After we graduated from high school, Valerie went off to become an actress.
I continued my education, through college. I worked hard in school, did pretty well and got a good job, or so I thought, after I graduated.
As I later learned, Valerie had some problems getting her career started. She apparently got involved in some contract hassles and it took her a while to get things going. I was told, by some of the girls with whom I graduated, that Valerie did some stage work and that she had finally got her contract problems fixed. She had appeared in a small role in a very forgettable film. The film may have been forgettable, Valerie was not. With the attention from her first film role, she was able to get a much better role in one of those experimental film things they do at festivals. Valerie won the Best Actress award at the film festival. The Best Actress award was presented as a small gold medal. Again, the gold medal was a fact that I became aware of, only later.
With the attention from her first film and the further attention from the Best Actress award, Valerie won a good role in a film to be shot on location, down in Mexico.
Valerie and some other people involved in the film were flying down to Mexico in a chartered plane. The plane was caught in a rapidly developing storm and crashed in the ocean. From what I have been able to learn, they know where the wreckage of the plane is located. However, the wreckage is in very deep water and it's not practical to salvage the plane or to recover the bodies.
You almost certainly never heard of the incident. The only reason I even heard of the incident was that I was home from college and listening to the local news. They stuck in the crash report toward the end of the regular newscast. When they said that Valerie had died it was as if everything stopped. All I could hear or see was Valerie's face and the voice of the announcer telling me of the crash. By the time I was even aware of anything else, the news had ended and another program was on.
Valerie was the only famous person I had ever really known. I never dated her, but I spent quite a few hours in close contact with Valerie, while I tutored her in math. I thought that someday I would be able to say, "I knew Valerie Dumar back when!" I suddenly realize just how much Valerie had meant to me. And now, suddenly it's too late.
I thought the incident had faded into my past. I go on with my life. I work hard and I'm making some progress with my career when I find out that the company I'm working for is in deep trouble and that I'll probably be looking for work soon. I put some resumes on the street, but times are hard and there are few job openings and lots of people looking for work. Then, to cap things off, the company where I'm working gives everybody the week between Christmas and New Years Day off without pay. “Merry Christmas everyone and bend over!”
I sit in my apartment, Christmas Eve night, staring at the TV. The TV isn't turned on, not that it really matters. I'm at a low point in my life. Then, some idiot knocks on my door. I'm about to just snarl, 'Go away!' However, I get up and go to the door.
When I answer the door, it's Valerie, as beautiful as I remember her!
She comes through the door and into my arms.
I can only stammer, "But I thought that you were, … I mean the news said that you were …"
Valerie puts her finger on my lips. She says, "We don't have time to discuss that! Jim, I can only stay here for a while. We need to use the time well."
I get Valerie into the apartment and close the door. I'm stammering like an idiot. I finally manage to ask if she would like something to eat or a drink.
Valerie stares into my eyes. She says, "I don't want any questions while I'm here with you. I realize that it's a little strange, but you must trust me. I'll have a little wine. It's one of the few things I can have, while I'm here."