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Pink Sugar



It was almost over. The quarantine. The hardest part of almost anybody’s life.

At first, I welcomed it. I loved being alone and not having have to work. I could feed off of the unemployment drip, trade everyday, write and go to the beach.

I’d relax, pray, meditate, and be isolated.


It was a no-brainer.

Until it wasn’t.

I’m not sure when it occurred; maybe it was when I learned that the product I traded for the past three years was being delisted, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were wiped out of my account overnight. Or maybe it was just the boredom that took hold, of doing the same things, day in and day out.

I had an old Mercedes and the battery died soon after the quarantine began and there was no point in getting it jumped because there was no place to go. It would only die again.

So I walked everywhere; to the grocery store, around my neighborhood, to the beaches. But the energy in the air was bad.

Really bad. 

People were yelling at one another; for not wearing masks, for not social distancing… people were running traffic lights with no regard for the law. And then there were the protests which happened right outside of my apartment in Santa Monica, California.

Months passed and they kept extending the quarantine.

But the stock market continued to rally and hit all time highs. I was short; I had a massive position on again, and I was losing everything.

So I stopped caring.

I stopped trying.

Yet I believed, somehow, someway, things would turn around. Good always outweighed the bad in life and those skirting the law and causing havoc would get there due. Yes, I believed in karma. It has served me well all these years. “It starts with me,” had been my motto in life. And if I was to look at things realistically; my life wasn’t bad. I was healthy, had a roof over my head; I was content.

I had my weekly writing group meetings on Zoom which I looked forward to. I didn’t like Zoom and I didn’t use the video, but it was good to see familiar faces over my iPad. Yet Zoom felt like a sort of psychological experiment gone awry.

There was the guy who shot from his bedroom so you got a live look at where he slept — with his leopard sheets and the Kleenex box on his night table right beside his bed that he never made.

There was the guy who never shaved, the girl who was always eating ice cream out of the container, the woman with the green walls, and the one who sat in her bed in her negligee. Another guy wore the same sweater every week, but I think it was actually his bathrobe.

Sometimes, I would just listen to the audio and watch futures or scroll through the stock message boards to avoid these observations. But I heard the language of writing and it brought me some semblance of peace. So I kept it going.

Most spoke about how uninspired they were to write during the quarantine, and I could relate. Everybody was having financial struggles. It was dark.

Dark times. 

The biggest thing I learned about myself was that I was actually an extrovert. I thought because I liked to be alone, I liked quiet, I liked to read and live in my fantasy world, that I was an introvert. But I realized I derived my energy from other people. And most times, I would sit in coffee shops to write. And in my aggravation of being around all those people, because yes, people did aggravate me, I would work harder to tune out and be even more creative. So I welcomed it. This darkness. I knew chaos. I worked on a trading floor in Institutional Sales covering hedge funds in an equity sales capacity. And on that first day that I walked onto that trading floor, with all of its yelling and screaming and chaos and mayhem, I knew that I was home.

I sat and watched and learned everything and I excelled. I quickly rose up the ranks and became a Senior Vice President at a top Wall Street firm. It was a whole new racket, this life, this success, this easy money. Unlimited expense account, limousines, black tie events, fundraisers, restaurant openings, hotel launches, sporting events, concerts, conferences; it was epic.

And then there were the client business trips, the traveling to the Kentucky Derby, LA for the Oscar parties, and then globally, London for Wimbledon, etc. etc.

It never stopped. It never slowed down. And it was all first class. All of it, over the top.

We had arrived. And yet, there came a point when the music just stopped.

It was a show. Until it wasn’t. I was thirty-five. And I was over it.

I was engaged to the head trader at my work at the time. I had a huge diamond ring on my finger. We were about to settle down, buy house in Connecticut and have children. Yet as the wedding date came closer, I felt like a caged animal. Every fiber of my being said, don’t do it, don’t do it.

And therein lied the fork in the road. That moment in life when you know this one decision is going to affect the rest of your life.

I shared this fear with my sister right before the wedding. “I just don’t see it happening, I can’t imagine being married.”

“Oh, it’s just nerves,” she said, laughing it off. “That’s exactly how I felt right before I got married.”

“This is different,” I said gravely.

We had a huge wedding planned in Central Park at the Boathouse. I tried to tell my friends that I didn’t want to go through with it, but they just wanted another party to go to.

I called everything off. I didn’t want to stay in New York and be single anymore. But I didn’t want to be married to anyone either.

I didn’t want to be in New York anymore, so I left. I bought a one way plane ticket to Los Angeles.

I’ll be a writer, I told myself! I will follow my lifelong dream!

So off I went. Me and my cat.

It was great; I had a ton of money, I bought a Mercedes and rented a two bedroom apartment in Hollywood that had a rooftop pool. I dated a lot of men. I learned LA inside and out.

I spent my money and I wasn’t really making any. I left the bulk of my funds with a money manager in New York, and when the 2008 crash came, it took almost everything I had.

So I started temping. I had lost my brokerage licenses because I hadn’t worked in the industry for two years. Bad move, I know, but the industry changed and I didn’t really care about it anymore. I wanted to be a writer.

But none of my writing was selling either.

I downgraded to a tiny apartment in Santa Monica by the beach where my windows faced north and had the best lighting for an artist, and I wrote and wrote until I couldn’t anymore. And it was this writing group that kept me going. It was the one place on earth where I felt that people understood me. People were like me.

So for better or for worse, I showed up religiously for five years. Or was ten?

Who’s counting?

It was the highlight of my week. This group. And next week, we were back to having our meetings in person. I was excited.

The quarantine was ending! It had been two years! Two years of solitude! I was ready.

I wanted to go out, to see people and do things again. I wanted to date and fall in love.

During the quarantine, I had made peace with myself. I was calmer. Humbled. My shadow had changed. And now, I craved to go out into the world and make it a better place.

Everything I wrote during the quarantine would sell, I told myself!  I would be a great writer and I will achieve success!

I went for a run on the beach, and then I put on my cutest outfit, and today I would start my new life!

And then… Just when I didn’t think I could handle any more excitement, the email came…



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