Pink sugar and pale moonlight
by Barbara Haynes & Brent Piaskoski
He said: Valentine’s Day is here. As if you need us to tell you that, right? Stores have assaulted you with racks of sappy cards and ghetto chocolate since New Year’s Eve.
She said: To me, Valentine’s Day has never been about romance. It’s been about gluttony. It’s the only holiday where my childhood bedroom became a one-person vomitorium.
He said: And did some hapless boy give you a Valentine’s card with a little smiling puke pile and the caption “I Choose Spew”?
She said: Let me explain. In fourth grade, I attended five Valentine parties in one week. Not because I was popular, ha! Helpful hint: if people yell, “Shut up and go home!” after you win a spelling bee, or spend their lunch hour laughing at how ridiculous your legs look in shorts, you’re not exactly part of the It Crowd.
He said: But look who you ended up with! I like your legs in shorts. Although I can’t look directly at them in the daylight for fear of retina burning. They’re very white.
She said: Anyway, it was a week-long Bacchanalia of pink sugar and delicious trans fats, lard, beginning with Monday night’s Catechism party and ending with Friday’s big classroom bash. All I remember about that night is blankets, buckets, and my mom coming in and out of my room, gently telling me that maybe I overdid it.
For decades, I’ve tried to shake the connection between February 14th and regurgitation. So where better to look than the movies where indie films and Hollywood blockbusters show us what love can truly be?
He said: Or at least show guys how women want it to be. You and I don’t really see movies together so much as you compare me to the fictional characters in them. Like, why can’t I be as romantic as Jack Dawson in Titanic? We didn’t even know each other when that movie came out! I don’t want to be unreasonable, but if you bring it up again, I will drown myself in icy waters while you selfishly recline on a floating door.
She said: I adore Titanic, but I know that their love will go on only because it lasted a day and a half. If they had to slog it out for years, they’d lose some of that sweaty, car sex shine. Rose: “Really, Jack? Of the world? You can’t just be king of the apartment once in awhile? P.S.: French Girl is just a euphemism for skank.” So, yeah. I love movie romance, but I can still be realistic.
He said: Nope, incorrect. We saw Enough Said recently. That was about a middle-aged guy repeatedly mocked for his obesity, and you still wanted me to be more like him.
She said: Well, he was very charming and sexy.
He said: He was James Gandolfini. As The Sopranos proved, he can be charming and sexy while killing a man with a length of wire.
She said: Fine! Forget baby-faced superstars or heavy-set, gone-before-their-time leading men. There is one movie that can bring tears to my eyes, and not because I’m purging a week’s worth of frosted carbs: An American Tail.
He said: Really. A cartoon about a family of mice who flee Russia for the United States and freedom. Sounds timely, in light of the apocalyptic Sochi games, but it’s basically a kids’ version of the Holocaust. Schindler’s List with animated rodents. That’s your pick?
She said: It’s all about the song… which I forgot is sung by siblings, not lovers. Doesn’t matter. Didn’t matter for Troy and Abed on Community when they sang it to retrieve an escaped lab rat. It’s the perfect and beautiful thing for two people separated by time and space, which we are this Valentine’s Day, and “Somewhere Out There” is what I will be singing, badly, as I gaze out my Toronto window alone.
He said: Now we’re Fievel and Tanya Mousekewitz? Cool, cool, cool.
She said: Go to the window and look at the moon reflected in the pool. I’ll go to my window and see that same moon… reflected in dirty snow and the dumpster behind my hotel, but it’s fine, we can do this. Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight… Someone’s thinking of me and loving me toniiiiight!
He said: … Yeah, no. I love you, but you lost me. I’ll buy some pink Valentine M&Ms for when you get back, make sure you eat them till you’re full, not dead, and then we’ll watch a real romantic movie with believable characters doing rational things. The one where the guy kills a building full of terrorists to win back the woman he lost.
She said: Die Hard it is. And when I thaw from this trip, I might even wear shorts.
He said: Yipee Ki-yay!Tags: Barbara Haynes, Brent Piaskoski, Film lover, Hollywood, I Do Already, Love and romance in Hollywood, Somewhere Out There, Writer