To The Edge of Night—Chapter One: If Only…
As a kid, I had only two clear thoughts: ‘Get candy’ and ‘Go to Middle-earth’.
The latter was my favorite. I could not count the times I had read the three books of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or watched the movies, nor how many sleepless nights did I lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling and dreaming of exploring the lost realms of Middle Earth. It was no longer a desire, it was an obsession. But, alas, my first clear thought was more easily accomplished.
I suppose my love of Middle Earth began at an early age, somewhere around five years old. I was watching a movie different from all others I had ever seen (which was saying a lot). It had awful animation, even for a kid’s movie. Everyone looked like a ‘frog person’. The plot was more sinister, with tons of mortal peril. I loved it. The name was The Hobbit.
I made my parents rent it at least twice a week, and watched it every waking hour of my young life. How was I to know that it would begin my professional career? Slowly, I forgot about this movie and devoted myself to school work (I was an A student, and studied every chance I got. None too coordinated, though, which kind of meant I was safer staying seated). Then, on my birthday in the year 2001, the movie debuted, The Fellowship of the Ring.
I didn’t get the connection to my childhood obsession. I had no desire to see this movie, and, try as I might to impress it upon my father, he bought it for me all the same (it may have been an attempt at father-daughter bonding, you never know). Mom was furious. I was ‘too young’ to be watching that movie.
With determination to prove her wrong, I watched to movie. I actually liked it a lot, and watched the rest of the trilogy as well. But then, as things often do, I forgot about The Lord of the Rings…
Some years later, when I was thirteen, I had nothing better to do, so I watched the Fellowship of the Ring. And I saw it a little bit differently than the first time. This world that being depicted was truly wonderful. Though some places seemed peaceful enough, there was always a hint of adventure everywhere. I found more appreciation for the Shire and the life styles of Hobbits. Also, I realized exactly what dark and scary minions the Black Riders were for the first time. And I learned how to pronounce everyone’s name (quite an achievement in itself, as anyone who has read or watched to Lord of the Rings will agree).
“God, I muttered one night, “if you care anything about me at all, you will let me wake up in Middle-earth tomorrow.” The next day I woke up in my own bed. “Thanks for listening,” I growled sulkily, and spent the rest of the day in a deep depression.
In desperate need of some cheering up, I was inclined to call my best friend, Sarah. While I could barely pronounce most elvish words, Sarah spoke fluent elvish. She liked The Lord of the Rings as much as I did, perhaps more, if that was possible. Also, the Harry Potter series was one of the top on her list. We had long trivia contests at school when we had finished our homework. Perhaps the strangest ritual that we two friends had established was sword fighting (to my dad’s general disgust and uneasiness). This had developed when, as a reward for getting four-point-o at the end of the year, my parents had bought an exact replica of an elven sword from the film trilogy. I had bragged about it to Sarah, and she was so mad about my good fortune that she didn’t talk to me for weeks. Then, when she had saved up enough money, she brought her own sword and came to school so pompous that I was tempted to punch her. “Strider’s ranger sword!” she announced proudly.
“Arwen’s sword!” I snapped back in the same tone.
“I could win against you in a fair fight,” said Sarah smugly.
“How much you want to bet?” I growled.
“Was that a challenge?”
“Yes, by golly, I think it was.”
So that very afternoon, we met in my spacious backyard and went to work fighting vigorously. Dad was practically hopping up and down with worry (I guess he figured that we’d cut each other to pieces or something). I surprised myself by actually winning…and it was surprisingly easy, though Sarah was determined and better schooled than I. I sort of knew what move she would do before it happened, so I could easily prepare. Of course, neither of us were really good, but it became a tradition.
Anyway, I called Sarah right away. She picked up her cell phone. I could hear that she was playing The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack. “Hey, Elwen,” she said, recognizing my caller ID. “What’s up?”
I told her. Sarah sighed. “Bummer. Sound’s like God doesn’t give a flying cow pie about your obsession… Sorry God,” she added as an afterthought.
I glared at the receiver I held in my hand. “Yeah, that’s what it sure sounds like.” I gave a very long sigh. “Ever feel like you were meant to be born in a different time? Where people still got engaged in daring sword fights? Shot orcs? Fought for what they believed in?”
“Samurai,” Sarah replied.
“Except for the whole thing about shooting orcs, it sounds like you want to be a Samurai.”
I rolled my eyes. “Good-bye now, Sarah.”
“Even though there’s not much need for them any more, you should become a Samurai.”
“Come to think of it, I might do that as well! Yes, I’m totally into this!”
I hung up.
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