Ten: Socialite

“So why did you run off?”

I consider Gerard’s very obvious question as we begin to walk off of the bridge.

Firstly, I consider why I might tell Gerard.

Secondly, I consider why I did run off.

Well, to the first thing: there is something about Gerard, a genuine care and curiousness in his hazel eyes. Something about him says ‘I understand. I know what you’re going through.’ He doesn’t; I don’t even know, so he can’t possibly understand. But anyway, I feel comfortable around him. He radiates this presence of comfort and peace that I enjoy and, really, haven’t found around anyone for years.

And the second thing was easy. I was out of my comfort zone; I was embarrassed, thrust into the limelight. I couldn’t cope with what I was doing so I turned, turned and ran off like a coward.

“I was getting too much attention. I didn’t want it.”

“What happened...? I mean, Ray and Frank told me –”

“Well, two men just ran out. One of them wanted someone’s teddy bear, and the other gave that to me and ran out and...I didn’t like it. So I ran outside and it was just the same. It made me uncomfortable and embarrassed.”

“So you bolted?”


Gerard doesn’t look at me, and then says, “You’ve avoided meeting us for a while.”

“I have,” I agree with a nod. “I suppose it’s because you saw me at my worst time and I don’t like to talk about it.”

“We’d never make you talk about it if you didn’t want to,” he frowns.

“I’m too used to Tina,” I answer with a small shrug. “That’s all I can say. And honestly...I found it strange that you wanted to see me. I’m not interesting.”

“Oh, I can’t see why a girl who’d just committed suicide, a girl that’s always in the newspapers, famous, a model, beautiful, incredibly rich...isn’t interesting at all.”

I look sideways at Gerard and feel myself smiling. “Aside from that. I’m just a girl. I had the wrong relative, that’s all.”

“What do you mean?”

“How I became famous was a complete accident. Its all because of a now-deceased relative of mine, an aunt,” I explain. It’s a story I tell often and have no fears about anyone hearing.

“When I was twenty one, my great, great grandmother died. I’d grown up in Britain and she’d lived in America, which was where my father and all of his family were born. When she died she left me my house – and a great sum of money. I flew over to America and then decided to make my life over here. I haven’t returned home since, and that’s four years that I haven’t been home. I’ve seen my mother once,” I tell him. “I have two sisters and a brother, and my father of course, but he lives in Florida, so he’s not so far away...”

I push a hand through my hair. “I had money and a house but I needed help to adjust to America and that’s where my aunt, my father’s sister Rosemary stepped in. She herself was rich and not because of our relatives, she’d built up her own wealth and fame. Rosemary was a socialite. She had friends in high places. She used to be a model, which was where I came in. Rosemary had no children of her own but she had always dreamt her daughter would follow in her footsteps and here I was, a fully formed girl. Rosemary made contacts and before I could protest I was on my way to becoming a model and...Here I am today.”

“You said Rosemary was dead?”

“Car accident. About a year ago. It hit me hard.”

“Could that be why –”

“No, I doubt it. I’d already had suicide attempts two years ago. When she died I think things got worse because she wasn’t there; I only had Tina, and Tina is very nice when she wants to be but honestly, I cannot stand her for more than a certain amount of time! Now I have to live with her. But I’m grateful for her care, after everything...”

“Why don’t you leave if you can’t stand it?”

“I will...when I’m well enough. I’ve set myself back now for about another two weeks.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Tina’s a worrier, a worrier of me. She’ll never let me go now,” I explain.

“It’s not her decision?”

“I find myself giving in now rather than standing my ground...” I sigh.

“That seems rather sad.”

“Even more so if you knew the person I used to be,” I say and shake my hair into my face.

“I never got to know her...”


“I could get to know her.”

I bark out a laugh and walk faster than him.

“No, you won’t; you can only know the girl that’s replaced her now.”