have called a comb-over and I realize he’s the author, Tom Wolfe. From behind, his elbows appear as delicate as Pretzel-Thins and I picture him typing madly, without block, the moment he conjured up his Bonfire characters Sherman McCoy and his mistress taking the wrong turn off the Bruckner into the South Bronx. We are in a bright room at the Waldorf that I have never been in before. The waiters throw plates in front of us like well placed Frisbees and there was a time I was here so often the hatcheck lady saved things I left behind. Don’t forget your umbrella tonight. The ceiling appears as tall as the open sky and I imagine a Gulfstream 550 gliding through, scooping up the General for his next Q and A and I wonder what is the price tag on speaking engagements. Are his prices the same now—as before? I can picture Obama when he leaves office, giving speeches, moseying up to the podium, kinda cool, kinda Pink Panther. I can’t read the fine print on the brochure in front of me and reach for my glasses in my husband’s breast pocket next to a quiet iPhone. I put the WE ARE IN A BRIGHT ROOM AT THE WALDORF THAT I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN BEFORE. THE WAITERS THROW PLATES IN FRONT OF US LIKE WELL PLACED FRISBEES AND THERE WAS A TIME I WAS HERE SO OFTEN THE HATCHECK LADY SAVED THINGS I LEFT BEHIND. palm of my hand on top of it relieved that one of us is armed, soothed by its stillness, since it is the first time as a mother I am without mine. Holly Petraeus, they say, is military royalty. We are staying at our apartment tonight thirty blocks away, a place I refer to as my country home because it is quiet, free of clutter and the artwork is provocative in colors that take you far from Manhattan— Tangier, an eerie night in Cuba, a figure in a hat walking towards the ocean—where the light in each room alters the hue of the oils. I look forward to getting there, putting on my sweats, getting to work at my desk to finish a story I’m writing, “Gigi’s Resort,” surrounded by my books, while my husband turns on the game and falls asleep. Gigi walks under the wispy arch of the bougainvillea to her room where no other guests are allowed, except one. The event is over and we leave the dining room on the eighteenth floor, passing Campbell Brown who is even taller and more attractive in person, and get right on the elevator pressing L . There is a slow mov- ing mass following us into the elevator and we move to the back. The thick door is sliding closed and a voice from the outside calls, “Hold that door!” An elderly couple gets on as if they are walking leisurely up the gangplank of a cruise ship, their trunks being toted behind them.
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