Lara Pop’s review published on Letterboxd:
#Watched with Cormac
#Existential Musings Vol. 7.
#Three Colors: Red
*News: Tragedy on the Channel. Seven passengers survive.*
I don't believe in coincidence. Here I am living, breathing, and I’m no different from those that drowned under the weight of their lives. There must be a reason why I survived the accident and the others didn’t. I refuse to believe there isn't. Strange – I wouldn't have even thought about this before meeting him. He is an old man but he’s much more than that. He is like a prophet. Seems to know everything. He even told me once in the theater that he had a dream where
you were 50 years old and you were happy
He caught me off guard. Happiness seemed like a dream but whenever I dared even ponder it, I always pictured myself with someone by my side. I thought of Michel and how unhappy he makes me. He treats me as a possession, as some inanimate object, and always shoots his mouth off from abroad. Always jealous. I think about my happiness and I can’t see his face in the dream. Michel
tell me do you love me
i think so
you love me or you think you do
I could picture his muscles fold into a grotesque wince and he said
its the same thing
I could hear his teeth grind together in anger and I realized I hated him. I blinked once and the vision passed. I was still in the theater and the old man was talking about the dream he had where
you were 50 years old and you were happy
in this dream... was there anyone else
you woke up and smiled at someone next to you. i dont know who
and thats what will happen in 20 or 25 years
I don't believe in chance encounter. There is a reason I met him at the time I did. He was old, at least double my age, and had a haggard air about him. He was always grouchy and in a bad mood but it wasn't long until I found out that his outward frigidity was but a by-product of his inner glacier of pain. He was surprised in the theater when I found out
how did you know he asked.
it wasnt hard to guess I replied.
He was a judge when he was young and he judged himself the harshest. I wonder what would have been different if I hadn't been driving along the road at that time of night. If his dog hadn't wandered off and I hadn't run her over. If fate had dealt us a different hand and we would have never met. I remember how unfriendly he was when I returned his dog and I wondered how someone could be such a cold wall of indifference.
what about rita I asked.
shes a very intelligent dog. take her
you dont want her?
i want nothing
then just stop breathing
He nodded impassively.
There was a glacier of pain behind his frigidity but I didn’t know what it was at the time and I said to him
one can only feel pity for you
I remember walking into his house one time and looking at the sky before entering. The sun was just disappearing behind the mountain and his back was turned but I think he felt it. I think he felt the sunshine fade into gray and I realized he's got used to it during the years.
I felt her words in my bones. She said
one can only feel pity for you
and she stayed outside in the grayness for a moment longer. The sun had gone down and even she couldn’t revive it.
She was like an angel. The epitome of goodness. A ray of sunshine that couldn’t reach me nonetheless. It hurt to see myself treat her like I did others, but she somehow realized it was because I didn’t know how to treat myself right in the first place. I remember once we were talking about some trivial subject and the sun came slanting in through the window and lighted her profile. She pouted her lips in that perplexed way of hers and let her fiery naivete spread over the soft features of her face, hardening them into flaming resolve. Why did she want to help me?
youre wrong she declared.
everything. youre wrong about everything. people arent bad. its not true
I was amused by how adamant she was.
yes it is I said.
I remember the sunshine on her profile and how it seeped into her, lighting her from inside like an angel. I asked her would you smile for me and she did. Her smile brightened the house and I remember the sun going down behind the mountains outside when she left.
She reminded me of the only woman I’ve ever loved. They couldn’t have been more different on the outside but seemed to possess similar traits on the inside. But that was a mirage. I saw the woman I had been in love with in a glossy veneer of goodness – until her true colors were revealed in the mirror of our broken love. It was
in that mirror one night that i saw her white legs spread wide with a man between them
We were in the theater when I related to her the story of my love. She listened intently and I realized the two of them had nothing in common. I wondered why I was telling her all this and her flame of kindness hit me with with an unexpected fervor. I felt my mind wander as she said
she betrayed you... and you never understood why. and you loved her a long time after that
She spoke with the wisdom of an angel and I remember how surprised I was that she knew
how do you know all this I asked.
it wasnt hard to guess she replied.
I couldn’t control my thoughts anymore after a lifetime of repressing them. She caught me off guard . She was way behind my defenses and all my seasoned experience of habit could do was hope her angelic kindness wouldn't be trampled by my own withered existence. I couldn’t control what I was saying and I said
ive never loved another woman since. yes ive stopped believing
She listened intently and I continued
or maybe ive never met the woman... perhaps i just never met you
I opened up to her and through her, to myself. I realized she was nothing like my past love, nor like anyone else. She wasn’t in my life when I was young but she came when I needed her the most. She was like an angel and I had no idea where she descended from. I said to her yes ive stopped believing and I didn’t even grasp what her presence meant to me. She was a human being with flaws but she gave me something to believe in. She gave me hope.
She went away to England the next day. She said she didn’t like flying, so I told her then take the ferry. It wasn’t until later that day that I noticed in the paper:
*News: Tragedy on the Channel. Seven passengers survive*
I turned on the TV and watched the news with smothered breath. I heard the newsman list the survivors: one, two, three and I held my breath. She was sixth on the list. I breathed out once. Then again. I saw the broken mirror of my life and sat down to survey the jagged bits that used to cut me every time I inhaled. I breathed out again. I felt my face open up and I waited for the shards to slice into me. They didn’t. The smile pulled my face wider and wider and I felt the caressing rays of sunshine trickle through the broken window. But something wasn’t quite right. Where did they come from exactly? I looked out of the shattered glass of my soul to find out and I remembered the sunshine on her profile and how it seeped into her, lighting her from inside like an angel. I smiled and felt the sunshine on my face. But this time – it was coming from the inside.