The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 75
Cards on the table: I had never, ever been lonely. Not for a single second of a single day. Confused and mystified and depressed, sure. Like after a break up, a rejection. Maybe art was the reason. The shell around my universe. But now, for better or worse, that shell was cracking.
(Turns over another card): I had, excluding Juliette, one other exceptionally close female friend, Liz, who was also my tobacconist.
(Final card): I had one exceptionally close male friend, Jones.
Yet intimate connections—as relative in meaning and intensity as anything else in the world, more precious and rare than most—had eluded me. Until now. Even the two women I’d lived with, believed I was in love with, seemed now more like TV Western star sidekicks than soulmates. Juliette was that long wished for, much deserved, (seemed to me), six level ascent in class, brains, talent, intrigue and complexity only a fool like me dares concoct. Then wait for.
The waiting was over.
She was here.
But here I was: a failed, yet occasionally brilliant artist; an old man with emphysema; a partially sighted old man with emphysema and high blood pressure and bad teeth who—now that art sales were dead and a new film essentially out of the question for financial reasons—relied on a monthly Social Security check of under $1000.
That was the reality. If she was six levels up, I was six levels down.
Still, we’d awakened one morning to find ourselves standing on the same path. Just like Jones and Liz and I had. No telling how things would play out.
An email at 5AM my time, 8AM hers. I open it.
Juliette: You, me, breakfast?
Excuse me? Are we about to discover how things will play out? Was she in town? Was she suggesting I come to her town? Did she have a neutral location in mind? Was she teasing? I decided to call her bluff. Even if she’d chosen the most outrageous scenario—or especially, rather—it would be a good chance for me to come clean, see how it altered the course of our journey.
Subject: You, me, breakfast. (A period. No question mark this time).
Text: You, me, eggs with shaved Umbrian truffles, toast, grapefruit, champagne.
Attachment: A photo of that very breakfast and her laptop on her dining room table. And on the laptop screen, the latest photo post on my Ello channel.
Relieved, (maybe slightly let down?), amused and amazed at her endless cleverness, I respond: “Ha! Instead of making a spy movie, I’m beginning to feel like I’m in one.”
And so it went. A decent body of work was beginning to emerge from our collaborations. Others on Ello were noticing.
Our secret coded language grew more complex.
Instead of going to The Guardian of London website first thing every morning I was now tuned into the same ISS feeds as Juliette. And I’d switched from SomaFM’s Drone Zone to their Deep Space One channel.