Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The movies

The Movies

I am watching a movie called Sullivan’s Travels with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. I am embarrassed that my only association with Veronica Lake is that my mother always accused me of imitating her when my hair was in my face.

“You have such a pretty face.”

The prelude to you oughtta get a better haircut. You oughta lose some weight. You oughtta oughtta oughtta. Who cares? Not me. Not any more.

Yes, I would prefer to be thirty pounds lighter, because I am now at the stage of life to fuss over health issues. Am I pre-diabetic? Well, given the genetic situation, probably. What other ills await me? Who knows?

But I digress. Veronica Lake is quite fetching in her boy’s cap. And I really enjoyed the scene in which first Joel McCrea, then Veronica Lake (oh my!) then the butler all ended up in the swimming pool.

It reminded me of a friend of mine, with whom I reveled in divorce, not that either of us was happy about our respective situations. His wife had a grim affair with her professor, my husband simply opted out, yet somehow we never were on each other’s radar screen. My beloved friend as a lover? We are far too different.

But we shared a memorable and well-remembered dinner. Four hours, or more, in the course of which we explored my unremarkable sexual and romantic history, his slightly more remarkable memories, and…yes, I mark it well…the sexual history of the waiter, more notable than any memories of us two, and isn’t that just the way of the world? Those hours in a Philadelphia restaurant, one of the Restaurant Renaissance locales, remain among my most treasures. Laughter, love and longing, all with a man never meant to be mine, but a friend forever. Nothing can take that evening from us. Nothing can take from us the lightness of love and laughter.

When it comes to real life, and it always does, you know, I rest in moments like those. I don’t mistake them for real life. No, wrong again, they are real life, but they are the truffles of life. I am grateful for these moments of grace. Every single moment.

Where do you suppose that waiter is now? Do you think he played that role more than once? Do you think his conscious mind embraces the number of sad couples--not even couples, just friends who happened to get divorced at the same time, but couples in his eyes—to whom he delivered wine and food and coffee? What a blessing to be able to serve that role! Do you think he knows? Do you think he knew then?

Perhaps it is a condition of grace that it doesn't matter at all whether it is conscious. It was a wonderful evening, even coming as it did in a sad and dreary period in my life, and I cling to that evening still.

Grace.

If a movie could capture that, well then. That would be a work of art indeed.

4 comments:

Jola said...

Don't know about the waiter, but maybe it's time to have dinner with your friend again? If he feels about your last encounter the way you do, well, to quote from another classic movie, this could be "the start of a beautiful friendship." Well, okay, you already have the friendship. But maybe it could be the start of a beautiful... well, who knows?

Karen said...

Thanks for the thought, but we each considered and declined that option many years ago, wordlessly but definitively. This particular friendship doesn't need to be anything different to be dear to me. But one never abandons the search for love, not even after twenty years single.

Rosered said...

Hi, my name is Rose and I am a 48 year old single woman from Wisconsin. I know what you are talking about when you talk about the change of the seasons! Wisconsin has similiar weather to Vermont. I really like the colorful changing of the leaves. I sometimes feel I suffer from the SAD syndrome too! I don't have any pets because I live in a one-bedroom Apt. where I can't have any pets. By the way, did you know that Veronica Lake suffered from schizophrenia? Well, you have a great day now! Have to go now. Rose S.

zhoen said...

If you get a chance to see Brother Where Art Thou? (you may recognize the title as the one Joel's character wanted to make) it makes reference to Sullivan's Travels. In no small way.