I’ve been dodging exoplanets. Some of them have the gall to make sharp turns; to switch direction and orbit in reverse, on a whim, because going just one way is so “Earth”-ly. Others circle dangerously close to their parent stars. Daredevilry is not exclusive to Earthlings. There are solar systems and galaxies out here – a whole wild new world that’s daring to be different. And they don’t mind if you are, either. In fact, they would rather that you are. Because they’re going around their own Sun. And there’s enough light for everybody.
Amongst these, I search for a home where father speaks with son like Michael Stuhlbarg (Mr. Perlman) did with Timothée Chalamet (Elio) towards the end of a cinematic awakening, ‘Call Me by Your Name’:
“When you least expect it, nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot. Just remember: I am here. Right now you may not want to feel anything. Perhaps you never wished to feel anything. And, maybe it’s not to me that you’ll want to speak about these things but…feel something you obviously did.
Look – you had a beautiful friendship. May be more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, to pray that their sons land on their feet. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it. And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!
Have I spoken out of turn?
(Elio shakes his head)
Then I’ll say one more thing, It’ll clear the air. I may have come close, but I never had what you two have. Something always held me back or stood in the way. How you live your life is your business. Just, remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart’s worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it.
Right now, there’s sorrow. Pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt.”
And although these words were unsaid, they were written down in the script:
“We may never speak about this again. But I hope you’ll never hold it against me that we did. I will have been a terrible father if, one day, you’d want to speak to me and felt that the door was shut, or not sufficiently open…”
On planets with fathers like these, nobody would ever have to come out of the closet. Because there isn’t one. People would just say they’re in love. And that’s all that matters.
It’s where the people are truly free – audacious, unfettered and uninhibited. It’s where they’re ‘gay’.
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