I have this divorce daydream. It’s about my dinner with George Clooney.
It’s an idea I have for my ultimate pick me up. Somehow, by writing to George Clooney, I secure a dinner date with him. I write to him explaining about the rough spot in my life and my need for a little excitement. I expound on how I picked him, not because he’s famously handsome, but because I want to spend the evening with an unencumbered charming man with a sense of humor…One who is of a certain age, not so much because I’m in my 40s, but because I need someone who will get my jokes and pop culture references. Growing up in the 80s has certain memorable advantages.
Somehow, out of all the fan mail, George’s personal assistant flags my letter and presents it to The Man. George sees my quiet sense of humor and optimism and decides, what the heck. An hour for dinner with a twice divorced regular single mom doesn’t seem so bad.
Upon my arrival in California, there are flowers in my hotel room. Nothing too elaborate…just a beautiful spray of lilies. Of course, the consummate lady’s man knows how to make an impression, ever generous…
Dinner takes place at an unassuming Italian restaurant tucked between two storefronts in an older section of the little town where we’ve decided to meet. The restaurant is run by an old married couple with tons of children and even more grandchildren. The tablecloths are checkered, the candles are firmly planted in Chianti bottles, and the walls are adorned with photos from years of anniversary parties and family vacations. It’s not Hollywood glitz and glamor, and that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s not the kind of place the Hollywood trend setters would frequent.
George rises from his seat to greet me. He’s already ordered us a bottle of wine and the owner brings it over with a cheery hello to me and some light banter with George. Clearly they know each other from way back and the little Italian husband is used to George’s patronage. I like this place. It’s warm and friendly and has that feeling of family. It’s the perfect place to escape the paparazzi. I’m not here to get my face in the tabloids. I’m here to have a nice dinner with an interesting man.
I laugh a little as I explain my quest to George. He knows the major details by now, based on my initial letter. Sitting here in my Target sun dress wearing my pretty, no-name pumps, I tell him how grateful I am that he’s taken time out of his busy schedule to meet me. I realize he must receive thousands of requests for his time. I’m honored that he accepted my invitation for dinner.
We chat a bit about our lives. I ask him about what he does when he’s not acting or working on humanitarian issues. He asks me about my life. I tell him about my quiet everyday…how I don’t aspire to do great things, rather I aspire to be great in the little things that I do daily. I tell him about my blog, my small company, my travels, and my attempts at gardening. We talk of pickles and photography and motorcycles and vintage leather jackets and writing. We share frustrations about wonderful ideas that never materialize in the way we hoped they would and we speak of self-discovery.
Our one hour dinner turns into two hours. It’s relaxed and comfortable.
At one point, he picks up his phone and suggests that I eavesdrop on his conversation. I like what I hear. He’s cleared his schedule for the next day, telling his assistant that he’ll be enjoying a day of sightseeing with a new friend. With that, we share a delicious dessert and part for the evening. I shake his hand and he holds it a moment longer, warmly and playfully.
The next day he picks me up from my hotel lobby. We drive up the coast on a winding highway with beautiful views of the ocean. George stops occasionally to show off a quaint town, a bustling fruit stand, or a scenic overlook. We people watch from behind our sunglasses.
We talk of deep topics: life, legacy, failures, successes. I share with him the Catch 22 that women find themselves bound by — dedicating ourselves to our husbands and family causes us to lose a piece of who we are and yet if we dedicate ourselves to our own dreams, we lose a piece of family. There is no simple fix for this balancing act. It is the guilt tightrope that every woman walks.
Eventually the day comes to a close with a drink and a kiss. It’s more than I had hoped for…this vastly interesting man has found me interesting as well.
If this were a movie, he and I would spend the night together, a beautiful, tender night where I convince him that Hollywood starlets are all wrong and the way to go is with a woman who is open, honest and wears her heart on her sleeve. I’d return to my home, only to find Husband #2 planted on my front porch, looking sheepish, lost and begging to come home. And if this were the movies, I’d tell both George and Husband #2 that I didn’t want a relationship with either of them, preferring to live my life on my own for a while.
But it’s not the movies.
George and I will not have dinner. Husband #2 is not coming home. And I’m sitting at my computer writing about fantasy.
At least I get to live life on my own…