Over Exposure

I woke up this morning with a haunting image on my mind. Had I been dreaming of her? I don't know. Why I would be dreaming of her I comprehend even less. It's been bugging me off and on all morning and afternoon. The image comes from a few years ago. I was working in the box office of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Meyerson building. It was a Sunday and I had the opportunity to see a Sunday matinee. I was kind of new to the job, and the excitement of going to see the Symphony perform with talents like Bernadette Peters or Bobby McFerrin hadn't worn off quite yet. So it's intermission and I'm loitering about the massive lush lobby of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and several yards away from me was the most breathtaking sight. A thin and captivatingly beautiful short-haired brunette in a pink flowery spring dress was sitting at a table alone with a little girl who I later learned to be her daughter. The woman was fairly glowing with a humble and yet regal poise, as if she were a flower in a prize-winning garden. Sunlight from outside the Dallas skyline streaming in through the glass window walls of the Meyerson's modern deco architecture. It took a few seconds for it to register in my mind, once my eyes had focused in on her face, that this quiet captivating woman was none other than Janine Turner.

I never approached her. I kept a safe distance. I hate the thought of being that annoying fan that ruins a talented actress' day by asking for an autograph or stumbling over my words trying to say something complimentary and witty or otherwise attempting to ingratiate myself as if I were the male equivalent of Hyacinth Buckett from Keeping Up Appearances. What good would their autograph be? Perhaps it would stand as proof to others that I had momentarily been in the presence of elegance and Hollywood glamour? What good would my wasting space in front of them be to them? How could it be a positive experience for either of us? So in those rare times when things like this happen, I keep my distance. Better to stare blankly from far away and be thought a fool than open my mouth and remove all doubt. It wasn't just fame which glowed from Ms. Turner that day. I think it's the look on her face which haunts me now. She never looked my way. I doubt she noticed me or anyone else around. She was in a world of her own with worries and cares and fancies that I could not even imagine. Yet that look on her face, trapped forever in my mind's eye now but never to be duplicated. Like a painting in a museum that only I can see. Words fail me as would any attempt by me to sculpt or draw that exquisite puzzlement on her face. Perhaps she had hoped someone would arrive that day to join her and her daughter for the performance. She seemed to be searching for something or someone in the crowd. She seemed most unapproachable, with a body language that screamed keep away, and yet her eyes seemed to be hoping that some particular someone or something that she would have allowed in would be present that day, and it wasn't, and she seemed.. She seemed lost, somehow. A woman who appeared to have everything, seemed to be missing something.

And yet that's my uneducated attempt to fill in the gaps. It could have just as easily been something she ate. She could have been going over some lines in her head for a performance she would soon do. Maybe she was trying to remember a grocery list. Perhaps he had just been involved in some scandal and feared the press would notice her there. Perhaps she was upset that no one from the press was there to bother her. There's a thousand possibilities that would go with that face, and none of them would be the right answer. There may not be one. Certainly if there is an answer for that expression and that body language and her being in that place at that time for me to happen to catch a glimpse of her private life and her captivating beauty, surely I'm the least qualified individual to receive knowledge of that answer. Even if I got the answer from her own mouth it would probably not satisfy this curious haunting feeling I now have. Why would I wake up this morning with this image in my mind and all these unanswered questions and why do they weigh so heavily on me now? Like Edgar Allen Poe arguing with a pathetic blackbird? So this morning, I awake and the first image in my mind, as if the image had been there for some time while I still slumbered, was Ms. Janine Turner's Mona Lisa-like face. Wearing that simple yet elegant dress and sitting alone at that table, bathed in sunlight which filtered through the Meyerson architecture. I stirred and lifted myself from the cloud-like reverie and shook my head, thinking that quite strange and unlike my usual wakeful routine. Normally I couldn't tell you by the time I got to brushing my teeth just what I had been dreaming about only moments before, but that look on her face still haunts me. I don't know why.

It's like a moment captured forever in my mind that has no rhyme or reason or purpose. I wouldn't want it removed because it's so beautiful, yet I do not want it there because it is so frustrating and troublesome. I was somehow a voyeur into her life for but a haiku's length: one inhalation and exhalation of breath and the moment was gone. Intermission was over. I went to my seat and presumably she and her daughter had gone to theirs. I never saw them again nor perhaps should I want to, yet that image in my mind with no explanation just sits there. A file in the recesses of my brain that is pulled up again while I sleep for no explanation that I can muster. It's troubling. If she were someone I actually knew, I could perhaps understand. I could call her up and say, "hey remember that day? What were you thinking?" But I don't know her and I can't call her and even if I could why would I bring this up now? Why should it matter to her? Why should it matter to me? Why must I wake up with her vision on my brain? If I knew whether or not this talented but otherwise strange stranger had had a good day that Sunday afternoon or a bad day and whether things turned out for the best since then, or something. Anything. I don't know. Would it make a difference? Would it soothe my silly head? Would I want it soothed?

I know nothing about that moment in her life or any other moment in her life. It was just such a beautiful moment, on the outside looking in. A moment she probably took for granted. A moment she couldn't recall for you now if you were to meet her on the street and ask her. It's just a curious experience, frozen in time, that I will take with me to my grave but why it should resurface now of all times is quite beyond me. I just don't get it. And writing this makes me realize even moreso that there is no resolution. No answer. Not even a little white lie I could tell myself so that I could find an ending to this silly journal entry and move on. There is no answer. It's just there. I was exposed to Janine Turner for the flap of a humming bird's wing, and then it was over. I'm simply left with circular illogic. I woke up this morning with a haunting image on my mind. Had I been dreaming of her? I don't know. Why I would be dreaming of her I comprehend even less. It's been bugging me. It still does. I will walk away from this computer to go do my laundry and she will still be haunting me. And I don't know why. I hope she's having a most exquisite, wonderful and happy day, wherever she may be, and I hope all her questions get answered to her satisfaction.

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