Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Did I tell you how divinely and utterly happy I am?"

On Friday night, I'm heading to Athens to catch a special screening of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S with Vickye and a selection of other friends. Vic found out about a month ago that the Classic Center was going to be having a classic film festival. She loves that movie, and she wanted to turn a chance to see it on the big screen into an occasion. And I'm really looking forward to seeing it, not just because the movie is great. Seeing it with Vic is going to be special.

Vic was the one friend I could actually talk to in high school, see. Other people were my friends. Other people would enjoy talking to me. Other people thought I was funny and nice. I am still very close to a number of them.

But Vic was the one I clicked with the most. Vic was the one who played Hangman with me when we were both bored freshmen in French class. When I suggested we start writing a soap opera, Vic was the one who didn't immediately dismiss the idea as silly.

Instead, swear to God, Vic helped me come up with a pair of warring airplane magnate families in an imaginary town called Horizon, Pennsylvania. (The show, HORIZON, was written on notebook paper over the course of my high school career. It's four "seasons" and 400 pages long, sitting in a folder in my apartment. And it's terrible. Character names include Allegra Burke, Dorothy Von Marshall, Susannah Allan and the evil Chico Perez. Dialogue includes overly punctuated lines like "Dr. Tracy, put down the knife!!! LET'S ENJOY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!" To my credit, I've gotten somewhat better.)

Anyway, when Vic learned to drive (a full year before me, even though I'm older than her), she and I would take her red Raider out on weekends, going to the Lakeshore Mall merry-go-round after taking the SAT at Gainesville High, hanging out on the swingsets of several Lake Lanier parks or running to video stores to peruse whatever classics happened to be on the shelves.

I remain convinced that, at age 16, Vic and I were among the three sets of people in Gwinnett and Hall Counties who actually rented classic films. She's the one who thought it would be cool to watch ROPE, even though it was a Hitchcock movie I'd never heard of, and she was right about it. We caught Billy Wilder's WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, with Marlene Dietrich, just because we couldn't figure out what else to rent one night, and we both sat with our mouths open in shock at the end of that movie, letting all its twists take us in further and further.

Sometimes we went to the movies, sometimes we went to the romance novel aisle of Wal-mart and read the backs of the Fabio-embossed books aloud. Sometimes we babysat her nephew Wade, pulling him away from episodes of BARNEY and taking him to see THE LION KING.

But I'd rather watch classic movies with Vic than with anyone else in the world. I'd rather she get her Jiffy Pop, while I make my S'mores in the microwave.

She gets the movies. They mean something to her. She knows how to read a movie like a book, and not many people can really do that. She and I both learned how, watching the same movies and taking different things from them. We learned that together. We wanted to find something challenging. We felt we were outcasts, so we decided to embrace our status, mostly, and spend our time on things we wanted to do. Thus, we rented classics, we rented old horror, we rented things we'd read about, we rented independent movies, and we once bought tickets to ASPEN EXTREME and snuck into THE CRYING GAME.

I know now we weren't the only ones, but we felt like we were. We just hadn't found our community yet.

Vic knows that nobody does suspense like Hitchcock. Vic and I made her mother watch DEAD-ALIVE once. Vic knows that I'm still afraid I might hug Freddy Krueger. Vic knows that Rosebud is more than a sled, that Manderley is a lovely home, that Kate Winslet was great as a teenage lesbian murderer, that Katharine Hepburn is the sharpest, that Audrey Hepburn is the most superb, that Dietrich is the most startling ... and I was there when she found out most of this. I was learning it, too.

So Vic thinks it'd be a good idea if we met in Athens and watched BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S on the big screen. It means something to her. It's one of her favorites. And I wouldn't miss the opportunity.

See, I love her, and Vic and I haven't watched a good, old movie together in a while. We haven't broken out the Jiffy Pop and the S'mores in about a year.

She asked me if I understood why she wanted to go. And I do.

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