Every woman falls in love with a treacherous woman at some point. Mine was a blonde with a heart of darkness. We met in New York in a hostel.
She was French Canadian. She despised most things and most people. Her utter contempt made her compelling.
And her lies. And her access. She was having an affair with the owner of the Mudd Club. It meant we could go out every night. Of all the things she despised, top of the list were people who went to sleep at night.
We were sharing a dormitory with earnest young women who were studying or working in New York and just wanted cheap accommodation.
“Phoof,” Diane would say. “Why are they so stupid?”
The poor stupid women would be woken up every night around midnight by Diane putting on all the strip lighting so we could get ready to go out. Inordinate amounts of glittery make-up was applied while the stupid women groaned, saying they would get us thrown out of the hostel.
Diane didn’t care. Why should she? The first drug she ever had was heroin. “I was a good girl. Now I am having my, how you say, teenage time.”
She liked to go to sex motels where you paid by the hour and then a bell rang.
“I like it cheap,” she used to say.
We never had any money but people who cared about money were second only to those that slept, in her book. If she was down to her last two bucks she would spend it on strawberry cheesecake.
She knew how to live.
One day, she was gone. But she called me at the hostel.
“I had to go back to Montreal. I have a part in a play. It’s a tragedy.”
She had always said she was an actress. A great actress. This seemed possible.
“Where are you living?”
“In a Rape Crisis centre.”
“Christ! What? What’s happened?”
“I needed somewhere to live, you know how it is. I told them I’d been raped by a gang of Hells Angels. I am, how you say, very traumatised.”
“Diane, you can’t do this.”
“Because you haven’t been raped.”
“You want me to be raped?”
“No, but it’s wrong.”
“They help women in trouble, non? I need somewhere. I make them happy.”
She was having counselling for the gang rape. She said it was going very well. She was indeed an actress. It was all very confusing and I went out of town myself.
She came back to New York while I was away and slept with my boyfriend. I was devastated.
Some months later I got a letter that explained she was just making sure he was good enough for me, because it was me she loved. She had, she said, done me a favour. I just didn’t realise it at the time.