No matter how many times I sat down to watch The Great Escape as a kid, I always believed that Hilts would eventually make that motorcycle jump. He never did of course, I was simply deluding myself, preferring the comfort of fantasy to the never changing conclusion that played out time and time again. I didn't care. Not really. Why should I be upset when Steve McQueen clearly wasn't? Sure, he never made the jump. That barbed wire looked messy. But boy oh boy, what a glorious effort it was. The chase, the adrenaline, the tireless effort. Even in all the desperation there was a majesty about it. Once back in the cooler, it was business as usual. Alone, contemplating with accompanying apologetic shrugs, accepting the outcome and probably thinking about doing it all again. Even if it meant riding the same motorcycle and attempting the very same jump and failing to make it again.
For all the endeavour and guile and inventiveness in the build up to his final escape attempt, that moment, that exact moment that gave me the greatest of thrills was the second before he crashes the bike. In that second, he was home and dry. The jump was made. Nothing would stop him. He was flying. And bad things don't happen to the good guys, right? That second is nigh perfect. Nigh perfect, but only when frozen in time.
The second that follows it is one of a harsher reality. That messy barbed wire and the bitter taste of irony as his Triumph lay defeated by his side. So close, yet so far. But I didn't care. I don't care. Not really. And especially not now that I'm an adult. I no longer need to sit down and watch The Great Escape for my thrills. I'm already sat on the bike every year with Steve, making that jump and I'll never tire of it. Because unlike the movie with its never changing ending, I know there's always a possibility I'm going to make it, even though I'm never numb to the hurt the barbed wire provides. My ending is unwritten. Then again, maybe I still harbour those child like delusions.
So here I am here, in solitude, kicking a ball against the wall, biding my time. Waiting, patiently, for the next attempt.
Welcome to DML v5.