rachel mcadams

The Day With the Quesadilla

Last Saturday I ate a quesadilla in bed.

The trek to the kitchen to microwave it had been hard enough; I couldn’t imagine sitting upright at the table to consume it. So I sludged back to the dark hole that was my bedroom, slipped under the covers and dove into the melted cheese.

I didn’t anticipate waking up with head full of snot, and it wasn’t exactly my plan to sit, worthless, for an entire morning, subconsciously hoping my head would burst like a mucus filled gusher so it would all be over.

I was cold and hot, achy and restless, congested and pissed off. I wanted to watch a movie, something sad and depressing, something that would simultaneously validate my self-pity and quiet it in the face of something far worse. A part of me also wanted something sappy, something that would make me cry and long for affection in between the sniffles and the hacking.

About Time was taped on my DVR. It stars Rachel McAdams and a fresh faced ginger gentleman who has the ability to time travel. He learns of his ability from his father, on New Year’s Day, and is in immediate disbelief. His father explains the seriousness of his words, and lists only a few stipulations: You can only travel backwards to places and moments you yourself have experienced, and the only actions required to do so are to find a dark room, clench your fists, and focus on the moment you wish to return to.

The man, Tim, immediately begins putting his gift to use, mostly to land himself a girlfriend. He tries all different types of lines, tactics, and timings to see if it would make the love of his life reciprocate his feelings. In an exact quote from the movie, after many failed attempts to win the love of this girl, Tim states, “No amount of time travel will get someone to fall in love with you.” This line made me think, laugh even, at all the awkward/sad/terrible moments I’ve had, that I’ve wished so hard that I could change or take back. But, as Tim did, I would find that changing the cringe-worthy moments does nothing but ripple away the moments that followed. We’ll never know which moments lead us where, we just have to trust that they all happen for a reason, that they are all part of a plan.

At the end of the movie, Tim’s father passes away, but Tim continues to visit him using his time travel. The day comes however, when the both of them know that it is the last time Tim will be able to travel back to see him, and the mood of the memory becomes very heavy.  Tim asks his father, hoping to brighten their spirits, if there’s anything he’d like to do, any place he’d like to go on this last day together, and his father quickly nods. The screen momentarily fades and then we are brought to the beach the family frequented throughout Tim’s life. His father walks into the frame holding the hand of a young, red headed boy that we soon figure out is Tim.

Any moment, any place, any part of his life was available for the two of them to explore, and Tim’s father chooses perhaps one of the simplest memories he has. An ordinary day with his son, just a simple walk on the beach.

When I think of all the days I might choose to go back to, should I get the chance, the “best” days that initially flash through my mind are the extravagant, one of a kind days that I brag about. The days that I tell endless stories of, the days when all my troubles seemed to melt at the hands of wonder. But I know there will be days to come when those heart pumping, head rushing days won’t mean nearly as much as the seemingly ordinary ones.

In 2007, my Papa (my grandfather) died in his sleep of a heart attack. I can remember the day perfectly. It was a Sunday. I was lying on the couch watching The Lake House, when my Grammie called with the news. I remember my mom coming home and picking up my sister from her softball game and the long, silent drive to Santa Clarita. I remember all the tears and shared memories and the funeral a week later.

After the grief settled in, and we began to move back into our normal pattern, I realized all of the little things that I suddenly missed. I missed the way he sang “Hiiiii” into the phone receiver when he called to ask about my softball game. I missed way he laughed. I missed the days when I’d sit on one of the rocks that lined his driveway as he picked me an orange and told me a story. Every day, ordinary things, that made him the extraordinary, one of a kind man.

So, as I ate my quesadilla in bed, I looked at the moments surrounding this seemingly pathetic one. I was sat on a comfortable bed, in a warm house, with a loving family that is healthy, in a country that is free. Maybe this moment wasn’t so bad after all. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll think of it someday, when the world is complicated and I wish I were back here, in this moment, on this day. A day when all I had to worry about was taking a Tylenol and staying hydrated. A day when my mom knocked on my door, just to say hi, and my dad asked how I was doing. A day that, in its own right, was perfect.

Jeffrey.

It was 2007 when I met the first love of my life. He was chiseled and grey and I did not see him coming.

It was a hot September afternoon and I was out shopping with my family. My brother was long over the family outing and had requested that we grab lunch to refuel before continuing. My parents pointed at a tall blue building, explaining that once we made our rounds inside, we would break for lunch and, much to his delight, my brother could pick the place.

When we ducked into the building I expected a burst of cool air to rescue me from the heat, but when I saw him sitting there, it was as if a fire took hold of my heart.

The room was filled with people, none of whom seemed to notice how he radiated the corner of the room like I did. He was practically glistening. I opened my mouth to try and steer us towards him, but my family started to mosey in the complete opposite direction of the mysterious stranger who had just stolen my heart. I walked behind them, half feigning interest in what they were saying, half trying to catch glimpses of his smooth skin in the fluorescent light.

Then everything started to get blurry. Colors didn’t matter, voices didn’t matter, money didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was getting close to him.

After what seemed like an eternity, we began to approach him and my heart started to race. Was this love at first sight? Was this the beginning of a love story to be told until the end of time? Had I just become Rachel McAdams in the Notebook?!

I tried to act casual, act like each step towards him didn’t bring my chest a long hard punch from my thumping heart.  How could I feel like this? How was it that I didn’t know anything about him and yet there was something inside me that just knew he was going to be in my life forever?

My family stopped a few feet from him but turned their backs to look at something else. I brushed my hair off my shoulder, trying to glance at him behind me. My chin brushed against my shoulder as my head turned and my neck let out a loud, painful CRACK to which I groaned a deep, hearty, “ughhhhhh.”

My brother turned to look at me, amused with the guttural noise that had just erupted from my throat only a few feet from the Ryan Gosling to my Rachel McAdams.  He then cracked his neck and scowled at him before covering my eyes and wishing I could click my heels together and Dorothy my way out of there.

Suddenly a man approached us and offered to introduce us to someone special. I watched as he outstretched his hand toward the beautiful creature I’d be longing for, allowing me to finally turn and face him directly.

“This is Jeffrey,” he said.

“He one of the toughest and most reliable guys I know.”

I took a few big steps toward him and looked into his eyes. They sparkled back at me and I almost got emotional.

I looked back at my mom and nodded my head, telling her with my eyes that this is the one I’ve been looking for. She looked at my dad who, with no hesitation took his own steps towards Jeffrey and began pacing laps around him. He took in every detail. He look at his eyes, kicked his feet, and patted him on the head, it all seemed satisfactory to him.

My mom embraced me and my sister did the same. After all this time we had finally found the one for me.

Jeffrey, the storm grey Saturn Ion was mine from that day forward.

I can’t believe our 70,000th mile anniversary* is already around the corner and we are just as happy as when we met on that sweltering day in September. That, my friends, is true love.

 

*Feel free to send gifts, we are registered at Autozone & Target.