Coming to Grips with Fairy Tales

My mom tells this story of when she took me to a movie, and tried to get me to drink a huge 7-Up by tipping the cup up to my small lips. I refused because when she tipped the cup up, it covered my eyes. My chubby hands pushed it away, and I stubbornly sealed my mouth. Apparently, although too young to drink out of a straw, I wasn’t too young to be intrigued with the perfection of a script.

Even then, I recognized that there’s something beautiful about knowing that everything will turn out okay. Something beautiful about having a writer work out all the kinks. These melancholy romances call to me. The romance emerges as the sub-plot of an adventurous struggle, or noble cause when a sound man of principle loves a woman with such passion, such clarity. He knows that in order to be worthy of her, he must leave her for a time to venture out on a noble, comfortless quest. She watches him leave, clinging to her shovel or baby, or some other symbolic object. Then there’s that one scene . . . the one I rewind a million times. She is quiet and honest. And he is quiet and honest. It’s not much, but less in more in these situations.

Something deep down that tells me that if it couldn’t be done, it couldn’t even be written. How did love stories come to be in the first place if we humans don’t have it in us to be extra-ordinary? One great scene requires hundreds of takes, and a heck of a lot of hard work. I know of an actress that got hypothermia and ended up in the hospital while filming a horror movie. That part isn’t in the movie of course. But our lives are just like that. They’re movies that haven’t been edited yet. Filmmakers don’t edit until they’re done; what makes us think we can?

Lots of modern skeptics get down on love, like they get down on the movies. “That could never happen,” they say, or “not one couple in a million has that chance, no matter what the storybooks say.” All I can say is that I’ve always believed in both. In high school, I was the shift manager at the coolest video store in town. I got asked out a lot at work, and learned to be infatuated good and hard. Who says movies don’t get you anywhere?

I can visualize when circumstances cause two heroes to emerge – and the obstacle for their romance is work and laundry. When she goes to kiss him good-bye, he’ll say something like, “your touch is worth a hundred thousand deaths.”

I believe in this.

This is not a light fairy-tale hope, or dreamy naiveté. It may not be a physical struggle, but the cause will be noble. For me, movies are simply a way to see parts of myself in different, albeit strange situations. They give me hope about love. If it can be thought, it can be done. I still refuse things that distract me from being completely submerged in love so I can get a good feel for it  What keeps me going is that in the end, I’ll have a romance of epic proportions to remember, and my memory will edit it to be beautiful. This is a reality: that something beautiful, true, and passionate can exist, and I hope for the sobriety and courage to wait for it.