Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

My Girl Night In

What an evening. I mean my evening. I forgot that I am also about to describe how taken I was by the movie I watched tonite, entitled Evening. Oops. But yes, what an evening. So, I knew I was looking forward to this night. GK is in San Antonio and so is my mom, our Real Estate Agent. Yup, looking at investment properties. Don’t worry, we are not swooping in on some poor foreclosed family who is on the brink of despair if not already in it. I know some people that has happened to. And I think it happened to my family in the recession of the early 80’s. Well, we got hit by ’85. Sent out of the home I lived in until 5th grade, sleeping on couches in my aunts’ living rooms, not feeling homeless, but, still, without our own home. Luckily, no one told me I should be mad about that, it did seem like an adventure, like a long sleep-over at my cousins’ homes. (I digress, I guess.) Maybe my mom talking about adventures of sleeping in barns & working in the fields as a kid as her family travelled around the US picking fruit & cotton for the American economy served as an influence. (And some people call them lazy illegals! What Americans what to do that work?) (Hah! Right!) What hardship? We were (are) surrounded by family that loved us, we had nothing to really fear. Besides, we were able to live with my Aunt during the last months of my grandfather’s life. Brain cancer. My dad’s dad. I was there with him on his last morning alive. I woke up (from my bedding on the floor in the same large living room where he lay on his in-home hospital bed) and found him struggling with his last moments of life. He reached for my hand and I took his hand, and we watched each other for a moment. I knew it was his time. January 26, 1986. I was ten years old. I went to wake my aunt. He died later that morning. This movie, Evening, really captured what those last moments of life might be like for the elderly passing away.

This movie had so much subtlety. There was this loose connection between the present and the past, and the images & the scenes touched each other like a baton being passed back and forth as this woman reduced her life to the bare essentials. She had spent a lifetime in longing (for dreams, for missed opportunities & loves), yet she began to grasp and take in that maybe in her longing for a grand life, she had missed the truth that her life was grand in the small moments. And this all was taking place in her barely there consciousness, and her daughters were there, experiencing this transformation with her in a way only they could, being her daughters; in fact, it was something they could experience only because they each had a piece of their mother that was only made complete when they came together as sisters to share their perspectives on their mother & on life. They each had an important but incomplete sense of their mother. Together, they were so much closer to the truth of who she had been. Still, there was so much left unsaid. I love these movies that impart a sense of passing time, of each generation having a real presence. I see family/community/shared life as having an infinite number of roles, in which we all play the star, the supporting actor, the walk-on, the nameless face in the crowd. We each are all those things all of the time. Like circles that connect & disconnect all the time, crossing paths or getting bound together. Even a movie like Pearl Harbor, a universally panned movie, really stuck with me. See, I got all engrossed in the lives of these people, and it ends with the couple being together and holding the hand of their baby as he starts to walk, and I was all caught up in the moment, and it quickly struck me- that baby is now my mom’s age, that baby went on to grow up, fall in love (or not) and have his own kids (or not) but to certainly have his own life. And those main characters, they were “just” his parents, and they were the ones he left behind when he went to college (or whatever) but you know what I mean? He had his own life. He had no idea how much his parents really lived. He would have his own life to live. I watched Pearl Harbor before kids altogether, and it occurred to me that I would be that supporting character to my children one day, the lives in which they have their own starring roles, just as my parents have been in mine.

Now, here are Enn & Zee, making their mark on life already. I love them so much.
Oh, so, about my evening: my husband and mom are in San Antonio, and I had the night all to myself and I looked forward to it all day. I love being with him, but he wouldn’t want to watch this kind of movie. I curled up with my blanket (read that My! yes, Enn, I am talking to you! That is Mama’s blanket!) blanket, and watched my movie All By Myself.

Loved it.

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