Confess. How many of us dwell in our fantasies and say, "oh, if I could just, if
only I did, what if I went ahead and did it, etc. etc. etc." while we think of an
imagined lover, tryst or clandestine meeting? It's a relief no one can hear our thoughts!
Can you imagine if our thoughts could be heard in the middle of a church sermon, or during
the third act of a somber play, or maybe in the midst of a Thanksgiving dinner?
Well, I fantasize now as I've fantasized many times before. Sometimes I fantasize
within an old fantasy when I cannot think of a new one. The only difference is that now
I'm smart enough to leave my fantasies alone. When I was younger and more adventurous I
considered my fantasies my major goals. How did I feel when fantasy became a reality? I
FELT CHEATED! Yes, I felt cheated and you want to know why? It's because the reality just
cannot match the fantasy. How could it? That fantastic dream lover in your head can never
be matched by anyone whether it's Hugh Grant or Jeff Bridges (though I won't mind
settling). It probably is a lot of hard work to be with a famous celebrity anyway. I
imagine they did not become who they were in a tough and competitive world of show
business if they were not driven and narcissistic. No one can become a star without
thinking of number one first and foremost.
When I was nine years old, my father was an established musician in Honolulu. Because
of his popularity he was quite in demand in the day or night to play music in various gigs
with the island's biggest stars. He had a collection of wonderful cassettes of one of the
world's most popular male singers. (I cannot mention names because he still is very much
in demand to this day, so we shall call my idol - Kris Nomad). In the beginning I played
these cassettes out of curiosity then later I began to study his music and his style of
singing, (a strong influence in my singing - a career I was clearly bound for). To my
surprise, I developed this big fat crush for him and that delicious feeling lingered with
me through my teen years. I was hopelessly and madly in love with this icon. It all was
fine until it became a problem because I found myself comparing every single suitor I had
to my idol's stature and accomplishment in life, a tall order for any young boy to follow,
I imagine. So I never had a steady boyfriend for a while.
However, to everyone's surprise (including my own) I married Vince Stewart when I was
eighteen. I think I must have fallen in love with him when he told me that he liked Kris
Nomad's music and that he thought my idol was truly full of talent. Vince also encouraged
me to pursue my own singing, a career of mine, which he supported steadfastly, all the
I ran the gamut of gigs from the Hawaiian to the Polynesian Islands, to Australia and
as far off to Europe. When I finally came to mainland America as a full pledged
entertainer, I was a very sophisticated twenty-five, a woman of the world, so I thought. I
was touring constantly and Vince was happy and fulfilled managing my career.
We settled in the Bay Area where I landed a much sought after job in one of the finest
and oldest hotels there. I became the featured chanteuse in the supper club for a total of
five years. The hotel boasted of three showrooms and the main showroom was reserved just
for headliners that visited the city fortnightly. It was such a privilege to see
headliners like Liza Minelli and Joel Grey, Tony Bennett (who was very gracious to me),
Ella Fitzgerald who sadly couldn't be photographed because of an eye problem, The
Lettermen who sang love songs to me during their show, Jefferson Starship who used three
huge lorries to deliver their sound and stage equipment, Trini Lopez, Jose Feliciano, Lana
Cantrell, Lanie Kazan, and even Tina Turner who was working hard on her career as a
soloist at that time, and many more glittering names.
One night on my way home after my second show, I saw a glimpse of my idol's name on the
hotel marquee. HE IS HERE! There it is! His name in lights! Right in the same hotel I was
singing in! I felt giddy and suddenly couldn't breathe. I ran back into the hotel to the
front desk for more information. "He will be performing for two weeks except
Sundays", said the Concierge. Suddenly I turned cold, and then hot and my hands were
all clammy as I trembled right there on the spot. I had a fitful sleep that night which
grew worse as the days went by. I even lost my appetite, which alarmed Vince who is
familiar with my love affair with food. The next day I was in pins and needles that my
dearest husband who had no idea what was going on with me was beginning to wonder if I
needed to see a doctor.
Kris Nomad at this time was in his mid-forties and sailing the crest of his seemingly
eternal popularity in America. This appearance in the Grand Hotel was in conjunction with
a recording he was doing in the Bay Area, thus his manager thought that it was a good
tie-up. At his opening night I was so apprehensive about it that one would think it was my
own concert! The hotel management kindly agreed to my proposal of doing my shows earlier
than usual so every customer can have the option to attend the big event. However, because
I was an employee, I couldn't get my own table on opening night but was promised one for
the next evening.
Nursing a glass of wine during my break I couldn't stand the thought of waiting another
night before I saw my idol in person. I looked at my watch and I saw that I had a good
thirty minutes to maneuver my way to the main showroom service door to get a glimpse of my
icon from the darkened kitchen entrance.
It must have taken a good ten minutes through the maze of service elevators narrow
pathways and skinny staircases before I managed to get into the main kitchen. Breezing
past kitchen personnel, I hadn't even noticed that I was creating quite a stir with my
sequined, low cut, high slit, and blazing red gown! I had to wade through catcalls and
whistles and a few suggestive comments before I finally made it to the showroom kitchen
My heart leapt. Notes of my favorite music began to envelope my senses as Kris Nomad
walked on to the stage, just like in my dreams.
I cannot tell you exactly how I got closer to the side of the stage. I just knew I was
so mesmerized by his voice, by the thought that HE is here in my midst, a living,
breathing object of my adoration. My eyes, my ears and all my senses luxuriated to the
fullness in my heart. He was singing a song only he can do justice to, a theme to a love
story that swept the nation in the seventies. There I was. The adoring one gazing at the
adored, venerating, praying he never goes away. Stunned and hypnotized I hadn't realized
that my adored one was looking my way. As though entranced, he stayed looking at me as he
finished my favorite song to the end, tearing me to pieces and scattering the bits on the
wayside. He had that kind of power over me.
Somebody flung the kitchen door hard that it almost knocked me sideways. And, as though
the spell was broken Kris Nomad stopped staring as the last bars of the song finished. My
ego would tell you that since that very moment, Kris Nomad couldn't keep his eyes off the
side of the stage.
I went home that night as though floating on air. I was convinced that Kris Nomad was
the earth and the sky. I spent most of my day-off rearranging my vast collection of his
photographs, cassettes and albums, polished and cleaned anything that pertained to Kris
Nomad, and luxuriating in the thought of the night before.
Two days later, I was in a fit looking for my favorite pair of beaded shoes that
matched my cocktail dress. We were on our way to see the Kris Nomad Concert! I was so
nervous that my husband said one would think it was my own concert and I was the
performer. Indeed I was running around the house like a headless chicken!
Sadly the ringside table promised us was allocated to a visiting dignitary, an old
friend of the hotel chain's Chairman of the Board. I sulked all night and did not enjoy
I spent the whole of next day still sulking and was quite in a lousy mood on my way to
work. About 15 minutes before the first show, one of the waiters sidled up to me and
whispered, "Someone wants you to join his table after your show."
"Why are you whispering?" I asked.
"Your husband might not like it." Vince was well liked in my place of work
and the waiter was probably trying to be careful...of what? I shrugged.
"It's part of my job to have a drink or two with customers, if I please. My
husband will understand." I explained patiently as I was putting on my elbow length
"Your husband might not like that this customer had ordered a place for you, for
dinner and champagne."
"What? Are you serious?"
The waiter winked at me and steered me towards the direction of my mysterious
"date". "Show time is in ten minutes, I can't go to that table now" I
found myself whispering emphatically to him. Why was I whispering?
Inching my way towards the customer's table, I almost tripped on myself when I
recognized Kris Nomad waving at me and motioning for me to come join him.
I think I waved back, I can't remember because I think my heart stopped beating that
instant. I struggled to breathe and my palms were clammy.
Needless to say I finished my first show without remembering how I got to the end of
it. I had to beg to change to another costume before joining his table, I thought I was
drenched in sweat as the room seemed so warm although my hands were cold. I dashed to my
dressing room and put on my old reliable black sheath with its matching black suede boots
and quickly accessorize it with my old reliable pearls, fluffed my Farah Fawcett hair,
glossed, buffed and sprayed myself for my adored one.
Even writing about it now still sends chills up and down my spine, for when I finally
stood next to his table and he stood up and pulled the chair out for me, it was a fantasy
come true. I noticed he wore Levi's 501 with a black blazer and white polo shirt looking
very tanned and healthy as I remember him in one of his films when I was nine years old.
There were wisps of Grey in his temples and the same steely blue eyes millions have seen
across movie theatres around the world pierced through me as he spoke huskily, "Where
is that tight red number you wore the other night?" His eyes were smiling now. You
must realize that this special event in my life was probably an everyday occurrence for
stars like him. I was also quite well read about Kris Nomad's kaleidoscopic love life.
"I...It's...in my dressing room." I couldn't look at him straight. I glanced
all around the room looking at everything and everyone but only really seeing Kris Nomad
in my peripheral vision, all the time thinking I am with HIM!
"I ordered us a bottle of champagne and I took the liberty of ordering us dinner
while you were doing your schtick."
Schtick. That's what he called my show. A schtick.
"I also took the liberty of inviting ourselves to Dominique's down the street for
a late night soiree." He buttered a piece of crusty roll and carelessly placed it in
his mouth dropping little bits onto his black blazer. He chewed noisily as he spoke.
"Maybe tomorrow morning you can show me where the best shops are, I need to get a
few things. We should go shopping as soon as we finish breakfast." I couldn't speak.
I kept thinking that maybe he had me pegged for somebody else. We hadn't as much spoken
about anything else and it sounded like he already planned my life out.
The food looked interesting and champagne was poured in fluted crystal goblets but
although I could barely eat or touch my drink. I was confused. Our conversation was mostly
about his tours, past present and future, his old and new films and what he thought
generally about everything. There was no interest in what I do, not even a slight
curiosity of who I am except for what I thought of him and how much I enjoyed his last
film and his latest hit in the charts.
As the great Kris Nomad chatted on gaily, I glanced around the room and my vision
cleared. Like muddy water becoming crystal clear I realized that I didn't like the man who
is Kris Nomad. I realized that I was in love with another Kris Nomad, the icon I adored
all these years. I also realised that I didn't want him to become real. I found out that
as great a name as Kris Nomad is to the whole world my husband Vince spoke with more sense
and cared about the people around him, unlike this man sitting across me. "You think
this blazer looks good on me?" I could barely hear him as he asked the question.
The evening seemed to drag on, unlike what I thought it might be if I had my idol in
the audience listening to me sing. He was too busy signing autographs and posing for
photos to hear our music. At the end of my second and last show, I saw him standing
underneath the Exit sign, waiting for me. My icon, the man I adored ever since I can
remember...waiting for me!
To this day, to this moment as I write this, I still feel sorry that I met him. I told
him that I was sorry I couldn't join in with his plans for the night and the next day
because of previous commitments. I didn't get the chance to feel guilty about my decision
because without missing a beat, he said, "Hey, it was great to see you, maybe that
cute number tending the bar might want to come...uh, in your place? Why don't you invite
her for me? Tell her who I am.
Out of respect for the other Kris Nomad that I adored, I went up to the bar and told
Shirley our bartender about Kris Nomad's invitation. In no uncertain tone she said
I look back now but don't wonder what might have been. Kris Nomad came back to my place
of work once or twice still with the same invitation for any of the girls that might enjoy
a quick night or two with him in his hotel room during his concert run.
Time heals and once again Kris Nomad has returned to that lofty position whence I found
him. He's back in town and once again the fantasy could come alive, but, this time I know
it's best to leave my fantasies alone.