the Ali/Cindy reunion, I met up with my sister back at the hotel. She had flown to L.A. that morning from
Florida to meet me so I wouldn’t have to go to the signing alone. Signings typically make me very nervous, so
she wanted to be there for me, I guess just in case I accidentally flung myself
out of a moving car or something, just to avoid going.
she had nothing to worry about. I
wasn’t about to injure myself simply because the last signing brought on a
little acid reflux that lasted eight months, and that I’d mistaken for throat
cancer. Granted, I was beginning to feel a little tightening sensation in my
was fine. In fact, I got undressed,
slipped on my hotel robe and casually flipped on the TV. “Click” was playing again, so I flipped it
off and decided to read instead.
come your book is upside down?” my sister asked.
have a drink,” she suggested.
I can’t breathe.”
”That’s why I suggested a drink.”
”Can’t. Drunk make me nervous.”
”What? Nevermind. How about if we take a walk or something. This room is a little stuffy.”
”Nope. Sit here.”
”Are you okay?”
really. Pass the beer nuts.”
”Don’t eat beer nuts, Steph. You’ll get
my goal. I want to induce vomiting now
to get it over with so I won’t throw up later, in front of everyone.”
”You won’t throw up.”
”Yeah, I will. I feel it coming on.”
when she started talking. She talked
for two hours without stopping. I never
even once acknowledged a single thing she was saying, but that didn’t stop her. That’s what my sister does when she’s
nervous and when she doesn’t want me to be nervous. She talks incessantly. I love her for this, but she was giving me
”Oh, here. I happen to have some right
here. Anyway, did I tell you Sharon is
coming tonight? With her friend Rory. And her assistant. And she also invited this other girl. So matter what there will be at least five people there.”
”Don’t say ‘people’.”
“Sorry. Anyway, so I was going to wear black pants
but I think I’ll just wear jeans. Are
you going to wear jeans?”
”Don’t say ‘people’.”
didn’t, I said, ‘jeans.’”
I thought you said Jean was coming.”
We went on like this until it was 7:30PM. My signing was scheduled for 7. But I couldn’t get up.
going to be late,” she said.
you just go and say you’re me?”
does look a lot like me. Even I can’t
tell the difference.
not. You have to get up and get
of my clothes will fit me. I’m
bloated. From the beer nuts.”
”That’s ridiculous. Just put on this
shirt and these pants,” she said, rummaging through the little closet.
feel like we’re reenacting a scene from ‘Miss Understanding.’”
too. Get dressed.”
did get dressed, in the end. But I
didn’t look very good and my eyes were still swollen from the facial. But I got myself to the signing and it was
nothing like anything I could have imagined.
of all, the reason for the signing was that my book was featured in the goody
bags of the “La Femme Film Festival.” Which I know you know, because I only brought it up every day for the last
month. So there were a lot of
filmmakers and agents and producers there. I was seated next to my poster, with
a little table next to me, and my sister at my side, and a whole bunch of books
on the table. And nobody came near me.
about we get a little snack?” Robin suggested.
but no carbs,” I said, kicking myself that I didn’t stay upstairs in my room.
on a diet.”
”Since I started repelling people.”
”Stop it. Nobody even saw you sitting
there or they would have come over. You
were hiding behind the poster. Next
time sit in front of it.”
”I want to go home.”
Just then Sharon came over to us with her assistant and this guy Rory, who she
dated a few times, but then became a friend. I filed the name Rory in my mental Rolodex, under “single male,
tall.” I have one single friend and I
never stop looking for potential husbands for her. I’m on call at all times.
started chatting away with Robin and some other girl came over to us and said,
“So what are you, sisters or something?” She was very friendly, all evening. We became an instant fivesome. Me, Robin, Rory, Sharon, Sharon’s
assistant and the friendly girl. I
realize that’s six, but it looked like five. I typically count Robin and me as one. That’s how much we look alike.
do you want to eat?” Sharon asked me.
”Alrighty, cheese it is.” And she made
me a little plate.
we all sat down by my cozy signing area. Something about our little groupage had a bizarre effect on the
crowd. People were suddenly
swarming. I must have signed 200 books
in two hours. I never stopped. All I did was sign and eat the plates and
plates of cheese Sharon kept bringing me. Then some girl and her mother came over to interview me.
”Let’s go outside,” she said. And so I
did. I never even asked her who she was
or why she was interviewing me or where it would appear. I just kept answering
questions and holding in my stomach.
whole night was a blur. And then we
were back in our room.
“See? I told you it would go well,” Robin said.
only because you were there.”
no denying the fact that it went well. I can’t even lie to make you laugh. It
was just perfect. Because my sister was
there. She always makes everything
had written something in “miss understanding” that eventually got edited out,
but it was all about when Chloe and Zoe were babies and how their mother used to plop Chloe down next to Zoe
whenever she was crying. All she had to do was sit Chloe near Zoe and the
crying stopped. She used her as a human pacifier.
I’m not saying I’m Zoe. God Forbid. And I’m definitely not saying Robin is Chloe. I’m just saying there’s no such thing as