I watched a movie I hadn’t seen in 16 years last night – Pit and the Pendulum starring Vincent Price. I loved this movie when I first saw it, partially because at the time I had a huge art-crush on Tim Burton, I had been steeping myself for two years in H.P. Lovecraft and I had, by that time, read the entire collected works of Poe. I was actively indulging the dark little corners of my heart, and this movie just clicked something more firmly into place. I was thirteen and playing guitar all the time, writing weird little short stories about psychic two-headed snakes and mad scientists.
It’s funny last night was the night I would re-watch this movie. I hadn’t known the screenplay for it was written by Richard Matheson (who, oddly enough, was the reason I read Day of the Triffids in the first place, because my dad gave me a collection called The Paranoid 50s and wanted me to read Matheson’s I Am Legend). My life is so very different now than the first time I watched it, but so very much the same. I’m playing music a lot of the time now (for the band) and am, once again, writing weird little short stories about snakes and mad scientists.
Funny how we can be so sure who we are when we’re young, then we get lost, only to find out 10-15 years later we had been right all along.
So I was sitting on the couch last night in my pajamas, drinking whiskey, consigning myself to a wave of nostalgic Vincent Price-glee when I got distracted and checked my RSS feeds and read this post by Elise (who I had the great honor of playing music with at WFC). I promptly paused the movie and lost my shit.
I knew why I was crying. It was the same reason I had spent a lot of the time 16 years ago crying. Because there is so much power for love in the world, and so much more between two people. And none of it had ever been mine. Being, as I was at the time, trapped in a nostalgic loop, just like Vincent Price was trapped on pause on the TV, I did what I had always done as a generally depressed teenager: I started writing:
There is silence tonight, emanating from absence. A shape that would deform the couch beside me, though
Is it worse to know that shape? To ascribe it features that twist into a smile I would know better than I know my own? To give it a sweet smell made sour from a day’s soft work, made fine with sweat and longing?
Is it so bad to reach out into the still air so the chaos invoked by my movement spin off eddies of atoms perpetuating infinitely and unimpeded, so that I can pretend there is presence in the absence?
No, but I can tell myself there is somber joy to be found in solitude, resting on calm waters unspoiled by passion. *
(*I should say this was going to be the beginning of a lamentation for a love I’d never known, and is not to be confused with me missing a certain recent ex)
Thankfully, as I was resigning myself to spend the rest of the evening spinning out more emo shit and crying into my whiskey, my friend Angela texted me mid-whine and managed to convince me to put on pants and go with her to Toronado.
And so my friends reminded me I am loved, and I don’t need to be emo about any of this shit (even though, I still retain the rights to be spontaneously emo).
When I was dropped at home, I curled back up on the couch to finished the movie. The nostalgia was gone this time, and I could finally see the real distance of those 16 years.
Hope you’re happy, or at least just as melancholy as is fit to make you happy.