And now, here is Matthew's version...
I was in Vancouver making photographs of Chris Isaak for a magazine
When the shoot wrapped up, I asked Chris to sign a Polaroid, which I did with everyone I had in front of my camera. I picked one and handed it to him with a Sharpie...
He wrote some words that (I didn't know at the time) would change my life: “Have fun...life’s quick.”
So after the shoot, with those words etched in my mind, I forced myself to do something. Instead of laying around a hotel room, life was out there waiting. I called my assistant Ben, “Let’s go out tonight”.
We found ourselves at an Indian restaurant called Vij's, based on an enthusiastic referral by Chris’s publicist. Also it was one of the only places that might still be open, per the concierge.
We arrived and it was dark out. The room had a glow, but not a lot of people, it almost looked closed.. We debated for a moment, whether or not to go in…
The space was cool. The room was dimly lit, with shapes projected onto the walls from lanterns. I was seated with my back to the kitchen and I was facing outward toward the front windows. As I looked around the room, I saw a young woman walk across the space in a Prada-esque tweed A-line dress, a tray in hand, short dark hair and strong poise.
Like a thunderclap, I was instantly moved the moment I saw her. It was the moment I knew something changed forever.
I looked at Ben and said, “That’s the one”.
In his heavy English accent he said, “What Mate?”, genuinely confused.
“That’s the girl, she’s the one.”
It sounds stupid, like a movie, not real… but that's what happened. I couldn’t think straight, I just watched her move through the space.
She came to our table from the kitchen behind me and appeared close up and real. I froze, like time stopped. She took my menu, looked directly at me and said, “I will take care of you.”
When she left, I said out loud, “I feel sick.”
I thought I was going to barf.
“No”, I said, “really I feel ill.”
After going on through the whole meal like this, Ben said,
“Mate, you’ve gotta tell her!”, “you've gotta ask her out... you have to!”
After we finished eating or more like me picking at the food and drinking a lot of wine, I went to the bathroom to compose myself. I thought about how to say something, but had no real plan. I came out, but didn’t see her, so I started talking to the other server.
I had no clue what I was saying, but do know I rudely interrupted her and said, “Sorry but, I really want to talk to her” and I shifted my attention directly to the girl in the A-line dress, as she came out of the swinging kitchen door.
It happened fast and I didn't want to let the moment pass, so I laid a compliment on her. I’m sure I said something stupid about her dress or her looks (what else did I know). I asked her name, Carla, (I thought it was a C). I immediately liked it. Carla. I remember asking about places to go out and inviting them both to join us.
I tried to convince her, without being a total creep,? to come out, and she said, “If you come back on a Tuesday, I’ll go out with you...” I said goodbye, while feeling slightly deflated. The sky was dark. It was damp and cold walking to the rental car. The only purple was from the glowing neon sign that said Vij's.
I thought seriously about staying another day and showing up again at the restaurant, but that would be just too weird… I’m not a stalker. I had projects back in LA, so back to real life.
Once back, I couldn’t stop thinking if the impression this person made on me meant something, or if it was just too much wine, hormones or the elevation. Could someone I saw across a room and knew nothing about, be who I was meant to be with? Really?
I was in the middle of a directing project for a music video and was distracted by the thought of her constantly. I needed to do something, so I decided to write her a letter.
I always liked that Lincoln would write a letter in the moment to reflect, then never send it. I could do that, I thought. I will write her a letter and hold onto it. I didn't have to send it.
So I wrote the letter as catharsis, never planning to take action. But after a week I didn't stop thinking about the dark-haired girl in Vancouver. With some prompting from my friend Paul (to get me back to work), off it went. I mailed the letter to Carla ℅ Vij's.
I expected nothing. I got her out of my system and released her, along with the letter… or so I thought.
And that’s where our 20-year story begins…