With Book Club possibly over, I’ve started to go back to my bookshelf and to-read list for ideas to help me get me back into reading for myself (now that I don’t have the collective intelligence of 6 other friends to help choose something). With the Catching Fire movie coming in late November, this item shone more brightly from my bookshelf to grab my attention, so I pulled it out of its The Hunger Games book trilogy box set that my family got me last year.
As I held the book in my hands and stared down at its cover, it brought to mind a happy memory, and with it, a little bit of sadness.
I joined the Hunger Games bandwagon rather late. I hadn’t heard of the books that the movie was based on until the trailers for the first movie started circulating, but something about the buzz surrounding it all convinced me to find out what this Hunger Games thing was all about. So, to educate myself, I got an eBook version of The Hunger Games from a friend, started reading through it, and then found I couldn’t put the damn book/eReader down.
As I turned the last electronic page on The Hunger Games, I was all kinds of excited for the movie. I put out a general question to my friends, asking if anybody wanted to see The Hunger Games with me when it came out.
Their collective response however, was far from enthusiastic.
Most people hadn’t heard of the movies/books; others did but then went on a Battle Royale comparison tangent. I can’t remember how all the conversations and exchanges went down (it’s not all on Facebook, so I can’t use timeline to remind myself exactly what happened), but in the end, I could find only one person to watch it with.
And I couldn’t have asked for a better Hunger Games movie buddy.
Frances and I didn’t normally see a lot of one another - maybe on birthdays, the rare dinner with mutual friends, or the all-too-rare lunch where the planets would align for long enough to burn a hole of free time in both of our calendars and then remind us that, ‘oh, I have this other friend that I should probably talk to again’. Aside from those moments, the other time we’d be in the same room to talk for a bit was whenever she invited people to come watch/listen to her choir singing.
So we saw The Hunger Games together, and despite both of us being totally exhausted from our jobs that week, we managed to make a good movie night out of it: she got a little nauseous from the shaky cam at the beginning of the movie, the young couple sitting next to her were getting a bit too frisky for her liking, and we managed to have a nice chat home as a street sweeper vehicle chased us down far too many streets to have been ‘just coincidence.’
It was moments like this where Frances eventually became kind of my pop-culture buddy: we’d talk about and exchange Once Upon a Time episodes during our coffee breaks, we were both on the same side when talking about True Blood at Book Club, and when the trailers for Catching Fire started showing, we were both excited to see the next movie and made tentative plans to watch it together again this year.
Just last week however, after watching another choir performance of hers, she let me know that she’ll be moving to another city.
The move will be for a lot of good reasons, and it’s for those reasons that I’m happy that she’s doing it. But if I’m being honest, there’s a helluva lot of ambivalence in the mix of my emotions towards her move, because the move means I’m losing my pop-culture and Hunger Games movie buddy.
She hasn’t got a set date for the move, so maybe she’ll still be around when Catching Fire starts screening, maybe she won’t. Regardless of the timing, it’s put a little blemish in the way I now look at this book. Every time I take it out of my bag to steal another chapter during my lunch break, I’m reminded that Frances will be going away, and no matter how many times I listen to Baz Luhrmann saying that “friends come and go”, I find myself appending to it the thought that, no matter how many times it happens, no matter how many times you get used to it, seeing friends go has, and always will, suck.