I was playing an old autumn centric playlist in preparation for the best season of the year. A track from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the "Once" soundtrack kicked on and - like all good songs will do - it immediately transported me back to a specific time and place.
When we lived in Houston, together Jill and I got our taste for independent film. There were a few art houses and Landmark theatres we frequented to get our fix. One of which was the Greenway Plaza cinema that resided just a couple blocks from our apartment.
Greenway was like a speakeasy cinema of sorts. (At least that's how I liked to categorize it in my brain.) It lived underground, beneath an office complex. You had to park in the underground lot to access the theatre.
It was a no frills theatre.
Twenty screens? Try two.
Theatre style seating? What's that?
Wait service? Are you kidding? Get off your ass and get the popcorn yourself.
We loved it. It was our generation's version of a classic theatre. It even had those seats that offer two positions --> 'uncomfortable incline' and 'don't you dare touch the back of your head to the back of the crusty seat recline.'
Oh, and to be clear, this was during our pre Rory era. Now all film viewing comes courtesy of Netflix.
So we're looking thru the alternative weekly paper (yeah, a paper!) one Friday and Jill lands on this film opening at Greenway called "Once."
"I've read good things about this one. What do you think?"
I look at the ad. "It's Irish."
"I don't want to read subtitles tonight."
(I'm just kidding. That's not how it went down. Jill didn't marry a moron. Though, what if she did? What if - all along - I've been just smart enough to distract her from my idiocy? It's possible...)
So we hit the film.
And, you know, sometimes you come out of a theatre - maybe more often than not - and you have a different take than those w/ whom you attended the movie? You loved it, but your friend was nonplussed about it. You despised it and your spouse fell asleep...
Well, "Once" struck a nerve w/ both Jilly and me - the same nerve. We were both blown away by the unique story delivery. It over-delivered and left a lasting impression on us both. So much so that we immediately picked up the soundtrack (a win!) and years later saw the Broadway musical (a stinker).
So, as I'm driving today, listening to my "Fall 08" playlist, "When Your Minds Made Up" kicks on and I'm immediately (IMMEDIATELY) propelled back to that theatre w/ my wife. That feeling of being together on the anticipatory drive to the theatre, sitting beside one another engrossed in the film, and even the walk back to the car in the cavernous underground lot.
I don't want to overhype the experience. It wasn't a momentous occasion at the time.
But, now, in the rear view, it appears to be so. It's like your vehicle's side view mirror message - "Memories may appear more emotionally charged."
And if not for Jill's suggestion, I wouldn't have this emotional tie to this film's music. I wouldn't have...
The reality is if I want to go down the path of 'if not for Jill, I wouldn't have,' this would be a much longer post than anyone would want to read (though likely equal parts painful and therapeutic for me).
Instead, the perspective my brain took was of our now and our future. More specifically, what am I missing - what am I going to miss now that I don't have my wife, my best friend to suggest that movie in the alt weekly? What's flying by while I obliviously go down whatever ignorant path I'm on? And more, what's Ro missing? What am I not showing/offering/teaching her that would have been delivered by her mommy? I often think about that.
I mean, do we just have to accept that our lives will never be as rich and fulfilling as they would have been if Jill Marie were w/ us every step of the way?
In my mind, that's real. That's the truth. Shit's not better w/o.
I guess the case can be made that it's just 'different.' But, that's a cop out.
If I give a hard look at the truth, what reflects back is 'less than.' My existence is less than it was w/ Jill in it. And some days I can accept that more than others. Scratch that. The more accurate line here is that some days I don't acknowledge my reality thru this prism. This is when temporary ignorance is bliss.
And how blissful is my ignorance?
It ain't as blissful as it used to be. And that's a fact.
J, J, & r