I’ve had the “kiss at the last possible second when everything felt like it was leading up to it but it still didn’t seem like it was actually going to happen” moment. I’ve had the “running through the streets, barefoot in the rain, while the rest of the city’s inhabitants huddle under awnings to escape the summer downpour” moment. I’m extremely lucky to have only had good movie moments up until yesterday.
Movie moment: A moment or experience that feels like a movie in the way it unfolds.
Yesterday, as my family started down the driveway for a walk, we saw a tiny dog. It was really skittish, so it took 3 of us to look at its tag, only to find out the address wasn’t on it. We had no idea where the dog had come from. After a few minutes, it started walking back toward the street, and we figured it was probably going back to its own house, so we let it go.
Just then, a car came down the street.
My sister screamed for my brother-in-law to keep the dog from running out in front of the car, which only scared the dog more. He tried to catch the dog but it was too fast. It reached the street exactly as the car reached him.
And that was the movie moment, those few seconds as we stared at this tragedy occurring right in front of us, powerless to stop it. There were yells, gasps, a car swerving to the side of the road, and then–the dog was alive. The car stopped for a second and the driver looked back at us, probably mad at what she assumed were careless dog owners. By this time, the dog was across the street and a neighbor who had come out to see what happened recognized whose dog it was. The oblivious owner just said, “What? He almost got hit?” as if it had nothing to do with her dog. We slowed down our breathing and went on our walk.
But that movie moment stayed with me. Two things surprised me about it: 1.) that it felt almost identical to the point-of-no-return instant in dreams, like when your car is flying over the edge of the cliff and you think, “this is it” (I’m going to assume, for the sake of this post, that this feeling is universal, though I don’t really know), and 2.) that I didn’t look away. After it happened, my younger sister asked how close the dog was to getting hit, and I said, “close enough that I was already starting to cry.” She had turned her head so she wouldn’t see it, but I had stared straight ahead to witness the near-accident.
I don’t know what that says about me. I don’t feel like analyzing it to discover whether it means something good or bad. I just know that it reminded me that in real life, there isn’t a no-going-back moment, not really. I think that’s why I kept looking. I had to see for myself that it was true: Even in the last millisecond, when it looks like your car is about to crash, when everything is about to blow up in your face, when it feels like there’s nothing to do but accept your fate, the dog can somehow emerge unscathed. And that’s worth seeing.