The Jazz Age
As usual, we are sidetracked. Alicia and I have long stopped looking at the second draft of the script, and now she is talking about her family. She describes some drama between her grandparents and her great-aunt. A love triangle that involved two beautiful black women who were in love with the same Asian man, which led the sister to become a spinster, bitter and abandoned by her old flame, betrayed by her blood relative. Alicia sighs and says, ‘if my grandpa hadn’t gone for my grandma, Adrian and I would have been my great-aunt’s kid.” And I think, no, that’s not true. You wouldn’t have been her kid. You wouldn’t have been anything at all. Her story sounds like a Victorian novel, but it happened in the jazz age, and if flappers weren’t almost entirely depicted as white women with bob haircuts, I would swear that these sisters were the ones depicted in old black and white photographs, straddling bootleggers and mobsters and strapping bottles of gin to their garters. Alicia thinks of what she could have had, but that life is reserved for a body inhabited by a different brain, chemicals, and a second set of genes. In an alternative thread of history, where Alicia’s grandfather and her great-aunt had stayed together, there is another girl with a name that I'm sure would not have been Alicia. She would not be having this conversation because there was no love triangle. But I say nothing and I let her think of her second life, a product of the jazz age.