Bored and bone-achingly exhausted last night, I happened to catch The Princess Bride on Bravo. No huge accomplishment that (since it’s shown on cable almost in perpetuity) but it had been at least 15 years since I’d watched it. Ample entertainment for someone in my slack-jawed semi-comatose state. Much of the comedy was still fresh (unlike Shrek with which I found myself making unavoidable comparisons), laugh-out-loud funny, and although I barely had the energy to lift a beer to my lips, I saw the movie through to the end. A shame it was on too late for the kids; I need to hit the DVD sell-or-trade stores to see if I can get a copy.
My impression of the film years ago was that it was clever and well done but other than that, I didn’t give it much thought, there was no reason to analyze it or pick it apart then.
A decade and some change later the movie still possessed its initial charm but I was oddly troubled – not it but with myself. Years ago the central theme (that True Love conquers all) was quaint, a lark, something that had no place in my chrome-studded coke spoon view of our trash bin universe. Anyone who believed in True Love was deluded, worthy of my scruffy assed scoff and as far as I was concerned, welcome to their fairy tales, God love em’. Alone, in the dim light of the television and years of experience behind me, I wondered if I had been a little too self-assured and cynical all those years ago. Couldn’t help but wonder considering I was watching the flick all by my lonesome, nothing but a half-empty, half-warm Fat Tire to hold onto.
A couple of years ago I dated a woman who lived in Denver (about 90 minutes through rush hour traffic from here, as the hellbat flies), sexy, fun, very smart. Sometimes I’d spend a few days at a time up there, drink her wine and eat flan while she was at work, hang out and talk about everything when she got home. Screw like crazed weasels. Eat, drink, see a movie, watch Jon Stewart. Drink more, talk more, screw more, if it was the weekend.
However, if she had to work we’d retire early, settle into bed and read, she with her book and me with mine, each silently back in our own worlds but still intertwined. Sometimes the inspired, “Oh you have to hear this,” or “Holy shit, she can write, listen,” but otherwise entranced elsewhere. Then turning off the light and screwing some more, Monkey friggin’ “Sorry-officer-we’re-just-having-fun” sex.
At the end of the weekend, though, all we had was that, those moments. And she’d been clear about that, that that’s all she wanted (an acre of that’s, obviously). I knew what I was signing on for and honestly, that was fine with me. I was just a little over a year having split up with X and I wasn’t ready to tumble into something else serious. The point is, the experience gave me a glimpse of something, beyond that.
That didn’t resemble anything like the True Love of The Princess Bride but it had some of the essential components: a shared sense of fun, mutual fascination, passion, passion, passion. Everything but shared goals and chemistry.
Ahhhh, chemistry. The free variable, the radical number that just keeps growing larger with each minute, the ineffable last thing that won’t let any of the other parts work if that one grain of substance is missing. Sitting there in the dark, my beer still not finished, I conceived that chemistry as one little spring on which everything else hinged, a small and seemingly insignificant part that lost, sends everything else into an inevitable tailspin.
As the movie ended and the lights dimmed then came back up to guide me out, I stood in the cold night air, smoking, thinking,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
Looking to see if that little spring was on the floor somewhere but knowing the vacuum had picked it up long ago.
Special thanks to my mixmania! mixer for a sad and scary mix, many songs I don’t know but the inclusion of Robert Johnson in the midst of every incredible song inspired me in ways that you just read.