Inspiration comes at the damnedest times and from the damnedest places. I have been experimenting with different post formats lately, and I was thinking this morning I should try a video post. I was poking around in my bookmarks on YouTube to see if anything jumped out at me, and voilà, a story was born.
It’s Saturday and 10 inches of snow fell last night, and it’s been snowing all week. Roads are bad, Cabin Fever and boredom are heavy in the air. Mama is sitting on one sofa with a computer in her lap working on her blog. Ian, 10, is sitting on the other sofa oblivious to the world with his nose stuck in some electronic device. Max, a month away from turning 14, is sitting on the other side of the room watching TV.
Mama: [Nostalgic. Giddy & a bit surprised. Pleasant surprise of discovery, not the tense, startled kind] Oh my gosh, Max, I forgot about this! You have got to hear this, you will love it!
Max: [Silent. Gives the sideways glancing look that only a teenager can deliver so perfectly, which precisely communicates puzzlement, curiosity and skepticism. A look that conveys a clear understanding that he’s prepared for the fact that what his mother says he will love and what he will actually love may not be in alignment, but with awareness that it’s clearly important to his mother nonetheless. He’s prepared to lie if the situation demands it.]
Mama: [Excited. Sound of music playing from the computer.] Wait for it…there’s a long intro, you may not recognize it at first…but then…BAM…you’ll know…oh, I love this song! [Voice cracking, a tear falls]
Mama: [Music continues to play on the computer. Mama and Max both are listening intently, expectantly, with anticipation. Both glancing at each other waiting for the mutual recognition] OK, it’s a long intro…but trust me, you will love it! He’ll start shredding here in a second and you’ll know instantly what song it is! [More tears…streaming…falling like rain now. Wipes them away, wondering where they came from]
Max: [Silent. With just a look expresses, ‘What in the hell is wrong with this woman? Then, a small, sly smile crosses his lips.] I think I know what it is. [Breaks out in big, ear-to-ear grin. Beaming]
Mama: [Looks to Ian. Begins to speak, as if to offer some explanation to both sons this seemingly inexplicable scene unfolding in their living room. Crying, voice cracking] Remember when Max used to play guitar hero all the time? He loved it and he was so good at it – he could play this song on expert level…I used to ask him to play it for me. And even when he just played it on his own, my ears would always perk up…[trails off]
Mama is lost in her own thoughts – to the rest of where her tears are coming from and that she can’t explain to her sons…because she is still working that out on her own as she is sitting there. Part of it is how struck and saddened she is that of late neither of her sons seem to be particularly thriving in life. Neither seems to be engaged or interested in the world around them, aside from video games. Certainly not in the same way as when they were younger – like when Max would play guitar hero…sure, a video game, but a physically active one that requires a ton of animation and movement. Or like when Ian wowed all the guests at his cousin’s birthday party with his dancing. She knows part of her tears are about reminiscing about about a special bond between mother and son in the form of a song request – where son would gladly play Cliffs of Dover not just because it’s available, but because his mom loves that song. She also knows part of her tears are about fear and panic in wondering where that vitality went and how to get it back. And like any mom worthy of the title, she was also crying from grief and guilt, but profoundly grateful she will always have Cliffs of Dover. Fade to black. Curtain.