Victoria Marie Carey’s life was a complicated story all of itself. Having to deal day in and day out with a spiteful, controlling ex-boyfriend/roommate, she has very little joy or comfort to speak of. The only thing that gives her any real joy is the discovery of a certain movie star from Old Hollywood days, a discovery that borders just this side of obsession. It’s only a fantasy, she knows.
However, her life becomes dramatically changed by the advent of a certain man into her life; a man that she never thought she would ever meet, not even in her wildest of dreams…
Victoria Marie Carey has a first class obsession with one William Horatio Powell, Star of Stage and Silver Screen of Old Hollywood. Never has she dared to dream of ever finding anyone even slightly resembling him, but oh, does she nonetheless…
Victoria Marie Carey found herself drifting off into yet another daydream of one William Horatio Powell, Star of the Silver Screen, of the Old Time Radio Shows of the 1930’s and ‘40’s, and, current obsession. Checking her phone again under the pretext of seeing if she had possibly missed any emails or texts, Marie sighed at the photo of said heart throb that served as the background wallpaper that currently graced said phone. She really just could not get enough of looking at him.
“Yep,” she said to herself, “classic case of an undeniable, First Class Obsession…”
Now, said obsession had started out innocently enough. Victoria had been watching the Tenth Anniversary Edition of “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. As she had watched the interview they had done for the anniversary, along with the director, Nora Ephron, they had spoken of how they had based their movie on “The Shop Around The Corner”, which had starred Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart. This had led into some background to do with how that movie was reminiscent of other movies of that era, having to do with the ‘love – hate’ relationships of the lead male and female characters. They had given then, as an example, the movie, “My Man Godfrey” which had starred Carol Lombard and, guess who? One William Powell.
The clip, although brief, had had the effect of pouring gasoline onto an already blazing fire; one which Victoria had not, at the time, even known to exist. She immediately began to search for the movie, scouring the interwebbernet like someone lost in the desert without water, desperate to find an oasis, only the oasis for her was finding that movie. Somehow or other – she couldn’t really remember why or how she came to it – she had ended up searching through Yahoo Movies (which had taken up all of Hulu’s free-to-watch movies once they had gone to pay-only services). Her efforts were rewarded mere moments after starting said search, for there was the movie!
She fondly remembered watching it for the very first time; of how captivated she was, of how she had been left feeling just a little bit lost after, for there had been something primal, something raw, yet, oddly, refined about the feelings he had stirred up in her. She knew definitively that he was somehow the answer to a question she had been trying to answer; a question she had come so close to answering so many, many times, yet ended up discovering the answer she thought was the right one was not, in fact, at all. The resulting heart ache and heart break never put her down for long. No, she was a fighter, an undying believer in love with a capital ‘L’. For her, it was the one thing worth fighting for, even dying for, if it came down to it. She simply would not rest until she found someone that felt and believed as she did about that.
She knew he existed, that he had to. It was completely unthinkable to her that Fate could be so cruel as to make her be the only one anywhere ever that did, indeed, share that ideology. Years of searching for that ‘One’ were met and filled with one failed relationship after another. Though, as she looked back, she realized they weren’t failures, for she had learned from each one; learned what she really wanted, learned to hold out for that, no matter what anyone said. She had learned to honor her thoughts, wants, and needs; to not give into the momentary desperations she felt sometimes when said love didn’t appear when she wanted it to. She had also learned to not give in to a man’s advances just because he was paying attention to her. She learned to no longer sell herself short. If she had learned nothing else in all her forty years on this earth, it was that she would never give up on that most heartfelt dream.
From the day she first watched that movie on, the obsession grew steadily, exponentially with each passing day, with each movie of his she was able to find, either to download, or, when she could afford it, purchase a copy of. She began to collect photo after photo of him, either with one of his costars posing for promotional photos, or, even better, of him by himself. It had only been three months after discovering him, and to date she had roughly half of his movies, over two hundred photos of him, as well as a small collection of gifs and fan made videos.
Victoria was very well aware that he was an obsession. However, in the grand scheme of everything, there were far worse things she could be obsessive over. Being obsessive-compulsive, she knew only too well how easy it was to go overboard with her interest in something. And really, there wasn’t any longer anything in her life that she was that way with. And so with all of this in mind, she decided that said obsession was perfectly acceptable.
It had also been a daily part, if not in fact a several times daily part of her life to check in with the Facebook group she had found of William Powell and Myrna Loy. Myrna was a definite favorite as well. She simply adored the onscreen chemistry they had had together. Their “Thin Man” movies were amongst some of her most cherished to watch. It was also just so nice to have a group of people that shared her obsession of William; of whom understood how much he meant to her. With whom she could share what tid bits of information she had learned of him, of his life and such; from whom she could learn such as well.
It made her feel good, and filled something within her that she hadn’t really ever found enough of before: a sense of belonging. The people there were nice people. There was no arguing, nor of anyone trying to roughly nor rudely be bossy nor controlling. Just a collection of people that shared a similar love and admiration of a man that had brought so much joy and happiness to so many, and lovely part of it, was still doing so after so many years.
One day, whilst on Facebook, it struck her to see if there might be a page that was dedicated solely to William. After rifling through a couple that were ‘information only’ types, she did end up managing to find one presenting itself as of the actor himself. “Holy smokes!” Victoria thought out loud. She knew of course it wasn’t actually him. “Especially considering his post-living status.” Still, the idea of someone having made the page as ‘him’ thrilled her. It excited her in a fan girl way, making her want to at least pretend it really was him, ‘deceased’ status notwithstanding. So she sent ‘him’ a ‘Friend Request’, and thought, ‘What the hell? The worst that can happen is that whoever is running it will just not accept it. And at best, they will! Then I can say I’m a ‘Friend’ of William Powell!’
After about a month of still no ‘Accept’ notification, Victoria began to think that perhaps the page was simply no longer being monitored by whomever had created it. She really didn’t want to believe that said person wouldn’t accept her request. It was just too, too close to ‘him’ not accepting it, of rejecting her. And that just wasn’t something she would ever allow herself to consider. Another month came and went, still with no ‘Accept’ notification. Though at that point, it wasn’t something she was terribly broken up over. Oh, she’d still check the page from time to time, just to see if anything had changed. When she saw that it hadn’t, she’d move on, contenting herself with her mutual fans at the ‘William & Myrna’ fan group. So when the notification did finally show up, she nearly burst with nervous excitement.
“OhmygodohmygodohmyGOD!” she yelped. Thankfully her ex wasn’t home, or there would have been the very unpleasant interruption of him wanting to know what was wrong. She would have to give him some lame story, not wanting to tell him the truth as she didn’t want him ruining the moment for her with some snide remark. And she really wasn’t in the mood to deal with all of that. Being the polite person she had been raised to be, she immediately went to ‘his’ page to write a ‘Thank You for Accepting <3’ on ‘his’ wall, then proceeded to go to hers and tell the whole of her sixty some ‘Friends’ of the huge import of what had just happened, of what it all meant to her.
A good deal more than she had thought would notice, did. They were naturally very happy for her. The couple of people from the ‘William & Myrna’ group that she had ‘Friended’ were moon over for her, adding to her happiness greatly. Still riding on the cloud of ecstasy that comes with a fond wish being granted, the next day brought even more delightful news. For when she logged onto Facebook, she saw there was a message waiting for her. She didn’t think anything of it really, at least not at first; it could most likely be anyone that she was ‘Friends’ with.
“Dear.Gods,” she said as an unpleasant thought crossed her mind. “Please don’t let it be yet another idiot from some South African state that can’t even construct a half way decent sentence, trying to chat me up.” Huffing her breath in annoyance, she clicked onto the ‘Messages’ icon at the top of her page, waiting with hope it would at worst be something nondescript. However, when she saw ‘William Horatio Powell’ show up, she actually stopped breathing for what seemed an infinite moment. Quickly collecting herself, and her courage, she clicked onto the message, opening the dialog box to his message:
“Victoria! Greetings to you, Dear Lady! Thank You so much for requesting we be Friends here.
“I must ask you to forgive me in taking so long to answer it, as I’ve not been on here for some time. I actually only came on here a couple of days ago out of boredom, as there hadn’t been any significant activity on the page in a long while, and so had just left it alone; then consequently forgot about it completely.
“So, imagine my surprise at finding your kind request! I took a brief look at your page, and decided I should be most happy to make your acquaintance.
“Looking very much forward to future conversations…
“William H. Powell”
Victoria read, then re-read the message at least a half dozen times, trying desperately to process what was in front of her. After having decided to not let herself think any longer about it, there it was: that wonderful message, from someone equally wonderful. No mere “Hey, Thanks!” No siree. Here was a full on, well written, well thought out message, apologizing for taking so long to get to her, asking her to forgive that offense, saying they were looking forward to potential future interchange. “Holy FUCK!” was all she could initially manage, the weight of the importance of what was in her message box descending on her like a ton of bricks. Collecting herself, she decided “What the hey?” and proceeded to type out an equally nice response.
“William!” she began, deciding the familiar use of ‘his’ name would be alright, considering ‘he’ had done so with hers. “Thank You so very much for taking the time to write to me, to thank me. Not many people have the good manners to do such anymore. So it’s very appreciated.
“I completely understand not accepting sooner, due to you not being on here. I rather figured that was the case, and so, wasn’t offended in the least. Though I will say, I feel it’s a shame that you do not get so much activity on your page; however, I can understand it. William Powell is a huge deal to some of us, and no matter how much those some of us like to think so, he isn’t as wildly popular as he was in his day.
“That being said… I am one of those happy few that know of him; of how delightful a person he seemed to be, and of how talented and just plain nice he was. I’m very glad to see that you have a page for him from the point of view of it being actually him.
She closed the window, knowing that if she didn’t right then and there, she would sit there, staring at it, trying to will ‘him’ to respond as she waited. Victoria firmly decided she simply wasn’t going to be like that. Realistically, the person who created the page wasn’t, in point of fact, ‘him’, no matter how much she would have liked to pretend. “For that matter,” she told herself, “I don’t even know for certain the person running it is even a ‘he’! For all I know, it could be a ‘she’!” Victoria decided that it did not matter even one wit as to the gender of the author of ‘his’ page. They could string together a well-constructed sentence, they were polite, even kind, and most importantly, seemed to share a great fondness of William. And for her, those were the things that mattered most.