Proms and Honeymoons

A movie reel

Nemo (Jared Leto) and Elise (Sarah Polley) have just been married. They are on the way to their honeymoon. Traffic backs up and they are stopped in front of a gasoline tank car. The have a wonderful life planned until the tanker detonates.

The explosion kills Elise and leaves Nemo with burn scars on his face. Later, he stands in front of some photos of Elise. As he pulls away, you see a silver urn as a shrine for her in his study. It was a very powerful moment that ties together different parts of the story.

This variant of Nemo is an example of one of the worst honeymoons one could imagine.

Years ago, I was driving home from Lafayette, Indiana to Fort Wayne on Indiana 25. I passed a boy on a moped also driving northeast. For some reason, I was watching him in my rear window.

Before I got too far, the boy turned left into the path of the car following me. The 13 year old boy, William, flew through the air and landed in the berm. I stopped and ran back to where the accident was. The boy was surrounded by a huge pool of blood. I didn’t want to believe he was dead. When the neighbors came out, one covered him with a sheet.

The police warned me to be careful because after seeing an accident like that, I would be more at risk of having my own accident. I could see their point: I could be distracted by the horror of it. I told the police was looking back because I thought it was a dangerous situation.

I didn’t realize it at first, but the driver and passenger of the car were to teenagers on their way to their prom. Such an awful prelude for what should have been a happy occasion.

The local newspaper published a photo taken after the accident. It had the two teenagers in the foreground and the father of the boy at the side of the frame. The photograph won an award.

Nemo and Elise’s honeymoon is one the versions of Nemo Nobody’s potential life. Mr. Nobody (2011) has different lives and most are full of pain. The lives that he reports are torn by crisis or disaster. A journalist (Daniel Mays) is puzzled by so many contradictory lives. His interview ends with the tape runs out.

Some of the events of life are horrible. Nemo’s honeymoon was cut short. The couple on their way to the prom were just planning to have a pleasant day. They all were faced with events turning in an unexpected direction.

Sometimes the tape is torn. When there’s no way to splice it back together, somehow the recording continues on. Sometimes it’s stronger and sometimes it’s weaker. Sometimes I have tears in my eyes and sometimes the tears in my tape are difficult. Even when I weep, I can realize there is still a ways to go.

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