Jeff Buckley and friend Andria Lisle at Soul Food restaurant, Memphis, early May 1997.
"There is a picture, taken early in May 1997, at Ellen’s Soul Food restaurant in Memphis. It’s a Sunday afternoon and we’ve just arrived from a harrowing three-hour service at Al Green’s church. Jeff is wearing a "Sweet’s Trailer Hitch" thrift store T-shirt, his dress shirt discarded. His suspenders frame the "Sweet’s" logo nicely; sadly, his belt is not visible from the angle of the photograph. He’s learning back in the booth, one hand wrapped possessively around his iced tea glass. His delicate face and pouty lips are striking, yet nothing about his demeanour suggests that this young man was once nominated one of People’s magazine’s ‘100 Most Beautiful’ (…) All movement is arrested-frozen. But Jeff’s face comes alive every time I look this picture, which is often. His eyes lool alternately bemused and alarmed at my moon face. The real action is taking place beneath the table, out of sight of the photographer. Jeff is swinging his legs sideways, kicking me, prompting these faces. Kick-smile. Kick -grimace. Kick-smile. Kick-grimace, and my friend captures the moment with a click of her camera. (…) Earlier that morning, Jeff wasn’t ready when we went to pick him up. He was talking to his aunt on the telephone, and painting his toenails green. He looked great in his pinstriped suit, but I noticed that his fly was undone. I said ‘Jeff, zip your pants up.’ He shot me a pained expression -so uncool- zipped his pants, locked the door and hopped off the porch. (…) Most of the time I spent with Jeff was like that photograph. Funny, jesting. (…) He was such a sweet baby. And it was funny because my roommate and I started listening to his music in earnest. I was often embarrased because he’d be knocking on the door while Grace was on the stereo. (…) Our relationship was completely platonic, but I was afraid of falling in love too much. Just the way he would look at me made me feel on top of the world. He made me so happy and we had so much fun. Despite that, I would give anything not to know him and have him be alive. (…) To paraphrase something [music writer] Robert Gordon once told me, I didn’t know Jeff Buckley - I knew a Jeff Buckley. I can lay no claim to his life, or his art, or his happiness. But I will never forget the glorious spring of 1997. There is a photo of us, and we are happy. We are two shining stars stuffed with fried chicken and collard greens. We are alive, and we are happy.”