Then I *saw* Twilight.... and, like most women... I was done.
The last three movies I've seen at the midnight showing - though, I never read the books. I just wanted to see the movies - to see it come to life and play out before me with the Edward and Bella we all know and love.
Written for high school kids or not, it's written in a way that it takes you right back to that kind of younger love you have when you still believe in love and magic and .... forever. That kind of intense love that overwhelms you, consumes you and leaves in it's wake two bewildered people who can do little more than look at each other.
No matter *how* our story ended.... El Capitan and I *had* that kind of love. That kind of paralyzing, crazy, instant, all-consuming love.
I've driven home from the last three movies - each night, saying to myself how grateful I was to have my "Edward". How lucky I was to have found such a love and for that love to stand the test of time and life and hard times and bumpy roads.... and *still* be standing ten years and two beautiful children later.
I had long planned to attend the Marathon for the final movie, and with the Bubbie's help, I was able to go today. I've been looking forward to today for months, though....I have to admit, since El Capitan left me, traded in his older, fatter 'Bella' for a newer, younger, more limber version..... I've steered clear of romance movies in general. It's too hard to watch...... but, I was determined to keep this day for myself and go anyway.
The theater was already fairly full with the best middle theater/front row seating gone. I poked around... the bottom half was still empty - and I sat in a middle seat at the back row and it was fine... but I was alone. I pondered that - the being alone part. I thought that if I sat there, alone, I might get overwhelmed by it all and I might not make it through the day.
I went back up to the upper section and looked around for a seat, then the group of ladies sitting in the prime, middle seats where you can put your feet up - offered me one of their empty chairs sandwiched between the two groups. I was so grateful - because I'll be honest, I'm not the kind of person who likes it when some stranger takes up the seat next to mine in the a theater... in fact, it's a pet peeve. So, for these ladies who had waited in line for hours and made sure to get good seats- for them to share their "spread out and relax" seat with a stranger was... incredibly kind.
I was no longer alone. Now I was surrounded by excitement and anticipation and .... joy. Who the hell isn't literally *overjoyed* at the idea of seeing Edward and Jacob and Emmett?
So there I sat, hour after hour... line by line, taking in every scene and every turn of the story. Twilight was just as amazing as the first hundred or so times I've seen it.... where your heart swells and you can feel your own chest rising in anticipation when Edward leans in for that first kiss... as though you're right there with them, between them, apart of them.
However.... I forgot how much *pain* Bella is in when Edward 'leaves her' in New Moon. I had forgotten about the emptiness in her eyes and the darkness that takes over..... that was hard. Not yet out of my own darkest hours.... I'll be honest and say that it hit a little close to home.
Why.... it rang in my ears like a alarm bells... why, why why..... why leave? why now? and then the same chest that has risen with her in anticipation of that first amazing kiss... was now tightening with pain as she begged Edward not to go, not to leave her......
Of course, I'm not Bella... I'm not crazy, dammit. lol... but, it wasn't *that* long ago that I was literally begging El Capitan not to leave, not to do *this* to our children and destroy our world... begging him not to do this to me.
It's an insanely cruel joke to spend ten years of your life loving someone, helping them achieve their goals, sacrificing your own for the betterment of your family and your 'other half'. Only to discover that the partner you thought you had in this life made the sole and unilateral decision to take it all away....
At least Edward had a reason: he was trying to protect her.
Over and over and over ... the theme of forever and protector are woven into the story. Rooted heavily in the faith of Latter Day Saints (incidentally, I'm not Mormon/Latter Day Saints, however, being someone who likes to know about things, I did a good bit of research on the faith the correct term *is* Latter Day Saints and in some circles calling all of them "Mormon" is offensive... anyhooooo) which is the faith of the author Stephanie Meyers, is the concept of being betrothed to someone for all eternity and that protection of your wife/family ranks pretty high for the men.
Must be nice......
As I watched the story unfold.... I realized that that might be somewhere that my marriage was lacking all along... 'protection'. It's hard to explain but.... I *never* felt protected by El Capitan. I'm not saying he would have harmed me... but, I never felt like he was there to protect me from anything.
When we were first married we lived in an upstairs apartment that faced the play structure... below us and one apartment over was a smallish man who was a computer engineer. One night, I woke up to incredibly loud banging, rhythmic slamming and crashing and shattering sounds - coming from the apartment below. I sat up, listening to the noise, which was rattling the windows and making my knick-knacks jump on the shelves.
When it didn't stop, I tried to wake up El Capitan. It took me a while... too long, really. Telling him over and over that something was wrong in the apartment downstairs and someone was hurt or being hurt.... he kept shooing me away, telling me not to be 'melodramatic' and go back to bed.
Then there was a thud that shook our entire apartment and nearly rolled El Capitan's sleepy ass out of bed.... he sat up and told me to call 911. Which I did.
He didn't get up and run outside. He didn't wrap his arms around me and tell me it would be alright. He looked out windows and watched for the police - leaving me, holding the phone and sitting on the couch .... alone.
Very quickly the police came with an entire squad - we watched them approach through and around the play structure with bullet proof vests on and guns drawn.... El Capitan said a few of them were the 'automatic' machine gun type. It seemed extreme..... and we ran to the front window to listen in as they tried to talk to the man through his closed door.
Soon, a knock came at our door and a Sergeant told us to get into our bathtub. They said they weren't sure what was wrong...but the man was mentally ill, he had weapons and was dangerous - and there wasn't time for us to leave, so we should stand in our bathtub and wait for them to come knock again. Our entire building was surrounded by officers in helmets and vests with guns drawn... which was a fairly unusual site for our sleepy suburb.
We stood therein the tub with the curtain drawn, which seems odd now - what the hell was a thin piece of plastic curtain going to do to protect us.... we stood there and I waited, in that moment, for El Capitan to put his arms around me, for him to reassure me that it would be ok... that *we* would be ok. But he didn't.... he just kind of stood next to me.
At the time, I wondered about this... what did it mean? Was I reading too much into this? I mean - this was a pretty insane situation.... should I be *expecting* him to do anything? (Oh, and these are my much younger, thinner days, I might add.....)
There was A LOT more banging and crashing and breaking things and muffled talking and then officers yelling ... then they busted down the door and we could hear them yelling at him to get on the ground, etc.
We left the bathroom once we were sure the man was handcuffed and a short time later an officer came up and gave us the "all clear".
It was hard to sleep.... and even then, after all that.... he didn't reach over to hold me, to comfort me.
The next day Victor the maintenance man and the husband of the apartment manager came over. He apologized and told us that the man was schizophrenic, that he had covered the windows and walls in tin foil and thought aliens were after him. He said that sound we heard was the man throwing these giant disc brakes that go on trucks and cars into the actual walls - and he'd pulled the heater out of the wall in every room, pulled the toilet off it's screws and and broken everything thing he'd owned.
He said there was at least $15,000 in damage to the unit. He also told us that the man's friends from his Church were coming to collect the shards of his belongings and some clothes and that the police had taken the man in on criminal damage charges and he would be getting a mental evaluation, and that he would not be moving back.
He offered us a new apartment within the complex OR, the option to get out of our lease free from charge or penalty. We took neither, the man was moving out and wouldn't be back, and we didn't see the need to leave.
Over the years, I would look back on that night as one of the *many* times I would have to take care of myself.... instead of feeling like I had a husband who was taking care of me. Protecting me. I can honestly say that I don't think I ever thought one time in my marriage that El Capitan would 'take a bullet' for me... know what I mean? I kind of always felt like I was .... on my own.
Does it really matter though? I mean... how many times does someone's husband actually *have* to take a bullet for them? lol... Surely, that's not a fair judge of a relationship..... right? Assigning Hollywood-esque values to a real-life marriage and expecting your husband to live up to them is unfair and dramatic and unreasonable. Right?
In the end though..... I stood alone as I always had... while havoc was wreaked all around me.... ALONE. More troubling though, was the havoc was done by the man who promised to love me... my Edward. He clearly didn't see the need to protect me *or* the children from his actions.... from the pain he would cause all of us.
I suppose since he never thought he needed to protect me from the world ... he wouldn't think to protect me from himself. And, in that inaction - that *lack* of protection for me, for my heart and our love and our marriage... and ultimately, our family.... we were left open, wounded and forever scarred.
It makes me see a bit clearer that El Capitan was no Edward..... he never was, and he was never going to be my protector. Oh, because you would think after that one time when I woke your sleepy ass up and there *was* a man going *insane* in the apartment below that any other time I mention weird noises in the night or an explosion next door, that that might warrant El Capitan getting off his duff and checking things out.....?
Nope. Including the time 8 years later when our neighbors garage had an explosion and caught fire... it took me 20 minutes to get him to go outside and check out the burning smell..... dumb ass.
The rest of the movies rolled by and I was grateful that my broken heart let go of my own mind and I was able to just enjoy the story and get lost in the day..... it was a FANTASTIC DAY. I have to say.... it literally goes down in my world as one of my top three days EVER: Birth of the Boy, Birth of The Girl, and Twilight Marathon.
It's the longest I've been alone with my own thoughts or by myself at all since the day El Capitan left in April. It was ..... amazing. I loved every single second, every chord of music, every single frame... every everything.
In the end.... I didn't leave sad or in tears, like I thought I might. I left feeling fantastic.... riding the high of the clapping and laughing and gasps of the crowded theater. I left feeling warm and fuzzy as the ending was everything I have hoped for years it would be.....
And, while to my surprise I didn't feel bittersweet about my own ending.... I did learn that I *want* to be protected. I learned that I *want* someone to hold me, keep me safe, to wrap their hands over mine and walk *with* me. That if someone isn't going to protect me from the world - they also aren't going to protect my heart or our love... and I won't settle for that again. I'd rather be alone and rely on myself, knowing my own strengths and weakness' than to have my fate rest in the careless hands of someone else.
I learned a very important Life Lesson: Next time around... I'm going to have to marry a Vampire, a Werewolf, or a Latter Day Saint..... because a Nintendo-loving atheist clearly isn't strong enough to protect us both.
(OH... and you MUST MUST MUST go see Breaking Dawn II.... it's BRILLIANT). :)