The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 144
Wait. There was something else. Something very weird occurred to me. Jesus, it was sorcery, almost: the idea that a method for releasing a deep, long held, life altering regret might lie in the replication of the original action—the cause; only this time, kid, make damn sure there’s nothing in the way, nothing it can disturb or disfigure...
a cue ball bouncing off the rails of a smooth, empty billiard table.
The only object remaining on my billiard table was this memoir. No plans for any further visual art—moving or still—though Melissa, who I’d been hanging out with, insisted. She even suggested we collaborate on a film project of hers still in its conceptual stages.
Me: (Trying to coax her off the topic) Well, you know, these days I’m more the William Carlos Williams guy than the Diego Rivera...
Melissa: OH! SHIT! Did you know there’s a Rivera retrospective running now?! In Scottsdale?! We could drive there. Take the day, maybe the night…
Me: Uh, you’re married.
Me: Are you, like, an art groupie or something?
Melissa: (Looks over at me, then back at the road) I’m attracted to older men. So what. Daddy issues or something. But you already knew that.
Thing is, it was never going to happen. When she was with me it was as if she viewed her plate as being completely empty: no husband, no kids, no real estate career, no three-times-weekly, five-hour-per-evening photo class down in Palm Desert. I was her timeout-from-everything, LET’S PLAY! friend, and today, her brunch guest and model.
Sunday. 11:10AM. The Palms restaurant and bar. A Bloody Mary for her, an ice cold Corona for me. We’re in the back near the inside stage. Melissa sees Bob sitting outside with some friends, waves, then starts shooting. Never digital. Film only. Ancient but extremely high quality gear. A Leica 35mm, circa ’68. Portrait lens.
“Oh I like it when your hands are in the shot,” she says.
So I try and look thoughtful.
Kevin comes over. “Same again?” he asks.
Melissa: (Still looking at me through the viewfinder) Absolutely.
Me: Wait. Can I take one of you?
She hands me the cam.
Me: Geez. It’s heavy.
Melissa: Yep. That’s how they made ‘em back then.
I turn it on its end so I’ve got a vertical view. Focus. She cocks her head and with that quick, delicate, exquisite tilt right, everything changes.
Me: (Reflexively setting free a suitcase of emotion) Jesus, Melissa, your eyes. The way you… you’re even more beautiful through the lens…
The table wobbles. Sound of silverware jumping. She vanishes from the viewfinder. I drop the camera as she rushes in next to me, kisses my left ear, caresses my face, giggles, does that Eskimo nose rub thing then whispers, sighs:
“Oh, you silly man…”