I dreamed about Heath Ledger last night.
I was at a C! Recon in a really tall hotel with at least twenty stories, and I got off the elevator at the wrong floor for some reason and was walking around trying to find my room, when down the hall came Heath Ledger, blond and slender, all legs and hands and shoulders. I wasn't nervous to be confronted by this very famous hottie, unrealistically enough. I just felt all excited, kind of bouncy inside. And when he got closer I said, "Hi! I really love your movies. I think you're amazing."
And Heath grinned that over-wide, goofy grin and said, "Thanks! It's always nice to meet a fan." And he hugged me. I managed to remain calm until he had walked out of sight, then I jumped in the elevator and zipped down to the lobby, where Camo Gal and GI Jo were checking in at the front desk, and I hopped up and down and told them all about it, and they were as excited as I was.
And then I woke up.
Normally, when an actor I like dies, I watch a couple of their movies as a memorial as soon as I get a chance. I thought I was going to do the same for Heath, but I haven't been able to. It's been over a month now, and I still can't watch any of his movies. The closest I've managed to come is watching my favorite scene from 10 Things I Hate About You on YouTube. I picked up The Order at the library on Saturday and couldn't bring myself to check it out.
It feels like someone I went to high school with has died. I feel heavy and tight inside when I remember, like I'm clenching up all the muscles in my chest into a big fist. Part of it's probably because, usually when an actor I like dies, they're in their 80s or 90s. They're not one year and 19 days older than I am. If Heath can die, I can die. If Heath can miss out on seeing his baby grow up, so can I.
But it also feels ridiculous to be this sad over the death of someone I have never met and never would meet. My rational mind tells me I'm being silly, that I'm feeling false sadness or something. But I know the first time I do watch one of his movies, I'll cry. And it will make me realize that he really is dead. That there will never be another new Heath Ledger movie after The Dark Knight. That a brilliant actor will never get a chance to explore new characters and bring them to life. Maybe that's what makes me saddest.