At First Sight

By Laura Schiller

Based on: the Weetzie Bat series

Copyright: Francesca Lia Block

I'd always considered 'love at first sight' to be a silly fabrication. A fantasy propagated by the savvy screenwriters of Hollywood, who play on their audience's emotions like a piano and get rich for it. Real love, I thought – if there even is such a thing – would surely be too deep and complex an emotion to develop with no more cause than the flicker of a girl's eyelashes. And even now, I can't say for certain that what happened that day was love.

I had been hanging around Duke's, the shabby little coffee shop, fairly regularly at the time. I was between projects and disgustingly bored, giving myself headaches trying to come up with a new story. No success – until I looked up one morning and the brightest, sweetest, quirkiest-looking chick I'd ever seen was grinning at me.

She had bleached blonde spiky hair, eyes hidden behind pink sunglasses, and a pale pointed face that made me think of elves. Underneath her white waitress apron, she wore a pale pink dress that looked like something out of a medieval fairy tale – except with a miniskirt and steel-toed engineer boots. But it was the grin that made me stare – not the usual automatic waitress smile, but a genuinely cheerful, friendly look, as if we were already old friends.

"Hey," she chirped, sticking a pencil behind her ear. "I'm Weetzie. Can I take your order?"

Weetzie. Was that a nickname, or had some misguided parent actually named her that? Either way, it was perfect for her. And she had a voice like Marilyn Monroe's might have been at nineteen, which was about how old Weetzie looked. Bright, scratchy and soft at the same time. A voice made for purrs, whispers, giggles and squeaks of joy.

"Coffee, black," I blurted out, trying to get my scattered thoughts together and remember why I was here. She was a waitress; this was a café. It was the sort of situation where one ordered coffee, so I did.

"Anything else?"

She cocked her head to one side like a sparrow. For some reason, I panicked and broke out in a sweat – this was my moment. Who knew if she'd be here the next time I came?

I cut to the chase, as always – eloquent speech had never been my forte, which is why I prefer to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.

"I'd like you to be in my film," I said.

All I knew was that just looking at her made the reels inside my head begin to spin. She was a star – it glittered on her skin, sang in her voice, in a way the fewest people have. I wanted to film her. I wanted her, period, though in what way was not precisely clear.

Of course she freaked out about my name when I introduced myself. I'd never asked to be named My Secret Agent Lover Man, and believe me, I know better than anyone how ridiculous it is. All the same, for a girl named Weetzie it's a bit rich to first collapse into a chair as if her knees can't take it, and then disappear. It was another waitress, a bored-looking Hispanic girl in jeans and a T-shirt, who brought me my coffee that day.

But my mind was made up. From that day on, I came to Duke's every day at precisely the same time – and yes, I did catch the elusive Weetzie during her shift. When I asked her out for a drink after work, she said yes as if she really meant it.

I drove her to the beach on my motorcycle and we shared pink champagne. When I started filming her, she acted so like a little girl – giggling and shrieking, putting her hand over the lens – that I laughed myself breathless. I hadn't laughed like that in years.

And I'd never, ever been kissed before the way we kissed on the beach that day. Sweeter, hotter, than all the desserts I'd ever eaten combined.

And there were a whole lot more of those kisses after that.

Weetzie, being the romantic that she is, tells me she knew ever since that first kiss that I was 'the one', her wish come true. But for me, it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I knew I loved her – the kind of love that makes you want to wake up spooned together every morning of your life. It happened pretty much on its own; no major decisions necessary. I simply started staying overnight in her cottage and, by and by, didn't bother to go back to my old apartment anymore.

If I had to pick a day when my life took a turning point, however, it would be that one. My first sight of her sparkling smile, so unexpected, sweeping my dreary mood away like she would continue to do for the rest of our lives.