The photo shoot was magical. We loved Lauren Epstein (Real Simple editor), Casey Tierney (Real Simple editor), Glenn Glasser (photographer), Melissa Silver (make-up: boy, does she know what to do with a face that’s seen some time), Ben Thigpen (hair; such care such tenderness with all this white hair), Maria Stefania (wardrobe though I ended up wearing all my own clothes—she taught me how to wear them). The music played, we played, we loved and the camera disappeared.
|Not it: Boffi Italian designer loft: but you get the idea|
But even after the photo shoot in the Soho loft on Hudson Street at Time Inc.’s studio , Stephanie Booth continues to question for the Real Simple article. Was it ever going to be a go? Was my memoir (Re)Making Love standing in the way? The heart of our story lies there.
Compare how much she and the mag knew about us to what they finally chose to use: curious process that shows how vetted we were, how thorough they were, and how much we learned by talking about our story—stuff that’s in the memoir and stuff that’s not.
Here’s another glimpse:
Q: What details can you share about Del surprising you in Paris? Can
you describe the building your apartment was in? What were you doing
when you saw him at the window? Did you think, at first, that your
mind was playing tricks on you? What were you wearing? What time of
day was it? Any details would be great!
|The view from my window|
A: The apartment was 125 sq. feet on 7 rue des Francs Bourgeois in Marais, a four-story walk-up and I was on the top floor. I was in my nightgown, having breakfast when he called my cell. It was about 7 a.m. I answered the phone and he said he was outside. The door to the building required an access code and I gave it to him, but didn’t tell him which apartment I was in. (BTW, he said before I left that he needed my address in case of emergency: we have children, etc.—so I gave it to him.) The building had a courtyard that I could see from my window. I asked him what he was doing here, and he said he’d come to Paris to see me. I didn’t know what to do, but I told him there wasn’t room for him. He said, “That’s okay. I can get a hotel. Could I come up for a minute?” I said, “There’s a lot of steps.”
Q: You said when you and Del began dating again, he began talking to
you about his feelings. Can you give an example?
A: He said, “Mary, I’ve needed to lean how to love with emotional intimacy. To me, when I think about it, love has always meant care taking. You love with an open heart. I want to protect that heart and love that way.” I swooned. I wasn’t sure whether to trust. He said, “That’s true. So what you need is positive experience. Please come to dinner with me.”
Q: You gave many of your belongings/furniture to your daughter when
you moved. Did you have to go out and buy new things for your apartment, or did you just not have the space?
I simply had no space. My condo in DC is 1,000 sq. ft with virtually no storage. I didn’t buy anything because I had no place for anything. My daughter now has most all my mother’s crystal, much of my cooking equipment: tart pans, brioche pans, bread kneading bowls and forms, treasured collection of baskets, my mother’s dining room small table, an old desk and my kitchen chairs, the guest bed, our bureau—all now in Williamstown. My son, who lives in the West Village, took the bentwood rocker I had rocked him and my daughter in when they were infants.
Q: Was it coincidence you and Del bought condos three and a half
blocks away? Or was there a reason for that? And where did you worry
you’d run into Del? (the corner bodega, the gym, on the street?)
A: It seemed odd to me. He bought his apartment after I bought mine. I did sometimes think he might just not let me go. But without knowing it, I had bought my apartment in the neighborhood where his office had just moved. I didn’t realize this because I saw my artist’s loft, loved it, bought it and moved to Missouri to teach. When I returned from Missouri, I realized he was three and a half blocks away—and was a bit horrified—we were negotiating a separation agreement, I was dating, and he might see me. So, I told him that.
|Pretty, yeah, but also this is pretty much the whole flat.|
He tells me now that outwardly he was buying a place near his job, but on a more subconscious level he knew he was moving closer to me. On my return, I did worry that I would see him on the street. And I was dating. He told me that once he saw me sitting outside at a café with a much younger man and that he was worried.
In the process that has been the renovation of a marriage, the renovation of two lives—and the renovation of my apartment (more about that soon!) into two condos that became one: Yeah, I see the double entendre there—
I have come to understand two key things:
1. That what I think I know, I don’t know.
2. And that Paris is not on any map. It is in the heart.