to touch the stars/2
One of Raspalli’s best friends here is Pakistani. “This would never happen at home,” she says. “He is gay also. Disinherited by his parents. But he has a good heart. His life is more difficult than mine, you understand? With so much that is forbidden.”(The friend is from Lahore which is the very city Raspalli’s parents fled after the Partition.)
“So how are you going to make these hopes of yours happen?” I ask, gently.
She beams and throws back her hair. “I have sent my resume (rezoomay) to every production company in New York.”
“But Raspalli, the kind of production companies you want, they’re all in Los Angeles. That’s where the money and the movies live.”
She shakes her head and smiles. “I don’t care,” she says. “I’ll tell you why. I could be sitting here having coffee with you and Steven Speilberg could walk by. That’s how it still happens, sometimes. People with power see you and they want you.”
“Only in Bollywood,” I’m thinking.
“I can not go back to India until I have made it. I can not. My father has sacrificed everything for me. He believes in me.”
Which is when something clicks. Not about destiny or the gods or what is written but about the power of being believed in. I suddenly think of Raspalli’s boss. A young Israeli, true Sabra. She, too, has defied all odds and sunk every cent she and her husband own to open a restaurant downtown.
“This is why they work as a couple,” Raspalli says. “Because she has a husband who believes in her. This is what we all should have. One who believes and the other who acts…”
Ahha! I think, signaling for the check. One who believes and the other who acts. I like that. Despite the nomadic wanderings of a mind past its prime, despite the cataclysmic collapse of confidence that occurs in middle-age, I recognize some part of my own soul in this dangerously happy, exotically beautiful woman across from me. Because I still believe. I do. I believe it’s possible to touch the stars.