“Here’s looking at you, kid,” he said, emphasis on the kid. And I swooned. He didn’t mean me. It didn’t matter.
It had been a week that started in chaos and ended in a landslide of exhaustion. In other words, it was typical. My Friday night reward was a movie fix. Only Humphrey Bogart would do.
The Carpenter had treated me to Casablanca as a gift. I could pick any movie I wanted, he said, “So long as I don’t have to watch it with you.”
I’m not big on amassing movies, simply because our house doesn’t need more stuff for me to forget to dust, but I do have a small collection that I cherish. It’s an assortment that makes no sense, unless you know me (like really know me). From comedies to retro films with sentimental soundtracks, and my favourite shoot-em-up film (because even nice girls like to see the bad guys lose), this is my library.
My inner-literature geek is subdued by the Jane Austen series. Nobody speaks to me during this marathon. The Carpenter knows if he interrupts, I will refer to him as Mr. Darcy for days using the most horrific insult to a British accent anyone can imagine. Alone time is prime time. I do what I need to do.
What you won’t find in my movie collection is the stack of sappy chick flicks. Sure, I’ve seen them. Yes, I even liked some of them.
But for me, a good unrequited love story requires a long, slow burn. Think English Patient. If it’s going to hurt, I want to be dragged through the unfairness of unrequited love like a toddler being dragged through Walmart during a previously scheduled naptime.
Break my heart already. Take me to Casablanca. That’s where I’ll pull up a chair at Rick’s Café Américain and listen to Sam tickle the piano keys until she walks in, the most beautiful woman of the silver screen, Ingrid Bergman, looking demure and guarded until a warm smile lights up her face as she recognizes an old friend.
And my heart gets tight as she says, “Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.” And her soft, dramatic eyes well up with tears as a flood of memories of broken promises and fateful choices swell in every note of the song. I swallow the lump of emotion in my throat.
Then he walks in. Humphrey Bogart: the single most handsome juxtaposition of masculine strength and raw emotion. It’s intense. He hears the song. His jaw clenches with anger. He sees her. The tension is electric. His wound is immediate. The ache is profound. It’s the beginning of the end, all over again, and this isn’t even the best part of the movie.
I like to believe there was a time when gallant men had swagger and beautiful dames damned their hearts, sealed with the fate of a kiss. But then, the Carpenter wants to watch Deadpool so I suppose, I’ll always have Paris? And Humphrey Bogart.
Here’s looking at you, kid.