It was our third anniversary, October 1990. Dan and I already were parents and desperately needed a break. My parents kindly volunteered to watch the baby so that we could get away for the weekend. We decided to splurge on Gurney's Inn, known today as Gurney's Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa.
Just two hours from our home in Bethpage, we arrived early in the afternoon, as excited as newlyweds. Before checking in, we decided to begin the weekend with a toast. Dan and I sat at a small round cocktail table and ordered Champagne.
The bottle opened with a satisfying pop. The waiter poured carefully. We clinked our glasses and settled back into our chairs. Feeling more relaxed than I'd felt in a long time, I was content to quietly sip my drink and gaze across the table at my young husband, refreshing my memory about the many reasons I fell in love with him.More ExpresswayReader essaysReader essaysGet published in NewsdayCartoonDavies' latest cartoon: My flag
About 20 feet behind Dan was a rounded wall, part of a hallway that led to the back entrance of the hotel. That first weekend of October, the hotel wasn't busy. From time to time someone would enter the bar from the back entrance.
A tall man with longish blond hair in a long, open trenchcoat emerged from behind the wall. He stopped to speak to the bartender. I recognized him immediately. Dan and I had read his book, and reports about him dumping his wife for a younger woman were all over the news. Although I was not a fan, upon seeing him in person, I immediately forgot how to speak English.
"Is that? Is that?" I stammered, as Dan looked at me, puzzled. He followed my gaze, saw what I saw, and said with a grin, "Yep, that's the man."
It was Donald Trump.
Just then, The Donald turned, walked right past our table and out the open double doors of the bar. He continued quickly down the carpeted corridor, taking long strides, his coat flapping behind him. I don't remember any thought process. I just remember jumping out of my chair and clumsily chasing him down the hall in my high heels. I only stopped when the following thought crossed my mind: If you catch up, what will you say to him?
I had nothing -- not the foggiest notion of what I might say, or why I would want to address him in the first place. I had no idea why I ran after him other than the simple fact that he was famous.
I returned, sheepishly, to our little table and found Dan, glass in hand, staring at me. He was not amused.
"What was that about?" he asked.
"I have no idea."
"You have a crush on Donald Trump."
"I don't. Not at all."
"Coulda fooled me," he said, raising his eyebrows.
He took a long sip of Champagne without taking his eyes off me. "What if that was a supermodel, and I acted the same way? Would we make it to our fourth anniversary?"
"Probably not," I admitted, looking down into my glass.
And then the absurdity of it hit me. I started to laugh. I looked up at Dan. He slowly shook his head and started laughing, too.
At that moment I knew two things: All was well, and my husband would tease me about this for years.
Earlier this month we celebrated our 28th anniversary. The teasing has escalated recently. "Imagine," he says. "You might've been first lady."
Reader Rita Maniscalco lives in Huntington.