Though perhaps not without proving I learned some things first. I certainly can’t allow myself years that meant nothing.
In that vein, my first missive revolves around my child, Django, who is now going on 18.
As has to be the case, our relationship is reinventing itself these days, and in the space that has been created there, I am left reflecting on the content of some of the best chapters of my life.
Probably two winters ago now, I watched some movie called Maggie’s Plan, the result of Django’s grandfather’s insistence that the woman in it reminded him so much of me.
Greta Gerwig, as Maggie. Naturally, I was curious. Who wouldn’t be?
In the movie, the character of Maggie is odd, and clumsy, and her strange earnestness makes her at once both a heroine and a social pariah. Those traits were relatable, certainly, and the scene in which Julianne Moore’s character says to Maggie, “There’s something about you; you’re a tiny bit stupid. I can’t help it; I like you,” definitely hit home.
But really, it was the scenes of such delightful intimacy between Maggie and her child that killed me.
I’ve never seen a portrayal of motherhood so like my own, and the truth is, I wasn’t prepared to have my heart ripped open in such a painfully precise way.
It was so exactingly precious that afterwards I had to walk the cold dark streets in order to try to capture the feeling for posterity.
While I was walking, the entrepreneur called me.
He and I were attempting to get closer at that time. Also breaking up, although I can’t say we were yet aware of that then.
But that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, I was incredibly raw, which I didn’t entirely recognize until I answered the phone.
“Hey, whatcha doing?” he wanted to know.
I should have lied, asked to call him back.
But in vain, I attempted to explain the impression I had gleaned in watching the movie.
I tried to explain that those well-insulted years belonging to just me and my son – the way things befell us, but also the way I chose to do things – were the most extraordinary of my entire life.
I tried to explain that I had just, for the first time ever, distanced myself from them enough to notice that they had been years of almost obscene beauty.
I guess, too, I tried to explain that I was in awe not only of the existence of such a thing, but in my creation of it as well.
Was it a feeling of pride in myself, perhaps? A sense of accomplishment? I’m still not even sure.
Either way, I was unable to express it well.
Perhaps it was too soon.
Perhaps it was too particular to properly convey.
Or perhaps, it was just not terribly interesting to anyone but me.
“Listen. He’s all grown up. It’s time to move on,” the entrepreneur replied. He sounded almost exasperated with me.
Gracelessly, I got off of the phone with him, and dumped his wrong words in the gutter.
I then continued walking the night’s beautiful darkness.
Maybe some things are just too personal to be shared.
Maybe this knowledge exists best as my own very sweet secret.
Maybe you had to be there.
Like Maggie and I were.