Joseph Campana

It’s the part of the film (Charade) after Audrey Hepburn has lumped ice cream on Cary Grant’s suit (though she doesn’t offer to lick it off) so he takes a shower fully dressed in her bathroom because she’s trapped him there (we can understand why) for a kiss (or something) but got (doesn’t it figure) slapstick instead.

I know that moment. Cary Grant should walk out in a housecoat with a towel wrapped around his neck, saying something funny, something irresistible. Because she’s just heard something awful on the phone. Was it about the nature of men? Always more names than fit on a passport, more features than fit in a damp bathrobe. 

He doesn’t walk in, though. Just like her husband (whose name she didn’t even know) never walked back in (someone threw him off a train). So it makes sense to see her instead, to see her everywhere (women make the best spies). When the door opens, no one’s there. She never gets to walk out of the frame (not even in Givenchy). She doesn’t get to walk into time.

No one gets to walk into the dark with eyes open. Into the shadowy closet of water where a thousand perfect souls swim like notes in the air, glimmering in a great chain that swirls upward, waiting to cycle back to life on the pulsing cell of the eye, of the mind at night, seeing what it does in the dark. No one sees angels. No one hears voices, no less explanations. Machines tick seconds on an ageless band spiraling into itself. 

She picks up another cigarette (just breathe). Paces a silver cell: space without time. Savors the smolder that never kills, never burns. That’s the magic of the place (take me with you). She waits for the next one, the man who will come out of the darkness in satin. There’s always another one coming out, another one passing through.