Crying For Dreams

Polar Express / Released 2004 / Reviewed 2001 / 4 Rabbits

Polar Express made my cry.  Rather, I cried during Polar Express.  A particular moment in the film.

I wasn’t feeling well, stumbled downstairs to join my mom, sister, and sister’s boyfriend for a Christmas warm-up.  You know, the part where you start watching all the classic Christmas films to get yourself through the last few days and weeks of finals or work before you get to just forget about all the mercenary ties that keep you from living the life of love and family that was always meant to be.  Not that I have strong feelings about this or anything.

Well, I made it in time for the last few minutes of the show—one which I had taken peculiar delight in deriding for some years.  The animation looks like the people are swimming through air, have regular Botox injections, and generally exist as cursed zombies stuck being living flesh and plastic dolls.  Not that I am qualified to offer such an opinion.

In any case, there came that sudden, surprising moment when the Boy picks up the bell.  It doesn’t ring.  He chants a mantra: I believe.  Corny, yes.

the giving of the bell
the giving of the bell

Until, there.  There in the the reflection of the silver is the face of Santa.  I don’t love Santa, but I cried.  I cried as the Boy turned and saw him standing by his side, in the flesh.  I cried for all the times that I’ve wanted to see my dearest hearts desires, the ones that being an adult means you have to be embarrassed for having, to see those desires so deep in your soul they turn painfully sweet under the pressure–to see those desires materialize right there.  Right there beside you, as the most natural thing in the world.  More natural and superseding than all the other rigamarole that we call “living.”  Just sheer LIFE.

There are things I want to believe about the world, about people, about myself that psychology, economics, politics, education, linguistics, marketing, and the weatherman have told me are just never true.  I want to see a reflection in my bell, a reflection beside my own face.

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