“The Bishop’s Wife” is playing, where the angel Cary Grant’s grace inadvertently woos the guy’s wife & everyone else. The Bishop is resentful when Grant takes his wife skating & I don’t blame him, I think.
As I lay on my parents' couch, it’s not that I feel uncomfortable, maybe just too new—the white leather smells like a car or something, squeaks under my elbows when I prop myself up. The wood floor eradicates the carpet smell I remember as home. Mom’s coughing fits last scenes at a time. Dad & I say nothing: no impatient sighs, not even any jokes. He doesn’t turn up the volume as he maybe would have to her laughing chagrin. Seems he would have before. I make it a point to avoid their eyes as she hacks into her fist.
I think about wasted time, feel unorganized shame. Seems like I can’t enjoy this movie without an impure irony. I think their more genuine pleasure in this is the reward for a deliberate life, and all I want is to apologize. To hear them thank me for driving down for just one weekend, real sincere, no passive-aggression, no trailing off to suggest it’s maybe not enough, seems obscene.
Mom’s watching me drift. She’s got a frowny smile that shows her slow-growing jowls, that says this satisfaction, in whatever situation, is almost too much to bear. A smile so kind it turns in on itself. She turns it to me & I want to reflect it, to match the reason of her unconditional look. I want to absorb her growths, to find some reason in myself so more people can experience the wisdom of that smile, but I only blink long & my teeth show in a relaxed grin.
The Bishop was supposed to play Dudley, but Cary was a big seat-filler & now I don’t even remember the character’s name much less that of his portrayer. Everybody prefers the angel to the human; the Bishop holds no contest. How weak, imperishability, in the face of the individual's permanent mortal dirge. All Cary Grant had to do was exist as he was designed. His duty was to appear, to show some wandering theist how shitty he is, and then move on. Fucking bastard disappears soon as he feels something human, leaves the Bishop & me ambivalent, vacillating.