Behold My Heart

Before

The problem isn’t the price, really, it’s that I don’t have a permanent address. At home, I walk by the painting of the tattered baseball at Covent Garden Market and think, “Art is so expensive.” Yet here, at the Town Hall Theatre’s café and bar, I ponder an alternative, “It’s not so much the expense, it’s having somewhere to put it.” Okay, it’s a €450 piece, it takes money, but when you think about hanging it for-potentially-ever, maybe it’s not that expensive. I’m not considering buying anything right now, but I’m surrounded by art.

I’m on time, early actually, for once. I’m sitting calmly and notice the plastic cups at the bar (Liny wouldn’t like that), the big flower jug looking thing that reminds me of the lamps that came from my Grandma’s house (I think). Someone is ordering a drink with a slice of lemon in it, fancy.

The nervous-excitement from the Deer Hunter post is back. It arrived on my walk, after the 99% Invisible episode about the interrobang (Is there really an episode about a punctuation mark‽), and before I crossed Eyre Square. I’m going to change my approach to these posts; changing structure is thrilling. I wonder, “Is this the right balance between experiencing and capturing?” This is boring if I’m out of whack. And seriously, “How do you participate rather facilitate your own life. How do you express raw emotion and know when to process it first?”

It’s time to set my fantasy baseball lineup.

Holy hell, that buzzer is loud. It’s time to move towards my seat. I can’t remember the name of the movie to save my life. I look at my ticket, “Behold My Heart.” Behold, that’s the word that I can’t remember. I keep wanting to call it “Borrowed Hearts.” That’s a whole other thing.

The still from the trailer is in my head. I smile at the perfectly lovestruck teenage-boy-eyes that Charlie Plummer gives Emily Robinson. I always wanted a cute girl to sit on a rock with me.

I’m here because of Charlie. I see the back row of the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre, at last year’s festival; we’re watching Lean On Pete. Charlie wanders through the desert with Pete, dusk is falling, a car flashes its lights, and then the horse; yeah, it’s not for the faint-of-horse-heart.

Am I going to end up thinking about my mom? That’ll make me cry. Will it have that coming-of-age aesthetic that I fall for every time? It won’t have subtitles, that’ll be nice.

I eat the last two squares of the chocolate that Tess gave me. I like pralines when they’re really blended in. Marisa Tomei walks on the stage, along with Will Fitzgerald. Tomei reads a message from the Director, Joshua Leonard, “We’ve emerged with bigger hearts and more scar tissues.”

I like that.

I accept that it’s possible Tomei actually found the money for the film at a sushi bar. It sounds Hollywood, which, if you’re from Hollywood means it’s authentic.

Too much thinking.

The lights go down and the safety warning plays, first in Irish and then in English, “There are two exits, left and right at the rear of the theatre. There will be no interval in this performance.” Interval, what a great word. I wonder if the woman in front of me will ever post the full-length video of the Marisa Tomei interview? I’m not going to watch it. 

After

I’m in a place called Largs, on a bench, surrounded by walkers, water, and toffee fudge ice cream. A lady walks by, swirling her ice cream. Her reflection crosses my computer screen; hair, raspberry-red and shirt, hot pink. I notice the gull soaring in the background. The outward and inward ferries are crossing paths now, the kayakers reaching shore.

Back in the theatre, the clapping starts, and I smile a nostalgic smile. The lights are up, and we finish expressing our decision to clap. I’m painted by a mood: football stadium under the lights; makeout in the tent; take my frightened teenage-hand; high-school love stories. I look to my left, then right, checking to see if there is eye-contact to be made, a brief post-film reflection to be had. There isn’t, so I busy myself with stowing my notebook and folding the wrapper from my chocolate bar. I slide my water bottle into the side pocket of my backpack, negotiating the edge of the journal that prevents it from sliding in as perfectly as I’d like.

Out the door, rip the audience choice ballot, wonder what I’m rating, and find my way out into the lobby. I push through the too-heavy fire doors and towards the entrance to the theatre. I have some time until the next film, so I’ll write something. I retrace my practiced steps, past the Corner Café, O’Connors Bakery, Savoy Hostel, and the light that I never wait for, to the burnt grass of Eyre Square.

My inner film critic appears, “The film seemed to get the boy’s struggle, but the mom’s felt unrealistic. It hit its stride in the second half.” I’m not sure if this is a legitimate observation, a quasi-objective critique, or nonsense. What’s the difference between quasi-objective and nonsense anyway? I liked the film, felt warm watching it, and after the boy successfully drove his truck drunk, knew that there wouldn’t be more death.

I arrive in Eyre Square, I’m thinking about high school, about my version of football fields, tents, and frightened hands. Do I want more of them? Will they be different now? I’ve had better moments, I think. A woman has started to yell, “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph.” She’s not panicked and she has remarkable stamina. She stops, everything seems fine. I write something down about “cute moments” and a far too simplistic rendering of the questions in my head. My fingers resist the letters as I type, “What kind of love do I want in my life?”

I think of the girls from my high school days; they all went to arts school. I wonder, “What happens after the cute moments?” I hear the therapist that I heard on This American Life say something like, “it’s a big lie to think that connection comes naturally.” I know what happens after, I think.

It’s time to update my resumé. I don’t want to change the formatting, but I will. I don’t want to add the dates, but I will. I want to apply, so I will, I think. I’m also going to another movie, I’ve decided. I feel proud. I’m throwing caution to the wind. I’ll be tired in the morning. The girl from the hostel in Mooncoin will be pleased, “See, sometimes I can stay out late!” If it wasn’t for Tess, our conversation about something I can’t quite remember, I wouldn’t have the energy to see another film. She probably asked good questions.

I talk about the film, a couple of days later, with a lady I meet after the screening of Birthmarked. She says, “It was nice, but “clichés on clichés.”

“Sometimes clichés are clichés for a reason,” I say sagely.

I’m a bit defensive it seems.

I’m still thinking about love. What comes after the moments? Do I always want to have the moments? What are the new moments?

I’m not really thinking about those questions right now.

I’m forcing it a bit.

The sun has just come out from behind the clouds and it’s absolutely not literally beating down on me. The water is glittering, that’s nice.

Behold My Heart is a pretty movie; I’d watch it again.

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