“Love, Lost, and Life” – May 24, 2010

“Lost” premiered in the fall of 2004 just as John Kerry was getting swift-boated and I was getting started with grad school. I instantly loved the show, with its mixture of science fiction, mythology, and deeply-layered characters. In the second season, two of my oldest friends and I started gathering each week to watch and dissect the increasingly convoluted plots.

During the six seasons, the characters have been struggling to survive on this mysterious island where polar bears run amok, where some don’t age, and where cancer is cured and paraplegics walk. Oh, and time travel. Can’t forget about the time travel.

The sixth and last season has been comprised equally of scenes on the island, following the timeline with which we’ve become familiar, and of scenes in Los Angeles, ostensibly following a timeline in which the plane never crashed. And throughout, we’ve been scratching our heads – how are the two timelines going to reconcile? How are the writers going to explain these two realities? Surely, I’d thought, the answer would be found in the mythology and in the strange science of the island.

Last night was the series finale, and five of us gathered to watch (my “oldest” friends with their respective significant others and me, solo). The finale focused less on the mythology–frozen donkey wheels, electromagnetism, and four-toed statues–than on the characters and their respective personal journeys. We learned that this last season–at least the scenes in L.A.–has been a sort of purgatory, a timeless place for characters to reconnect after they have died, regardless ofwhen they have died.

This one will resonate for a while. I thought immediately of the appropriateness of me watching the show that ultimately celebrated love and relationships with people I’ve known and been friends with for twenty-five years (recall – I’m not yet thirty!) I thought secondly about something my dad wrote almost exactly one year ago as he prepared to leave Kenya yet again:

Life is about more than the stuff. Like we already knew, life is about the relationships. Life is about Mary and Naomi, Rachel, Benerd, Daniel, Chris and Fred, Jonah, Benson, Diane and Gladys, Judy and Zach and Lomori, Joseph 1,2 and 3. It is about Erin, Mickie, Spence, my mom, Mwololo, George, Paul and Pascal, Moses, Moris, Eunice, Mwendwa, Pastor, Kathy, Karen and John and Ngumbu. It is about all the people I know and love and have let just pass by. That is what I learned and what I know and what I live on each day. These relationships are important – like food. I need them to survive and without them, I am not alive.

Every one, every thing, connected.

Previous: “Silly Season”


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