10.07.2013

gravity

Spoiler alert.

She spins uncontrollably at the end of a crooked arm. Panic stricken, she finds her restraint system then releases, casting herself off into a head-over-heels spin, the initial thrust having sent her reeling into the blackness of space, nothing to grab on to, nothing to stop the momentum, not even gravity.

Such is the opening scene of the film, Gravity. I watched, riveted to my seat, my heart rate elevated, breathing shallowly next to Michael. I spun with her, the exquisite blue planet as a visual anchor, appearing at times as a vast cloud-filled sky, yet offering no safe haven.

The film stays with me, my mind revisiting its images, its sound, its unnerving yet beautiful music. I wonder why, and then I let it sink in, roll it over in my mind searching its meaning, savoring its moments, recounting them. Then I say something to Michael about its title, Gravity, and the lack thereof in the film. “Gravity can refer to a situation,” pointing out what should have been obvious. I say, “Grave,” he nods, and I consider our boy Calvin, remembering the circumstances around his birth. The pregnancy had gone swimmingly until week thirty-two when a sonogram revealed the catastrophic news of his malformed brain, its relative vacuousness: too much space, not enough white matter. I recall feeling thrust into an uncontrollable spin, nothing to grasp, to steady me, to bring me down to earth. We were both floating in a state of shock. Our boy who, when he was born two weeks later, reminded me of the moon, has kept me spinning in circles for years, pulling me in with his own little gravitational force in an infinite orbit, our blue planet as my anchor but not my safe haven.

Like in the film, at times I’ve felt all alone—utter blackness, helplessness, fear—with a desire to surrender to circumstances beyond my control, to the epilepsy and the havoc it wreaks in our lives. I wish I could let go. Sometimes I ask myself, what’s the point? as I drift in endless circles around my little moon child who often seems at arms' reach, silent at the end of a tether that might give way at any moment.

But my boy is also my beacon, and perhaps Michael's too, sometimes guiding me to take a deep breath, to touch down, slow my spin, to see the vast blue sky as our reflection, taking each moment as it comes in an effort to simply hold on.

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