"Making movies" is what

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"Making movies" is what you're doing when you think through how a situation will play out--a romantic dinner, a confrontation with a colleague, a trip to the dentist.

I was making movies when I thought of a way to mark the recent passage of several relatives whose funerals I had missed: my sister and I would light incense on the beach and spend a few quiet moments staring out to sea, remembering. Just a quiet passage of time to reflect.

Of course, things never turn out as planned. I brought five fat bunches of temple incense from Tokyo and that was the end of the director's cut. Six of us gathered on the beach, struggling with bad lighters and the wind to get the incense lit. A few sticks caught, then blew out. Dad burned his thumb. We probably looked like a group of bumbling terrorists.

In the end, we passed around one partially burning bundle, blackened at the edges and emitting a faint trail of smoke, while we each said a few words. I was unprepared to speak, but got my turn first, "Our time will come, too." Mom cried; Uncle George made us laugh; Jenn trembled; Emily voiced a wry observation; and Dad spoke briefly before we all laughed again and headed off to continue our day.

So it wasn't the movie I'd planned, but it turned out OK anyway.

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