Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tomorrow we'll get a sign: "No spiders or Visigoths!"

It's always funny to me the way certain things hit me at unexpected times. Like today someone asked about a movie about a boy and his dad in a concentration camp. The guy asking couldn't remember the name of it, but he remembered the dad telling his son it was all a competition with the grand prize being a tank. I knew the movie without need of IMDB.

Life is Beautiful I wrote on his feed.

Really?

Really. 

I did end up on IMDB. I loved that movie. I loved Roberto Benigni's unbridled joy at winning the Oscar.



We need more unbridled joy in the world.

The thing is, I own this movie. I haven't watched it in forever. So I did what I usually do when I peruse IMDB - I went straight to the quotes. 

This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.

Those seventeen words stopped me dead in my tracks. I'm still just staring at them. There are tears. There's a lump in my throat and I feel a little like oxygen is hard to find. It still happens. I know it will happen from time to time until the day I die. 

It's not sadness. It's not even grief. It's gratitude. Okay, and a little sadness. 

One of these days I'll have to tell you his story. It is infinitely more interesting than mine. 

When I was five my friend Beebee died. He was also five. Weeks after his funeral dad and I were at the hospital. It wasn't at all unusual for me to be caught talking to myself - hell, my imaginary friend was Jaws. Yes, that Jaws. Anyway, we were on the elevator - one of those old ones with a stool for the elevator operator in olden times. My dad went to sit down and my eyes bugged out and I shouted "STOP! You're gonna sit on Beebee!" He shot up and turned to the stool and apologized to Beebee. Said he hadn't seen him sitting there before. We got to our floor and he held the door and motioned to to Beebee and then to me. 

That's maybe not an extraordinary story. But to a five year old dealing with grief who was already a little fucking weird... well, it's a measure of a man in that five year old's eyes.