Moonlight Mile

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
@ the dorm room | 10:15 PM

I don’t cry often. I suppose the last time I cried– . . . well, I can’t remember. I may have cried in Mexico after I hurt my foot. It would have happened days after the actual event and mostly out of anger at my own stupidity and the situation more than out of sadness. Prior to that, I honestly can’t remember the last time I cried. Wait, I know.

I remember crying while stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, in Biloxi, Mississippi. I cried a lot during that time. But I remember one particular instance. It must have been shortly after I arrived at Keesler from basic training. I’d received my first shipment of Newsweeks that my mom had saved up for me. I cried when I read about the Columbine shootings. They’d happened the day I went into basic training and I hadn’t heard a word about it (due to the media embargo in basic) until that point. I suppose those were tears shed over just how fucked-up the world could be.

I know that after my grandfather, my father’s father, died I cried at the funeral. The night before that, while the wake was going on, I was making morbid jokes at a family friend’s house with some peers. I was probably ten at the time. I remember seeing my grandfather in the casket at the funeral home. I didn’t cry until I realized that I’d never see him again; that he was gone forever.

It’s funny how, once you get started on a stream of thoughts, they just keep coming, piling up. Suddenly, I remember crying on my way to work a couple of days after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a fourth plane. Those were tears over all of the above and the realization of my own helplessness. There was nothing I could do.

What brought on this line of self-questioning? Sad as it may be to say, the film Moonlight Mile. I should note here that I don’t cry at films. Not even when it’s socially-acceptable or expected. Films can often move me emotionally, but rarely, if ever, to tears. I didn’t cry during or after this film either.

It’s a film about loss. Loss in so many ways. Loss of a daughter, loss of love, loss of friendship, loss of Mom-and-Pop businesses to big block shopping centers, loss of direction, loss of the physical ties that bind us to that which we’ve lost, and so many other forms of loss that if I watched the movie a second time I’d probably come up which a list twice as long as this one. No matter what kind of redeeming Hollywood ending they slap on the end (which still smacks of the sense of loss that pervades the film), the film is still truly about loss.

I don’t really know where else to take this. I don’t want to get into some deeper discussion of loss because I’m afraid of where it might take me. Maybe I’m just succumbing to the all-too-American desire to stay away from acceptance and understanding of death.

If you’ve seen the film, you probably know what I mean. If you haven’t, do. Then think your own thoughts about it. Maybe these are the type of thoughts that should be kept to oneself. If not, I’d appreciate others’.

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