SY, MY LANDLORD
Since my return from France in October 1990, little by little, with his compliments, the look of joy and interest on his face when he saw me, I came to believe that he cared about me. I hadn't had any opposite sex interest since Pat and, pushing aside my suspicions about his possible responsibility for the theft of my photos, I allowed myself the intoxication of falling in love. I felt a little flattered to be the object of this man's atten- tion. I found him good looking after all. He had dark hair that was getting some salt sprinkled in, and a face with sharp fea- tures but not unpleasant, except in profile where his thin lips and slightly receding chin evoked a rodent.
He was always dressed in a way I liked. No suits, but easy wear and nice color combinations. I would seek opportunities to see him in his office and have a little chat. He seemed to enjoy seeing me but would invariably cut the conversation short by saying: "Talk to you later" although he would never make any attempt to resume the conversation. I felt vaguely insulted, unable to pinpoint exactly where it hurt.
But he would keep being nice, grant me any request by dis- patching his staff to clear the problem when there was one. If there was any of his staff when I came to his office, they would leave as soon as I came in to leave us alone. But he never went beyond the stage of giving compliments or making sexual comments. For instance I complained of mice and found two holes where they were coming from. When I mentioned it to him, he said he wanted to plug my holes. I was offended and didn't speak to him the rest of the day. The day after I told him that he had been extremely gross. He asked what he had said and I repeated his words. He laughed and apologized. I kept hoping he would ask me out, although I knew it was not a simple thing to do between a land- lord and a tenant. But how could he love me and not want to see me in private?
My hope of marriage had surfaced again and I was checking him against it. It didn't seem to fit but I allowed myself to dream of the relief I would feel if a wealthy man like him would marry me. Would I then give up the guitar? Any remaining hope of a career?
Unfortunately, every time I responded to Sy's advances he would rebuff me, as if I were not good enough for him. I thought there was something wrong about me and tried everything to make it right. I couldn't believe that, sexual harassment being in the news the way it was, Sy would dare to do it. So it must have been his way of showing affection, albeit not one that made me happy, and I tried to take it.
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