I was 12 in the summer of 1988 when my friend Daniel and I went to the movies one afternoon to see the Corey Haim/Corey Feldman/Heather Graham classic, License to Drive.
My family didn’t have money; didn’t have any of it. A trip to the movies in any circumstance was a unique and amazing treat, and, when I think about it, this trip in particular may have been the first time I’d ever gone to the movies with one of my friends, just the two of us goofing off on a summer day. It was a special, new and joyous experience for me.
If you happen to watch that movie today, you’ll find it pretty silly. It’s a broad comedy about a couple of teenagers who sneak their parent’s car out for the night so they can get to the Big Party. Standard stuff.
When twelve-year-old Paul sat in that theater without parental supervision, with just my best friend and a giant soda, License to Drive was one of the great thrills of my life.
And then, about 80 minutes in, I realized that it was soon going to be over.
I remember the realization clearly. I looked away from the screen and around the theater. At the walls, the seats, the light fixtures, the ceiling. I was taken aback by the feeling of being present and aware of my surroundings. Laughter. The smell of popcorn and sugar. The thick brown hair of the girl in the row in front of me. My best friend, laughing like a madman. It was beautiful and I didn’t want it to end.
I wish this didn’t have to end I wish this didn’t have to end please don’t end just go on and on I wish this didn’t have to end
I fell in love with the movies that day, and I fell in love with that moment. It’s the moment the sun touches the horizon at dusk. It’s the last sip in your glass of that 18 year-old scotch. The last night of your weekend love affair with a girl in a city you may never see again.
It’s nostalgia for something that isn’t over yet. There should be a word for that; if there is, I don’t know it.
Tonight I’m feeling a touch of this I-don’t-know-what for this 1986 World Cup replay I’ve been playing. I could have finished the whole thing in 3 or 4 nights of game play, maybe even less, but I just didn’t want it to end. I’ve spent the past two weeks reading old newspaper reports from that June, watching You Tube videos of the games and players.
I now feel like I lived through it. My 1986 Mea Copa World Cup replay is a whole new universe, created by the love I put into it. I love this alternate universe, alternate history. I don’t want it to end.
The semi-finals have been played. The recaps will get posted soon. In the meantime, I’m going to take a minute for quiet reflection and think back to some of those sunsets I’ve seen. They aren’t ever really gone, are they?