It is pitch black and I cannot tell if I am dreaming. I remember a bike, a car, a curb, and then, did someone punch me in the eye? I wake up disoriented in the backseat of an ambulance. Sirens are blaring, and a man I’ve never seen before is dabbing my cheek with what I assume are cotton balls with some form of antiseptic on them. My facial expression remains stoic, but internally I am panicking. I touch my face, then look at my hand and see blood. It has a watery consistency, not at all like the blood in the movies. He asks me questions to keep me present and distract me from the blood, and it works. He asks me about school, and I actually laugh. Even with a gaping wound, I could not escape the irony of this happening to me the day before my first day of my junior year of high school. My mom shows up at the hospital and I end up with thirty stitches and a mom scared half to death.
As kids, we believe our parents are invincible. We say things like, “I bet my dad can beat up your dad! He can lift both me and brother up at the same time!” and, “My mommy’s so smart! She helped me make a huge tower out of blocks.” I later found out in geometry class that the secret is just to use triangular items for strength and stability in a structure. I also learned that our parents can’t withstand all obstacles the world throws at them without it taking a toll.
When I was young, it was Billy Madison and The Waterboy, raunchy comedies. As I got older, it became The Princess Bride and the James Bond franchise. Now, they may not all be profound, critically-acclaimed films, but they hold a significant amount of sentimental value for me. My father and I always found a connection through film and other forms of entertainment. One of my earliest memories of us is watching Wizard of Oz over and over again when I was fouruntil I sporadically developed a deathly fear of the Wicked Witch of the West. To this day, I feel a cool wind flow down my spine when I think of unflattering chin moles and that sharp, shrill laugh. Even when he became estranged in my life, we still made time to go see the matinee screenings (“Because tickets are two dollars cheaper then, Giselle! That’s why. Alsobecause I said so.”) of the latest blockbusters. Despite the problematic aspects of who my father is, he introduced me to the wonderful world of Quentin Tarantino films, and for that, I am eternally grateful.