Apr 10, 2018

my last moments with Carrie Fisher

It felt like a dream.

The story of how I arrived on the set of The Last Jedi is a blur to explain. What's most important is I was there, sitting next to her - Carrie Fisher. Fumbling around like any Star Wars fanboy on set, I didn't know what to do or say to steal even just 30 seconds of time with her.

Looking back on it now, it felt like nobody knew she would die in the near future... and yet everybody somehow knew. The details are hard to put together, like sometimes you just feel the weather is going to change, and there it goes... making you feel as if its your own superpower.

In that moment, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Like a creepy stalker with nothing creepy or stalky (is that even a word?) in my heart, I ended up near her for a brief second. She was in her full costume on set, seated on a "spaceship" and leaned over a particular table of random importance. Everyone was shuffling around getting ready for whatever was next, and I was magically a foot away from Princess Leia.

Princess. Freaking. Leia.

Only, I was now leaning over. I really was going in... "What am I thinking?" I dared to ask myself, yet not daring myself to stop. Before I knew it, I was gently kissing the top of her head. "Who does this?" I again wondered, yet "Thank you for everything," is what I courageously spoke.

No one stopped me. Everyone kept walking about. Her head just nodded. I noted that her hair was uniquely tight, as if it was exhausted from days of having been put together for the role. She seemed done filming anything at this point. Maybe that's why there were little pigtails up top in her hair, as if she wore this to be again be spunky under the grandeur of the role. It all made sense and was pure fanboy trivia I couldn't wait to share.

Moments passed. Nothing happened. No one asked me to leave or harassed me for the foolish thing I'd just pulled off.

I wondered... could I perhaps get a picture with her?

I sat down next to her, determined that nothing would stop me in my quest to make the most of this opportunity. She didn't seem bothered by it, but took a moment to herself to finish whatever she was doing with the papers in front of her. She then tilted her head my way and simply said, "If we're going to take it...." and then she nodded, appearing too sassy or tired to finish her sentence, yet too alive not to ad lib with me.

"Yes, thank you," I said. I moved just a bit closer and pulled out my phone to take a selfie.

First of all, I hate selfies. Even in this moment, I couldn't figure out the right angle or how to get my arm just two inches longer to encompass the regal gift of what was happening.

And I heard footsteps behind me. I half-panicked, wondering if security was about to bust me. The distinct sound corrected my fears, though. It was the sound of a female's heels and not a male's flatfoot. "Do you want a lift, Carrie?" the voice asked.

I turned and saw the rather tall Laura Dern in her costume as well, offering Carrie a firm arm to grab onto to stand up. "Clever," I  thought, "this is their way as actresses of helping each other get away from odd fans who sneak on set."

Except instead of standing up, Carrie Fisher used Laura Dern's arm to stand and wiggle just slightly enough to sit closer to me. "I needed to twist my leg over this crazy space bench," she said, giggling under her breath. With the best smile she could muster, she said, "Let's take this picture already."

"I can take it for you," Laura Dern said. (Maybe I don't need to say her full name every time I mention her, but c'mon - this was a freakishly tall actress in a full-length space dress offering to be my photographer on a phone I bought at Costco.)

Carrie and I held our smiles as we waited for Laura to snap the picture. Only as she place her arm near mine, I felt something bumpy. Glancing down for only a millisecond, I noted she was wearing some kind of Star Wars watch. I'd never seen it before, and it looked old - like a 1970's take on the classic Mickey Mouse watch you'd wind up everyday to watch his hands move about to tell the time. Only this one had single-color images of a few droids in the upper-left background and the Star Wars logo in the lower right-hand corner.

My eyes glanced back up in time for the photo to get taken.

"Take it," Carrie said, now sounding even more tired. I assumed she meant the photo, not realizing that Laura Dern (still full name) had just finished and was checking my phone to see how it turned out.

"She already took the photo," I said.

"The watch," Carrie said. "You can have it."

I turned my head and looked her in the eye. "What? Really?"

She nodded and smiled. I stood up to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Turning to look at her, I said, "Thank you, Ms Fisher. That is... so generous. I don't know what to say." So I tried to say something noble. "This is for the fans," I said.

She grinned, nodding again at me. Yet her eyes rolled back, as if to say, "Whatever."

I looked around the room as everyone kept bustling about. "No one is ever going to believe this story," I concluded.

Just a handful of moments passed by before everything changed. Laura Dern (pretty sure at this point she'll never not be mentioned otherwise) had handed me to the phone and now was noticing something larger. From a place of relational authority versus my mere guest fandom, she took authority and began gently leading.

"We should help you to a more comfortable place," she said, speaking to Carrie. Carrie nodded, but paused and bent over in fatigue.

Carrie took a moment to again look at me. "Take it," she said, more like a mumble than a sentence. She motioned to her watch. "Take it. Take it..." she repeated and nodded, as if to emphasize the importance of the moment. "Take... it."

Laura Dern was looking beyond this exchange, giving instructions for someone else to come over. Carrie Fisher extended her hand toward me and rolled it over so I could unfasten her rather unique watch.

Instinctively, my hands went in before my brain agreed it was a good idea. I somehow easily slipped the watch off and held it a half-moment before again telling her, "This is for the fans." I mentally paused to think of ways I could somehow let others see this in the years to come. Three random people on set were already looking at me, having watched all of this unfold. "Will they verify my story?" I wondered, "or will they claim something different happened to claim this watch themselves?"

By this point, Carrie was being lifted up and away to her dressing room.

"What if I'm the last fan to take a picture with her?" I considered. "Should I post the picture? Or, maybe she isn't ill but just tired," I argued back and forth with myself, creating seconds of personal distraction.

And yet the watch was in my hands. This was really happening.

I noticed the glass on the watch was loose, though. I barely touched it and it moved, as if it had been pried up and open many times in the past. The face plate also quickly came up. Some sort of brown, grounded material that had been stashed there was underneath. Before I knew it, I was shaking it out. Then I stopped to consider if I should, and then continued shaking it out again.

"Is she okay?" I turned, wondering in her direction. She was almost off set, being respectfully walked away all at once by a few people and small crowd that had been activated to help.

I stared at the watch. I considered the photo I'd taken with her.

"Do I tell this story, given its odd ending and whatever mystery substance I just found?"

"I told her the watch was 'for the fans' - but how do I share this watch with the world?"

"Will I be accused of stealing? If so, would I fight for the right to keep this watch or just give it over to her family?"

And yes, sorry to say...

that is when I realized I was in my bed.

It felt like a dream, after all.

Believe me, I was just as psyched out as you... whomever "you" may be, reading this. Honestly, thank you for getting this far. I hope I didn't anger you in sharing this. It was a legitimate dream I woke up from on April 10, 2018 at 1:26am.

The kind of dream that you wonder if it should be shared. It was so vivid. So real.

And also the kind of dream you inner self must share. To be clear, I didn't want to get up out of bed and immediately write all of this. I just did. I just "had to." It felt imposed upon me, so to speak.

And that's when it occurred to me, only at the end, why.

I somehow easily slipped the dream off and held it a half-moment before telling you...

"This is for the fans."

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