“I knew what my job was; it was to go out and meet the people and love them.” (Princess Diana)
I finished my Madonna representation and was anxious to change out of the costume and hide. But I had one more hurdle to clear. The cast had to go to the ship’s main lobby, greet family, friends, “fans,” and pose for a group photo.
I wanted to do all of the above almost as much as I’d wanted to sing a solo of “Like A Virgin” in front of hundreds of people and wear the costume I’d been provided with—but I did it anyway, comforting myself that at least I wouldn’t know anyone and hopefully, that what happened on a Carnival cruise ship stayed on a Carnival cruise ship!
After the group photo, a man approached. Turns out, he’d been an old friend of my husband’s parents and their family in Winslow, Arizona, and hadn’t seen my husband in approximately 30 years! Their reunion was joyful. As I watched and listened to the conversation, I realized the man had also been a leader in the L.D.S. church when my husband was called on his mission to Japan—and there I stood dressed like Madonna! I took that as my cue to leave, and quick!
I turned to make my escape just as my husband said, “And let me introduce you to my wife!” I wanted to die, but instead, got to make a new acquaintance while wearing a black bustier. Not exactly what I’d expected. I sort of felt like a deer caught in headlights. But it got much, much worse when my new acquaintance revealed he now lives in the Denver-metro area. My husband replied, “Oh! My wife is from Denver!” The man turned to me and asked, “Really? What was your name?”
Have you ever seen television shows where everything comes to a screeching halt and all of the characters “freeze?” That’s how I feel, still, when people ask the question, “What’s your name?” I know, instantly, they’re going to recognize my name and it’s 2009, to some degree, all over again. (To those who think I can’t fully escape my past, try as I might…sometimes it feels like you’re right!) I felt like I stood there, mouth open, as my mind raced to solve the problem of how to answer that question but before I could give a response that did not include the name “Merriman,” my husband introduced me: Andrea Merriman. (He is such a nonjudgmental, kind man, but as much as he thinks he understands what I lived through as the wife of a Ponzi schemer clueless about her husband’s crimes until their 2009 revelation, I just don’t think he gets it; and it’s moments like that that reinforce that suspicion in me.)
It was the man’s turn to look like a deer caught in headlights. I’d known he would. I’d just been hoping to avoid it. A part of me wanted to die, inside. The good news, is that those moments are becoming fewer and further between. The bad news is that they still happen. The conversation resumed and I tried to remove myself from it as unobtrusively as possible.
I’d outdone myself that evening: inappropriate clothing, inappropriate lyrics, a forgettable solo in front of hundreds of strangers…courtesy of Andrea Merriman!
“When a relationship dies, do we ever really give up the ghost or are we forever haunted by the spirits of relationships past?” (Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, “Sex In The City”)