All these prophesies of ultimate human destruction, save a few stragglers, leave me too bleak these days. Not when the future stares at me every morning with the eyes of a guileless four-year old. Perhaps you’ll call me a wuss. That I’m turning a willfully blind eye. Perhaps.
My mom never watches war movies and I used to think that was ridiculous. If we don’t face the truth of war, we’re destined to keep waging them. Somehow if we immerse ourselves in the pain and blood and gore, we’ll stop. Won’t we? When daily life is full of pain and struggle, nastiness and brutishness, why would one want to read it, or look at it on a screen? “Because we learn from it.” I used to say. Used to say.
My mother graduated from high school as the war in Vietnam was broadcast at dinner tables across America. Countless numbers of her male classmates never saw her bucolic Michigan town again. Countless to me, because I did not know them. But she remembers every one. Friends, boyfriends, football stars, rivals, neighbors. My mom, I realize, does not need to learn any lessons in war.
And I don’t need any more lessons in the frailty, fear and fickleness of the future – right now at least. (The irony here is that, as I write this, my husband is watching a particularly poor zombie film and I’m smack dab in the middle of a fantastic post-apocalyptic zombie book, Warm Bodies.) What I need right now is the snuggle of my little one-year old, the crooked pen-drawn picture of my four-year old. Because, come apocalypse or no, I know these moments will fly away behind me. If I don’t enter into such moments in joy, instead of fear, then I too am grooming a future of fright.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “anti” these books/stories/movies etc. It’s just that right now, well, right now, I don’t need any more reasons to keep myself awake at night. I’ve got too many lullabies to sing and stuffed animals to tuck in to be worrying about zombie killing strategies or what direction to head when the world falls apart. Well, ok, after I finish Warm Bodies. Then I’ll stop worrying.