all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.
Fox, in “Wall Street”
happens when you’re trying to go to sleep, or cooking spaghetti
noodles or staring out the window. When you remember some remark your boss made, or that snooty woman at the bank.
it comes to you. The perfect answer, the thing you should've said.
The thing you wish you could’ve thought of in the moment.
moment’s gone, and sometimes it’s a question you should’ve
asked but didn’t. There
was a moment for that, too. Once it’s gone, the moon and stars will
never quite align that way again.
had such a moment in Memphis, TN, the city from which I hail.
Specifically, at the Western Steakhouse Restaurant and Lounge, which
was everything a name like that implies.
long gone now, but the restaurant had been around since the early
‘50s; it was Elvis’ favorite steakhouse, if that tells you
anything. In 1995, when I was there, the Western Steakhouse was as it had always been, a dimly lit,
smoke-filled, walk-up of a place.
actually had to walk
up, the place
was upstairs, in all its black paneled, imitation red leather glory. It was “Goodfellas” meets “Smokey and the Bandit”, the
sort of place Memphis mafioso took their wives on Friday night and
their girlfriends on Saturday.
was there with Phillip, on a Thursday. We met through a mutual friend and I was completely smitten. For days I had imagined all the witty, clever things I would say.
it was a disaster, even as first dates go. Phillip and I were the
only people there, and to call the conversation “sparse” would be
spotting it some points.
night was like a barefoot walk in broken glass. Somehow I got through
Before we left, Phillip excused himself to go to the restroom, or
possibly to look for a backstairs exit.
A couple of waitresses were chatting about customers and
such; one of them said:
“Remember what happened that time Jack Ruby was here?”
They laughed, and Phillip came out of the restroom, nodding toward the door.
The waitresses disappeared into the kitchen.
come and go, and they take the answers with them; they
leave you there with half a Jack Ruby story.