The Things We Meant to Watch Together

Dearest Rachel –

Between our collection of anime and television shows, I used to joke about how we were gathering up enough entertainment to see us through a long, debilitating final illness – or at least, an extended period of time without internet. Only, your last day was just like every other day; everything was going as it normally did, we had no clue that the end was upon us, nor did we have time to prepare for it, or even so much as say goodbye. It was literally you sliding down a hill at breakneck speed, and bam! it was all over. There was no period of being bored and bedridden; it was just all over in an instant.

In some ways, it seems like a fairly ideal way to go; none of the lingering pain (to say nothing of the inconveniences involved – sometimes the worst part of being incapacitated is the inability to attend to an itch, which sounds so petty until you actually have to deal with it), nor the dread of anticipation. No real fight to cling to life, because there’s no point at which you were able to recognize you were in such a fight; it was a sudden strike of unconsciousness, and that was effectively it. You probably never even saw the tree that killed you (and of course, now no one will, as it and several others nearby have been taken down).

But it does leave a lot of things seemingly undone. Sure, I have to assume that the Lord must have decided you’d done enough for one lifetime – although you might beg to differ, given a lingering glance to the northwest, and the soul you’d been working on with very limited success for nearly four decades – but there was so much else we had hoped to do in what we assumed to be the many days ahead of us.

Now, I know I can do and see these things on my own, but it really seems weird – almost inappropriate, even – to do so. And some things I’ve basically given up; for one thing, I have not, and likely never will again, watch an episode of Doctor Who. It’s one of those things that was more ‘your thing’ to do than mine, right from the beginning – you and Elizabeth would screen them in the union’s TV lounge, and I would join you as a matter of course. While I made a point to collect every episode once we were married, for the sake of completion, there came a point where watching them felt more like an obligation as opposed to something I wanted to do – except for the fact that you wanted to do so. And even then, I probably made it more clear than I should have how I felt about ‘having’ to watch an episode; sure, I’d enjoy it once it was on, and the fact that you truly did like watching them was gratifying as well, but there’s no point in subjecting myself to them anymore.

Likewise for the anime series I’ve (we’d?) collected; while Daniel and Logan spend time together watching stuff, I deliberately stay away from them while they’re doing so. No kid, of any age, really wants their parents involved in their pop culture consumption, as that automatically renders the thing they enjoy ‘uncool,’ and I don’t want to do that to him or Logan. As for the ones we used to watch, well… where’s the point in my telling you about this or that series I’ve been watching – or even the final episodes of series we used to watch together? I had begun a letter to fill you in about a couple of shows where we hadn’t gotten around to the last episodes, but one series apparently fizzled out in its last episode, and the other… well, I’d read up on it, and I know how it would have made you cry to see how it ended, so I just can’t do it for either series.

And I don’t even want to start in on all the more salacious titles we used to watch together for, ah, ‘inspiration.’ What would be the point?

But last week, with all the days of me coming home way too early for one reason or another, there was the need to occupy myself while Daniel was in the family room, listening to his prophets and pundits (you know by now I neither approve nor want to listen to much of it – although there are a few I can tolerate, and some I even find agreeable – but for me to forbid him from listening to/watching them would simply codify in his mind that I am part of the ‘enemy’s’ camp, and he’d just continue to follow them regardless, so I just let him go on). Since, as part of our new cellular phone package, we get the whole Disney package (including Hulu and ESPN), I found myself watching a movie we’d meant to watch years ago when it came out, and then later when we bought the DVD, but just never got around to it: The Incredibles sequel.

I won’t go so far as to say it’s better than the original, although it may be every bit as good in its own way. But the whole family dynamic (particularly the struggles Mister has at home in the absence of Missus) is really impressive… and making me both glad that Daniel’s grown up and sad that I can’t just call you up and check how your day went as you made more of yourself every day. I’d like to think I would have been considerably more supportive than Mr. I, as he seems to be praising her through gritted teeth; granted, that’s probably because he’s used to being able to come up with the muscular solution to every problem, and being faced with issues that don’t call for such solutions is frustrating to him in a way that I would almost find alien. Then again, I don’t have any superpowers to rely on.

I’d go into more detail, but that’s the thing; discussing this film (and a few others I found myself flipping through) requires discussing them with you. I can’t hold this conversation all by myself. We used to do this while we sat on the bed watching this thing or that, but that’s not possible anymore, and I can’t hold up your end of the conversation.

Then again, not every scene uses conversation…

But I think I need to leave that for another time.

Anyway, I’ll talk to you later; until then, honey, keep an eye on me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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