Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! My classmates and I crowd around my diminutive 3"x 5" television. Their hips barely cling to the edge of the scraped and torn leather of secondhand couches that came with my apartment, as if they are ready to spring up as soon as the paper emerges from the envelope held by each presenter designated to declare the winner of each movie category at a ceremony that remains without a host.
Though their are no jokes to infect the audience with laughter, like everyone else, I cheer when "Roma" wins for Best Foreign Film, BlacKkKlansman for Best Adapted Screenplay, Olivia Colman for Best Actress, and Rami Malek for Best Actor - well, not really, I wanted Vigo - while the names for Best Sound Editing, Sound Mixing - save for the voices that echo off the walls and windows of my flat, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Costume Design crawl through my ears, stir the hairs that line my canals, before slipping into a place in my mind where they are to remain forgotten. Until I pull up Wikipedia to write this piece. Only to forget again.
Yet, amidst the laughter that suffocates, and washes away the moans of unspoken disappointment felt among those who must remain among the laughing - laughing as the winner stands high on the podium alone - it is there. In the loneliness as the victor hoists the bright, golden statue above his/her head, that I find a certain detachment. A sedated hollowness that prevents me from feeling the ache beneath the skin between my cheekbones and my lips. When they fold each time I smile.
Perhaps its a smile. A gesture. A courtesy tendered. Without having been felt; tendered by an ache felt and seen. A sight. A feeling full of tears. Emptied until it floods, washes over a room full of secondhand couches and hollow faces in a crescendo of smiles. Of laughter when I slide along the floor, and high five each of my classmates when "Greenbook" defeats "Bohemian Rhapsody" for Best Picture. They smile. They laugh. And then I smile, and laugh in return.
As I bid my class mates farewell when it is time for them to make their way back. To their home. Their own 3"x 5" Televisons. Their lonely podiums. Something stirs behind my face. Something more than courtesy, a gesture, but a current. A feeling. A sight as my colleagues disappear through the door one by one. A hope as they slip briskly into the night, that they will not into a place where they will be forgotten. Because I might not be able to find them on Wikipedia.