Dude looked exactly like I’d hoped. Rocking a black motif. Black jeans, black shirt, black jacket. Black everything. Head to toe. RayBans indoors. The whole thing.
It was day one of film school and I was frothing for this guy. Straight out of film noir and into my eyeballs.
Loved to tell his stories too. Tales of his high-school sweetheart. How he was old mates with Christopher Nolan. All those times he hung out with Guy Ritchie. Even that one time he hung out with Madonna.
Elliot, the film-school guy. Loved his stories. Cold, hard wisdom dribbled out of his mouth. Cold, hard indy-film secrets. I was in the right place. This was some good shit.
It’s all about squashing and stretching, it turns out. This magic of film.
Take a week, a month, or a year. Some drawn out process. Some lengthy period of change, or growth in your story. Take it all, and squash it all down. A year in a second. Days rolling by unnoticed.
Then take a moment in time. Something short. Something important. And stretch it all the way out. Dive deep into this glorious moment of profound tension and don’t let it go.
Squashing and Stretching.
I was married for seven long years. She was my first love. And I sure had designs on her being my last.
But you know what, thinking back, I can’t really tell you where those seven years went. We had our moments. But I think it was mostly about watching a lot of Star Trek. Or knocking out those 5 weeklys and 2 new-releases for 10 bucks. Back when people cared about such things.
So there’s that. Seven years, squashed down to a sentence of Video-Ezy deals.
And then there’s the day it was over. Out walking on suburban streets, through a tiny little park that was overdue for a mow. Someone should definitely write the council.
It’s the kind of day where the air is so perfectly mild, that you can’t even feel it on your skin. The smell of gum trees burning bright orange, the way they do in summer sunsets. The odd magpie wandering around, just close enough to make you feel uneasy.
And I’m talking about this job. A big career boost for me. A bold new life in San Francisco. The land of the bloody free. I’m excited. Babbling about this wild new adventure. Cheeky grin to boot.
She’s watching the ground as we walk.
“I don’t really want to go to San Francisco”, she says.
Fair enough too. She had family here. A job. Australians aren’t really fans of the US, oddly enough. I couldn’t blame her.
It didn’t take me long.
“I don’t really want you to come” was my reply.
She didn’t look up from the ground.
I couldn’t feel the air on my skin and I couldn’t feel anything from her. I couldn’t even really feel anything from myself. It was just quiet.
This isn’t how I imagined it breaking. I thought there’d be pots and pans being thrown. Plates smashing against the walls. Lawyers, screaming, and burning clothes.
But there was nothing left for all that. Video-Ezy had long since closed down. They weren’t making any new Star Treks for a long time now. There’s only so many times you can rewatch that shit.
And so we finished our walk. Held hands, and went to bed. Ended a chapter that had already been rambling on, a few sentences too many.
Stretching. That had been our game. Seven seasons, a movie, and the end.