In reading the review for Walter Kirn's new book about his friendship with "Clark Rockefeller" I was taken back to when I was conned by a man named "Charles" whom I met when I lived in the West Village. One night back then, I attended an event for the photographer Andre Kerterz. For a lengthy part of the evening Kerterz stood next to me and was very attentive. (Later I learned that Andre loved girls and always found one to stand next to at gatherings.) Charles told me that upon arriving with a friend in tow they decided to find the prettiest girls in the room and talk to them. So the next thing I knew it was Andre and two gentleman all smiling at me.
Charles was an attorney who freelanced as a journalist. He often went out of town to cover politics for the Economist and then eventually left the country to work for them in Italy. One spring afternoon an assistant NYC district attorney called me, he was investigating Charles for fraud (because while he was appearing in court as a lawyer, he had never gone to law school or taken the bar.) When I told him that Charles was actually in Italy, the d.a. informed me that to the best of his knowledge, Charles had never left town. I was devastated that my boyfriend had been lying to me (and everyone else) about virtually everything. (Charles even staged return trips to NY to see me. To add insult to injury- when I called the Economist, they had never heard of him.) Getting dressed to go meet friends for dinner, I called Charles' home phone and he answered. My heart sank. Everything awful was true.
The next day he agreed to meet me in a nearby park. "Why did you lie to me?" I asked. He gave me an icy look and walked away. I never spoke to him again.
Years later, in the baggage claim at La Guardia, I spotted him at a nearby carousel, awaiting his bags. I did not meet his eyes- although I knew immediately that it was him. Leaving the terminal, I realized that this person who once meant so much to me, now meant nothing.
And for any of you trusting folks who have had the misfortune of knowing a psychopath better than is recommended, consider yourself lucky when they leave your life- hopefully forever.