One of Jerome's best friends was Gordon Elliott who was attending Columbia University to pursue a master's degree in American Literature. He was fresh from the University of Texas and had come to New York City to pursue his dream of writing fiction. Academia was a comfortable way of landing in New York where he knew no one.
Gordon actually arrived in New York City before Jerome. When Jerome got to the city he looked for his friend at Columbia. He found Gordon so excited because he was learning so much from a girl named Rona in his class.
Gordon had noticed Rona, often by herself, always obsessed with her smartphone where she seemed to be constantly texting and reading messages. Rona Cohen had a dark intensity that promised a keen intellect sharpened in the cultural context of her Jewish heritage. She was stunningly beautiful, and so her countenance was a source of obsession and challenge to Gordon who had plans of conquest if he saw an opportunity. Rona was majoring in medieval literature, and married to Irving Cohen who was the wunderkind of the psychoanalytic world.
Gordon was attracted to Rona, petite, sexy, and vividly alive. Gordon was not without attractive qualities to someone like Rona. He was a Texan, strong, masculine, and a diamond in the rough. She could see he was very smart, but he came to New York knowing nothing, having not read the essential literature. He was essentially a blank slate. Rona thought Gordon was an unconscious genius, and she was more the happy to be his muse, to be his Beatrice.
They became lovers and were inseparable, with Rona taking on his education in a crash program of analyzing masterpieces of the world's greatest literature. But Gordon benefitted from an extremely gifted scholar who not only knew the masterpieces he should attend to, but also the critical reviews and theories that were essential to complete his education.
It was incredibly thrilling to for Gordon who found their bouts in bed awesome and inspiring. Rona was constantly taking selfies of them as a couple and posting them on FaceBook. Some of them were of them together in bed, looking relaxed and reading the Sunday Times. They became an item in the New York gossip circuits. Every moment she was pushing his career, urging him to write.
As Gordon's Muse, Rona had considerable effect. She inspired him to write, to publish. He started to connect with stories in The New Yorker, and in some obscure literary journals where he could experiment with form.
The Cohen couple's best friend was their high school buddy who had become one of the most important celebrities in the entertainment business. You would recognize him instantly, but he has asked to remain anonymous, since his identity would not add anything to this narrative. It is only pertinent because the four of them hung out together: the Celebrity, Irving, Rona, and Gordon. They were known as the Quartet, and pictures of them at various clubs, pubs, and the latest celebrity chef hangouts often appeared in the New York press and the Internet.
Through it all, Rona's husband Irving was calm, reflective, and understanding. He knew Rona had to have her fling, but he knew she would be back. Irving became a good friend of Gordon, and this was a source of wonder for Gordon, who doubted he could be as gracious if Irving was bedding his wife.
As Gordon completed his studies, he accepted a position teaching at the University of Alaska. In the late summer, as August rounded the corner to September, he asked Rona to go to Alaska with him. This was an extremely significant and passionate exchange. She was deeply in love with Gordon, but she still felt a loyalty to her husband Irving.
Gordon sold most of his belongings and raised enough money to buy a motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson Road Glide. He left the showroom and headed for the Cohen Townhouse. Rona had texted him not to come, but he went anyway and parked his cycle at the Cohen doorstep. Rona opened the door and and went down to Gordon. He was quite, strong, and insistent, and in the end, Rona mounted the steps and returned after a few moments with some clothes, some books, lipstick, and a purse. She climbed on the motorcycle behind Gordon and wrapped her arms around him. He handed her a helmet and adjusted his own.
The sound of the Harley Davidson exploding to life on 10th Street in the village shook the windows violently and seemed an assault on the neighborhood. Gordon sat there and reved the engine a few times, each blast rattling the windows and trashcans nearby. He slowly pulled away from the Cohen Townhouse with Rona clinging to him.
Then Rona and Gordon pursued their cross-country adventure toward Alaska and a new future.
They raced across the George Washington Bridge and headed west on highway 80, Rona clinging to the love of her life as they crossed the Delaware Water Gap and headed west through Pennsylvania with the wind whipping away like a major windstorm. Rona could feel the wind burning her face.
Rona lasted until Chicago. Then she quietly boarded a train and headed back to Irving and her life in New York. Even Muses have their limits.
Gordon continued to Alaska and started living with a sweet young coed from Seattle. She was blonde, friendly, and open. The exact opposite of Rona. Rona went on to become a world renowned scholar of secret societies, and Gordon wrote short stories of life in Alaska. Irving Cohen became the foremost practitioner of integrative healthcare, world renowned for a therapy of the imagination.
The coed from Seattle would always address Gordon by his last name. She invariably called him Elliott. He simply could not persuade her to call him Gordon. As a result, he changed his first name from Gordon to Elliott and became known as Elliott Elliott.