It was early one Sunday afternoon, just before the reality of the new week settled in and the to-do-list went into effect. My husband settled into the bend of the couch and with his eyes, invited me to join him on this temporary island. I paused and listened for the sweet melody of kid banter and laughter before proceeding…
The kids were good and entertained in their bedroom, which meant mom and dad could indulge in a Sunday pleasure of…nothin…just chillin (in my Bruh-man from the 5th floor voice). We put our feet up and I shook around a bowl of Orville Redenbacher, liberating the butter. We crossed the invisible line that divided his side of the couch from mine. I surveyed the room and suppressed the comprehensive list of duties and home improvement ideas. I suppressed the desire to nap as he browsed the virtual catalog and I settled into that same cozy bend. We ended up choosing a new romantic comedy called “Table 19”. The movie’s opening was a solid tone-setter that hooked us right away. Each beat in the movie physically brought us closer and closer to one another.
As that peaceful melody continued to linger in the background and our limbs intertwined, we slowly became teenagers again. Ever since the Blockbuster Video days, watching movies has always been a favorite pastime, and an opportunity for us to chill and connect. Such connections include but are not limited to:
Being impressed by one another’s skill to predict a character’s next move; sharing in the surprise of a plot twist; laughing ourselves back to life thanks to the comedic bits; the mutual feeling that a scene must be rewound for clarity; understanding that a moment wasn’t laced with social commentary, that it was merely a comment on the human condition…
When the movie ended, he hugged me. It was as if it was his way of saying “thank you” for sacrificing a thing-to-do for leisure and love. As we remained boo’d up on the couch, I started thinking about all the movies I missed. All of the subtle invitations to come and sit on the couch that I turned down to load the dishwasher or compose an email. I remembered what it felt like to learn that Blockbuster was closing.
You see, for my hardworking husband, watching a movie is an act of liberation. His inviting me into this television-watching experience is leisure and love aiming to liberate me the way the popcorn liberated the butter. That Sunday, feel-good movie experience led to our light binge of another feel-good series (“This is Us”) and other indulgences such as Starz’s “Power” where we agree that Raina St. Patrick is suffering the most.
Since watching “Table 19”, I gave myself permission to take breaks from cleaning the house, running behind the kids and trying to achieve self-actualization to enjoy with my husband, the casual complexity of a television drama and the subtle suspense of a motion picture. As we continue to grow and give up the less important for the most important, I vow to chill on the couch more. And when I say chill, I mean that the way Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling (also known as Guy) meant it. I wonder if this type of intimacy is something that’s valued by the “netflix and chill” generation.
Remember when movie-watching was an excuse to flirt? How does an experience that gives way to endearing head-to-shoulder connections and tender hand-kisses become an excuse to have sex? …A “physical opportunity” that seems quite manipulative if you don’t realize the phrase is a metaphor for “booty call”.
Anyway, we traditionalists still believe that the ultimate satisfaction of movie-watching is the enjoyment of story, the sharing of perspective and the art of conversation. We believe that Dead Prez was right when he said “makin love is just as much mental” and that chillin(g) really does mean “forever and ever“.
Clinnesha D. Sibley is an award-winning playwright and published poet/essayist. She is the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, MS. For more information, please visit: http://onepagerapp.com/clinneshadsibley.