Bed, by Charlie Grosso

 

Another mission has been assigned. The days leading up the next mission have been hectic and emotional, resulting in very little communications between the two spies. Compartmentalization is one of the primary skills a spy must possess. Layers upon layers of internal walls are in place to separate and protect the myriad lives they live. They are on the only ones with the ultimate knowledge of many different permutation of lives they play a part in while moving seamless across from one to another. No one knows of a spies true nature. No one sees all the different lives they live. Secrecy is paramount for survival. But what happens when two spies meet and fall in love? When someone else who knows and understand the complex set competing selves that exists. When the heart wants to outwit logic, forcing the operatives to up their game.

An address and a time have been set. She is early for the meet. Just 48 hours before she had wanted to cancel this meet. An unexpected emotional leakage from a previous assignment has been distracting her, throwing her off her game. They have so little time together she didn’t want to show up with anything less than. Thank god for the brain’s ability to re-set itself. It’s amazing what night of sleep can do. She sits in a corner in the lobby, working away in her executive director disguise. He walks in, checks in and takes no notice of her. She chuckles. His spy craft is failing him today. A room number. An elevator. A knock.

“And we meet again.” He says.

A somewhat clumsy entrance and welcome. All of her various selves hangs heavy on her as she has not shed them yet; she is not her spy self, she is the multitude of selves. She needs time to de-cloak.

Privacy is found in a tiny room in a curious hotel in the most unexpected location complete with black out curtains. It is the middle of the afternoon for the world outside but it is night for them. She is reminded of this button she had given him, it said something like, “in the night, we are us.” Had he chosen this location and this curious place because of that?

Words. She needs words to help with the transition. She needs words to get her to be the version of herself he is expecting and long for. These stolen hours are getting harder and harder to manage in some ways. There are too many agendas and desires vying for their limited attention. At last, they have completed the download of their history, of what made them who they are. But now the desire to share their various assignments, details of the glorious along with the ridiculous competes with their need to bury themselves in each other’s skin, against the romantic utterances of lover’s declarations. There is too much, too much and simply not enough night.

It took her close to 90 minutes before she was able to completely shift out of her other selves for him. For the first time, their desires and priorities didn’t quiet align with each other in time and space. She didn’t rush herself in the transition. She didn’t want to. This is supposed to be where she can just be herself, naked and honest, preoccupied and needing love. If she had rush the process, he soon would become another case, demanding another disguise, forcing her to falsify what should be true.

“I’ve ordered a chain link fence for us.”

“What?” It took her a minute to get his reference.

“I want to get to that pent up place.”

In between these movies, there are stolen kisses, short breakfast and dinners. Their time together are always countable, 59 seconds, 59 minutes, meticulously measured. They never could lose time. Desires cannot run wild during these intermittent sessions where the handler meets the case officer. Pent up, desiring, needing, craving is all they can ever be. They dig their nails into each other’s skin, clawing at each other for more, scanning dark alley for a moment to indulge in absolute abandon during those controlled minutes.

The irony today is they cannot get to the state of frustration because at last, they have a little privacy, a tiny bit of sanctuary. Lust cannot build itself to the boiling point when there is no obstacle, when there is nothing to push against. Once, twice, he buries himself in her as she looks down into his hazel green eyes.

“I love you. You kill me.”

Unconventional lovers must deal with unconventional challenges. Despite of their excellent spy craft, their humanness gets to them still. Their well carefully calculated compartments leaks through and they are suffering asymmetrical growth.

“What would happen if your cover is blown?”

“I don’t know.” He cannot imagine it. He has been undercover for so long, the failure of his current operation is simply unthinkable.

“What if we weren’t’ spies? What would that the future be like?”

Oh that humanness in her tires so hard to suppress is showing. How can you love and not dream of a future? How can you give so completely and not wish for time to give?

Just as he starts to contemplate the “what if” scenarios, his phone suddenly rings. Shit. His house is calling him. His other life is calling just they discuss the ramifications of failed operation. He quickly dresses and steps out for the call. She duly notes this tiny act of consideration both for her and for whomever is on the other line.

He walks back in, “its nothing. She had good news to share and I didn’t want to be that guy who is lying in bed with you while she share a moment of pride with me.” So there is consideration for him as well then.

These fine lines in the sand they draw. Do these details really matter? Does it ever help them plead their case down from first degree to second degree? Who are the judge and jury?

“Why do you love me?” He wants to know.

The predictability of humans and romance is almost laughable. Its desires insatiable. Her humanness wants the tiniest glimmer of hope for a future together, a promise that is nearly impossible to keep, of being loved forever, of another willing to risk everything for her. Foolish words that never gets fulfilled even by those who with simple lives. Unreasonable words that only clouds judgment. She knows better. Her training taught her to not believe in these grandiose words but the human heart craves just the tiniest fragment of it. His heart is at the same delicate fragile place; he just has a different request. He wants a logical deduction, a numeration of her love.

Hamburgers and fries in bed. A decadent norm.

In this tiny room, a block away from his headquarters where his minions carry out his instructions, they have found a moment for their love. The room has a digital clock in the front and center position, visible from all corners of the room. The tiny LED green light keeps track of time in a room of perpetual night like a cruel joke. The hour has come and they will both leave this tiny safe house for the night to dream in another bed.

Morning comes. She walks through the busy intersections with people heading to work clutching their morning coffee. An elevator ride and she will be back in perpetual night. As she crossed the lobby and approached the elevator she suddenly felt as if she is disguised as a high class escort. Wait. Stop. That is not the script for today. Why is the implicit undertone of prostitution is never far from a woman’s psyche when she is a hotel? The imbalances of the sexes are far from ridiculous.

A surreal two hours together in a manufactured night in a city drenched in the late spring sun. All other disguises are put on pause so she can cover him with kisses. They cannot pause time, they resort to theft and find sweetness in the minutes they can find together.

There is no dramatic goodbye or a beautiful last frame to fade out on.

6+2 is an awkward indie existential romance where questions are asked and no answers given, shot with the subdued palette of everyday, handheld camera movement, lacking in catharsis but the audience is oddly pleased at the awkwardness of complicate lives told on film. The awkwardness make the viewer feel a little better about their lives somehow. This might not have been their finest film efforts, but god, what a full artist range they have as co-creators.

“In the night, we are us.”

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James Bond, Movie #6 and the moment Love Happens
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