by Eric Feurer
Mr. Talton? Could you take a seat please? We got your test results back and…well, there’s no easy way to say this, Mr. Talton. You are in a Disney/Pixar movie. You’re going to be fine. In fact, you are about to go on a whimsical adventure…but a woman you care about will soon die to further your narrative. I’m so sorry.
The symptoms all point to the same thing. Bright piano music turning to a melancholy vamp, a precocious child with a physical quirk, an unlikely pet with eyes that are unnervingly expressive. You’re in stage one Disney/Pixar, or what we call the ‘gotcha’ phase.
You’re right, I should be telling your wife this news, but I’m telling you, because this is your story. Not hers. If it were hers it would be very short, one of those pre-movie fables at best, on account of how much she is about to die. My favorite one of those is the one where the dog doesn’t get food anymore because his owner meets a woman.
Even if we started treatment now, the best we could hope for is that your spunky lady becomes a tertiary character, or a mother who we only see from the neck down. Even then, she’ll likely get lost for most of the film and end up as a late-arc nag. Also I don’t know what her name is, does she have a name? No? It’s worse than I thought. I’m truly sorry.
I’m sure this is a shock, but rest assured, we’ll do everything that we can to make you comfortable. We say that because you need to save your energy for the wild romp you’re about to go on. That’s how this works. Think of your dead wife as a ticket to an adventure. It’ll probably be everything she’s always dreamed of. But it’s your adventure. Not hers. She’s dead. You’re about to live.
Cherish the moments you still have, spend time with each other, write down everything you talk about. Mostly because something she is going to say to you is going to be really important later. For you. Not her. She’s big time going to die. But her death-words are going to either give you the strength to keep fighting, or be a password to a secret cave or something. I don’t know, I’m not a writer. Just a doctor voiced by John Mulaney.
It’s important that you know this isn’t your fault, Mr. Talton. You’re emotionally unavailable to the point that death is the only way to jumpstart your arc, yes, but you were just written that way. Likely by a whole team of emotionally unavailable men. Think of it as an ouroboros of sorts, a distant snake eating its own stoic tail, but telling its snake friends and family that nothing is wrong. And I hate to say this, but that’s actually the premise of Pixar’s summer blockbuster, A Snake’s Tail. See what they did with the tail/tale pun? It’s about a snake who’s wife gets eaten by a hawk, and a worm who teaches him how to love again. It’s a really ham fisted allegory for racism, but it looks super good. Anyway, do you have any questions?