Sunday, April 26, 2015

To Whom Much is Owed

They settled into their seats behind us just as the lights went down and the previews began to play. They were a couple probably 15 or 20 years our senior. They spoke to each other in the kind of whisper that is louder than a speaking voice. Joe and I glanced at each other, each of us with hopes in our eyes that they weren't 'talkers'. We are the kind of movie goers who virtually never, ever speak from previews to credits. We like others of our kind.

When The Water Diviner began to play, they hushed. But a few minutes in, the fellow behind me spoke, with urgency, to his wife. "Is this a war movie? What kind of movie is this?" She answered, "It's got Russell Crowe in it, see," she said as his name appeared on the screen, "he even directed it. You know I love Russell Crowe." He quieted. The movie played on. I guessed, rightly as it turned out, that this was not the end of the drama playing itself out behind us.

Suddenly on the screen there was an intense scene. I don't want to describe it too much because some of you may be planning to see it. (We're that kind of movie goer too.) As the intensity increased on the screen, the man behind me spoke again, his voice full of pain and anger, "How could you have brought me to this? How could you? You know, you know, I've told you. You know!!" He got up. Stood for a second. "I'm going home. I can't take this. It will be weeks before I feel safe again. You know that."

He became aware that he'd been speaking fairly loudly. He touched my shoulder on the way out. "Sorry," he said.

"Thank you, for my freedom," I said.

He started to cry and walked out of the theatre.


Jayne Wales said...

How shicking for that poor man. I went to a military graveyard in France with my mum. She had lost people in the war. But the ages of the boys and men on the neat gravestones just completely broke our hearts. Sent to fight before their lives had begun. Sometimes whole groups of friends in pals battalions. No you are right Dave. Thank you us not enough. They weren't even allowed to talk about their experiences. I met a man who had never spoken again. His wife cared for him and it had driven them to despair. He was mute due to his war experiences. So dreadful.

clairesmum said...

my first reaction is anger at the wife..i would think she would know his vulnerabilities better than anyone....we humans are capable of great kindness and great cruelty...i'm glad you were able to add a word of gratitude to try to counteract her cruelty.

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes. That poor man, to be taken to a movie full of obvious triggers for him by someone who should have known better. I hope he is able to recover from being triggered as easily as possible in such a situation.


Anonymous said...

Are you not making an assumption that his objections were war related and not violence related? (Or something else, so that I am not making an assumption.)

If I go to a movie and two people are yelling at each other because of a house renovation would you assume I am upset because of a bad renovation, or could it be the trauma of yelling. (Which would be the case due to what I've experienced in my life.)

Yes, he did ask if it was a war movie, but it may be something else that concerns him.

The sad part is that the other was not sensitive to whatever his "danger" may be.

Liz said...

Oh, my. This post reminds me of going to see "Saving Private Ryan" in theatres, many years ago. I don't think I breathed or moved or blinked throughout the entire opening sequence. And then, in the eerie silence of its ending, I sat, stunned, watching strangers, one by one, some old, some young, though most of them men, stand up and walk out. How I wish I'd thought, as you did Dave, to thank them. Thank you.