Anastasia paused to think about the lies and deceit that defined her youth. Yes, she had a beautiful yard now with a perfect wisteria to rest under in the increasingly warm spring days. But, was it worth it?
There’s almost nothing more heartwarming than a pet who says “I love you” with their eyes.
This might have spoilers. Please take care when reading.
I watched the entire Castle Rock Season 1, which in and of itself is an accomplishment for me. (Note, I did not watch the entire thing in one sitting.) I’m a little disappointed in the final episode, but not for regular reasons. The show had inspired me in a way, and then the final episode… well, read on.
The penultimate episode, called Henry Deaver, showed an alternate reality in which Ruth left the Reverend Matthew Deaver when he lost his mind. In this alternate reality The Kid is Henry Deaver, and the show opens with him running and sirens wailing, but it turns out he’s only exercising before an important meeting. He goes to the meeting in a suit and makes a presentation eloquently and he doesn’t seem the slightest bit creepy or unhappy. He presents a device that his company has been working on to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. He’s a doctor and is inspired by his mother’s condition. After the meeting he calls his wife. In short, he’s happy.
He receives a call from Pangborn, who married his mother. Pangborn tells him that his father has died, so he goes to the house he was raised in to find a hoarder’s nightmare - nothing like the immaculate home we’re used to. In the basement he stumbles upon a small Black child in a cage - the Henry Deaver we know from our reality, but as a child. All of this opened doors to alternate reality theories, with universes crossing paths and people being flung from one to another, a real mind game.
This concept made me pause and consider my life. My thoughts focused on the trip I took in the 90’s to visit my brother who was stationed there with the Peace Corps. It was the best time of my life, and remains a highlight for me. It also was the beginnings of a problem that I’ve dealt, and will deal with, for the rest of my life.
This episode made me see my life very clearly with two realities. In the alternate one, my mother left my father when we were young and during my trip to Costa Rica I had self confidence, self esteem and I valued my life. My brother and I still traveled across the small, beautiful country, but I wasn’t the depressed, self-destructive, apathetic mess that I was in my own reality. If Mom had, indeed, taken us away from my father, would I have taken better care of myself? The alternate reality in my mind very clearly showed that I would have.
Just to be clear, I am not trying to bring anybody down here. We all make decisions based on our circumstances at the time and I do not blame anybody for mine, nor do I question anybody else’s here.
Then came the final episode, Romans. It becomes rather clear that the entirety of the previous episode was just a story that The Kid told Molly in order to get her to try to convince Henry to go to the woods with him. It didn’t work, and The Kid ends up back in the cage. None of that other reality was real. My whole personal revelation feels so false. I had made plans to look at the rest of my life and see how I could approach it with the same self-confidence that my alternate life had. I know I can still do this, but still. I feel cheated. My fictional happy future has been ripped out from under me by a twist at the end of the story, and I don’t like it.
I just finished watching the 7th episode of Castle Rock. I watched the 5th last night and then I watched the 6th and 7th in succession today. I almost stopped watching midway through the 7th, but I persevered. It's not that I don't like it; I'm just not accustomed to watching for that long at a time. My mind wanders; my natural tendencies as an empath make it uncomfortable to watch that much at one time. It's exhausting.
I'm glad I finished the 7th episode of the first season, though. Titled, The Queen. The main character is Ruth and she uses chess pieces to try to help herself keep grounded. We are given to understand that she has dementia, and she explains to her grandson what it's like getting lost in time. Is it today? Is it 40 years ago? It all runs together for her.
The imagery brings home how she feels. For instance, the cinematography focuses repeatedly on the newel post of the staircase where it turns the corner. The finial is the focus, with the front door in the near distance, out of focus. The same setting is used in different decades - the same place but different times, the different times Ruth is lost in.
Another example: How many times have I had a dream where I'm running from something, typically something that is trying to hurt or kill me, and my feet are heavy? It's like running through water and I ultimately realize that I cannot move. The thing chasing me is uninhibited, and the situation is just plain unfair. In one scene Ruth is trying to run. She finds herself in her home after her husband's funeral and she is hampered by the crowds. She struggles to squeeze through them, but every time she gets through and into the clear, she's trapped between people again; people who are standing around, talking and don't seem to notice that she's desperately trying to get through. I felt the same anxiety that I feel in those dreams that I have, and this scene was done absolutely perfect.
The Queen could be watched as a stand-alone show. You wouldn't necessarily even realize that there were episodes before and after it. Of course you'd know things happened before, but any good work of writing gives you that feeling. The unknown, here, enhances the story. You'd feel a little lost, and that is the point. You'd feel like you'd missed something, something to make it all make sense. But, this one wasn't supposed to make sense. If you haven't seen any of Season One, I encourage you to start with this one.
I have two more episodes to watch before I'm caught up. I have things to do around the house tonight, but I'll get these two out of the way before Wednesday when the next one comes out. I think that this Wednesday is the last - for the season, anyway. Here I am playing catch-up. The story of my life.
A curious new interest (read "obsession") has been sparked in my mind. At my day job, Texas Vital Statistics, we take forms that have been notarized, and we abstract other documents that are being used to process an amendment on a birth or death certificate. For those other documents we write at the bottom of the form the identifying information (names, titles, organization names, etc.) as well as pertinent dates. All of this is keyed into the system and it is printed on a the amendment, which is kept by the State of Texas in perpetuity. One piece of information we key in is the Notary's name and the date the document was notarized. After the name, we key in the words, "Notary Public, State of Texas". Every time I key that in, I want my name on a birth certificate amendment with those words after it, to be kept in perpetuity. By the State of Texas. It's a strange life goal, to be a Notary Public.
How else could I accomplish this, or something equal? I write letters to people. I need to do this more; however, that only matters if the people to whom I write bother to keep those letters. And, once I'm gone, who will care enough about these letters to care for them?
I was recently researching archiving technique and principles (because I do this sort of thing in my spare time) and something that I read struck me. I wish that I had marked where I read it. In describing the sort of things that ARE archived, the article mentioned that they tended to include things that happen as a result of the person's life, and less about things that are written or prepared by the same person, specifically to be used in their own biography. Interesting.
Let's say that I become an accomplished writer and maybe develop a cult following or a bit of notoriety. Perhaps my letters to people would be of more interest. Maybe somebody would bother to take the time to collect, organize and index them. They might be kept and archived. Probably not for a hundred years, but maybe for a while. Not as long as Thomas Jefferson or Stephen King, but maybe for a while,. I don't know why I care. But, I do.
Maybe it's middle age.