Come Near To Me

I just watched In America.

It is. . . many things.

If you have seen the movie, you understand how a word ("true") or even a string of nouns ("Encompassing. Enchanting. Amazing. Stunning. Painful.") cannot hope to convey the experience.

But I'm not here to write about the movie as a whole. I recommend you see it and there are plenty of things I could say about its superb acting, outstanding visuals, and thought-provoking script. . . but that's not my focus.

The main character, Johnny, is a young Irish actor trying to keep his sanity as he and his family adapt to life in Hell's Kitchen. He has an expression that he uses throughout the film, which struck me with it's simplicity: "Come here to me."

It's a funny phrase, but delivered with a convincing Irish brogue and a pleading lilte it conveys its own sense of urgency and integrity in a very striking manner. And it occured to me that as I heard him I could not make out if he were saying "come here to me" or "come near to me", and I began to marvel at the subtle difference.

If I were to adopt such a phrase and add it to my vocabulary as I have added other phrases ove the years, I would add "come near to me" because that is all I would have the bravery to ask. I may draw people close, but I will not bring them to where I am. Nor would I want them to come willingly to this place, to find me here. It would be humiliating for me, and I think both life-changing and ultimately destructive for them.

But if this curse I have drawn around me like a cloak against my fears is ever broken, and the mantel of solidarity rent in two by the love of one I cannot resist, ignore, or taunt into running from me. . .then that phrase becomes everything. Those four words would become, to me, a sort of surreal verbal lifeline. "Come here to me."

"Let me let you in." I would be admitting both defeat and rebirth, as a new being, no longer one of the untouchables.

Funny, isn't it? So often what we fear most is also what we long for most deeply.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


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