You watch an old movie and realise its about you…
The movie started off silent. Black and white. It’s a silent movie, but the actors don’t seem aware of that. There’s no turning to the camera with exaggerated expressions, echoing The Scream. The actors go on moving their mouths quickly in rapid conversation.
A young girl with a blonde bob is shown – a six year old flapper, if we want to continue the classic movie references. Do I recognise her? She’s playing on a slide with her older brother. Except this brother keeps choosing to walk up the slide the wrong way, blocking her more traditional route downwards. The time is sped up, as if someone has pressed fast forward. The children scurry around like rats, and tumble around, ever the inexpert gymnasts.
The jilting screen somehow manages to transition smoothly to the next scene.
We’re at a family barbecue. There’s no doubting it, these people are familiar. The same family members we don’t talk to. Arguments over a will or two had ended those relationships a long time ago. But this was right at the start. Even the people who made those troublesome wills, they’re there too.
As the child gets older the sound starts to come too.
I realise, my heart, though tingling with excitement, drops suddenly from its rightful place down to my stomach. Even then, there’s no hint that it’s reached its resting place – because this is me.
That silence. Maybe that was the time my preschool teachers told my parents I was a mute. (Actually, I was very loud at home, I just chose not to give people I didn’t like, i.e. the teachers, my voice – in other words, I was a selective mute). IT all made sense. That’s why mine and my brother’s mouths had moved with no sign that others wouldn’t follow.
But – interesting movies require interesting subjects. That’s not me.
First day of primary school, before we know it followed by secondary school. Holidays across the world – one or two notable incidents include a near-drowning and being peed on by a bat. Moving to university. Ahh no, this woman on the train next to me looks very drunk. Yep, there she goes puking her guts up before falling asleep across her seat and locking movie-me to her window-seat for the remainder of the two hour journey. That memory is no less painful watched back than being lived.
Yada, yada, yada.
All this stuff specific to my own experiences probably isn’t interesting to you. Why don’t we look at the stuff we would all be thinking if we were to watch a movie of ourselves.
Namely – what happens next?
As we approach that part, getting exam results and doing internships, boyfriends and an endless number of firsts – and the apprehension starts to build. What’s stronger – the desire for nothing to go wrong or for everything to go right? The feeling, somewhere between excitement and fear, cannot be placed exactly. Somehow it is neither of those things and both, all at once.
The moment is here. Creepy is the word I could use to describe watching my movie-self put that DVD in the player and sit down to watch it, just as the real me did, just an hour before. I reach for the remote, unsure if I really want to see what happens next.
Suddenly, the world decides for me that paradoxes like this aren’t allowed.
A powercut plunges my house and the street into complete darkness and the TV off. I scramble to the hallway and find some matches in a drawer.
Striking one, I leap back.
A weeping angel is in front of me. Teeth bared, claws out and leaning forwards. In my shock, I drop the match. She touches me; I transport to the past.
And that, my dear readers, is how I, quite unexpectedly, quite randomly in fact, got stuck in the movie of my life.