Sunday, October 8

red balloon, memory, imagination

Remember this? Mmm ... I love this movie. It so perfectly and completely reflects the huge imagination and innocence that most of us can't quite hold onto as we "fall over the edge," as Holden Caulfield would say, into adulthood.

It's a film that transports me to the days of watching Sesame Street on oversized, orange-checked pillows and dancing to Michael Jackson in the living room of our old house--the "ooows!" and "he-hees" of which flowed from a wallfull of then-high tech audio equipment that lit-up green and had levers that, like our round, nimble bodies, bounced with each rhythmic change in treble.

Lamorisse's "Le Ballon Rouge" has become a memory all my own and it floats (no pun intended) in some synaptic vescicle in my brain among early recollections of stealing bananas from the island in Mom's country kitchen and spinning lettuce on the deck at Grandma's house, my knees worn by the oudoor carpet with its yellow-and-orange striping (wasn't it orange and yellow, and does it matter?).

In an art imitating reality moment, or reality imitating art memory, I liken myself to young Amelie Poulain, taking snapshots of cotton rabbits in the sky. Only rather than watching the news to see what harm I had caused in the world that day, I'm camped-out in Mom's walk-in closet, rummaging through her "treasure box"--a chest of colorful beads, feathers and weaved jewelry she collected while teaching English on a reservation in New Mexico before she met Dad. I've forgotten why I'm there--that I'm in danger of her discovering what I have done to Lane and Ashley--and completely transfixed by the wonders I hold in my chubby hands.

Funny how one memory can unleash another. Like tracing the chain of a long conversation, I had figure out why I was in the closet in the first place--because I had "lashed" out on my two eldest sisters: when they made fun, I grabbed Barbie, my best friend, and gripped her flowing, blonde hair to whip her long legs against my sisters' biceps and forearms, leaving long, parallel welts on their pink skin.

People always say there is something childish about me. Maybe it's the round face, the freckles, the small stature. Though it has plagued my attempt at a professional life, I have to admit that the likeness might not be limited to something physical. It's there inside me--that desire to live like a kid: to imagine, to play, to live in color (my childhood was a colorful one--marked by green, Utah grass; big, blue Montana skies; orange Tang; and a mint-green scooter). My resistance to grow up was evidenced early on by another resistance to training bras.

I find myself completely jealous of Joel and Clementine in "Eternal Sunshine" who get to revisit their childhoods together. My life with Curtis is my dream come true, but as I write this, I think that if I could be anywere, it would be in my old, Laura Ashley bedroom atop the garage where Jamie and I scooted our twin beds together so I could hold her hand while I fell asleep.

1 comment:

Lorilee said...

I loved reading this entry Ali. As you wrote about your childhood memories, it made me think back to some of my own. Your writing helped me to picutre your stories a little clearer, especially the mention of your chubby little hands..