Inez, the dream role
Inez was the name of my dream girl, a fiery siren from some non-descript Latin American country. I created her for an Off-Off-Broadway show I wrote, directed and starred in during my late twenties. The play was called 1000 Lovesick Nights and was, thematically, very similar to The Heartbroke Daily. I played a version of myself, and took the audience through some of my failed relationships. The narrative throughline, though, was Inez, a beautiful woman I was chasing the whole time, who, though she had affection for me, never succumbed to my advances.
The girl I cast as Inez was exactly what I envisioned when I wrote her. Giant eyes, a wicked smile, and a wild streak. She was a pretty serious actor, and insisted that I call her Inez outside of rehearsals. We’d go for long walks through the city where she could calmly probe my thoughts on Inez and why I considered her my dream girl.
“Inez is a lot like me in a lot of ways, conflicted about the nature of the universe but persistent in trying to unearth the answers to its mysteries. But at the same time, she is very different. She’s more grounded, and while she is impulsive, she’s nowhere near as rootless.’
“I’m more assured than you, and that’s something which you would like to be,” Inez half told, half asked me.
“Yeah, I think part of my desire to be with her is aspirational,” I said.
“Do you actually think you’ll wind up with me? And if so, do I know that?”
“Yes and yes. That’s why you keep your distance from me. You know you’re breaking my heart.”
“But I can’t completely stay away, because I think I love you,” she said, which stopped me in my tracks.
“You do?” I asked. She looked back and winked. And even though we both knew she was just inhabiting the role, I melted.
As preparation for the show continued, I began to have dreams about Inez, which we’d incorporate into the play. I had a vision of her making bread for me in my kitchen and called Inez in the middle of the night to tell her about it. The next day, she brought fresh homecooked bread for the whole crew. The line between fiction and reality was beyond blurred.
The play opened and ran for three weeks to mixed reviews. At the closing night party, I disappeared with Inez to go for another walk around the neighborhood.
“I’ve never disappeared so much into a role, Knox. Thank you for this.”
“You were amazing. I can’t talk to you without believing you are Inez. You’ve convinced my heart .”
“I know, Knox. I feel like I’ve convinced myself as well. Like, I don’t believe that I am Inez, but I can hear her in my thoughts. I know her intimately.”
We stopped by a small park and I leaned in to kiss her. Inez pulled away, as a tear began to form in her eye. “I can’t do this. You don’t love me, you love her.”
“But you are Inez to me. You can be her.”
“I’d feel like I am,” Inez said, “And that’s why I can’t do this. Because Inez wouldn’t.” And with that, she walked away and receded back into my dreams.
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