Dan hands me his list as I get off the elevator, still fifteen minutes from the start of clinic. The paper is polished and worn, having been folded twice and in and out of his wallet for half a century. There is ink from at least four ball-point pens on the page. The edges are frayed, almost archival. He’s a little smug, like he just delivered key evidence in a trial. He lifts his chin and looks off to the side, like De Niro. A slight nod of the head.
In the fall of 2001, while I was living in the south Thailand border town of Ranong, I had a brief love affair with an Australian woman named Eva. I first met her on the swimming-pool veranda of the aging hotel where I was renting a studio for $150 a month. Travelers would occasionally pass through Ranong to renew their Thai travel visas at the Burmese border, and Eva had just returned from a visa run with a British couple I’d met the day before. That night the four of us went out to drink whiskey and sing karaoke at a local nightclub. The following morning, the British couple headed north for Bangkok, and Eva moved her things into my room.
Julie stands alone looking at a cornucopia of flowers. She is quite a bit shorter than one would imagine, and younger looking too, very fit, with dark brown bangs, tastefully blonde-streaked, fringing her sunglasses. She wears old green cotton pants (cargo pants?) and looks nothing like a movie star.
Jock: Are you Julie?
(She doesn’t turn. Should I leave this person who might not be Julie alone-— and who also may be Julie and is not turning around because she just wants to look at flowers? Probably. But I did bike all the way into town to talk to her. A few moments of courage-gathering. A trifle louder.)
Julia PikeMeeting Julie Christie at the Flower Booth at the Sunday Ojai Farmers’ Market, August 3, 2003
The bus doors opened and the kids tumbled out. Jesus, they were terrifying. Sunburned, long-legged, mosquito-bitten, and hood-eyed, all of them in camp T-shirts with the signatures of friends and bunkmates, and the older girls with the signatures on their T-shirts bumping over the lines of their bra-straps. The wind came off the Hudson.