I read The Goldfinch on a long layover in 2013: hours in the airport, hearing nothing, somehow so involved in this book that I could barely tear myself away from it. I didn’t reread it again, but this week I saw the film adaptation. It captured some of the elements I remembered from the book — the wondrous magical quality of the mother and the museum, the rich family, the dreariness of Las Vegas. But the part that stayed with me from the film, that made me cry, was Theo, clutching the wrapped painting, until he was an adult. Grief does strange things to us, fixating our memories and our focus on one object and person. It changed me — in a way that I am still grappling with now. It reminded me of this feeling of being an outsider, of being marked with and defined by grief, of trying to find anyone who could somehow understand what had transpired in that moment, that even if grief is similar — after all, I’m now at that age when many of my friends have similar grief — it is not the same. I hold onto objects still, to memories still, to that fleeing memory of how someone walked and the curl of their hair. It is not common to find that portrayed so well, and as I saw the film, I saw myself and felt myself feeling a little bit more raw and destroyed.