Last night Lover came over to watch Lucy. Massive movie spoilers to follow, but mostly this is about us and how one never quite knows where the conversation will go.
As the ending credits rolled to Luc Besson’s film, I say: “I’m not sure how I feel about that. About any of that.”
“It was definitely a weird movie,” he answers, his one free hand playing with my hair.
“There wasn’t any hero’s journey, just a giant short-cut to superpowers and the great beyond.”
“True, and Hollywood always falls into a giant plot hole when that happens. The galaxy montage is a great metaphor, but it’s overdone trying to convince the audience of this infinite unknowable knowledge.”
“Hmm, yes. I also don’t like the consistent theme that the more intellectual a being is, then the less empathetic and invested in humanity it is. If she can remember the pain of having braces and the heartbreak of another man losing his daughter, you would think Lucy would be more attuned to human emotion, not less.”
A quiet silence descends as I drowse on the sofa and he holds me tight. The credits finished some time ago and the home projector has switched to a cityscape screensaver.
“Also, if she can wiggle her fingers and drop every man in the room, why doesn’t she do that every time? Why the theatrics of pinning gunmen to a ceiling?” he says.
“It takes away from the later urgency that bad men are coming to overtake them in the research lab, when it seems she could have negated them as a threat instantaneously, probably without even leaving the room,” I agree.
I stretch, suddenly cramped on the small love seat.
“Come upstairs and tuck me into bed. We can continue our conversation, and I can be much more comfy.”
He laughs at me, no doubt suspecting I have ulterior motives.
Of course I do. This man is the sexiest creature in the kingdom of Earth. But I am also truly sleepy, so it may be that I won’t seduce him after all.
I slide into bed and snuggle up to his side, as he sits up against the myriad of pillows.
“You know the Bechdel test?” I ask, keeping my hand chastely above the belt line. For now.
“The what?” he asks, bending nearer.
“Besh-del. Beck-dal. I’m not sure how to pronounce it,” I admit.
“Spell it for me,” he says, and so I do. When he says it out loud, I hear no difference in our intonations but he says, “Sorry, I was hearing a ‘v’ instead of a ‘b’ at the beginning.”
Sometimes my Spanish accent slips out. I say as much, and he says that it’s common in Greek, too.
“Vega-vita-vegan,” I say, trying to hear how I must sound to others. I say it again and again but hear nothing unusual.
“Are you trying to say vitameatavegamin, from I Love Lucy?” he asks, and I laugh, propping myself up on one elbow to try and see his face in the dark.
“Yes, that’s it! I love that episode and also the one about the chocolate assembly line.”
“It’s classically one of the best, ever.”
“How many people even remember I Love Lucy, these days?”
“She’s hilarious, her facial expressions, pretending to be drunk…”
There may have been more that he said but I drift away listening to his tone rather than his words, warm and snug in my bed.
Five minutes or an hour later, I don’t know which, I feel the gravitational shift of the mattress denting in then springing back as he gets up. Flinging out a hand I find his arm, trace my way down to his wrist and then his hand, interlacing my fingers with his.
“You sleep more deeply than this when you’re at my place,” he says.
“When we are at your place, I know you are not leaving,” I reply. He chuckles and sits on the very edge, stroking my hair.
“You should come under the covers with me,” I say, sliding his thumb into my mouth. His palm caresses my cheek, his fingers cupping my chin.
“You’re a lot more awake than I thought,” he says, but after that there is no more talking and another hour steals by in the velvety dark of not-quite Sunday morning.
Later, while sweat cools and our bodies steam with the covers thrown off, tangled at the foot of the bed, he says, “Yes, I know of the Bechdel test.”
“Lucy didn’t pass. Unless maybe the roommate had a name?”
“Even then they were talking about the men they were involved with.”
“That’s right; I’d forgotten. I like how the Bechdel test isn’t an indicator of a good or bad movie, it’s just a–a–“
“Yes! Excellent phrase, just what I was looking for. Lots of movies fail, like all the Lord of the Rings movies, but I like those just as they are. Still, it’s an excellent tool for keeping an eye on how half the world doesn’t make it into mainstream media or isn’t portrayed as having any interest other than in supporting the male cast.”
“It seems at least now there’s more awareness, though. That test was created in the ’80’s.”
“True… If you look at The Fifth Element and you look at Lucy, it’s essentially the same movie but the director is now much less interested in saving humanity.”
“Lucy’s whole mission boils down to a thumbstick of knowledge to help humanity.”
“Yeah, passing on a flash drive, even a shiny black one, is not as entertaining as a scary ritual of doom. Give me a scary ritual of doom any day.”
My eyes are already closed, my words slurring into the pillow. I feel him kiss my forehead, and I imagine I can feel the smile on his lips as he waits with me while I slip down, down into Dreamland.
And I go so happily, knowing that I found someone just as strange as I am and that in the morning we will continue our convoluted conversation that began nearly two years ago and hasn’t ever really stopped since.