Michael picked me up in Harlem. He took me to HA Comedy Club in Times Square to try and get me a set in front of the manager to ultimately get me a show and/or a lot of regular spots at the club. Before HA we went to a Thai place. I told him I was going to get a sugar daddy. As a painter and a comedian making $50-$100 bucks a show – a sugar daddy seemed like a practical approach to remain in the arts. He goes "but then you have to sleep with a saggy old guy" And I laughed and was like "EEEEWWWWW !!!" deflated that I hadn't really thought out my plan that far.
He made me laugh. He had a cool detachment that made him interesting. But he also had depth. He talked about being a recovered drug addict. He was asking me about what I was doing with the comedy. He also asked what happened to my marriage. These were tough questions, particularly the marriage one. It was an abusive marriage and hard to talk about. Looking back, I realize I didn’t really know what I was doing with my life or my career. I didn’t have any money and I was trying to put back together the pieces of my life like Humpty friggin Dumpty. And I mean, who wants to cut to the chase and say “yeah I’m broke and depressed.” I was not comfortable talking about that. I craved that kind of honest, open dialogue. I'm sure I talked and kavetched to my friends endlessly, as one does after a breakup, but that is just complaining, it isn't necessarily open, honest conversation. That's hard to come by. And I could have had that with Michael who, from recovery, I imagine, is well versed in people airing their dark stuff with no judgment. But I guess I wasn't ready at the time. He had recorded two storytelling radio hours on NPR and had done some television. His career was taking off and I hadn’t even made the leap to New York yet.
Another time we hung out, there was a big fund-raising event at Webster Hall that included music, art and standup. The standup segment was in a large room with a stage and several bars, somewhere within the labyrinth of the many rooms that makeup the massive nightclub and concert hall. We walked around after his set downstairs where they were selling merchandise. He tried to buy me underwear but I was embarrassed. So instead he bought me a pair of black, fingerless gloves with a revolver on the left glove. We made our way upstairs on to a level that overlooked a giant stage below. The art was hanging on this level. We conversed with the other comic and his girlfriend for a few and walked around a little. It wasn’t anything earth shattering, just cool, and I realized I liked being with him. The event was really an interesting concept, but it was a little helter skelter, because there was so many things going on, so we left.
He dropped me off in Harlem where I was staying with a friend. I told him that was my gay boyfriend’s house… and he laughed and said “your what?” Then he texted me later that night that in three separate texts...
-originally published in Recipes For A Broken Heart, compiled by Dr. Laura Hayden. You can buy a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Broken-Heart-Laura-Hayden-ebook/dp/B00TN1UVS8