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Fear of intimacy

The mention of her name sets me off, but like a time bomb. Usually at first I’m quite unmoved, even disdainful. And because she’s so famous it happens quite often that I hear her name—whereupon within me, in the still and silent midst of my indifference, there is a little tink! sound like a penny dropping onto other pennies in a jar, as this implanting happens. Soon now, very soon—within hours, two days at most—I will be stricken with an urgent need to see Anne Heche’s face.

In my efforts to memorize her face (because I cannot be scurrying off for videos every time Anne Heche “does” something to attract attention) I have been much aided by cable television. Recently, for instance, I was permitted to imbibe the first twenty minutes or so of the last half hour of a (1998? 1999?) stinker called The Third Miracle. In which: Ed Harris (saving up for Pollock) as a Catholic priest with doubts (yes, doubts) is deeply alarmed to discover that Anne Heche is playing the daughter of a dead woman he has undertaken to propose for sainthood before a Vatican committee (Armin Mueller-Stahl appears in the Christopher Plummer role as the committee).

The scene worth seeing is set outdoors on a public plaza in front of something built in the Lincoln Center mode, grand-pillared and enormous—maybe it’s the Canadian Film Board building. Ed Harris is standing, red-faced and sweating, in cold wind, looking down at Anne Heche, electric in an orange coat so becoming that Wardrobe must have kissed it goodbye the moment she walked on the set. He is looking at her face and telling her that they cannot have sex, and her face, as she listens, is like a white-hot brand, burning him so bad he has to blink back tears. In this scene, Ed Harris, pro actor, is using his own personal Ed Harris feelings to fuel as dramatic as possible a movement from one end of the scene to the other. And I imagine those feelings go something like this:

"Oh wise eternal God through whose special goodness to me I am still married to Amy Madigan, what cruelty made you fashion this exquisite creature only to fill her with a fevered all-consuming madness? What toys are we mortals to you that you should give her such gifts and then make her so crazy that siroccos seem to issue from her coat? What is the source of your amusement? This chick is crazy! Like industrial dryers her pupils are spinning! I must keep—I’m dizzy, I’m falling—no, wait, it's not me—the whole world’s collapsing! This is it! I’m about to be buried under ten tons of rock and claymation production receipts—help me! I'm married!"

Lucky man.

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