brothers in the Bronx, and had found her way somehow into the New York theatre world where she had been noticed by him in a couple Off-Broadway productions. Somehow we found each other amusing at that first meeting, and she said she’d meet me the next week to read the script at some café, and maybe we could put the play up at a small East Village black box theatre, she knew a few. It started innocently enough, I had spent eight roller coaster years with an attractive television actress wife, and now I had just wanted to find peace, real peace, and maybe some small satisfaction in my work, the acting and the writing, I didn’t want to repeat that painful journey with any good looking actress, the self-absorption, the over-the-top insecurities, the narcissism and craziness, and in Karin’s case, the booze. Her drinking finally drove me over the edge, and I just moved out of the house, so I wouldn’t go crazy myself, or join her in the drunken evening rants. She had driven my old vintage ’74 Alfa right through the garage back wall and halfway down the ravine in Laurel Canyon, supposedly on the way back from a late table read for a new TV series, dead drunk. Maria was a tall, with olive skin, dark eyes, on the slender side, maybe, but she had a French grandfather, so that took away some of the Latina features and her nose seemed a bit long, pointy. She had done some hair modeling for Seventeen as a teenager, so she saw herself as an attractive young woman, and played to that hand. One memorable thing about our first time together was her constant use of the word, ‘fuck,’ it reminded me of a Navy Boatswain’s Mate I had known at Subic Bay in The Philippines, for good reason known as ‘Public Bay’ throughout the Pacific fleet. It was inseparable from his speech, any conversation he had; she was that way too, but hers had a sweet, childish sound, had almost laughable quality to it. She was unusual for a woman that young, I thought. We had several coffees at cafes around Chelsea, and one at my Columbia apartment where we staged movements. Maria liked the character I’d written, its grittiness, and told me she knew her share of tough women, her mother for one, beaten by her drunken father, and steeled on the outside, but vulnerable and soft on the inside, still a very feminine woman. Terry agreed with staging the play, and he found us a seasoned young director, who had assisted him in a handful of classic productions he did in the city when he had a small Chekov company. Maria lived six blocks from me on the Westside just off Columbus Ave, so we did the early play rehearsals at my place, which was convenient for her. The third time we’d worked on the play, just lines, and before involving the director, we were working at the apartment, and I made her a coffee, and we talked about our lives, the past, mostly disappointments. The shocker came early. She matter-of-factly told me when she was fifteen she had been gang raped near her Bronx high school by four older boys who had pulled her from a street corner early one evening on the way home, and had taken her into a nearby small overgrown city park. One of them had put his hand over her mouth, and he and another boy dragged her across the street, somehow unseen, into the arms of two others waiting in the bushes. One boy held her arms and one spread her legs apart, while two of them had raped her. Dazed from the pain, a third one mounted and raped her, and then all four ran into the New York night. “My God!” I’m so sorry.” “That breaks my heart, “ I told her, a veil of sadness descending on me, feeling a sorrow and pain for her that I couldn’t explain to myself. “What an awful thing!” “I’m over it,” she answered. How can you get past that? as a woman, or a even man, how on earth, do you put something behind you this painful, the searing emotional and physical pain?