I love this movie. I just love it to bits. I love it as much as I love The Brave Little Toaster. So of course, I had to write something.
So here's a short little drabble. I guess you could call it bitter-sweet. It's the scene that really screamed out at me, along with the scene almost right after. It's probably because it signifies one of the many subtle and poignant lessons in the movie - letting go of the past.
They finally made it. After days of pulling, Carl had finally moved their house right next to the falls. Just in time. The house sank to the ground, the thousands of balloons unable to hold its weight anymore.
Granted, it hadn't turned out as he expected. Their house had been rather messed up during the long trip, but Carl could easily fix that. He could probably find other picture frames somewhere, and some glue for the plates. He could eventually make the house the same as always. Then, somehow, he'd get that kid home.
Carl pushed the chairs upright and straightened them just right before settling himself in his. He still didn't feel all that great, and being sad just made him sadder. After realizing their dream and keeping his promise, he had no right to feel sad. Ellie would feel disappointed.
The old man picked up Ellie's old book. He fingered the worn cover, and overcome with nostalgia as he always felt with this book, he smiled faintly. It had always seemed to him that his childhood held the best memories.
The yellowed pages felt fragile in his hands as he carefully set back the old picture of the falls; it was a reality now. And for memory's sake, he slowly flipped through Ellie's book. The lovely young girl of his childhood smiled up at him in various pictures in between many clippings of their idol. For a moment, Carl allowed himself to forget all about the past few moments, imagining Ellie's excited voice pointing out everything in the book, imagining all the problems away, imagining that he was young again, that they were still eager, energetic fans of The Great Charles Muntz. "And that's when I almost got lost in the forest lookin' fer that lost canary…on that fishin' trip with my…and then I found the…and that's when Muntz…and then Muntz…and he came back with that golden…Muntz, the greatest explorer…the coolest…can't believe all those mean people accusin' him…"
Ellie's voice stopped when Carl finally turned to the 'Stuff I'm Gonna Do' page. The end of the book. Nothing beyond that point.
The old man stared at that page from behind his thick glasses for a long while, still immersed in wistfully happy memories. During his long life, he had had many wishes and regrets; he had always wished he could have heard Ellie's excited voice predicting her future life on Paradise Falls.
Reminiscing time over. He should start working to make the house good as new again. Carl moved to close the book, but something odd caught his eye. On the next page, there was…something.
Ellie's book didn't end. There was their wedding picture. And Ellie's voice came back, a little older…
"And that was our marriage, remember, Carl? We danced the whole night, and they played our song…and we painted our house…you got paint all over your hair…remember? And this was our picnic on that hill…and remember that movie we watched? Remember, Carl, remember?"
With every turned page, Carl felt an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders. Without realizing it, he was sitting straighter, his smile growing exponentially as time went by.
Too soon, it was the end of their book, but he wasn't disappointed. He felt much better than before, as great as if he were twenty. Carl ran his hand gently over the last words. "Thanks for the adventure! Now go find a new one!"
Of course. He wasn't a failure. He had never been a failure. Ellie had found her Paradise Falls long ago…
It was time to move on.