When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time looking in the backs of cupboards for Narnia. Sometimes, if no one’s looking and the cupboard looks right, I still do. I don’t even know why. I guess, when I was little and at boarding school, I was unhappy a lot of the time. Looking for escape. Where better to escape to than somewhere with a lamp post in the snow, and adventures at every turn. A different world. No lights out. No kid taking my pocket money every week. No being locked in a room for talking after lights out and being forgotten for hours. No long haul between one trip home and the next. I really wanted to find that world on the other side of the old wooden back behind the crush of clothes and coats.
I can understand why I did it as a child. But as an adult?
Why do we think another world would be more magical than our own? As if somewhere else can hold more adventure than our own lives? It’s silly really. But we all want it, I guess. Something magical. Something different.
Last night a friend took me to my first ever red carpet premiere. Even though I know that it’s all just a bright gloss over life, I laughed and ooh’d and aah’d every time a new famous face came into the bar and was like a child a christmas. Not my normal Monday night. A strange but wonderful peek into a world that seems so very different from my own. If not a step through the cupboard, then a cold breeze and the hint of hooves scurrying through the snow.
It was freezing last night but Leicester Square was filled with people wanting autographs and photos (not of me, obviously – damned philistines;-)), and as my friend did his work charming someone with a baby, a lady in a wheelchair told me she’d been there for hours. HOURS in the cold, waiting for Tom Cruise and other sparkly beautiful people to smile at her, say a few words and sign something. Maybe get a picture.
Sometimes I think movies are the magic for grown-ups. There is a light about them and those who work under their spotlight. It’s easy to think that they have charmed lives. Magical lives. They don’t, of course. People are just people. Lives are just lives. We all just try and make sense of shit as it happens whoever we are. Bad things happen. Good things happen. If you’re lucky then the latter outweigh the former, but it’s all just random.
But movies…stories make sense in movies. In movies the hero is never just in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets pushed onto a subway track and no one pulls them out in the long and terrifying thirty seconds before the train comes. In movies, scary or otherwise, there is a point to everyone’s story. A logic. The boy gets the girl. Or doesn’t, but loses her nobly. The bad guy gets his comeuppance. Something is learned at at the end.
When we’re little, we think when we grow up it will all make sense. We’ll have the answers. Then comes the lonely moment when you realise there aren’t any answers, you’re just older, wiser, more cynical and still wanting just a moment of magic. A moment of something making sense. Of a random encounter that becomes an adventure. A moment where anything could happen and it could be breath-takingingly wonderful.
But life so often isn’t like that, because we settle into it, forgetting just how short it can be. How little time we have to get it right. To have our adventures. Now I’m a grown up, I escape through the metaphorical cupboard to worlds of my own make-believe and I’m lucky enough to get paid for it. Mostly those worlds are pretty dark though.
I like adventures. I like happy endings.
I’m not so good at the real world.
Thank god for the movies…I love their magic.