Disclaimer: I'm not Christopher Nolan, and therefore cannot claim his glorious mindscrew.
Author's Note: I don't have a tremendous lot to say about this shot except that it sorta wormed its way into my head after Inception and wouldn't leave. Which...might be kinda ironic come to think. Anyway, hope ya enjoy!
It is partially cloudy when Maurice Fischer is laid to rest. His death came during late September, before leaves began to change but after the temperature drop. Mourners number more or less than fifty, primarily business associates or disassociated friends. Three journalists, two photographers, one priest. The cemetery is well watered. The people are not.
Robert stands beside his godfather, only half aware of the proceedings. He hasn't suffered a true breakdown yet and isn't sure he's going to. A hard worker, a brilliant mind. Disciplined. Responsible. Maurice was respected worldwide for his displays of leadership. Tactfully impersonal words from the clergy. Omission was better than falsehood, after all.
"You should say something," Browning muttered, looking ahead.
He offered no expression, but did spare a glance. "I couldn't think of anything."
"Don't ask me to stand up in front of these people." His voice just this side of a whisper, he wondered a moment how to label the skinless worm shifting at the pit of his stomach. Not quite dread or loss. Not quite painful.
Browning simply put a hand on his shoulder, squeezed once, and released. "Alright. I'll see what I can do."
Somebody nudges him. Robert starts to turn, then realizes all talking has ceased and people are watching. The coffin isn't where he last saw it. Hesitating, he walks to the edge of his father's grave and peers inside. Reality peers back up at him as black-lacquered wood.
Taking a fistful of dirt, he imagines one could get caught up in symbolism by letting it slip between his fingers. Therefore, he tosses everything down at once. Like ripping a band-aid. He doesn't say goodbye. It isn't satisfying, but then again Robert can't say he's surprised by that either. He's had dreams less surreal.
"I'm disappointed that you tried."
Pinwheels, photographs, IV lines, dark reflections and death. He fell into himself by himself. Wrapped in dreams within dreams knowing it was irrational, knowing how much could be explained as pure wishful thinking and for one moment suspending disbelief because sometimes that's the best you can do.
Such a brief, beautiful thing.
"Lets get out of here," says Browning quietly, older than Robert has ever seen him. All wrinkles and gray hair. He nods once and allows himself to be steered away.
They remain silent until reaching the car, safe behind by tinted windows. "How are you holding up?" asks his godfather, sinking into driver's seat-leather.
"I'll be fine," he says, because he needs to. "Mark and Claire should be waiting back at the house."
"Good." Outside trees, hills, and headstones travel from now to then with an automobile's grace. They vanish quickly. "That's good."
"I am sorry for your loss, Mr. Fischer," said a man whose face seems so familiar, hard eyes and dark hair. Saito. Neither of them smiled but this was less hostility and more because it felt inappropriate, given circumstances. "His is a great legacy."
Robert couldn't bring himself to say anything so simply nodded. He might as well have been a particularly intelligent six-year-old. Not inferior, but vastly less experienced.
"You are doing well?"
He didn't think his surprise showed, but nothing is clear in hindsight. "Life goes on, Mr. Saito. Thank you."
They shook hands.
"I need to dissolve the company."
They are in the driveway, Browning already getting out when everything stops. Robert tries to take comfort in his father's home before them, old stone and familiar halls. But he doesn't want it.
"Why?" A question without anger, without condemnation, without any emotion at all.
Robert begins subconsciously twisting his seatbelt, feeling for all the world like an idiot. "I…"
His throat, chest, and head all throb with a single pulse. He makes himself breathe. "I think he'd want me to. Make my own way."
Uncle Peter shuts his eyes with a sigh. "Oh Jesus…"
The hug catches him off-guard, but he returns it.
"Listen Rob, alright?" Spoken carefully, gently. "As a businessman I think this is a horrible idea. I want you to let yourself recover a while before you do anything craz—"
"I've thought about it already."
"I'm sure you have. Keep listening." A beat. "As family, I want what's best for you. Maurice is dead. It's your company. Your decision."
"Would it bother you?" He can barely hear himself, overwhelmed by murmurs of life's work and old friendships. Secrets or betrayal or the impossible truth.
Your father loved you. In his own way.
"No, Robert. I don't think it would."