poilers abound after the jump.
So here’s my question for you. What’s your before? What’s your after? By which I really mean, what’s the line that separates them? What happened to you? You won or lost something, someone died or was born, you came from somewhere or went somewhere else? What can no one truly know you without knowing about?
Because I think for Daniel it was losing Zoe, or it will be, and I think for Amanda it was losing her brother. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t Zoe, too, in that you can have a thousand befores and afters and you figure that out as they chip away at you, but the big division, the one you have to tell somebody about before they’re truly inside your head and heart? It happened to Amanda on that road, driving, her brother beside her, and ever since then she’s been chasing him down.
I want to know how old she was. Did she say, and I missed it? Was Daniel there in her life, when that happened, or did she meet him after, and everything about her has been keeping that secret heart away from him? That would explain the simultaneously cavalier and careful way she treats him. She had to get wasted on something very expensive to begin to reach for her story, and sometimes telling a virtual stranger is the easiest thing, because what does this strange teacher care, who invites you to a hash bar basically, how judge-y can she possibly get?
Sometimes you don’t want therapy. You don’t want it to be made understandable, for the great mysteries to be simplified by platitudes and strategies. You want it to be as though the earth caved in because then you’ve earned how you feel and you have a right to go on chasing your ghosts. Misery is intensely selfish: This is the sacred ground where they died, and it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to me, and I get to say who else sets foot upon it. And of course it doesn’t work like that at all, and eventually we come to it, mostly. There’s a poem byCharlotte Mayerson I love that begins, “That I don’t own his death / is a required course / his friends teach.” Her book has walked me through a lot of spaces before, and after.
Quick takes: This show is about teenagers and how their parents stare right at them and don’t see them at all. And it’s about teenagers and how they stare at each other and don’t see each other, either, with Philomon and Zoe having a conversation that Zoe thinks is about getting her free and Philomon realizes is about putting everybody else in boxes. Hee: “I work with top secret military robots.” “That is so hot.” It’s going to break him in half when he realizes what’s going on, by which I mean it’s going to be incredible.
I’m dying to know more about Sister Clarice now, and what her before was, and her after, and what lies in the space between them.