When I was younger, the holidays were–without a doubt–my favorite time of the year. A big part of this had to do with going over to my Nani’s (my paternal grandmother) house and decking the heck out of the halls. I loved being able to help turn the rooms where our family would gather weeks later into a warm and oh-so Christmasy wonderland.
Back in 1995, following an evening of trimming the tree, hanging indoor decorations, being genuinely blissed out from Christmas excitement, my Nani and I headed to a small movie theater located within a nearby mall to attend a 9 p.m. showing of While You Were Sleeping.
Going to a “late” movie showing as a 12-year-old was a rare event. At that time, a trip to the movies was usually reserved for a special occasion. And looking back on this moment, I suppose it was, as it was time that I got to spend with my Nani.
While You Were Sleeping takes place during the holidays, and thus, it’s a Christmas movie. (Them’s the rules–albeit unofficial, but the rules nonetheless.) Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a transit worker, who jumps onto train tracks to help Peter (Peter Gallagher), a commuter she’s crushing on, get out of the way of an oncoming train. Later at the hospital, Lucy’s mistakenly introduced to Peter’s family as his fiancée, and she’s met with some legit skepticism by Peter’s brother Jack (Bill Pullman). Comedic hijinks ensue, and Lucy and Jack–spoiler alert–fall for one another. Ultimately, it’s a cute film that has wound up holding more meaning to me than I realized it ever would the night we went to see it.
And now, storytime! My Nani and I walk into the theater, and it is empty, except for two seats where a couple is sitting. Without missing a beat, my Nani heads in the direction of the couple, with me trailing behind, not thinking anything of it. Once in the vicinity of the seated moviegoers, my Nani says to them, “Out of all the seats in here, you’re sitting where we wanted to sit.” The couple and my Nani had a good laugh, while my pre-teen self just wanted to die of embarrassment.
What I love about this memory is that it is so my Nani. She was so silly and hilarious and did not miss a moment to crack a joke or make someone smile. It is also very much me at that age. Like, I would be silly around my family–especially my Nani–but not out in public. However, over the years, this particular snapshot of time gives me a good chuckle when it comes to mind.
The holidays, admittedly, have since lost their luster and don’t feel as nearly as magical as they once did following my Nani’s passing in 2013. We made so many memories, but this trip to watch While You Were Sleeping at the movies during the holidays is one that continues to bring comfort and joy.