My heart hurt watching this movie.
Firstly, I was alone in the cinema but for a man in a wheelchair.
Toward the end, there is a camera shot of a little hallway of light surrounded by darkness. This was meant to be the place where the stripper who followed him all the way to his match in Wilmington, was watching. The hallway was empty, signifying she was no longer there. And he smiled and sobbed when the camera went back on him, before he took his final leap onto the mat. He knew he was a “fuck-up,” a “loser,” “un-loved” by the real world.
What set him off, or the very tipping point of the film, was someone recognizing him at the deli. Someone couldn’t get it out of their head that they knew him and to escape being recognized he put his finger into the meat slicer and burst out of the job exclaiming, “I quit,” and smashing boxes and elbowing cereal, and kicking carriages, and body slamming vegetables in a moment that will surely stay with me forever.
There was also the matter of him not being a good father which killed me.
It seems when you have a kid, you want to protect him. You want to shelter him from all the bad things in the world. But the bad things become so many. They outnumber everything. The escalator is a bad thing. The car door is a bad thing. The toaster is a bad thing. Hot water is a bad thing. FIre is a bad thing. Bicycle messengers, sidewalk corners, dogs, gravity. I don’t go through a second of time with Rafael where I don’t feel someone or something is going to harm him, and I need to be one step quicker.
I think of life without him. If someone were to take him away to another house and I could only visit. I wouldn’t be able to protect him the same way. I would wonder if someone were keeping a good eye on him. I would wonder about every single appliance in that house hoping he’d find a way out of their demonic clutches.
I think of another man looking after him. Not knowing what I know. Not as quick. Not as strong. Not thinking about his life. not being able to give his life, in exchange for Raf’s. I would be restless. I am restless and he’s still with me.
I hope my son doesn’t think I’m a failure when he grows up. I hope i’m not a failure by the time he grows up. It seems I wasn’t a failure before he was born. Now that I have him, I can be one. I am threatened to be one everyday.