Monday July 27, 2009
The way I met Page and the way she departed from my life was very fateful.
I first laid eyes on Page in the summer of 1990, when my friend Tabboo! rented the documentary What Sex Am I? The movie had come out several years earlier and explored the little-know world of gender variants (the term “transgender” hadn’t come along yet). I don’t remember the film very well, but I do remember that Tabboo! and I squealed in delight as Page (shown at a “she-male” club in San Francisco) bopped around in her New Wave high-top hairdo and pointy sunglasses.
A few weeks later I was slumming at the Times Square tranny bar Sally’s Hideaway and there she was! We talked—she told me she was now living in New York—but she was a bit shy, and it wasn’t until several months later at the Pyramid Club, where I got her involved in the madcap drag shows, that our friendship began to bloom into something special and amazing. Page was funny, smart, beautiful, imaginative, naughty yet refined, and a constant source of amusement.
Twelve summers later, I went to a Soho art opening. Outside of the gallery, the gossip was about Page's latest bad-girl exploits. Nothing I wanted to hear. A year or so earlier I had made the painful decision to distance myself from Page because of her escalating self-destructive behavior—It was too sad and frustrating for me to be around her. But she and I still kept in touch, and since we lived on the same block, practically right next door to each other, I saw her often.
I left the gallery and although I would have normally walked home I decided to take a cab. As we neared my place I had the driver drop me off at the corner deli so I could pick up a few things. And then as I walked home, I saw an ambulance in front of Page’s place. Someone in a stretcher was being placed inside the ambulance. It was Page, in a coma, off to the hospital where she would never wake up.
If I had been one minute earlier or one minute later I would have never seen her.
I know this sounds a bit delusional, but I'm convinced that she somehow beckoned me home that night and then she waited for my arrival. After a dozen years of being friends, she wanted me to see her take her final exit. And in a weird, horrible way, it was such a wonderfully thoughtful and loving thing for her to do.
In between my meeting Page and her death, I took a lot of photos of her. She was an incredible model. Someday I’ll try to describe her personality, but for right now I’d rather just share these beautiful photos.
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