Saturday, 29 March 2014

Five fingers open

Breakfast with Jennifer Lawrence was a strange, icy affair. She was looking at me now and again but in truth not much. I was not the centre of her attention nor was breakfast. Breakfast was mainly black coffee, various rather nice chilled fruit juices in elaborate glasses and different kinds of fruit salad. Her frown and her dry lips said everything. She was watching the door. She was expecting somebody. I felt sure of the that. A deal, an offer, a way out. It would be something like that. Way beyond me and my current level of gifting. The waitress came by and topped up the coffee. I could tell she kind of wanted to engage with Jennifer (and normally that would have happened quite easily and naturally, her reputation and most evidence told the world that she was an open, pleasant person who wouldn't snarl at or avoid normal contact with persons in the street or breakfast waitresses), but today Jennifer was not playing that or any other PR worthy game. Today was not to be about scoring those kind of points. A couple of times I tried to spark a conversation. I smiled and compliment her look, the fruits, the décor or just the weather (or what little I could discern about the outside world via grey swathes of blinds and plate glass masked by clumsy air conditioning). 

Eventually, sometime into her third cup of coffee she spoke, it was a bit of a mumble really, as if she was in character or practising a line. She called me a fucking useless idiot. It was whispered, low, more like a secretly spoken thought that had slipped out. It struck me that though she wanted me to hear it she wanted me to know that despite the meaning and weight of her statement she was unwilling nor even interested enough to apply any more effort or energy to it that to deliver it via a feeble whisper. That was kind of insulting but, I thought, possibly a passing thing, the articulation of the mood of the moment, a jagged edge from a broken hangover, a release of steam to ease some other unrelated feeling. That would be it.

The waitress was hovering, she was anxious, I could tell. Jennifer seemed to be smoking an invisible cigarette. I shooed the waitress away by asking for some brown toast, nicely burned at the edges. Jennifer took the opportunity to look at me this timer, hard and cold. She mouthed three words that had a familiar silent ring. Useless fucking idiot. I smiled and nodded and nodded a good morning to other guests about to sit at an adjoining table. They'd spotted Jennifer and were talking a little behind folded napkins. I said that room service might just have been a better idea, even in this place few A Listers came down and ate in the restaurant. She nodded and said she'd wanted to get out of the room anyway and shut the fuck up. I fiddled with the cutlery and drank a mouthful of the coffee. It was really good, this was a great hotel. I was living the dream albeit this part of it wasn't quite working out. At least she was still sitting there, at least we looked like we were in some sort of working or professional arrangement that wasn't truly dysfunctional or broken. Here we were keeping together some small, fragile but precious illusion. I sipped more coffee, so did she. We're mirroring I thought to myself in a sudden flush of positivity.

At that moment she stood up, pushed back her chair and glared down at me. For the first time I noticed that she was taller than I had thought. Imposing and powerful almost. Some extra stature had come upon her, maybe over night, maybe on account of me. Well that was unlikely. The waitress rushed across to remove the chair from Jennifer's path. She understood she had to clear the way. To make sure her exit was unhindered. But Jennifer just stood. She was staring at me, I stopped looking around, Id been taking in the commotion of the security men moving towards her and the angled eyes of other diners. She looked at me, hard this time, inside a tiny churn rolled across my inwards. Coffee and cereal were disagreeing over something in my stomach. She was still looking but began to open her mouth. Then she spoke, “Useless fucking idiot!” She broke into a broad smile and twittered with giggle, “Love you!” She waved five fingers open, turned and was gone. Little did I realise then that I'd never see her, or meet her in the flesh, again in my life.

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