Tonight we went to see the new Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Thomas Horn, the boy in the movie, absolutely stole the show. His acting skills are incredible. I hope he wins an Oscar for his performance, as he certainly deserves it. I like how Tom Hanks allows young actors to come into acting and be the movie.
The movie is about a boy who loses his father in the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. It’s a sad epic, but it has an incredible storyline. It reminded me of loss. And love. And hope – the thing we all cling to the most in times of despair. Once hope is lost, there is nothing more, I truly believe.
When we were in high school, we had an incredible English teacher, Ms. Janie Bone. Years later, she remarried and became Mrs. Eldridge, but that was past my time, so I’ll always know her as Ms. Bone. She turned 40 the year we were seniors. We brought a cake to school, I’m not sure who made it, and had candles and everything to celebrate the day. Now, I’m 40, and Ms. Bone is gone over a year, a victim of cancer. I remember when I heard that she had passed away. I was painting my office here at home a nice yellow accent wall. I cried, remembering the wonderful stories she told us, and the confidence she gave me to become a better person and certainly a better writer. I owe a lot to her, even though there is no way for me to ever repay her now.
She taught us about mythology – Roman and Greek – and the various Gods who ruled the planet in the ancient times. She taught us about Zeus, whose namesake my boyfriend had as a pet (Doberman) in high school. She taught us about Thor, who appeared on a poster that a friend drew as a project, riding in a chariot. The funny thing, though, was that the chariot had flowers on the sides. Probably not Thor’s usual means of transportation. She also taught us about Pandora’s box.
A lot of people think that opening Pandora’s box is a bad thing. It’s a saying that you hear frequently, as in, “That’s a Pandora’s box. You don’t want to go there.” True, Pandora kept a lot of really bad things in that box – plagues, etc. – but what most people forget is that at the very, very bottom of the box, after all of the bad and scary things had been let free, there was one thing remaining in the box. That thing, the thing that keeps people going, is Hope. Hope for a better future, hope that things will work out, hope that the truth you know to be true is not and things will go back to being better. Hope for everything.
In the movie, the boy hopes that what he is doing will bring him closer to the father he has lost. I won’t give away the ending or the plot, but I will say that hope is something every person must have. Hope keeps us alive. It keeps us going. Hope has stayed me through many challenges in life. Hope will continue to do so, I am certain.
I have thought often of Ms. Bone, her birthday party, the way that she taught me to write and get my feelings on paper in a comprehensible but entertaining way. I think of her when I get a paper back, all marked up. I thought of how proud she’d be knowing I got top paper in my first-year RWA class. I think today of how proud she would be, with her smile lighting up her face and her funny laugh, knowing that I got a 3.8 on my final for my upper level writing class. I think of how she’d remind me that no matter how tough law school gets to be, there is always hope for a better day, a more relaxed time, and a better life ahead. My life is wonderful now, and most of that is due to the hope that I have had in the past that has carried me through to today.
I keep that hope alive, with the memories I have, coupled with the hope I have for the future and the memories I will make in the days ahead.