“Twin Peaks” and a memory 20 years old

When “Twin Peaks” was first broadcast, my friend S (who didn’t have a TV in her tiny rented room) used to come over to my big, often-empty house on a rambling village road to watch the show with me. We would make popcorn or, one happy night, cherry pie and coffee, and gasp with delight and horror as we watched.

We were, what, 19, 20? Just the right age to be totally enveloped in that baroque, silly, scary world, to feel fellowship with Laura and Audrey and Donna and even thick-headed James, too sappy to be a Brando and too soft to be James Dean.

Every week, S would get so spooked that she’d put off walking home in the dark by herself for as long as she could, until — every week — suddenly it was midnight, and now the streets would be even darker and completely deserted.

So, every week, I walked S home after midnight, down long winding roads lined with old trees creaking in the breeze, few streetlights, and deep pockets of shadow looming everywhere. We’d chatter in a subdued way, mocking our ridiculous fear even as we drove it off with titters of laughter.

And every week, I would leave S at her brightly lit doorstep, take a deep breath as if I could breathe in that bright light and carry it with me into the night… and then I would step into the dark to start walking home.

Alone.

More than any of the spooky motifs, the sudden twists, the dreamy vignettes, or the in-jokes, I remember those walks home in the dark, where the mundane landscape of my youth suddenly loomed so menacingly, where the perfectly normal things of daytime became imbued with mystery and danger. It seems to me that’s what “Twin Peaks” is all about.

*This entry is cross-posted from MetaChat.

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