Feb 28, 2011

We went to watch the oscars with the Unwanted man and his wife. He was in the badly lit parlor room, sitting in his customary spot on his sofa nearest the old television. He designed the sofa, along with the chair his wife sat in: a clever wrought iron frame with a canvas seat, so comfortable you need to be excavated to get out of it.

They are getting a divorce, there's no question now; the papers are already in files underneath newer files. The reality is new but already old.

During the show they don't address each other. She makes fun of him and rolls her eyes; he comments on all the women he sees. How this presenter has a great body but her dress doesn't suit her, or that woman's body should be hidden, or this woman was in a film 20 years ago called such and such. He remembers all the details. He remembers the plots, who the actress was married to at the time and the director...

The Unwanted man talked with guests but never took his eyes off the screen. He said he was looking into moving into a high rise where many of the city's wealthy live. And for sure his own house will sell for a lot of money but the profit will all go to the bank to pay for indulgences long forgotten, trips and cars and chancy investments. He will be lucky if he doesn't have to live in the Tenderloin.

The unwanted man was himself was always a cinematic character, and even tonight, in his Fellini fedora, huddled in one corner of the sofa, hiding his gnarled hand, yelling at the Rhodesian Ridgeback when the pizza arrived, and when the faces appeared of all those who had died over the last year his lower lip turned over and he sobbed, really sobbed, but so quietly only I heard him.

He was grieving in that way when you are overcome by some sad reminder of life's quick trip and then just as suddenly you catch yourself, a long cloud on a cold clear day, you're in the shade one moment and out the next. The grief is so deep, and so shallow at the same time, and so tied to the memory of years ago and those actors and the lives they portrayed — you're so caught by that — that you almost can't tell what was real and what was not and which was your life and which was theirs.


Anonymous said...

That is beautifully written, especially the last paragraph, with the clouds.

Anjuli said...

I must agree with 'Anonymous' the last paragraph was especially beautiful. I read it several times- just wanting to the words to soak in.