Don’t ask me how, but I managed to survive the 90s and early 2000s without ever seeing City of Angels.
Well, until tonight, anyway.
Rhett decided it was time. After all, we are the same age, and we were inundated with the soundtrack on constant repeat on the radio for the two years surrounding the movie.
It’s a beautiful movie. It’s quiet and seamless (and I love Nicholas Cage) and the music is amazing. Better still, the silences are flawless. The whole thing left me with an ache in my chest that I just can’t quite shake.
Movies like this are tough on me. I’m not great with extreme levels of emotion, but at least when it’s someone else’s emotion, I can be distant and sheltered from it. When it’s my emotion, I never know where to go with it. I can’t really even name the emotion, much less process through it and communicate it to someone else.
I saw a lot of myself in Meg Ryan’s character. I get that I’m pretty much the target demographic for the movie. The right age, the right gender, whatever. So it’s not terribly original of me to say that I see me in her, but I do. Especially now, especially since last year. I get how she felt when she lost her patient on the operating table after a perfectly textbook, routine procedure. I get how betrayed she felt – by herself, by her experiences – it shouldn’t have gone that way.
Sometimes you can do everything you know to do, you can go above and beyond as far and as hard as you can, and it still doesn’t end the way it should.
The relating, from me to her character, triggered a swirl of emotions I’m still stumbling through. It wasn’t just the questioning. it was also the way she experienced Seth, what he brought to her.
He gave her back her faith. He gave her a sense of wonder, and let her find her own way back to whatever peace she could still capture.
I know exactly what that feels like.
I know I’ve written a hundred times, with a thousand words, about what Rhett has given me. Throughout our friendship, throughout our romance, I was going through some of the darkest, most frightening days of my life. My career was on the rocks, my then-relationship had ended, my so-called best friend had evaporated back into the mist where she had invented herself, my son was having a lot of trouble with the transitions in his life.
Rhett showed up (the second time) and reminded me that I was okay.
I fell in love with him, the first time, because he made me laugh. I fell in love with him, the second time, because he let me cry.
When you’ve been through something that shakes the foundation of your image of yourself, having someone help you shore up the cracks isn’t just sweet. It’s life-changing.
The way Rhett has been there for me, not just in support, but the support of this last eighteen months of my life, has given me something back that I didn’t know I could get back.
He’s given me back not the me that I was when we met, but the me that I was before that. The way he looks at me, the way he believes in me, the way that he sees me – all of those things. It’s almost that, when I stop and breathe through the craziness of every day life, I feel like a lot of the hard things, the bad stuff, happened to someone else completely. It just isn’t there anymore.
It turns out they weren’t scars. They were just bumps and bruises. A little time, a little TLC, a little fresh air and they just… healed.
Seth was her miracle.
So the movie nearly killed me. Not because it was so sweet, or sad. It was definitely all of those things. It’s because I get it – in a way I couldn’t have when it first came out, in a way I wasn’t capable of getting it even five years ago. I’m glad I saw it now. I’m glad that I get it now.
It’s not whether or not you get the happy ending. It’s whether or not you take the chance, whether you reach for it. Sometimes the chance blows up in your face – a cardiac patient dies. A con artist gets caught. A relationship falls apart.
But sometimes, just sometimes, that chance turns out to be exactly the magic you were looking for all along.
I’m glad I saw the movie. I’m glad it gave me a chance to explore all this extra space that has opened up around my heart since Rhett came into my life. I’m so, so glad that he did. Taking that chance was scary, but it was the right chance at the right time. And it’s led to amazing, bigger, better things that I don’t always stop and appreciate until I’m forced to.
I love you, Big Boy. I’m grateful, every day, for the time you invest in me, for the million tiny ways you show me you love me, I’m beyond amazed at how much you give. To me, to Sharkman, to our family as a whole. You’re amazing.
I hope you know that. I hope that I have given back even half what I’ve gotten. The way you love me blows me away. And I’m glad you make me sit down and watch silly, sappy, drippy movies like City of Angels. I’ve never been good at the touchy-feely, but at least I know that you know I feel it.