In his absence she found time to see her agent. She allowed her agent
to awaken, if only briefly, her interest in taking another series role. She
sat for fresh headshots and saw in them a new and beautiful sadness.
When Will came home he packed everything that was his and moved
half a mile away, back to the room he kept in another apartment with
other mostly absent actors.
Occasionally they still served together at parties—for the aerospace
industry or transportation, bioscience, gas and oil, steering clear of music, arts, entertainment, politics. Even so, they were too often almost recognized, despite her simpler makeup and hair, despite his clean-shaven
face and the absence of his best-known character’s long black curls.
It never happened when she worked without him or to him when he
worked without her, only when they stood and moved together through
one of these busy rooms where they were meant to be invisible as furniture, merely functional in their black-and-white or sometimes red uniforms, offering trays. Instead, in a room together they rearranged space.
A pulse, an urgency, palpable, as if in a show of magic, revealed them in
all their glamour as their fabulated selves. Inevitably someone saw. Often a loner, an introvert, a man or woman standing off to the side of the
loudly or softly chattering crowd, scanning, watching. Ursula could see
the change in such a person’s attention and would find an escape before
the seeing became a certainty. But now and then she failed, missed the
person or the sign. One night a banker slipped her his card. He wanted
them to perform for him, privately. He wanted to watch. At a wedding
reception under spotlit palm trees, a woman stared at her and then at
Will and back at her, and hours later, after their cleanup, they found the
woman drunk in the road, waiting to follow them home. At a corporate
headquarters high above the city lights, a man in Buddy Holly glasses
backed her up against a wall and said, “I know who you are.” She denied
it. “What are you doing working this party?” She continued to deny it,
inching away from him without success, obstructed by a big potted banana plant, until all at once Will was there, yanking Buddy Holly by the
shoulder, away from her, a fist in his face. The plant crashed along with
the man. Broken glass, champagne and flutes, shocked guests, a retreat
to the kitchen, a caterer torn between laughter and rage, too high to care.
They forfeited their pay for the night and found a new service to temp for.
“We should try to not work together,” Ursula said on the street.
“I don’t know,” Will said. “I thought that was kind of fun.”