From an Evening at the Cinema

Matthew Kirshenblatt

Ahhh... the sparkling silver screen.

They watched the faded white and grey screen as Count Orlock staggered across the room. Having drunken Mina's blood, he was helpless as the white unforgiving light opened from the black cloth drapes and spread over his awkward and elongated body. As it touched him, he vanished. Only the dying maiden on her death bed was evidence that he had ever existed to begin with.

Then, as Hutter held his wife's pale and fragile form, there is a scene of the Carpathian Mountains and the lights turn on, making the screen in front of everyone look like a dried and yellow parchment of archaic and indecipherable symbols from another time entirely. The downtown University showing of Nosferatu was over.

As the students and senior citizens filed out of the room, the two men followed quietly behind them all.

"It's a sad thing," said the older of the two, though he physically looked no older, "As I believe Murnau himself once said, 'If it is not in frame, it does not exist.'"

"Or it no longer exists," the younger of the two replied, "That says a lot about this age."

"Yes. It really does."

The two walked outside into a beautiful sunset. It was mid-summer afternoon and the sky was orange and golden.

"They really think we look like that creature?" the younger man shook his head.

"They think that we look like a lot of things, my friend," the older man stared up at the setting sun, "It's funny. Before this film was ever created, we could always walk around in the sun. Even in Bram Stoker's novel. We were just not as powerful."

"Though strong enough for any mortal to think twice," the young man swung his arms absently, "It is ridiculous what they all believe these days."

"That is not the greatest tragedy though."

"Oh," the young man spared a sidelong glance at a passing young woman and her pink healthy neck, "And what is that, old man?"

The other man smiled wryly. Then he sighed, "The greatest tragedy is not that mortals began to think we could die from sunlight," he told him as they passed into the shadows of the city, "Rather, it's the fact that we have actually begun to believe it."

"Well," the younger one said, "At least most of us don't sparkle yet."

The older man looked down for a few moments, and smiled despite himself, "Yes, my friend. That is true enough."

Copyright © Matthew Kirshenblatt 2010 All Rights Reserved

Date and time of last update 19:03 Sat 18 Sep 2010
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