"So, um… seen any good movies lately?”
Megan shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
Kathryn sighed. It boggled her mind how anyone could reduce such a potentially extensive, engrossing discussion to “Yeah, I guess.”
After all, she was the sort of person who espoused the notion that Hollywood films would have been immeasurably enriched if Johnny Depp had acted during the silent era.
Unfortunately, nobody had yet managed interest in having this conversation with her.
“Well, I guess Transformers 4 was pretty good,” Megan added.
Kathryn grew distant behind her eyes, and responded, “Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I suppose. Shia LaBeouf is pretty hot, is that right?”
Megan wrinkled her nose. “Maybe when he was younger. Now he’s just crazy and doing immoral things.”
Kathryn nodded vaguely, bored.
They fell silent. Then Megan saw Kathryn’s eyes light up.
“Oh, hey,” Kathryn said, excited, remembering something important. “D’you remember that movie that came out when we were kids? The Nightmare before Christmas?”
Megan nodded vaguely, not knowing what that twisted, bad movie had to do with anything.
“I just saw it for the first time this summer,” Kathryn explained. “Can you believe it? Eighteen years old and I’d never seen it! Did you ever get to see it?”
A little annoyed at the pointlessness of this discussion, Megan said, “Just the beginning. It was pretty stupid. You’re not missing much.”
Kathryn wrinkled her brow, desperately confused. “Did you get as far as Jack Skellington’s first song? You know, the one where he sings–“ and she actually did sing, pouring it full with rapturous feeling:
Oh somewhere deep inside of these bones,
an emptiness began to grow.
There’s something out there far from my home:
a longing that I’ve never known…
Megan stood paralyzed. Her wide, scandalized eyes darted about, scanning the scene for witnesses. The horrible ringing silence flayed her with abandon.
Kathryn, flush with ecstasy, realized that all the force of her feeling had left Megan cold and scared, instead of warm and inspired.
Kathryn wanted to scream.
Forgetting to lower her voice, she demanded, “Doesn’t that stir something in you?”
Kathryn tried again, more softly: “I mean… doesn’t every cell in your body just quiver with pleasure at such a serendipitous blend of melody, rhyme, and meaning?”
Megan stared. She was at a loss as to where Kathryn’s passion came from. “It’s OK, I guess,” she managed.
At the look on Kathryn’s face, Megan grasped that she was losing the apostate.
Quickly, she added, “I guess I did feel a little something. It’s a nice song. It’s got a lot of emotion.”
Kathryn looked exhausted, though not entirely from the singing.
She hugged herself with her arms, and quietly explained, “Before I heard that song, I thought movies were just moving pictures, you know? You pop one in and you zone out. And I thought Nightmare was a creepy kid’s movie concocted by a sick mind. That’s what I was told. Were you told that?”
Megan nodded slowly, at a loss for why Kathryn was pushing the point.
Nobody pushed a point, ever. Nobody ever had a point to push.
“So that’s what I thought, walking into it, and then what do I get instead? Beauty, emotional honesty, artistic frustration, humanity…. all things I’d never experienced. I mean, humanity– it’s not as if I’d never been human– I mean, obviously– but I’d never been as much of a human. Think about that: my whole life, I’d been missing… not a movie per se, but an understanding, a feeling. All because small-minded people told us it was bad and wrong. We’ve missed so much.”
Megan privately doubted this.
“Do you ever feel that way?” Kathryn inquired, sending Megan a sidelong glance. “Like you’ve missed a lot just because deluded authority figures have kept you from the world?”
Megan shook her head. She really had no idea why Kathryn was still pressing this point. It was quite ludicrous now. Why is she still talking about this? Oh, wait.