Sunday, October 12, 2008

MAGIC MOMENTS

General Hospital: Night Shift is kicking ass. Still.

Today I watched the 12th episode of Season Two, and two scenes, in particular, made me cry just a little bit. The first was between super-agent exes Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) and Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers), the latter of whom was on the verge of lapsing into a coma due to complications from his treatment for colon cancer. In the sequence, the former couple put aside their usual verbal sparring to talk lovingly about their long, complicated history, the sacrifices they'd made for their work and how they'd both always imagined that someday, at the end of their respective final missions, they'd somehow find their way back to each other and grow old and gray together, sipping Mai Tai's on some remote beach.

The scene was like a master class on effective, understated acting. Every word, every single note rang true. If only Night Shift's parent show would take notes from its spin-off--and also sign Hughes and Rogers to long-term contracts pronto--GH might actually crawl out of ratings hell (which is what every daytime drama, with the exception of The Young & The Restless, currently calls home).

I teared up again watching the show's final scene between Dr. Kyle Julian (Adam Grimes) and his patient, played by openly gay actor Chad Allen, formerly of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (above right, with Grimes). Allen's character is awaiting a liver transplant, but time is running out. In the scene, he asked Dr. Julian if he'd ever had a perfect moment, before going on to deliver a short soliloquy on his one (something about being in New York on a beautiful fall day). "Have you ever had a perfect moment?" he asked Dr. Julian again after he had finished telling his story. "Yes," Dr. Julian responded. Silence. "Right now."

The response was predictable, but again, the delivery was so simple and so understated that it didn't matter. Afterwards, doctor and patient leaned in toward each other and sealed the tender moment with a kiss. A real kiss. We've come a long way, baby, since Melrose Place's Matt Fielding (played by Desperate Housewive's Doug Savant), his hunky boyfriends and their chaste hugs.

As I watched the scene, I thought about perfect moments and whether I'd ever had one. I decided that yes, exactly one. It was early autumn in New York City, about 16 years ago. My first boyfriend, Derek, and I were lying on his bed listening to Talk Talk's Laughing Stock CD. It was Saturday around nightfall, and it was raining outside (very similar to how it is now in Buenos Aires as I type). It was dark in Derek's apartment, and just a little bit of natural light was coming through the bedroom window from outside. Not a creature was stirring. Derek and I were just lying there, listening to the Talk Talk's art-rock opus, silently enjoying each other's company.

I haven't seen Derek since 2004. We dated for a year and a half and broke up around this time in 1993. I'll always think of him as the one who got away. When we started dating, I had just turned 23, and he was 27. He was ready for a serious relationship, but I was still a wild thing, and as Joni Mitchell once said (in an album title), wild things run fast. Derek couldn't keep up--and I wasn't ready to slow down. I wonder if he remembers that perfect moment, and if it was as good for him.

If I ever see Derek again (and considering that I unexpectedly ran into him in 1999 in a train station in Florence, Italy, chances are that I will), I'll have to ask.
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