It was my father’s third marriage on April 1st, in the year 2000. No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. It really happened. Bonnie or as we more often called her Bonbon, was my date to my father’s wedding. I was the best man. The ceremony and reception were on the beach, so we are all there in tuxedoes, evening gowns, and bare feet, but that is a different story all together. Lets go back in time, and start at the beginning.
It must have been around 1983 or 1984 that I met the charismatic Bonbon. She was the “shooter girl” in an upscale night club. A shooter girl goes around with what are basically test tubes with shots or mixed drinks in them and sell them to the patrons of the bar. The first thing that caught my eye, was she had really thick hair that was past her waist. I’ve always been a sucker for long hair, and she had some of the most beautiful I’d ever seen. She had a bubbly personality, that you could see from a distance. She was a performer and you could see the crowd react to her like the water parting for a boat passing through it. When she made it over to my table, it almost took my breath away. She was wearing a rather skimpy bikini, boots, a holster with a bottle of mixed drinks in it, legs that went on forever, and a smile that would melt the polar ice caps.
Thinking back, it might have been my birthday, because she kept coming back and giving me shots for free and sitting at my table talking. I found out that she was a bartender at another bar in town and this was just an evening gig for some extra money. So she invited me to stop by where she was bartending some time. Needless to say, I made it a point to go by there very soon after our meeting. When I arrived, I was met with a big hug usually saved for long lost friends who haven’t seen each other for years. I didn’t mind. I stayed most of the evening, just chatting. I found that she had a son who was two and lived with her son’s father. Oh well, I thought, all the good ones are taken. But I continued to be a regular patron of whatever establishment she was working at.
We got to be close friends. Going for lunches, and hanging out from time to time. She threw me a birthday party each year thereafter. She always made me feel special. I was certainly no hunk or popular trend setter, so I couldn’t understand how we got so close. She was one of those who would truly stop traffic or turn every head as she entered a room. When the races came around she would inevitably be a promoter for one national brand or another. They would even send her to other cities for events. Her star certainly seemed to be rising.
She started working out in the local gym, and took what was an incredible body and sculpted it into perfection. In fact it almost became a caricature. She didn’t have classically beautiful features of the face, but her personality and body more than compensated for it. She had always been so down to Earth. Kind and considerate to everyone in almost every circumstance. She did end up marrying the father of her child. She ask me to be a photographer, and I agreed to, even though it would be hard. I was smitten with her. One of the strangest things was during her vows, I had the camera up and in telephoto mode for a close up, when she turned and spotted me she winked. I was totally stumped. I later asked her about it, and she said she didn’t remember doing it.
The marriage only lasted a year. My hopes rose that our relationship might move to the next level. My father and I visited London, Salzburg Austria, and the length of Italy. For me it was a pilgrimage of prayers and rituals. Starting with lighting a candle for her in Notre Dame, to touching the back of the dog on the door of the chapel of Pisa. For those of you who don’t know, the leaning tower of Pisa is just the bell tower for the chapel and they had a baptistery for the unsaved. I wanted Bonnie for my wife and promised God almost anything and everything, if it came to pass. That was back in 1993.
When I came back, we spent more time together but it certainly wasn’t heading quickly down the path I had prayed for. Then she got discovered by a Hollywood producer in 1996 and ended up with a bit part in Jingle All The Way with Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her bit part didn’t make it into the movie, but I think it was on the deleted scenes section of the DVD. In fact the studio or the producer paid for a boob job for her to do the scene. When she came back, she still was always warm with me, but I noticed a change in her. For several months we would do a wine tasting and dinner every two or three weeks, and actually started getting affectionate.
I had never forgotten my pilgrimage, but the person I fell for then wasn’t as down to Earth, and her dreams involved marrying someone rich and someone who worked out as much as her. I did not fit either of those bills. Bill France Sr. was the founder of NASCAR and the architect behind the building of the Daytona Beach International Speedway. His son was Bill France Jr., who was around our age. She didn’t get involved with France Jr., but it was a cousin, or some other close family member. So I backed way off and let her explore that lifestyle. We might get together for lunch, but it was very seldom.
Years later, I did join a gym and she had been working out so much for competitions, that she had become a professional trainer. She never went for those really muscular competitions. It was more just a perfectly sculpted feminine look. She worked up a series of machines to work on, and showed me how to do each one. Then there was the obligatory, “You can do three more and then quit.” When that three was done there was another three waiting. I didn’t work one of the machines correctly, and ended up hurting myself after only a couple of months of working out. So that put a quick end to gym experience.
I did find out that in the evenings she was a waitress at an elite little steak house with a live piano player. I started taking my dates there and loved the place. The food was outstanding, the piano player great, and Bonnie introduced me to the owner who always seemed to have a new brand of wine he would want me and my date to try. It was around this time that my father had decided to get remarried and asked me to be his best man. I had met his bride to be, but the wedding would be the first time that I would meet a lot of her family. I wanted to have an impressive date, so I asked Bonbon if she would accompany me. It was out of town, and a two or three day stay at the Hotel where the reception would take place. To my surprise, she said yes.
We had grown apart over all of these years, and the conversations didn’t come as easily. On the three or four hour drive to the hotel, she talked more about her life, her dreams, and what she wanted out of the future. It seemed even more shallow than just a year or two earlier. It saddened me in a very deep way. As we got closer to our destination, she was kidding about what type of house we would live in. Or I thought she was kidding, anyway. My half sister, her husband, Bonbon and I were to share a two bedroom townhouse when we arrived. The bedroom had two double beds, so there wouldn’t be any awkward moments about sleeping arrangements.
We did lots of celebrating, and she was stunning. The bride to be’s sons were suitably impressed, and my sister and Bonbon hit it off famously. When we were in the townhouse, Bonbon found one reason or another to be completely naked and have to come get me. Whether it was for help in the bathroom, or some other made up excuse, I saw more of Bonbon than I ever had before. In looking back, and as I even knew then she was giving me one opportunity after another to take it to the next level. I chose not to do so.
I had been so smitten with her for so many years, and gone through my journey of sacred sites in Europe praying for her love. But the person who was naked here before me wasn’t that woman. She had the same body, but not the same soul. Or I may have just been so insecure that I couldn’t deal with being with someone so popular. It might have been that I listened to what she said she wanted, rather than read the signals she was sending me then. I might have been making up signals that I thought she was sending, when that wasn’t at all what she intended. Maybe we had just grown so far apart the distance was to great to traverse. I never did make my play for her.
The day we were leaving, my sister and her husband had already left for an earlier flight. Bonbon came out of the bathroom with nothing but a towel on her head. I was in the living room, and when I saw the light coming through the venetian blinds following the curves of her body, I just yelled, “Hold that pose!” It was like the shots I had seen in galleries and photo books, where the light was perfect. I got my digital camera and took a shot of her standing and holding the chair, with her head turned away from the camera. The next was lying on the floor like the image above. I took four photos, when I realized there were no more shots left on the digital camera. I wanted to take more pictures, but I couldn’t get rid of photos from my father’s wedding. So we stopped.
A month or so later, she came by to get copies of the photos. They were tasteful, and she certainly wasn’t shy about her body. I saw her once or twice after that, but it was mainly just a hello in passing.