An Essayby Wyn Wachhorst
—Burt Lancaster as Lou, an aging ex–underworld figure sitting at a beachfront bar in Atlantic City
After forty years, I rendezvous in a restaurant with a childhood companion. An instant of nonrecognition, a few minutes of small talk, and our disparate worlds melt away to remembered moments. There is a mystical sense that we are something more than our provisional selves, that we share something pure and fundamental, that those distant fragments are who we really are and the still-familiar features of this person are the one gossamer thread to that root past. We long to recapture that remnant, the faint echo of pristine clarity. But we cannot.