The year? 1986. The month? March. The place? Your apartment balcony; ‘tis a brisk, wintery eve in The City That Never Sleeps. You look over Central Park, a thin layer of slush covers the ground as the fragile, icy branches quiver in the gusty wind. A stray breeze catches your satin nightgown, as if it were trying to gently draw you into the night along with it. You remain firm, yet still longing to be swept away from the mundanity of your life by some mythical Hollywood leading man. You look directly across the park at the apartment opposite yours, looking to see your ‘loving’ husband waving a white towel in the distance. You two wave towels for each other every night before taking to sleep, letting you know of his whereabouts, and his yours. Yes, your living situation is unconventional, but it works.
Tonight, there is no towel in sight.
You take a deliberate puff on a thick Montecristo you procured from your most recent trip to Cuba. (Summer of ‘85, you believe. The weather was sublime. It was a very good year.) The cigar was still smooth after two hours, but your time is just about up.
The phone rings. Once. Twice. Three times. He’s taught you how to keep someone in suspense.
From your veranda, you rush into the living room and hover over to the handset, hands trembling. You know who’s on the other end of the line, and if—nay, when—you answer, he’ll be under your skin. You’ll be doing things his way.
And yet, inhaling deeply, you pick it up.
“It’s been a long time, Frank,” you say.
“Too long, my dear.”
A pregnant pause. He’s waiting for you two utter those three fateful words.
“I miss you,” you confess.
“I know.” The coloring of his voice was considerably darker than last you’ve heard it. It’s smokier. Richer. Like wood-fired molasses. It’s intoxicating. It’s so wrong, yet it feels so right.
“Come fly with me, Mia.”
“We can’t keep going on like this,” you declare ineffectually.
“Like what?” he questions.
“I want these midnight rendezvous’ to be something more,” you plead. “I’m tired of us meeting under the cover of darkness. I feel like-”
“Like strangers in the night?”
“The night makes strangers of us all, Mia. I can’t risk losing you to the light of day.” He’s right.
“I’m not asking you to risk anything,” you reply.
“What about your husband? What about Woody?”
“I’m prepared to face the music when it comes to that little rat, but will you? What about Barbara?”
He fell silent. You called his bluff.
“I need to see you. Come over. We can talk about it,” he conceded.
“Send a car for me.”
“Mr. Jacobs should already be waiting in the foyer,” he stated with confidence.
“You dog, you.”
He knows you love it.
“Come as you are, my love,” he commands. “You needn’t any makeup; I want the real Mia Farrow.”
“And I want nothing more than the real Frank Sinatra.”
“And the real Frank Sinatra you will get,” he added.
“Oh, how I long for your sweet embrace, Frank. I need you now.”
“I’ll count the seconds. So far I’m up to four!” he joked.
Oh, Frank. Intensely romantic for one moment, downright goofy the next. He was like that sometimes.
“I’ll see you soon,” you whisper.
“Goodbye, for now.”
You set down the phone and step into some pastel pink slippers. They were a gift from your husband back in ‘82, but you’re paying him no mind. There’s only one person living rent free inside your head at this very moment, and that is Francis Albert Sinatra.
You gather yourself and begin a momentous descent from your apartment, down three flights of stairs, and into the magnificent foyer of your apartment building. There, you find Mr. Jacobs, dressed in his signature grey suit and brown tie, standing at the ready.
“Mr. Jacobs. Good to see you.”
“It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”
“It’ll be six months tomorrow.”
Had it really only been six months? You feel it must’ve been longer since you’ve stared into his beautiful, blue eyes in the flesh.
“I assume you are ready.”
“As I’ll ever be.”
No one can truly ever be ready for a night with Frank Sinatra.
As you step into the back of the car, a whirlwind of emotions overcome you. You’re excited, yes, but you also have the a different kind of feeling in the pit of your stomach. The feeling that this night will result in something much more. Something that the both of you cannot be responsible for.
Mr. Jacobs drives away. Perhaps the best is not yet to come.