Chapter 28: War Stories, Part 3

When we last left off, Space Cadet Sharon had just belittled Connecticut Chris and me for being so concerned about the battle of wild beasts taking place on the roof.

“My village got bombed once a week when I was a kid” was her simple and concise explanation.

How do you argue with that?

What was so intriguing about Space Cadet Sharon was not so much her childhood spent in a war torn Middle Eastern Country, or her subsequent move to Germany where her family lived in a refugee community, nor was it her move after high school to San Antonio, Texas, not the most ideal place for a Muslim to settle down in the United States.  What was so fascinating about Sharon was that it was hard to imagine her having ever stepped foot out of the city limits of Beverly Hills.

A beautiful girl to say the least, Sharon’s striking looks were meticulously enhanced with what sometimes seemed like hours of doing her hair and makeup.  I’d imagine this is a bit of an exaggeration, as is bound to happen when 11 people share 1 bathroom.  But man oh man did she seem to take forever.  It paid off, however, as she seemed to always look “camera ready”.  It was easy to forget that her life had not been spent in the part of LA with the White Street Signs, but from time to time you’d get a sobering reminder.

This was one of those times.  Sharon got her yogurt and went back to her room.  Connecticut Chris and I looked at each other in emasculated shame.

You kind of had to be careful what you said around Sharon.  One time someone mentioned that the food they were eating was organic and the volcano erupted:

“Ugh!  You people with your organic.  Organic, organic, organic!  Everything has to be so – ugh!  Why can’t things just be things.”  Feeling the need to justify her outburst, she reminded everyone: “I’m sorry, I just – I work at an organic spa, and I get sick of it sometimes.”

Note to self: Ease up on the O-talk.

Sharon’s frustrations were countered by her child-like enjoyment of messing with people.  I noticed a few times she had strung people along with some sort of white lie, getting that twisted sense of satisfaction that we all enjoy from time to time.  Ha ha – I fooled you!  (you know the kind).  Despite having noticed this quality about her, I still wasn’t able to tell whether or not her being pregnant was just a plot to mess with me or was in fact a complicated matter she was dealing with.  It came up so naturally.

Talking about one of the new roommates, she mentioned that she didn’t feel comfortable around him yet.  “He doesn’t even know I’m pregnant.  I just don’t see him as, like, that kind of a friend.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit.  “Pregnant?”

“Shut up” she said, playfully hitting me with that extra oomph to let me know that I should really not joke about that.  Seeing a mystified look on my face, she felt the need to check in: “I told you I was pregnant, don’t start with that.  Oh what, did you just think I was getting fat?”

Come to think of it, I guess I had noticed that Sharon had put on a few pounds.  I’m not the sort that goes out of my way to keep tabs on my roommates’ physical appearance, so the fact that I had noticed speaks of how noticeable it must’ve been.

I decided to let it go, as the subject quickly changed back to the new roommate.

I felt like there was a 50/50 chance that she was really pregnant.  There was no indication whatsoever that she was trying to pull a fast one on me, and the only reason I thought she might not be pregnant is because she had also told me she was celibate as part of her faith.  Who knows with Space Cadet Sharon.   I decided to keep my ears peeled and not bring up the topic.

A few nights later a typical scenario went down.  Sharon was hanging out by Chris’s computer as he was retouching her headshots and editing a reel for her.  I was on an earlier schedule at the time, so I was in the habit of falling asleep with the light on during their boisterously fun conversations.  I had decided to turn in, but was unable to actually fall asleep.  After  few minutes of silence, I hear Sharon quickly shift gears.

“I think Jesse is asleep” she said in a somber tone, allowing me an opportunity to speak up with a very long pause.  “I hate him.”

I could tell in the way she said this that she was not talking about me, but rather someone that had previously been discussed between the two of them.

“I know it’s wrong to hate, but I really hate him for what he did.”  I could sense the awkwardness on Chris’s part as he chose not to say anything.  “It’s not too late for me to get rid of it” she said after a long pause.

Whoa.

Chris kind of chuckled at this out of discomfort with the topic and was quickly quieted by an “it’s not funny” from Sharon.  “I’m only ten weeks, I have until twelve before I have to decide.  It’s going to make my life miserable.  Miserable.  I can’t afford to raise a kid.  I know that sounds terrible Chris, but it’s really going to make me an angry person, but the only other option is…it’s wrong.  I can’t do that to a living being.”

So at this point I am technically supposed to be asleep.  This being a common scenario, it’s safe to say that Sharon was just waiting for me to zonk out ‘til she had her talk with Chris.  The two of them were pretty close, and maybe she felt comfortable confiding with him on such subjects.

Or maybe she is an incredible liar. 

How could I think this?  What a horrible person I am to think that the pickle this poor girl had found herself in was actually a fabrication created solely for the purpose of having fun with me.  What a jerk I am.  I finally managed to doze off, not wanting to hear any more of this without knowing if it was meant for my ears or not.  I’d have to wait this one out.

“Jesse, you got something from Screen Actors Guild and something from Progressive” said Lamar as he handed me two pieces of mail a few days later.  Several us were hanging out in the living room working on our respective laptops.  I took my two pieces of mail and went back to my email.

“Whoever ‘current resident’ is got sent a magazine on pregnancy” I heard Lamar say as I was typing away, a clear bemusement in his voice at the idea of someone in this house actually needing such a publication.  The same type of bemusement I heard in his voice when “Life Extension” Magazine came addressed to me, compliments of my grandmother.  Not that we don’t all want to extend our lifespans, it’s just an odd magazine to see show up in the mail is all.

“That’s mine!” chirped Sharon.  I looked up to see a big smile on her face as she took the magazine and retired to her room. 

No one said anything about what had just happened.

Hmm.  At this point I’m starting to think myself a bit of a jerk for ever doubting the veracity of her claim.  A few nights later, however, when she lights up a cigarette on the porch after it being proffered by a new French girl, I got to thinking.  I got to thinking why she was smoking a cigarette, especially since she had always given Celeste such a hard time about how bad it is for you.  And here she was smoking.  That was odd by itself.  Add in the fact that she allegedly pregnant, and I couldn’t help but see the light.  This was clearly being done to test me.  Would I tell her to stop smoking because she is pregnant?  Did I even believe it at this point?  She was testing the waters, and it was necessary for her to do something she had always been so adamantly against in order to do it.

This girl isn’t pregnant, she’s crazy.  And she is messing with me.

Or was she?  Oh dear God, it’s an odd thing to accuse someone of, don’t you think?  And the way everything was happening was so natural that it would have required very careful calculation. 

I decided to rest on it.  A few days later she came into the house and seemed very upset.  A bit wary, I asked her what was wrong, fearing the possibility that it would be something about the “baby”.

“I had my heart broken tonight.” 

I didn’t like where this was going.  Get to the point, Sharon!  What about the baby broke your heart tonight?  Huh?!  I regretted asking.

“What happened?” I reflexively asked, biting my tongue just a moment too late.

Now that I had set the ball rolling, she’d be able to run with the pregnancy thing and it would once again seem unforced.

“This big time talent manager that comes into my work found out that I was an actor and told me I’d never be able to be an A-List or even a B-List actor because I’m Persian.”

Whoa.

Ostensibly Middle Eastern, Sharon was constantly having to hear people’s thoughts on how her ethnicity fit into her acting options.  It’s odd that I never gave this too much weight, as I am well aware from my time in New York how important external appearance is, Hollywood obviously being worse.  All I ever thought of Sharon as was beautiful and seeming like she’s from Beverly Hills.  How could I not realize how big of an issue this was?  She went on to talk about how she didn’t even ask this guy’s opinion or anything and how Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up at the Academy Awards and how it just plainly sucked that people couldn’t have an open mind about things.  It killed me to hear all this, as Sharon was terribly talented and worked extremely hard on her career in the little spare time she had from her two survival jobs at the aforementioned organic spa and as a greeter at a gym.

As Sharon vented her frustrations, I thought to myself that it might not be the right time to ask if she was really pregnant.  When I found out weeks later through Connecticut Chris that she wasn’t, it made it even harder for me.  Clearly this lady is a great actor.  She’s also smart enough to think of ways to not make things too obvious.  If the great lengths she went to to play a trick on me is not indicative of a great sense of humor, then I don’t know what is.  And here she was in Hollywood, the best place for her to be.  A place where people are accepted for who they are.  And yet…

Something she’d never be able to change would be the first thing people would think of when they met her.  And it wouldn’t be the Beverly Hills quality she exudes.  It wouldn’t be the hours she spent hogging the bathroom in order to do her hair and makeup.  It wouldn’t even be the crazy brain of hers that devised a plan to make me think she was pregnant, just for kicks.  It would be her ethnicity.  And this would be her battle.

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