I Never Could Quite Go To The Cinema The Same Again
A tale of a strong bond between a brother and a sister.
“The memories we make with our family is everything.” — Candace Cameron Bure
Several weeks ago, my friends called me on Friday morning to ask me,
“You are going to come with us today after work.”
And I asked them, “Where are we going?”
They said, “To the cinema, to see the last story of the Avengers.”
My friends know me. They know that with my daily work as a personal development trainer and my blogging every day, I have been busy. It has almost been a year since I graced the insides of a cinema hall. And the last time was kind of an obligation — because the company I work for invited all staff members.
I said ‘yes’ to my friends. I told them to buy the tickets ahead of time. As the film was ‘Avengers: Endgame’, we will not find a ticket if we arrive at the time it starts.
After a long day at work, I took a taxi that dropped me in front of the building that has the largest cinema hall in my city.
As I’ve arrived early before my friends, I stood outside the building. In my work attire and looking at the big screen in front of me watching recent movie trailers.
The last sun-rays were gracing the land and I heard people’s noises and cars all around me. The street was busy with after-work traffic.
I was gazing at the giant screen, but my mind was elsewhere. I was thinking of the infinite memories I have with this cinema.
The stories we made together. My brother and I.
Five years ago, my only brother and I used to see box office films, every Friday. No matter how busy I was or he was, we made the time to meet at the cinema, after every Fridays’ daily work.
That was our own time. Brother and sister.
Most of the time, we saw US box office films at Matti Cinema(the largest cinema in Ethiopia). Sometimes, we saw films before our friends in America could see the film. Because of the time difference that Ethiopia has with North America.
Sometimes, we saw Amharic films (films made in the Amharic language made by Ethiopians). Getesh (my brother’s name) made me love Amharic films.
He worked on computers in an international company in the northern part of the city. I worked as a teacher in a private company in the center of the city. And we would make an appointment to meet at the cinema we considered ours every Friday night to watch a film.
But also, to talk about my work and his work. About my boyfriend and his girlfriend. About our mom. About the film, we are going to see. About what we want to do in life. About everything and anything.
If we had half an hour or so before the movie starts, we would eat Enjera with shero (Google it) and drink our hot drinks. I drink Ethiopian coffee and he would drink tea or macchiato, as he hates black coffee of any kind.
We talk while we wait for the film to start. We talk about not silly things like we used to talk about when we were children — but serious stuff as well.
He knows how much I love reading. So, he asks on the book I read that week. He knows how much I love writing. He asks on the story I wrote that week. He listens.
Even though he is two years younger than me, the advice he gives me still astounds me. He is an expert in what’s going on behind our computers. Codes and programming and such things.
And I ask him on the latest gadget that the world has bestowed upon us or what he was working on, at that time. And I listen.
I drive a car. But, I don’t care about how it works. I do work on computers and my laptop — to write and prepare for my training's. But, I don’t care about what’s going on behind the screen. But, he does. It fascinates him. And he has a knack for telling something sophisticated in an easy and interesting manner.
So, I listen to talks of 0’s and 1’s in my brother’s wonderful voice.
We sometimes discussed the film we saw, by taking a walk afterward. Breathing in the beautiful windy air at night. We put the film on the table and dissect it. We discuss it as if we are trying to come up with a solution for world hunger.
I remember one occasion like it was yesterday. We saw ‘Rise of the planet of the Apes’ in 3D. This was in 2011. And we spent the next 3 hours discussing the film. Especially about one scene in the film. Where Caesar (the monkey’s character in the film) starts speaking to a human being, in a sound-alike human voice. And I forgot that human beings have made the film. And start questioning whether monkeys can actually talk or not. And Getesh tells me,
“You do know that this is a film, right?”
And I come back to the present moment reprimanding myself.
Oh! The stories we have are endless.
Our mom would often ask us, “When are you going to include me in your Friday movie nights?”
And we would tell her every time, “You would not like the movie, mom.”
Five years have rolled on.
My brother does not live in Ethiopia, anymore. On October 2014 he went to the United States to attend the wedding of an uncle who lives in Maryland. After the wedding, he asked for an asylum to live there.
He is an immigrant now. He lives well and is very happy there. But, he can’t come here now until he gets his Green card.
In moments like this — when I went inside the building to see ‘The Avengers’ with my friends, I ache for his presence. I close my eyes and crave his physical presence right next to me.
The desperate want to talk with my brother — face-to-face — next to each other.
Sometimes, like this time when I was walking inside the cinema hall. Looking at the giant images of Hollywood stars, I remember. My desire to see him in physical presence next to me creeps up on me.
I look at his photos on my phone gallery. But, it is not the same. I wanted to call him, right that minute. But I remember that I could not, at that exact moment. Because late afternoon here means early in the morning in the US and I know that he works at that time. My shoulders sagged.
I wished for something impossible. I wished for something to take me from here to there. And have our wonderful tea time together. And wished for that thing to bring me back to my next day’s work here in my country.
I miss his physical presence with every cell of my body.
Thanks to technology, we talk on the phone all the time. We are as close as we were before —except for living continents apart.
Now, it is not possible to have coffee/ tea together and see our films every Friday.
Every second of every day you get to spend with the ones you love is special. Both the ones that are physically near to you and those who live on the other side of the planet.
Every memory you accumulate. Every pain and laughter you shared. Every action. Every meal you eat together. The endless walks. Every debate you made about your favorite character in a movie.
Your loved ones are priceless — whether they are living next to you or not. If you can go to them right now, do so. To their office or homes or anywhere they might be. Tell them: “I love you.”
And do more than that.
Show them that you love them by your actions. Prepare a meal. Buy groceries for them. Book a massage. Find the first edition of a book they’ve been talking about for some time now and buy it for them. Leave your work and listen to them as they talk about their long-week.
If they are living in another city or country or continent — like my brother does — call them now and say: “I love you.” And close your eyes and talk with them about everything and anything.
And watch the physical distance (Unites States is 8, 176 miles away from Ethiopia) disappear into thin air.
By the power of your love and watch the present moment stretch into eternity.
Thank you for reading …