Natalie blinked and re-positioned herself. It looked like she was buying time to consider something, but whatever it was, she was resigned to this interaction at least. I wondered what George had required of her and what she therefore expected of me, if anything. Maybe he had suggested I was an important friend who needed to be indulged for some unspecified business reason, or maybe I was just as he put it, that she, like most people, was bound to be intrigued when a film-maker found them interesting. Or perhaps she was just curious and nothing more.
“Of course,” she said, “Go ahead.”
“You’re very game!” I couldn’t help saying.
“Maybe I just expect a film maker to ask odd questions,” she replied, unperturbed. With each moment she was apparently becoming surer of herself, almost more into herself – if you understand what I’m saying. I was thinking that if I were filming this (which I wasn’t and I suddenly wished I was) she’d appear more and more physical with each passing moment.
That was exactly how it felt to me, and in a way I could have sworn it was literally true rather than an impression. Everything about this echo was becoming more distinct as she seemed to relax. I realized I was noting the contours of her cheeks in the shadowy light, and could see her eyelashes clearly, the small pores near her nose on her face. It was as though she was in high definition focus, or gradually becoming so, and the impact was only acceptable because it was gradual.
It wasn’t just looking at a beautiful woman for the sake of seeing more. It wasn’t like the way that finding the indistinct flaw in beauty actually heightens it, so the artist in me seeks it out. It was more than that, more subtle and more pronounced. It was as though something in the beautiful woman was allowing itself to be more seen. I wondered if she knew.
“Or maybe you just get asked odd questions a lot?” I prompt.
She frowned at me but said nothing.
“OK, perhaps not. Let’s start. Do you find that sometimes you feel…invisible?”
The frown deepened.
“Doesn’t everybody sometimes?” she asked, “Like when you want to get served at a counter and no-one sees you there for ages?”
“Yes, like that. But more often than that. In social situations, or even at the bar, does it sometimes seem like people cease to notice you are there?”
She was looking troubled now, but I couldn’t tell if that was because I’d struck a nerve or whether I’d somehow insulted her.
“I don’t mean to say that you wouldn’t attract attention,” I blurted out, “You’re very, very pretty, and the camera loves you, really, it’s just, it’s just that sometimes the camera..misses you…”
That was too much to have said. You can’t ask leading questions or make leading statements in an investigation; you can’t show your hand too soon. She leaned forward now, her elbows resting on her knees. I noticed how pale her skin was and how her forearms had a fine sprinkling of light hair upon them. I looked up from the blue of her t-shirt into even bluer eyes. She was watching me with the avidity of a hawk about to swoop.
What do you know of yourself, I wondered, what do you know?
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved