Viewing Star Wars A Different Way. The Best Way.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 4.824% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

The third showing of of the new Star Wars shouldn’t be more special than the first.  After all, for the first showing, our family got tattoos.
But the third time we saw the movie, we had an unexpected guest – a random kid.
I saw the kid shuffle past me – eight years old tops, clutching his Darth Vader doll to his chest.  He bounced in the seat between his Mom and Dad, doing that thing that young kids do of explaining the old Star Wars films to his parents as though he was reliving the movies just by talking about them again.
Clearly, it was his first time seeing the film he’d been dying to see.
And as the reels rolled, that kid tried his best to be polite – he kept his voice low, and the only reason I heard him is I was two seats down.  Gini, three seats down, only heard him once.
But he was reacting through the whole damn film.
He made a choked squee when the credits rolled – he knew the words “Luke Skywalker.”  He laughed at the right snark lines.  He cheered for BB-8.  He burst out with a quiet “That’s the Millennium Falcon!” when it came on screen, explaining to his mother what the Millennium Falcon was even though yes, Mommy clearly knew.
And near the end, when the dark stuff happened, he moaned in terror.  He cried, out, once, at a very bad moment – and that’s when Gini heard him, and that’s when Mommy had to hug him and Daddy had to pat him on the head and tell him things would be all right.
Because he was young.  He didn’t know.  He was willing to let the movie take him wherever it wanted him to do, and he was not jaded, he just surfed down it with no expectations…
And every since one of his reactions tracked to mine.  When I pumped the fist, here was this small child biting his knuckles.  When I feared for our heroes, he squirmed.  As I fell in love with these new characters, so did I.
In that darkened theater, he was me.
He was seven-year-old Ferrett, falling in love with R2 and Threepio for the first time, reaching out to be Luke, frightened of Vader – at some point, my parents took me to the theater for the first time and saw me fall in love with a series that would last forever.
That was not a movie I saw; it was a window, opened up to 1977 when that great celluloid rolled somewhere in Norwalk, Connecticut, and young Ferrett’s eyes flew open with amazement – and they never closed.  Ever.
He was me.  I was him.  We were all immersed in that great love of fandom, that structural fandom where you see something and it becomes a part of who you are, so deep that when my wife suggested I get the New Jedi Order permanently inked on my flesh, we didn’t even blink because Star Wars was in my bones, it was in my brain, it was in my heart…
Why not my skin?
And we were linked, he and I.  He’d never know me, but I knew him, and he would know this.
He would carry this love.  I could see it in his eyes, glazed with the reflections of great stars.
When the credits rolled, the boy sat there reverently, watching the credits.  I tapped what I presumed was his father’s arm and said, “Hey.  I just wanted to tell you… that boy’s reactions made that film for me.”
He smiled.
“Funny thing is, these were the films we watched when we were kids,” he said, encompassing his wife with a gesture.  “But six months ago, we started playing the films for him in preparation for this day, and… he loves it.  He loves it more than we do.”
He does.  And he did.  And, God willing, he will.
Thanks, kid.
May the Force be with you.
Always.
 

1 Comment

  1. Anastassia
    Dec 25, 2015

    I… This brought tears to my eyes. So fucking beautiful… <3

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