I bumped into Daryl Hannah in Greenwich Village the other day. It was awkward, as it had always been. I hadn't seen Daryl in years - I was trying to remember the last time, and I think it was shortly after John died, but I can't be sure. That is a fuzzy sliver of my history. Daryl has always been kind to me, so it's really not her fault that I have always tried to avoid her like the plague. I think that to me Daryl always represented "What If" and "If Only," though I'm not sure I know how to explain that.
It was Robert Redford who introduced me to Daryl. I went to visit Bob on the set of Legal Eagles, which of course also starred Debra Winger and Daryl Hannah. The "If Only" in that situation is this: If only I hadn't taken John with me that evening...
Daryl Hannah. Women should not be allowed to look as good as Daryl Hannah looked in the mid-1980’s. She had the complexion and bone structure of a Grecian goddess, her hair effortlessly looked like that of a porcelain doll, and her tall, athletic, slender build caught the eye of every man, and every woman, for that matter, within range. More than any of that, what really made her stick out in a crowd, was the confidence she exuded. She looked comfortable in her own skin in a way that I had never been. Women should not be allowed to look like that. It’s not good for the egos of the rest of us.
Daryl greeted us after Bob made the introductions. “Abby, it’s so nice to meet you. I really loved your work in Out of Africa.”
I smiled. “Thank you. I loved your work in, well, so many things! Splash comes to mind, of course.”
“Aww, thank you.” She seemed humble and down-to-earth and kind, and I remember in that very moment thinking that maybe Daryl Hannah and I could be friends. It was the only time I ever had that thought.
She turned to John. “And of course I know who you are, John.”
What? That was my line. That was what I had said to John when we first met, and then again when we started over. I looked quickly at John, certain that he would look at me and we would pass a secret glance that communicated the significance of that line that only he and I knew, but he was looking at her, complimenting her on some insignificant art house film that I had never seen, and that I didn’t think John really had either.
It wasn’t like I held a trademark on “Of course I know who you are” or anything. I realize that and I realized it then, but it seemed so flirty when she said it. And how could he not look at me? Was none of that as special to him as it was to me?
These are the thoughts which were running through my head and I was quickly getting lost in them. Meanwhile, she was laughing at something hilarious that John had said, and I had missed it, so I wasn’t laughing. I was still staring at John, not understanding why he hadn’t looked at me yet.
“Everything okay, Abby?” Bob noticed I wasn’t enjoying the moment the way everyone else was. At least someone noticed something.
“Yes. Fine. Just wondering where the ladies room is.” I had to get away and think for a minute. I didn’t know what I needed to think about, but I knew I needed to think.
Bob began to direct me, and then Daryl jumped in and said, “Actually, I need to go too. I’ll show you.”
“Oh, perfect. Thanks.” Daryl started walking away. I turned to John and smiled what I hoped was a seductive smile. “Be okay without me for a minute?”
“Sure.” He was talking to me, but watching her walk away. I wanted to snap my fingers and break the spell, but instead, in a bit of a huff, I turned and followed after her.
We were barely through the restroom door when Daryl dove right in. “So, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, I guess.”
“Is John available?”
The thing is, Daryl fully supported John's friendship with me once they were together, and she even escorted John to Norway in 1994 to cheer Chris and me on at the Olympics. And yet I never have considered her anything other than a romantic rival - and that's my fault entirely.
Other romantic rivals asked for it a bit more. This one in particular comes to mind:
Carolyn Bessette and I had our issues of course, but that is a whole other issue for a whole other day. You want to talk about the guilt and traumatizing wonderings which can accompany "What If" and "If Only"...look no further than my relationship and interactions with Carolyn Bessette. Yeah. We'll dive into that sometime, but it's a little too intense for Throwback Thursday. We'll save that for Therapy Tuesday or something.
So, of my serious romantic rivals, that leaves only Jill Trenary. And Jill is an exception to every rule. Jill is one of my closest friends, and truthfully the only woman who I thought was better for Chris than I was.
Yeah...I think Therapy Tuesday needs to become a thing. Can we make that a thing?