I just spent quite a while writing about how I and my childhood best friend who is now sick with cancer used to play we were mermaids in shallow bowls on the beach, our gills evident under long, shining hair. And then I wondered: what led me to such a potent mermaid stage (I was pretty sure I was actually a mermaid) and I realized: yes, Darryl Hannah. Splash? The movie? Remember?
And then I spent a while browsing all the web pages that mention Splash (yes, all) and subsequently found myself mixed up in a mire of emotion, succumbed to a series of nostalgic reminders, caught in a web of remembrance past. Movies, when you’re a kid, are your whole world for an hour or two, and then beyond, because you act out all the best scenes in your driveway, the woods behind your house, your bedroom, the attic, whatever private place you have claimed as your own. Or, at least, I did.
Like Ghostbusters. The boys and I watched Ghostbusters recently when we were supposed to be eating dinner, doing homework and getting to a scout meeting on time. Bill Murray used to be young! I did not know this. Ghostbusters was one of the movies that convinced me I could read minds, see ghosts, and predict the future.
And Flight of the Navigator! For weeks after I saw that movie I was cursed with a sense of displacement, like there was a spaceship up there somewhere calling my name. Or like maybe I’d accidentally traveled forward in time and everyone – parents, teachers, friends – were trying their best to keep it from me.
These days movies are more a chance to sit on the couch with my man and sip something warm and be dismissed from responsibility for a couple hours. They’re more about distraction than dissection. And when a movie does come along that blows my socks off, instead of wanting to be those characters I want to write those characters. Ah, grownuphood. Where we change from smallish people who never consider the fact we may not be equipped to save the world to largish people who spend too much time checking off the lists in preparation for battle.
Come by sometime, join me for a movie. Bring your kids. I’ll serve you a mug of warm potency and we’ll slip away to a place that looks like nothing we’ll ever have to clean. We’ll breathe from gills and let our long tails unfold the length of the couch and braid each other’s shiny hair and cancer won’t exist.