I’ve already seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so I thought it had no more surprises for me.
After watching it on a plane and crying my eyes out, I concede that the film had a personal connection that I wasn’t expecting.
(For the record: if you haven’t seen the movie by now, then you deserve the spoiler below.)
The film itself was enjoyable; I liked it the first time I saw it, in spite of some plot holes that irked me, and the over reliance on “honoring” the story from Episode IV. In general, though, it was a lot of fun.
So what’s changed since I saw the movie, on opening day? Well, to be blunt: I discovered that my father is dying of cancer.
You can imagine, then, my reaction at a pivotal scene in the film, during which one character kills the father with whom he’s had a difficult relationship. (See how magnanimous I am? I’m trying to limit the spoiler.)
Certainly I’ve never had the sort of struggle that this character had, battling between internal good and evil. Sure, my dad and I have often disagreed, and we still disagree on political and racial issues. But still, I’d call our relationship complicated rather than difficult. I love my dad, and I know that he loves me. I know that he wants me to be happy, and he knows that part of me being happy is him accepting that I’m gay and accepting my relationship (now marriage) with Sal. And so, things between us are better than they might’ve been otherwise.
But I digress… The important thing in this story is that after having largely avoided any major emotional incidents for a couple of weeks, I managed to lose my composure on an airplane. And as friends on Facebook know, this is following on the heels of me being a crying wreck after watching Bridegroom on a recent flight.
Clearly I should stick to spreadsheets when I travel.
In related news, the plane I’m on is headed to Orlando, Florida. I’ll have two days of work, and then I’ll be spending a few days visiting my father and my mother. I’ll be confronted, face to face, with my father for the first time since learning of his diagnosis. And I don’t know how I’m going to feel about that.
May the Force be with me.