Read the first part here.
Around 4 years back, I was invited for a wedding reception of a celebrity who has made a good name for himself in the industry. At one point of time, he was my focal point in a column where I wrote about celebrities and I also had the opportunity to interview him more than once. It took me by surprise to see an invitation to attend his wedding reception, waiting for me on my desk.
It was during the party that I bumped into Jessica again. One of those ‘eye to eye’ bumps, where both the parties are stuck with each other for a few seconds. I smiled at her, she didn’t complete her smile, just kept going in the direction she was headed too. That didn’t go well with me, not at all. The rest of the time I was looking at her, till I decided that I would hold a half filled glass of a premium scotch and walk straight up to her and start a conversation. I wanted to see how she would avoid me this time. She had lot of people surrounding her but I was determined.
Finally when I gathered enough courage, I got a glass and walked towards her. Reaching near, I just stood next to her for couple of seconds till she looked back at me. When she looked at me, I went on to say a hello and asked her if she could spare 5 mins of her time to talk to me, to which she replied negative. I was quick to counter that argument with ‘I know I look ugly and I’m not going to ask you out, but I am a journalist’; I flaunted my id to the crowd. I continued saying that I had something related to profession that I had to convey. I also mentioned that she can carry on with her conversation now and once she is done with it, she could talk to me if she wished to do so. I said so and I walked back to my table.
Surprisingly after 15 mins or so, she came over and sat opposite to me. I had noticed that by this time she must have gulped down thrice the amount of alcohol that I had consumed. I started with a note of apology which she ridiculed calling it cheesy. She said that neither was she in a position to be in a relation, nor she is now. There was more silence this time as compared to the conversations that happened 4 years back. I couldn’t get things rolling, she was partly busy with shots of alcohol. I mentioned that it was impossible to strike a conversation with her in this crowd and if possible I would want to meet her again for a bit later on, also mentioned that the difference I saw in her was unbelievably surprising. She never replied to me then, but later on when I was about to leave the reception after wishing the couple for the invite, she sent someone to let me know that she would be there in the city till Tuesday (that day being Sunday) and she would be free the next day at 2100 hrs and invited me over to dine with her to the hotel restaurant which she stayed in. It was obviously a well-known hotel, one of the most expensive in the city.
I met her again.
She had changed a lot, her ways of dealing with people had as well. She had learnt the art of not talking much, also to have a smirk filled smile on her face at times and not responding to uncomfortable things. She had fine-tuned her behaviour to match the world she lived in. She had to empty half a bottle of vodka to start talking a bit.
I was reassured about the things I knew about the life of a celebrity. Her words described the pressure involved, the politics behind the scenes, the competition, the run, the chase, the need to please a lot of people and finally the need to be in top shape all the time. She went low talking about this and then would revive her mood with another sip of vodka. Finally by the end of our little chat, she had almost emptied a packet of cigarette and finished more than three quarters of a bottle of vodka with little to no help from me. No one can be low and depressed when you are drunk and under the influence.
I had no intentions of going back with her to her room this time and I said a thank you and a goodbye right from the table to which she smiled broadly. Even after being drunk as a fish, her smile looked charming as ever. She felt really beautiful.
Before I stood up to leave, I asked her again as to why she allowed me to meet her again when she could have avoided me this time. I don’t know what to call it; respect or admiration for her that grew ten folds as I heard her say, she never saw me as a journalist in the first place. She made me realize that after meeting me first time those four years ago, she could have easily denied the dinner date which I had put forth, which she didn’t. She saw something beyond a journalist in me.
The alcohol in me had played a part in making me emotionally charged. I just went ahead and hugged her real tight. She was there, looking at me and pretty much drunk. I offered her a hand to get up from her seat. I was sure that she wouldn’t make her way back to her room and I offered to help her. But instead she took my hands and walked, forcing me to walk with her. We were on the lift and soon I had surrendered to her gentle force. That night, I made love with her which felt even better than ever because I looked into her eyes with lots of love. That night is something I would cherish for ever. But the next day morning, I had to leave early but didn’t want to commit the same mistake I did four years back. I left a note on her table with my phone number, telling how I felt about her.
I never heard back from her after that. I never tried to contact her after that. I guess I’ll never hear back from her now…
Celebrity world ate her up completely this morning. Her death was a big news and channels were flooded with discussions, some of which went like, ‘Barely at the age of 28, has the worst happened? Probably she should have kept away from alcohol and drugs…. Blah blah blah.’ The media had gone crazy as usual, celebrating a big news like they would do.
The reason for her death was substance abuse and her blood showed traces of drugs. Overdose of drugs probably. My sources had got me this information and it must be right. Lately I have been hearing a lot of her stories of the same as well.
My cab should soon reach the public hall where her corpse would be kept for public viewing. For once, let me see what she looked like from the perspective of a normal guy and I had decided not to flash my journalist badge to get special permissions, whatsoever.
I could never convince my heart till now that she was a celebrity though she was always few levels above me and we were never together.
Maybe today is that day when I finally succeed…