This was at a birthday party disguised as a wedding. You know how people say, “He gets it”? A lot of people didn’t. Straight woman, gay man. We registered for gifts at Macy’s and Target. We posted fake engagement photos on Facebook which seemed nakedly photo-shopped to me but confused various relatives, my high school English teacher, and a woman whose family my mother married into when I was a kid. The bride posted an explanation. I refused.
I seem to be hell-bent lately on distancing people. It’s something I’m going through. The wedding seemed ridiculous and perfect in many ways as an idea, and really all the preparations were the whole thing. The wedding and the party were beside the point, because everyone who showed up “got it”, and I was only interested in determining who didn’t, not to convert them but maybe to exile them.
Melissa (above right) gets almost everything. I’ve known her for over twenty years. At the party I was talking to her and that span of time stretched out between us in a palpable way and drew us closer into this startling moment of recognition. I knew her when she was just into her twenties, if even, had long hair and did a Cher impression back when Cher was too serious to make fun of any more, pre Autotune and enforced self deprecation.
We didn’t talk for several years. I don’t know what she was doing. I was moving around a lot, trying to get away from people knowing me too well.
She brought Maysey with her to the party, and it’s clear from this picture they’ve known each other quite a while too. Nothing could have repulsed me more than the looks on their faces even ten years ago. The idea of knowing someone that well, or capitulating to the belief that such a thing is possible, filled me with a restlessness which has now migrated into filmmaking.
Melissa tells me they met around 1990 through the overlap of mutual tribes. Like any long friendship, many stories and layers. Things that come to mind when she thinks of this friendship in particular: a long tap root, a winding river, gentleness, acceptance, wiggle room, laughter, art, studio life, books, teasing ideas out with one another, comfortable silences, inside jokes, daily, private.