I was 12 when I first saw Titanic. I sat stock-still in the theater, enraptured but unflinching as 3 hours and 17 minutes of romance, drama, history, and tragedy assaulted and set fire to my preteen mind. When it ended, my dad and I exited in darkness and walked calmly to the car, chatting in the chilly California winter air. But I never made it to the car. At least not right away.

When I was five to ten feet from the trunk of our gray sedan, all of a sudden it all hit me. I froze. Every inch of the weight what I had just seen hit me all at once and I began to sob in the middle of the movie theater parking lot. My father who had gone ahead, turned and saw his only daughter suddenly weeping openly, and came back around to ask what was wrong. I couldn’t explain, but continued to cry with heaving gasps that wracked my body.

We drove home and I continued to sob.

When we walked into the living room, my mom was sitting on the floor by the Christmas tree and innocently asked how we liked it. My eyes now dried, I opened my mouth to tell her, but as I did the sobs returned. “They just… They LOVED each other…! And… She said… she’d never… let go… And then SHE… DID…!”

I was inconsolable.

Tonight I saw James Cameron’s record-breaking masterpiece, remastered in 3D, in a theater in Times Square. I LOVED it. The tears didn’t hit me until I was on the subway platform, and made a steady stream on my cheeks as I rode home alone on the train. My heart feels tender and alive all over again.

15 years later. It still holds up.


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