“Do not go gentle into that goodnight,
old age should burn and rave at the close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Space travel has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy playing in a rundown backyard of this ramshackle duplex, my mom and I lived in years ago. I used to imagine myself standing on the deck of a large space ship, roving through deep space and marveling at the sea of stars that stretched into infinity. Rarely did I go on adventures in these daydreams for it was the silence that drew me and the beauty one can only find in that which is infinite, fathomless.
So when I sat down to watch the movie interstellar, I fully expected to immerse myself in a realm outside my current reality of white walls and concrete boxes some inmates like to call home. Like most movie nights, I looked forward to the escape, using my imagination to take me to far off galaxies and to worlds of unbounded possibilities; in order to escape the oppressive conditions of this prison, if only a few short hours. I was instead struck by the relationship that Cooper shared with his daughter Murph and inspired by the fierce determination he had to get back home. A resolve I have come to know very well these past few years and a stubbornness that no walls could ever contain, regardless of how unattainable some dreams may seem.
When Cooper gets back to his ship after the misadventure on the first planet, he returns to find that he hasn’t been gone for hours but decades, due to the gravity of a nearby singularity (black hole). Twenty three years gone in an instant. Stunned, he ambles over in a daze to the room with the video monitor so he can view the messages that have been left for him. I couldn’t help but put myself in that very same chair as he went through his messages, watching as his children grew into adulthood, in the very short time it took for him to watch these video messages. The last message was the hardest to watch.
Murph was no longer the little girl with inquisitive eyes and a bright smile but a woman whose face had come to accept the cold reality of life on Earth. The little girl whose voice was once so full of warmth, had now been replaced with a tone of resentment and accusation, in a woman he no longer recognized. You see, before leaving Earth on this odyssey, he told her that they could very well be the same age when he returned. Well, it was her birthday and they were finally the same age but he was still nowhere to be found.
When Cooper began to cry from the realization of what he’d lost, a deep-seeded agony erupted through my chest, tearing at my soul and I too began to cry. Time can be a hard thing for a man to carry in prison, a burden that can feel overwhelming at times but one we must carry never the less. I realized something in that moment. I’d been hiding from these emotion, pretending I was fine when in reality all this pain had been bubbling right beneath the surface. I didn’t want to see it and maybe there was even a part of me that still believed I could get it all back somehow. But you can’t get back time because in the end time conquers all.