Every year the Rock and Reel film selections is shown at the Neptune on 45th. A nice group of climbing friends get together and go to dinner at Cedars before and then walk down to the movie and follow it up with beers at a pub. Ryan used to refer to these films as "rock porn" and anxiously would await their debut.
So last night after dinner, we sat upstairs and I only made it through 1.5 of the first two films. The first was a feature on a soloist who recently completed half dome, a 2,000 foot wall of sheer granite in Yosemite Valley. It is hard to even comprehend the enormity of the wall - unless you see it in person. And this kid decided to do it without a rope. There were some difficult moments in the film and as the audience nervously laughed at some of the jokes about certain death, I couldn't help but wonder if they were laughing for having not experienced losing a loved one. I also thought to myself, okay Jen. This is as in your face about soloing as it's going to get. You can do this. And I stayed in my seat as the credits rolled.
The second film, the one that sent me running out - was a film that hit even closer to home. It was about a couple who were madly in love. The had climbed some of the coolest stuff on the planet. You could see their happiness in every photo you viewed of them. And then one day, while driving down a road in Utah, Stanley lost control of his car and did several flips. Roberta died in his arms. At this point, I'm sitting there pretty numb. But then it starts to talk about his personal journey through the vortex of grief and how he finally felt prepared three years later to travel to Patagonia and scatter her ashes as a means to close the circuit.
And that's when I went numbly into the bathroom and let out loud, long sobs. I live with grief every day. To see it up front and personal and a reminder of the pain? A little to close to home. It really hasn't been that long.
Lincoln and Jonah were there for me when I came out of the bathroom, ready to leave and get out of there. We had only watched 20 minutes of a 3 hour movie. Talk about good friends. And as we sat around the table at the pub, discussing how bizarre it was to see that film and how close to home it was - Ai came strolling in. Turns out she couldn't take it either. After a few minutes of talking about it, we started to gross each other out with rat stories, daddy poop stories (courtesy of Jonah and Lincoln) and travels.
It was a heavy night.