of the city as we stepped into a cab.
The evening of business achieved, we could flee to the privacy of our Park Avenue hideaway. Jack was an accomplished saxophone player, and when he pulled out his instrument, I slipped into a lacy negligee, nibbled pomegranate seeds and listened to him play late into the night. He stripped down to his skivvies and perched on the ebony piano bench, occasionally tapping a key on the baby grand to tune his sax. His tongue worked the reed, and his chest muscles expanded to build a note. He was so saxy. So sexy. As the jazz notes flowed, warmed and finally quieted, his Master of Ceremonies hardened and lengthened and the glossy shorts moved aside as if by magic to make room for the Generalisimo’s head to slide east and peek from behind the satin cloth.
His hands slid up my silk robe. Like a conductor of foreplay, his tongue so recently challenged by the reed of the saxophone, played lightly across my hips, teasing around my belly button, slick over my stomach, my breasts, my neck. Maddeningly wet in my ear, I writhed in anticipation. Then drifting down, retracing my ribs, sucking my thigh, his late-night stubble caught pubic hair as his tongue glided low, low, and deep, deeper into my warmest recesses.
Apres sex, he fell asleep with his manhood still wedged tightly inside me. I dreamed sweet dreams of love and marriage.
After a year of glorious loving, and the feeling that we were just getting started with so many more adventures to come, Jack proposed. He wasn’t naked down on one knee, or down on me, as I fantasized it might happen, but he was the total Master of Ceremonies as always. It was a bright spring day in the Big Apple, and we were arm in arm, meandering and window shopping, when he pulled me by the hand and started sprinting down Fifth Avenue.
I was skipping and tripping on high heels as he tugged me along. I giggled in mock protest, “Wait, what? Jack, Slow down, I’m going to fall!”
When he stopped suddenly I was out of breath and too confused to notice where we were. I let out a whew! bumped up against him and held tight to steady myself.
“I think it’s time to buy some diamonds,” he said whimsically staring up at the sign above our heads. “Don’t you?”
Still leaning against him, I looked up and realized we were standing in front of Tiffany’s. The corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, New York, NY. One of my favorite corners on the planet. Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed my hand again and led me through the wide glass doors into a world of glitter, gold and platinum, diamonds and the iconic blue box (a classy piece of PR even if I didn’t think of it myself.)
We looked and touched and tried on dozens of diamonds, set high, set low, with baguettes, with rubies and emeralds and sapphires. The gemologist sat with us at a table covered in blue velvet to polish the stones, as we considered carat, color and clarity, and sipped champagne, the drink of lovers. In a moment of practicality, almost impossible in such a glimmering atmosphere, we agreed that since his divorce was not yet final, and to avoid gossip and hurt feelings, we would choose a cocktail style ring to declare our promise, rather than the traditional solitaire. I walked out of the store with twenty-one diamonds clustered in a platinum setting that stretched from knuckle to knuckle on my left ring finger. Catching a ray of sun, the stones created a myriad of rainbows across the carpeting and walls of Tiffany’s showroom.
Our love making that night lasted from dusk ’til dawn as we invented new ways to play with the glittering trophy. Band on my finger, I gripped him fully to allow the ridge of the greased platinum to run up and down the length of his shaft. Dangling the diamonds on my nipple, he gobbled it up with a big slurp, then slithered it back onto my finger with his lips as he entered me slowly from below. With each thrust, his vein digged deeper into my cave, and my finger slid further along his tongue. With the ring on the tip of my tongue, I pulled his shaft along the roof of my mouth, the gems prickling my cheeks as I applied gentle pressure, then firmer, stroking his penis from balls to foreskin and back again. He arched his back at the peak of his pleasure, groaning his elation, shouting his fulfillment. We slept as the lights of the city dimmed with the approach of daylight, our bodies glued together by sexual spillage, sweat and saliva.
We waited patiently for the date his divorce would be final, as our passion intensified with each passing day. Spoiler alert: That’s when his wife was diagnosed with – let’s call it terminal frigidity. Three months to live. After twenty tempestuous years, he was disconsolate, but confessed he couldn’t abandon her for the last months of her life. I honored his decision, feeling tragically abandoned.
I moved back to New Jersey, and lived on Valium and Xanax. I discovered depression and slept through each day without the will to get out of bed. The confidence and self-esteem that had carried me through each day dissolved in buckets of tears and a steady drug haze. There was no strength in my heart to be a mother or a friend. My work was ignored. My vitality withered with my interest in living, and for the first time in my life, desire, sensuality and appetite deserted me. I lay fallow, like a frozen crocus under the ground, waiting for the warmth of his sunshine to spring me back to life.
It took the porcupine almost two years to die. By the time Jack walked back into my little house in Wildwood, there was desperation and longing, but he was unable to retrace the steps to my heart and my bed. Heartbroken, I knew I would never be his wife.