I usually scroll right by sci-fi flics when seeking out a film — just not my favorite genre. But on the recommendation of a friend, I went to see The Arrival over the weekend. The recommendation was spot-on; I enjoyed the film very much. One caveat: the plot line is not linear. If you’re the kind of movie-goer who needs a logical plot line, with one event connecting to another and building toward a climax, The Arrival will drive you crazy. Time moves up, down, and around; in some ways the plot line moves in reverse time, foreshadowing the arrival of the infant Hannah — whom we’ve already met earlier — at the end.
Perhaps because the film made me acutely sensitive to how our paths cross randomly in time, I was struck by a connection I hadn’t known about. I went to the film and supper afterwards with friend Barbara, one of the Kearny High School clan who live here in Seattle. I hadn’t known Barbara in high school, so we’re in the process of getting to know more about each other. Over supper she mentioned casually that her father had been a tool and die maker; he worked for Standard Tool in Kearny. Standard Tool is the company my father went to work for seven weeks before his death, after his job at DuPont vanished when the company moved south to have access to cheaper labor. Standard Tool was a small, family owned company. Barbara observed that her parents had probably gone to my father’s funeral.
I’m guessing they probably did.
I remember everything about the night my father died, some of what happened at the funeral parlor, but little about his actual funeral other than how cold it was, and how forlorn were the four metal folding chairs set up for my mother and we three sisters alongside the already opened grave. If I didn’t know Barbara then I would certainly not have known her parents. But they were probably there, at a life changing moment for me.
Beyond Seatte-ites Barbara and Dawn I stay in touch with a few people from high school, like Laurie who lives in New York. There’s something unique and irreplaceable about having people in your life who knew you, knew your family, at that early growing up stage. These relationships make me feel more grounded, as if I’m not moving randomly through life leaving no permanent trail or shared memories.
How about you? Do you still know, or care, about anyone from high school? Does it matter to you? I’d be curious to hear.