The Neverending Story is Sacred to me ( she said capitalising Sacred for emphasis.)
When I was a kid I was strange. No, it’s ok. I was. No doubt about it. I talked to animals, made up my own words, believed that the trees understood my heartfelt confessions while swinging, and had a firm belief that the world was magical. The world amazed me. It seemed so full of happy things. Which, is funny, considering the years proceeding this memory.
I grew up in a very difficult homelife. My father was a Vietnam vet with the problems you might easily guess at when thinking about the many repercussions of the war on men trained to kill without thought, but not taught how to deal with the remorse that happened later once they had time to process the cost of that ability on their fragile spirits. He was plagued with Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome and took up drinking and other things, like hitting my mom, that I will not go too far into. My mom and my dad were fragile people who had kids and no idea how to be proper parents. Happily, through lots of love from family and tons of professional help, they got better, they tried, they gave it their best. Today they are not, or would not be ( in the case of my deceased father), the same people, but I remember, (and, I am sure, my sister’s do also) what fear, hunger, poverty and uncertainty, felt like. It is not something one forgets.
The reason I thought the world was full of happy things and amazing, was not because I was unaware of harsh things. I did just explain that I knew these things all too well. No, I was convinced that the new grey house we lived in was magical. It had all the things I had never experienced previously in it. Animals, a yard with as much running as I wanted, stability because we didn’t have to move every other year. This was the first place, the very first, that was a home. It is no surprise to me that this house, this teensy tiny house, was the center of every single happy memory I had as a kid.
I remember feeling like I had found a present under our tree from Santa. This was how my imagination and creativity exploded from me. It was because, for the first time in my life, I felt safe enough to play. Play, laugh, argue and express myself without fear. I assumed that I was alone in this thing called pretend. My sister’s sure didn’t overly indulge in them. Joey D liked sports and boys. Shell was all about being like my mom and playing adult. My little brother Patrick was too little and my other siblings lived in PA, with my dad. I only saw them sometimes. Not enough to open up really.
The first inkling I had that there were “Others” like me, was going to see the movie, The Neverending Story. I swallowed the movie like stars. I had eyes like moons and a head full of wonder. There was not one single part of that movie I failed to be struck mute and practically in tears over. It was home. It was were I wanted to be every single day of my life. I wanted it to be real. I decided it was a place somewhere in the universe. The fact that the idea of it existed at all, was good enough for me.
I went on to love other movies, but, The Neverending Story will always be the first, the best, the sweetest. Dark Crystal comes closest, but only so far. I wanted Orin symbol so badly, not to mention, my own rock biter, racing snail or luck Dragon. Hell, I would have settled for Artax. Come to think of it, Atreyu was (quite possibly) my first sex crush. Yum!
To this day I still remember the feeling that movie birthed into my heart. Fantasia is real, I know because I live there when I sleep.