Movie previews vie for prominence in IMAX theatres as summer calls. The themes are the same though special effects vary. Whether resetting the day to secure a better future in Edge of Tomorrow or fighting for the survival of the species in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the protagonists are ‘ordinary’ men and women juxtaposed in extraordinary circumstances. They earn their place on the wall of fame in our hearts by navigating tough choices and taking the ‘high road’.
They may fall on the way eliciting groans from us or run with injured limbs drawing encouragement from us, but in the end, we discard popcorn cartons and nod to the beat of the song that accompanies the credits. We are looking for heroes and don’t even realise it. Year after year, Hollywood sells us this basic story of redemption, and we say, “Oh yes!” with our Dollars.
The big screen that typifies courage, honour, and integrity is a macrocosm of what a woman’s heart longs for. Sometimes political correctness, feminism, gender equality, etc., educate me to the point that when I place my hands on my chest, I no longer feel my heartbeat. Nevertheless, when darkness causes me to trip, I see clearly.
At nineteen, I chose love that devalued me. Dark alleys and groping hands crumble truth and leave broken hearts. I love you, should be said in daylight so the heat of the sun can scrutinize the lips from which the words pour. Then I met a man who did not kiss the girl and make her cry, although I was ripe for the picking. He said, “You mustn’t fall in love with me, you must reach for your dreams.” A man’s heart can be a safe place for your dreams, because if he believes in you, he will walk beside you and invest in your future.
If women declare unequivocally, “I want a man who will fight for my honour, yes, a knight in shining armour and baby, I’m no pushover, I can certainly hold my own,” then perhaps men will rush to borrow Superman’s cape! Heroism isn’t always glamorous. Countless choices refine what it means to be a hero. Every choice is a ripple in the river of time. Enough ripples, and you can change the tide for the future is never truly set.
Some men look at the dizzy neon lights of the casinos of life and remember that although they once hit jackpot at the slot machines, the house advantage in a game of roulette sets them up for long-term disappointment. They walk past so they can arrive home at six to ruffle Peter’s hair and read Anna a bedtime story; to watch reruns snuggled next to Mary.
They shove their hands into deep pockets when voices rise and tempers boil and even wave a white flag when it is their right to hoist a red one. They let the door click in place because a slam reverberates through the house instilling fear that clings to the occupants in its wake.
Others nurse battle wounds and walk with a limp, a gait at once laudable and laughable, but pay child support like clockwork. They embrace the dawn to polish their dull swords knowing that sheen comes from consistent practice and that just because someone loses his way, it doesn’t mean he’s lost forever.
Fathers, grandfathers, husbands, brothers, friends, sons, nephews, uncles, and cousins, although we do not see you featured in 3D saving the world, we need you to hope again. The curtain is lifted and the spotlight is on you. Don’t be a dying breed.
©Timi Yeseibo 2014
p.s. Ayonfe okon mi, olowo o rimi, this one is especially for you.
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