(Note from the future; This post and the post before it mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one; Point of Impact and the end of Summer. PoI lasted from June 17th 2010 until mid-October 2011.)
I suppose what I regret the most is that I let him see me cry.
I went to see Tilda launch her fragrance last Thursday. I live in the New York metro area and it was a public event, so why not? We were friends, right? Of course we were friends.
Many years ago I wrote to her, and many years ago she wrote back. I was so sick back then and I clung to her for reassurance that one day I could be more than a projection of a dream. I wrote her a letter that was never meant to be sent, but I did it anyway. It was a test. I told her everything I felt, all out there, about how she was love and hope to me in my solitary world. I wasn’t totally naive, I knew she would never write again. I kept waiting for the cease-and-desist letter from her agents, but it never came.
And time passed. I had scared her off, most assuredly. That was fine. I did not want her to come to like me and then find how I really felt. It was better this way.
So then why in early 2009 did she send me hugs?
Why was I asked if I would be coming to Scotland?
She had to have gotten that letter; I sent it with a dress I made her, one I saw her daughter wearing at the 2008 festival in a picture in the Guardian. Could it be she really was as she projected; a shepherd for the strange? She had read a letter to her that even I would have shied from, but here she was, asking me into her company.
I felt forgiven.
I went to Scotland where she greeted me, hugged me, showed me around. She walked with me on the pull to Strontian. She stayed with me and bought me a scone when I collapsed. She warned me of what films might be too much for me. When I disappeared on the beach in Nairn and fell asleep at Stephen’s, she called him to make sure I was okay. She wanted to see my book.
That could all be dismissed as common kindness, I suppose. But why invite me there?
On the last day she mentioned the letter and I explained myself. She said she was reassured.
I told her of my show, simply to tell her, and she, quite unexpectedly asked when and where.
I didn’t know, so she requested to be kept informed. She asked me on her own.
The date eventually was made and I sent the information as asked. Her agent relayed and said she couldn’t come but they both wished the best.
There was nothing to be done about that and I didn’t mind.
Months passed and the Polanski scandal arose. I could find no answers so I went to her.
She didn’t have to meet me. She could have easily ignored my request and slipped out the back. So why did she meet me and hug me? The whole time, she never let go as she explained her stance. She implored I trust her, so I said I would.
A month later I crossed paths with Hilton Al’s.
“I know you, you’re Tilda’s friend!” He said.
That November I sent her a box with a letter, a painting, some music, and a photo album of the trip as a thank you for the trip. It got lost in the mail and did not reach her until March. If she ever opened it, I don’t know.
The date to the show changed so I sent the information on to her agent. A new person responded, a secretary, who wrote in cold, professional form. She had no answer, but said she would reply when she had one.
Weeks passed with nothing, unusual for her agent in the years I’d known him. I couldn’t reach him anymore, only the secretary who claimed she had still heard nothing.
Maybe it was fear that drove me, fear that I’d regret not getting this information to her in the event she really did want to come. She would be in New York that weekend, after all. Maybe it was just persistence toward the impossible.
With no response I assumed she didn’t know, and sent a message through Stephen, the person I was originally told to send the information via.
Still no response.
I was tempted to go to her as she filmed in the next state over, more for an escape from the stress of my own life than anything, but I didn’t.
I went to a Justin Bond show and passed a letter on through Sandro, her boyfriend. He said he would pass it on but made no mention as to whether Tilda had gotten any prior messages. I mention my thought to see her in Conneticut. He advised me not to. I said I wasn’t going to but in truth I probably should never have said anything at all.
And despite giving him the show invite to give to Tilda, I got no response. I gave up after that, for there was no way she couldn’t know now. I accepted it and moved on.
Another month. The invitation to the Pilgrimage screening came and sparked my curiosity as to what Tilda was up to. She was in New York that Wednesday for a premiere! By the time I found out it was too late, but I left a little note for her with a waiter on the back of a promotional card for my show, the only paper I had on me.
The next day it was posted that there was a meet-and-greet open to the public for Tilda’s new fragrance. I went and met up with a friend. Tilda was there, but doing interviews. I said hello to Sandro and Tilda returned a wave. A half hour passed. I asked Sandro, “when will she be speaking to us?” meaning the small crowd that had turned out to see her.
“She’s only doing interviews.”
“Oh… Might I have a few quick seconds to say hello before you go?”
And he looked at me and said;
“You know there is no possibility for you to have any meaningful relationship with Tilda, right?”
I was stunned.
“What… what do you mean? You mean romantic? Because of course I know that. I’m just a friend.”
“Not romantic. Anything. Not even friend. It would be in your best interest to stop trying to contact her.”
He paused, looking for words. I supplied it.
“I’m not ‘somebody’?”
“No, no not that, you’re just too… emotionally attached. You’re seeing something that isn’t there. Tilda’s proud that you have a show and everything but you have to stop asking her to be part of your life.”
“You mean she knows about the show?”
“Of course, you’ve been sending us so many messages.”
“They got through?? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“Because we’re busy, Anie!”
“I wouldn’t have kept trying to reach her if I had known! She answered through Christian the last time. How was I to know this would be different?”
“You’re not seeing the issue here. There is no possible way for you to be friends with Tilda.”
“Is this because of that letter?”
“I wrote that years ago! I was sick then, Tilda and I spoke it out. I’m better now.”
But how convincing could that statement be when I was crying? I hated that I was crying. I was being told Tilda wanted nothing to do with me because of, of what? Too many attempts at sending an invitation? An ancient letter that had been reconciled almost a year prior? The fact that I dared think of myself as anything to a movie star? That I looked up to her as a possibility for a future amongst other human beings without being destroyed by it? Is it that I can’t hide my emotion behind a mask? Maybe he was right. Maybe I had imagined the whole thing, that I had ever meant anything to the great Tilda Swinton. It was all in my mind.
Sandro put down his ultimatum. “If you’re really better, you’ll leave without saying hello to her.”
“But I can’t ever write to her again?”
“No one’s telling you what to do. I’m just saying you shouldn’t.”
“And if there’s a festival next year, I shouldn’t go?”
“No… I don’t think you should.”
Gone, All the joy her existence brought me directly and indirectly, gone.
“If that’s what’s best for her…then I won’t.”
“It’s not a matter of her, it’s a matter of you. I feel bad for you, Anie, I really do. I know this must be hard for you, but breaking contact is the best thing you can do.”
Cut away. I should have asked to hear this from Tilda. I should have defended myself better. I should never have given him the chance to take me down. But I didn’t know. I didn’t want to hurt Tilda and he was being so nice. I was an awkward outcast. Surely then, he must be telling the truth.
“Can I walk you downstairs?” he asked.
“No, no… I’ve already taken up too much of your time.”
I hand him the tiny letter I wrote for her on the back of a train ticket receipt and he takes them as I leave.
“You’re very brave!” he calls out.
I don’t look back.
Somehow I got myself home after that. I had one more day to finish my film for the premiere, one I didn’t even think would be shown. It was all shot to hell anyway. What was the point? But I was so close to finishing it, and it wasn’t just for Tilda, it was for everyone who had wanted me there. Despite the fact my world had gone dead, I went into work and finished it as best I could. The editing errors towards the end stand testament of love gone wrong.
The next day I sent a letter to Tilda’s agent asking if this was truly what she wanted. Almost seconds later I got this response;
Unfortunately Tilda would prefer not to receive anything.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in Tilda Swinton’s career.
All updates on her work can be found on our website.
I am away on Pilgrimage now as I write this. Pilgrimage is a return to the centre while going to Scotland was a trip, to get as far away from the centre as I could. Over all it succeeded, but in the end remains the core blessing and curse; I believe everything anyone says if they say it kindly. I believe that all things are possible above any social law. I believe someone who is kind could never hurt me unless I deserved it. I give love freely because it gives itself to anyone who smiles at me once. It’s not something I can control, and so I will never be safe from the masks of humanity. I can only hope that of the faces that pull that love from me, some of them are real.
Jules M BartkiewiczIm sorry,there is so much I would like to extend on this but as every ones mother says “if you haven’t got anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”
(Directed at the others not You Anie)
Sandor is only right about one thing you are braver than they ever will be…June 21, 2010 at 4:09pm · Like
Matt Hulse It’s a natural reaction to apportion blame but I don’t think it’s helpful. And Anie you have nothing to be ashamed of. Bu can we please imagine for a moment what it must be like to be a global superstar with literally millions of adoring fans and constant demands upon your attention? How on earth does one actually deal with that, even on a simple logistical level? Tilda seems to do an amazing job of keeping herself relatively grounded and in touch with, if you like, ‘real people’. If we respect her and her work then we must allow her as much space as she needs, even if in order to carve that space out she needs a man in lederhosen to do it for her.June 22, 2010 at 10:21am · Like
Anie Knipping It was pretty bad at first, but like many things it only made sense after some time went by. I can’t explain it, but even though it still stings I know it was for the best and that I owe Sandro thanks. I learned a lot from it, and not what I would have expected to. Life is strange that way.:-)
Jessica Williams I’m sorry to hear this, Anie. Look at it this way: your dream came true. You met her, and she touched your life. And she changed you. This whole thing pulled you out of a dark, sick place that I watched you drown in for a good year, and it did you good. You’re on the right path now, so embrace it, even if it means giving something up. “Sometimes things have to fall apart for other things to fall into place.”September 16, 2010 at 3:56pm · Like