The Dark Knight and my failed suicide
by Julianne Grossman
I wish I could offer a riveting review of “The Dark Knight Rises,” but I can’t. We walked out.
The film, having debuted to death, had already prompted a strong reaction in me. Should I even go? Did attending TDKR mean a slap in the face to the victims of the Aurora shooting, a merciless ‘life marches on’ apathy to those critically wounded and fighting for survival? Or was it simply that my fear of a copycat crime prevailed over the thought of A/C and popcorn with butter in layers?
Spoiler alert: I lived. My pill collection was so formidable that strung together they could’ve necklaced the children of a third world country, but still. I was bringing leftovers home from restaurants! DVR-ing the Daily Show! Ironing! I wanted to LIVE! And it was into this glorious gratitude for the trivial and the mundane, the wonderment of accomplishing the menial tasks of everyday living, that in walked the love of my life.
I know it sounds like a potboiler romance. A winter of aching isolation and emptiness followed by a Spring romance bursting with so much love it really was my own personal ‘Notebook.’ We are living together and I still wake up and can’t believe it. A Hungarian Jew who came to the U.S. by way of Israel, he comes with two children who stay with us every other weekend and Thursday nights. So now, instead of self-help books, I have Lego boxes. In place of earthquake food, I have exotic bagged paprika and kid-sized Bamba bags from Israel. Childrens’ drawings have replaced magnets on my fridge (“OhmyGod! I can’t believe I forgot to have children!”), and the kids and I continue our love affair of burgling lemons from neighborhood trees when we walk the dog.
You’d think the kids would need an adjustment period. After all, their father is giving his love to someone new, someone who might jeopardize their time with him. They’re sleeping in new beds, acclimating to a new environment. But they’re amazing adjuster-bunnies! They call me “future step-mommy,” and run into my arms when I greet them. Sure they drip jam on the couch and make incessant explosion noises and make punching bags of each other, but they’re loving, sweet children and, because their father is obsessive, clean.
So when we surprised them with a late-afternoon showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” they were as excited as I was. The 10 year old has a thing for anything Marvel but his pantheon is certainly wide enough to allow for DC’s Batman (especially since we’d just seen the real Batman car in a transport truck on the 405!). With pre-packed goodies spread out on our laps, we ate dried apricots and kettle corn and waited in anticipation, the lights from the screens reflected in our eyes. But not 20 minutes in, the little one started to cry, heaving racking sobs that he tried to stifle by turning into his Father’s shoulder. “P-papa,” he sputtered, “I m-miss you. Wa-watching a movie isn’t BEING with you. I want to b-be with you.”
The fact that we all silently agreed to swiftly exit, without so much as an eye rolling or audible exhale on my part, was a testament not only to my evolution, but to the realization that I wasn’t just looking out for myself anymore. I was looking out for the family.
And so, while I have no idea how “The Dark Knight Rises” ends, I imagine it has something to do with Bruce Wayne realizing he must escape his own imprisonment, his own fatal flaws, for the good of something much larger than himself. Because Hollywood loves a triumph over tragedy. And let me tell you, so do I.