Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thanks a Bunch, Silver Screen.

I just wanted to go see a movie with the friend who came to visit.  I just wanted to see a movie.  That's all.

We chose "One Day," marketed as a romantic comedy of two who take years to fall in love, dancing in and out of the boundaries of their friendship.  Light, easy, and marketed similarly to When Harry Met Sally (one of my all time favorites, and I could quote any scene for you right this minute, I swear).

(You may be thinking, "Tricia, what on earth were you thinking, choosing a romantic comedy?  Why would you want to look in on someone else's love story right now?"  But you know what?  That genre has always been my favorite.  Sometimes I want something to still be my favorite.)

***Insert: Spoiler Alert.*** 
I'm going to tell you the ending. 
Read at your own risk.

So, two hours into their duet of love and friendship, shifting values, finding oneself and losing another, they finally commit to step over the line in the sand, the transition from platonic to so-much-more.

And then she goes for a nonchalant bike ride, and out of nowhere comes a city bus.

We watch her get hit by a bus.  Blindsided.  We watch the collision, we hear the crash, and by the grace of cinematography, we see her get dragged for several city blocks.

We watch her die on the sidewalk.  Emma, whom Dexter finally realized he loved, loved, loved.

Step out of the movie's story line now, and place yourself  in the movie theater with me. 

I just wanted to see a movie.

As soon as the bus crashed into her, I gasped and covered my mouth with my hand.  I was unsure what might escape otherwise: perhaps a scream, perhaps vomit.  Both threatened in my throat.

Laurelyn froze, with her hand on my arm.  "Oh, Trish."

I closed my eyes.  I listened to the movie until I was sure there was no turning back, that she was truly hit, that this movie was taking a turn for the worst.  It took me maybe ten seconds to be sure: I'm done.

And then I said, "We need to go.  Can we go? We need to go."

Never have two girls more quickly gathered their soft drinks, popcorn, and purses.  Come to think of it, I don't remember us grabbing our popcorn or our drinks.  Maybe just our purses.  This was an exodus.

We raced out of the theater and into the hallway emblazened with posters and backlit theater entrances.  I took no further steps.  Laurelyn caught me before I fell to the ground.  We stood perfectly still, without a sound in our tableau, until my nausea subsided and tears came instead. 

She cried with me.  "I'm so sorry, Trish.  I had no idea."

"I know.  I didn't know either.  We just didn't know."

We stood, frozen like witnesses to a crime scene.  And suddenly, we heard, "Ladies, you okay?"

I turned and saw a pimply, college-aged young man in the employee uniform.

"Did the movie upset you, ladies?"

Oh, for crying out loud, do you think I would come running out of a theater because the plot was just too upsetting?  I mean, I guess I just did.  But it's not because of the freaking dialogue or the magnificent writing.

Laurelyn stammered to answer on my behalf.  "Um, well, yes..."

I stood straight and looked at him, suddenly unleashing my frustrations, as if he himself were the movie producer.  "I am 32 years old.  I have two small children.  My husband died suddenly eight months ago.  Now I am a widow and the single mom of two little boys.  I wanted to see a romantic comedy, and I just watched someone die before my eyes.  And by the way, it doesn't look that way in real life.  They should put warning labels on movies like that one."

I later said to Laurelyn, "I'm sorry if that made you uncomfortable, for me to hand all those details to a total stranger.  But I just needed for him to feel as uncomfortable as I felt, or at least to try to imagine how horrifying that was."

"You're always teaching, Trish.  Always teaching.  You could have let him think it was just your issue, but you brought him in to your life.  Always teaching."

After catching my spewed details in his unsuspecting mind, the movie guy said, "Let me get you some free passes to come back any time.  If you want to, that is."

"Thank you."

He issued us our passes, we walked out into the summer's air, and I looked directly at Laurelyn, my companion for this bump in the road.

"Laur, you just made it into the book I will write someday."

We burst into obnoxious, preteen laughter, doubled over on the sidewalk.  It was the kind of giggling that comes from heightened emotions with nowhere to go, the cry for release that demands to be unleashed.

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

We got beignets in a box to go.  And we finished the evening in a dazed stupor of over exposure and overflow.

"So, new rule.  Prescreened only.  Deal?"



Janeen said...

oh! Crap! I can barely touch the edge of imagination, and that's bad enough. So glad you had a friend in that moment - someone who knew they'd need to catch you, and has what it takes to do so.

I agree, comedies need disclaimers, just in case.

Kristen said...

What a great friend. We should all have someone who can cry and laugh with us all in the same day.

Heather said...

What a terrible thing to have happened! My mom once took her best friend out to the movies to see Beaches (not knowing the content of the movie) either while her friend's husband was suffering from heart failure or shortly after he had passed (can't remember exact details as was several years ago). Anyway, I remember it was very traumatic for her as well. I agree they need warning labels on some movies!

Melissa said...

Seriously??? That's the ending??? Okay, will definitely NOT be seeing that movie. Ever. Thank you for the fair warning.

I'm sorry the warning had to come at the expense of your emotions though. :-( I'm glad you spoke your mind to the theater employee. Even though he's not responsible, we ought to speak out to Hollywood that we don't like being sucker-punched like that.

Libby said...