Fair warning, I'm going to be getting a little sappy on the blog today. My favorite love story comes from a James Cameron movie.
Hey, where are you going? Come back! I’m not talking about Titanic.
I’m talking about The Abyss. The 1989 science fiction movie is best known for the water effects and for how parts of it were filmed in a 7,000,000 (that’s right, seven meeeeellion) gallon tank at an unfinished nuclear power plant. And that is remarkable.
But the heart of the story is Virgil “Bud” Brigman, played by he-of-the-piercing-blue-eyes, Ed Harris. He’s a gruff foreman running an experimental deep sea oil rig. And Virgil’s heart, in turn, is in the hands of the abrasive Dr. Lindsay Brigman, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Do you see where I’m going with this?
They come from disparate backgrounds. He’s a roughneck and she has a PhD. He gets all greasy fixing the machines on the rig. She designed the rig. They married for convenience, truly fell in love, but then combusted and separated. Fate, aliens and the U.S. military throw them together thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean in a veritable pressure cooker, and they fall in love again. They’re both competent, intelligent, passionate people who will do anything for the other person. And I do mean anything.
Twenty-three years is long enough, right? I’m not going to spoil this for anyone? Okay, if you haven’t seen this movie, skip the remainder of this, and the next two paragraphs. Otherwise…the big sacrifice, the one that influences the aliens to spare humankind, is delivered softly. It’s Bud, relaying a poorly-typed message saying that, when he went out to try to defuse a bomb, he knew it was a one-way trip. He reassured Lindsay and the crew when he left, but he understood he wasn’t coming back. It’s a great moment, really, but the two scenes that made my heart grow three sizes were these:
One: When Bud hears that Lindsay’s coming down to his ship after months (or years) apart, he pulls off his wedding band and throws it into the toilet. Then he realizes that, no matter how much she frustrates and angers him, he loves her. He retrieves the ring and, since the toilets are specialized, they’re full of neon blue water. His hand is stained blue, a larger, more noticeable exhibit of his love than the ring. Awwww.
Two: Bud and Lindsay are trapped in a failing mini-sub, which is rapidly filling with frigid water, far from the rig. They’ve only got one survival suit. Lindsay calculates the oxygen, water temperature and their relative strength, and determines that one of two things will happen. Either they’ll both die, or she has to die so that Bud – the stronger swimmer – can drag her back to the rig. It’s the only chance for at least one of them to survive, and it’s an intense scene. The sub’s tiny, so Bud’s right there, holding her as she drowns, not knowing if he can bring her back.
*blows whistle* Okay, all you people who’ve been meaning to watch a movie for TWENTY-THREE years but haven’t gotten around to it, come on back. This is the love story that made me believe in love stories. It’s probably why I’m addicted to paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Situations are highest possible stakes intense. Differences between love interests can be vast. We’re talking different species or millenium-old enemies. It’s fantastic.
Love has to find a way through massive odds, threats of violence and magically-induced divisions. When it’s tested, it’s put way past the red line. In the Night Runner series, Sydney Kildare and Malcolm Kelly are, for everything going on around them, taking things slowly. As a vampire, Mal has all the time in the world. As a human in a vampire world, Sydney's every breath could be her last. And, in Falling from the Light, a single moment will change everything.
About the Author
Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She is a huge fan of the low profile. She likes books, ottomans with concealed storage, small plate dining, libraries, Corporal Hicks, some aspects of pre-revolutionary France, most aspects of current Italy, and books.
Her Night Runner series, including Don’t Bite the Messenger, Running in the Dark, and Falling from the Light is available wherever e-books are sold.