Barnes & Noble
New York, NY
When I walked into the Barnes & Noble, she was the last thought on my mind. I was only there to pick up a book. But as soon as I entered the store, she caught my eye. I hadn’t seen her in years, but she looked as incredible as she did eight years earlier. She stared at me with those dark, inviting eyes. She played with her long, black, silky hair and was on the verge of cracking a seductive smile. She wore only two pieces of clothing—a black lace bra and matching panties. She was fit. She was sexy. She was hot. It was Eliza Dushku, and she was on the cover of Maxim Magazine once again.
Beaver Country Day School
Chestnut Hill, MA
School Year, 1992-93
Eliza and I have a brief yet memorable history together. It all started back in 1992. For one year, we both attended the same private school called Beaver Country Day School. Yes, it was the real name. And yes, everyone makes fun of it. Beaver was a tiny school in Chestnut Hill, MA. It was grades 6-12 and contained approximately 300 total students. It was so small that everyone knew everything about everybody. And of course everyone knew Eliza Dushku.
She rarely attended school as she was shooting True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger during a good part of the year. When she did attend, she could be recognized by her signature Planet Hollywood jacket (a gift from Arnold.) I barely knew her, but wished I did. She seemed nice, was truly beautiful, and was a movie star! I loaned her a pencil once, but that was it. I never knew what to say. I was 15, awkward and shy. It just was never meant to be. Or was it?
Los Angeles, CA
The Circuit City cashier looked at me with a confused, glazed look. I explained the reason for returning my item, but he didn’t have a clue. Across the room, I heard another customer trying to do the same thing. She was as frustrated as me. Her raspy voice sounded familiar, but I was more focused on getting my money back. That’s when I noticed who it was: Eliza Dushku!
Maybe it was fate that brought us together. Or destiny. I don’t know. But I had to speak with her. At that point, she was best known for her role in Bring It On as well as playing Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a show I watched consistently.) I pre-meditated a plan in my head.
I didn’t want to recognize her as a celebrity and come across as one of those crazy fans [see my Larry David post: http://thecorner33.blogspot.com/2008/12/happy-holidays-from-matt-groening-and.html]
Instead, I played the Boston card; the Beaver Country Day card to be exact.
ME: You look really familiar, are you from the Boston area?
ELIZA: Yeah, I am.
ME: You look like a girl I went to high school with. Where’d you go?
ELIZA: Watertown High.
ME: Ah, my bad. I went to Beaver Country Day School.
ELIZA: I actually went there for one year.
ME: I thought I remembered you. You used to wear that Planet Hollywood jacket all the time, right?
She laughed, and the ice was broken. She totally didn’t remember me, but it didn’t matter. It turned out that she was pretty down to Earth. It also turned out that she lived with another girl from Beaver. (Coincidentally, I used to have a crush on that girl in high school too. I had a chance, but I completely blew it. I hoped the same thing wouldn’t happen with Eliza.)
Next thing you know, Eliza was writing down her phone number on my Circuit city receipt. She suggested that we hang out sometime and gave me a smile. I had trouble containing my excitement, but somehow remained cool. I beamed a never ending smile. Wow!
When I returned home, I couldn’t wait to tell my roommates what had happened. No one was home, but my mail was sitting on the coffee table. The new Maxim, the May issue, had just come out and guess who was on the cover—Eliza Dushku! I carefully took out her phone number, fearing it may disintegrate in my hands. I laid the precious paper on the magazine. I had just got the phone number of the Maxim cover girl.
The next two weeks were a blur. I wanted to call, but I was too nervous. There were three main reasons for my trepidation:
#1 She was a girl.
#2 She was hot.
#3 She was on the cover of Maxim!!!
I was 23 years-old, but it felt like I was in high school all over again. What was I going to do?
My friends demanded that I call her; I’d never get an opportunity like this again. I finally caved in and picked up the phone.
I called Eliza three times; each phone call was more awkward then the next. The first time I called, I was prepared to leave a message, but she actually picked up the phone. I went into shock. I finally spoke and my voice cracked worse than Peter Brady. She was cool, calm, and collective. I was nervous as hell. I finally mumbled something about meeting up, but she was out of town shooting a movie or something.
The next two phone calls were even worse. I remember calling on a Sunday not realizing it was Easter. She was in the middle of her holiday dinner, but still picked up my call. I froze again and the conversation was immediately uncomfortable. For the third call, I left one of those messages where I rambled on and wished I could take back. It was safe to say she would not be returning my call.
A few weeks passed, and I tried her once more, but an agitated Korean woman answered instead. Eliza had changed her phone number. My heart sank, and I realized the dream was over. I had blown it.
ESPY Awards After-Party
Los Angeles, CA
I actually ran into Eliza once more the next year. My friend Chris and I were trying to sneak into an ESPY after party. We stood out like sore thumbs inexplicably wearing Jeans and T-shirts to a black-tie affair. We star gazed for a moment until a group of meathead bouncers swarmed to us. While we were being escorted out, Eliza was on her way in. The bouncer nudged me out of the hotel, but I was able to approach Eliza for just a moment. She smiled bright, was really friendly, and even introduced her date to me. She definitely didn’t remember my name or who I was, but that may have been for the better. I wished her a good night and imagined what might’ve been.
March, 2009, Present Day
I never saw Eliza again. The last time she was on the cover of Maxim, I had her phone number. This time, all I have is a memory. I guess it was just not meant to be.
Back to the '90s On Wednesday
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