Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
When I came to the door to get you that evening, eager as ever, I knew something wasn’t right. You didn’t look at me the same, your eyes darted about your gamine face like oryx on a plain.
You pre-empted everything and said, Darling, it’s just for work. Then I saw her sweet young face and the way you gazed at her, and I knew nothing would be the same again.
She trotted in lightly, the pride of the pretty. You said in your lilt, This here’s my Green Mansions co-star, Pippin. She’s coming to stay for abit. Pippin, meet the old guard. He likes to call himself Mr. Famous.
And then you laughed and I knew you were laughing at me, your slim fingers flying to the lips that had kissed Humphrey Bogart and Gregory Peck. She seemed to know it too, but only smiled coyly. Her eyes danced as you knelt down to stroke her lithe frame, the way you used to touch me when I sat by the couch and you were smoking and reading.
We were Princess Ann and Mr Famous. But now I was He-likes-to-call-himself-Mr. Famous. I adored you way before you got that golden statuette. Who was she to come in to your life now and garner the pearls of your peals with coquettish tricks?
Holly Golightly: Ahh… Do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye?
[Sprays perfume in Paul’s direction]
Holly Golightly: Tough beans buddy, ’cause that’s the way it’s gonna be.
You used to go on walks with me. Now the sidewalks of Beverly Hills were no longer mine to stroll. I didn’t hear this from you, I saw it in the tabloids — you and her in the cereal aisle in the supermarket, picking out boxes of Honey Grahams together.
There used to be pictures of us. Walking in the park, kissing. I preferred privacy but you didn’t mind the paparazzi. Your publicity agent said we looked cute together. Now they splashed pictures of you and her, in the departmental store, on set, and at parties — a champagne bottle in one hand, Pippin hanging on the other arm, hamming it up for the camera, her profile chic and affected. Your publicity agent said, “This is a recipe for magic. You’re gonna have the public eating out of your hand.”
Holly Golightly: But just look at the goodies she brought with her.
Paul Varjak: He’s all right, I suppose, if you like dark, handsome, rich-looking men with passionate natures and too many teeth.
You were Belgian, of English, Irish and Dutch descent; Pippin was Venezuelan. I was from Yorkshire: how I paled in comparison. Pippin looked fantastic in pictures — I simply didn’t have the frame, and tended to look unkempt, my features half-concealed under my shock of hair, my stature non-descript. She had movie-star genes, just like you — bright eyes, delicate features, swan neck, aristocratic limbs. How exquisite, how modish, how precious. Everywhere you used to go, heads turned. But with Pippin by your side, everywhere you went with her, people stopped dead in their tracks and cooed aloud at your combined comeliness.
I could never be a part of that. Nor did I want to. All I wanted was to be near you, not to share in your limelight. Not as if I had the aptitude for it, might you say that, if I told you? Is that why you went for her, my lovely? You said in an interview, that beauty was skin deep. But then of course, it takes someone as beautiful as you to say that for it to turn into an elegant irony of modesty.
Holly Golightly: How do I look?
Paul Varjak: Very good. I must say, I’m amazed.
When the magazine photographer came into our home, you posed for him on the couch. Cigarette in your left hand, tipping Pippin’s chin lightly with your right, your legs curled up neatly beneath you. She was at your feet, where I used to be. Now I stood on the side table, behind a cushion, beside the lamp; failing at even an ornamental level. I watched you, effortless, as usual. Pippin tilted her head, conscious of her best angles. The magazine photographer clicked away. After several shots, he noticed me.
“Hey, what’s that fella doing there?”
You turned and saw me and said, “Oh, that’s Mr. Famous,”
“Yeah well, he’s in my shot. Could you get him to scoot?”
You turned again, looked at me, and for a moment your eyes softened and I was sure you were about to chastise him and reach out to me—
“He’s spoiling the composition,” the photographer said, camera slung around neck, hands akimbo.
Your eyes turned apologetic, then hardened slightly. I didn’t want you to have to say it, because I knew you would feel bad after, so before the words left your mouth, I slunk away to a corner. You turned back to the lens. My beautiful Princess Ann.
Holly Golightly: It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I’ll give you two.
It’s the night of the Green Mansions premiere now. You left the house with her an hour ago. They brought in the dress you’ll be wearing and fitted you; you were breathtaking. The make-up artist mistook me for a floor rug. She powdered Pippin’s back and combed her hair. You didn’t have time to say goodbye to me.
Well, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, my dear Princess Ann, but I want to tell you that you could never convincingly be Rima the Jungle Girl, no matter how finely-honed your acting abilities — you’re far too fair of face and full of grace, like Monday and Tuesday’s children from that old nursery rhyme. You’re a princess, delicate and fresh and fragile and elfin. I just want to tell you this first, in case the critics are harsh about Green Mansions. We used to go through your press together, and when there were bad reviews and you were upset, you said I always made you feel better. I hope you understand that I’m not trying to make excuses for you by saying you’re too beautiful for this film.
Months ago, on the day you brought her home, you said when Green Mansions was over, you’d leave Pippin, you’d send her away. This was merely a temporal, professional arrangement for the both of you to get into character. Method acting. I accepted that grudgingly then, and counted the days till the end of shooting. I don’t think you were lying to me then, that I was the one who held that place in your heart. But now I see that if there is anyone to go, it will be me.
Holly Golightly: I’ll never get used to anything. Anybody that does, they might as well be dead.
Did you know, when you chose me to be yours and I saw your face, my reaction was contrary to that of the general public — I told myself to not fall completely in love with you. I knew that if I did, I would trust you with all my heart — it’s in my blood, just like how beauty is in yours — and that if we started a life together, I would think it would never end. And that with a face like that, your tinkling laughter, your gentle soul, your little quirks I’ve come to know, should our life together end, I too, by mere proxy, would most definitely be unable to live.
An improbable, tiny voice in my head tells me I have a fighting chance. That you will tire of Pippin’s looks, the parties and the socializing, and want to come home to me, our shared warmth; that you will find my disheveled appearance refreshing and real and lovable, after all the superficial glamour and glitz.
I don’t want to chance it. The same way I think the gunshot victim has it far better than the terminal cancer patient. Also, I don’t want to put you in a moral dilemma, or become an emotional burden to you, if at all. I see the way you look at her, and I die inside a little each time.
So, I’ll settle me. I don’t want you to feel bad, my Princess Ann, and I hope you know me well enough to at least give me this: that I’m not trying to be dramatic at all, but I just want you to know that this is how much our life together meant to me. The plain truth is I’d much rather die now and leave the memory of us unimpaired and the potential truth of your promise intact, than to live it out and see what I thought was the grand, majestic theatre of love degenerate into a sorry sideshow of itself. I’m going to end off here.
I know the whole of Hollywood does too, but,
I love you, Audrey Hepburn.
19 May 1959
Paul Varjak: I love you.
Holly Golightly: So what?