I have always been a fan of the Twilight Zone. But only the original black and white. I even have favorite episodes. (I’m a closeted nerd).
My favorite episode-
“Five Characters in Search of an Exit” Army major (William Windom) finds himself in a circular enclosure with no doors, no windows, and no ceiling. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. And he’s not alone; present, but more resigned to their situations, are a clown, a ballerina, a hobo, and a bagpiper. This episode gives new meaning to the eternal questions, “Why are we here?” and “Who are we?”
Last night in my episode of the Twilight Zone. I was the Army Major- metaphorically. Every morning I wake up and wonder how I got here. I had gone to stay at a friend’s house- the clown, met her live in “friend”- the hobo, and her daughter- the ballerina was there.
The Clown is a widow. Her late husband passed fall of 2018 of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She is beautiful and witty and intelligent. But there is a lot of sadness hidden behind her painted on smiles and jokes. Her late husband…from what I can piece together, was an alcoholic. And she loved him fiercely. And so she stayed. She said she understands the crossroads I am at. But that she was glad she stayed… Before her husband passed he made it clear he wanted her to move on and be happy.
The Hobo. The Clown fell in love with The Hobo. Teen years her junior with four daughters ages ranging from 6-17. She let all of them move in. And then he decided he only wanted to be friends. And then Covid happened. He means well. You can tell he loves his kids fiercely. And he cares deeply for the clown.
The Ballerina- Beautiful. Talented. Philosophically understands that no one understand what happened or why they ended up there. It just is…she comforts the others with her art of dance. But ultimately standing on her own.
My kids were gone. I went seeking some fun and a place to just kick it and relax. The three of us adults were drinking and eating and laughing. The others had indulged in cinnamon streusel edible muffins. Over all it was a really good evening. …until was time to go to bed. The clown was so drunk, the ballerina (her daughter-17) had to put her to bed. I watched as the Clown sat helplessly on the floor and the ballerina coxed her to bed yelling “Mom! You are just like Dad!”
In that moment I looked at The Hobo and realized nothing was at it seemed. He loved her. He cared for her. And he was there because he was afraid to leave her to her own devices.
In that moment I felt like I was looking through a kaleidoscope of confusion, sadness and fear that I was watching my future. I was in my very own episode of the Twilight Zone.
So…what happens to the Major? The ballerina? The hobo? The clown? In truth…The toys really don’t know who they are or where they truly belong. Rod Sterling, in his last monologue, sheds a little bit of light on the damning situation as the ballerina cries inside the cylinder. The hope is that these five characterso will find people to love the … That will allow them to find a sense of identity and existence.
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