A Tear-Stained List:
Serendipitous Ecstasy

         Every now and then there is that rare moment; a moment where I see a piece of art, hear a track of music, watch a concert, see a play, hear a speech, taste a beautiful cuisine, or see a movie that just makes me ecstatic. It makes me say, “Yes! They get it!” These sentiments of extreme admiration and appreciation may not be shared by everyone else. But to me, for that moment, the artists have done something; let us call it that x factor, that takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. That takes the plain and gives it flair that transforms the mundane into the rare. It is as if they are speaking right to me, and I answer with open eyes, ready ears, and an appreciative heart because these are the moments that inspire us-- the moments I live for.

         Sometimes I will not be ready for the moment; others I did not know I had it until I look back. Upon viewing Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Schindler’s List in ninth grade, I not only had a moment that changed me: I also had a moment I did not know about. It was serendipitous ecstasy.

         At the young age of fifteen I enjoyed movies, but I do not think I fully could appreciate them. At this point I hated black and white, despised drama, and hated slow-moving films. But that all changed when our class watched Schindler’s List.

         The first few moments of the film captured my attention; the moment the color faded I lost it. Maybe not lost, but at least, a part of me was turned away. I do not know if it was just that day or the class or what but, something else, and much stronger, partially convinced me to pay attention and not flirt with the girl sitting next to me. Thank God that happened. Death and turmoil are not something to laugh about nor celebrate for that matter. So, why are we so drawn to it? Why do we watch the action movies and root for one person to die when we would never do it naturally? Why was I so drawn to the movie? But, there I was snot-nosed and teary-eyed by the middle. Then it came. A red dress flashed on the screen. At that moment I was lost. To illustrate this I wrote a poem because poems are personal and so was this moment.

The Moment begins.
Color hits the screen
A moment between
                  Chaos and pain
         A street littered with the slain
         A little girl wearing red
         Runs through the street
         Feet fleeing the grief
         Sadness fills our eyes
         A gunshot. Another dies.
         A little girl wearing red
         A sign of innocence in
         A horrific world
         Death chases her
         A blur of those that were
         A thud. Someone met their end.
         Could’ve been her mom or a friend
         Her cousin, a neighbor, a teacher
         Maybe her Sunday School preacher
         Delirious she runs
         Blind to what has been done
         Will of survival her only friend
         Till she meets a dead end
         And as ignorance is bliss
         So it is a curse
         And a little girl wearing red
         Hides under a bed
         A gunshot is heard we see a flash of light
         And a little girl wearing red is now black and white.

         What Schindler’s List did for me is paint me a picture of sorrow, show me the sadness and grief and pain of others and bundle it all in an image of a little girl in a red dress.

         That was my moment in ninth grade where I began to appreciate things because I got it. When I felt it, in the end tears stained my desk.

A. J. Casey

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