It’s the early Fall of 2018 and you (in this story, you play me) are traipsing through your new favourite book store, Books Are Magic, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and your eyes are flitting over book covers just the same jazzy way they’d look at the different parts of a face.
You see a photo of a young Sally Field, adorning her newly published memoir. She’s young and beautiful, and you think that most recently, you saw her playing Aunt May in the late 2000s Spiderman reboot movies, but they tried to make her look older than she can possibly be.
She can’t be old because she’s the mom from Mrs. Doubtfire, maybe the only sane one in the whole shebang. And you think how you used to love that movie, how satisfying it was to see the dad, divorced from his wife and divorced from his kids, who he clearly loved dearly, sneak back into their lives. This was a fantasy you couldn’t articulate: the dad, gone, yet there; present even after you left his house and returned to your house, coming home with you in a way that didn’t involve the smell of his cigarettes on your clothes.
The dad, the charming goofball, himself really just a big kid. Despite the absurdity of it all, you always felt a deep truth, reality to the movie. And you, adult you, say ahhh and you get it now, you get why Sally Field was so exasperated, trying to take care of her kids and this additional fully-grown man child, to borrow her phrase, the whole time.
Their separation in the movie makes you think back on your own separation from your own wife that that lasted for five Earth-months, which is actually nineteen heart-years, and that just ended what feels like four seconds ago. But this separation wasn’t because you were an adult child, but because forty something million adult Americans decided to put a child in charge of their country and that child hates you for the bizarre reason that you were born in a place that is Not America.
As your eyes continue to dance over this photo of Young Sally, you’re struck with the feeling that Current Sally probably chose this photo to be emblematic, to represent her, and you’re struck with some kind of sadness that the symbol to stand for her is one from the past, and that probably one day too, you’ll have the photo taken of you (if you haven’t already) that you’ll want to be remembered by, that you’ll wear as a You-mask while underneath you gnarl and wilt. You half-heartedly resolve to always carry that flag forward with you, but you wonder if maybe Sally has her own reasons, too.
You don’t buy the book, but you probably should?