but what fucks me up the most about moonlight is the scene at kev’s restaurant, near the end of the film, where they reunite — specifically, the part where kevin makes chiron a plate of food and they sit at the table, talking and catching up. the camera angles, the lighting, etc. the way this scene is filmed, you really can’t help but think “what if” as you realize just how much love and just how many experiences were stolen from chiron. you can’t help but think, fuck. if it weren’t for the pervasiveness of toxic masculinity inciting other guys his age to turn on him whenever they felt their manliness was put to question, if it weren’t for the violent insistence of homophobia and misogyny forcing chiron to stifle any urge to simply dance or to be touched softly or to love, if it weren’t for systematic anti blackness and poverty and mass incarceration and the biased judicial system and the school to prison pipeline, shutting every door of opportunity in his face until chiron didn’t even look for ways out anymore, if it weren’t for all these invisible shackles, and unwritten chokeholds, and intangible gates, and insurmountable hurdles … then maybe — no not maybe, but almost certainly … things would have worked out differently for chiron.
because maybe, instead of meeting up with kev, after spending time in prison and then all the years following on the streets (for simply standing up for himself once in high school) and after not seeing the first guy he’s ever loved for over a decade, he and kevin would have never separated to begin with. or maybe, chiron would have had other relationships before they reunited. maybe he wouldn’t have felt so deprived for so long. and maybe he wouldn’t have to talk to kevin over dinner at a public restaurant, under the guise of just two friends catching up and swapping stories. maybe instead they could have been together already. and they could be talking over their own dinner, at their own house. and kev wouldn’t have to play love songs for chiron on the juke, he could play them on their home radio. and they could hold hands, and stand close. and maybe they could dance. and maybe kevin jr. would have been their son. maybe they could have been dads, and better parents than either one of them has ever known. and maybe chiron would have never had to change and get “hard” and toughen up so damn much that people barely recognized him anymore, just to get by, just to be respected. maybe instead. chiron could have been happy. maybe he could have been happy with kev. and maybe they could have been at the center of the world together, a lot sooner, instead of struggling in its shadows, miles and miles apart.