She saw Her and realized a few things.
First, she realized the obvious as stated by "Samantha," the OS in the movie: "The past is just a story we tell ourselves." She already knew this, but because of this movie, she became acutely aware of how she's keeping her old stories alive by telling them -- including telling them to herself. To stop telling the stories would probably be hard -- it's identity, it's meandering thought, it's reminders. What if she took those old stories and gave them happier endings? How they actually ended doesn't much matter anymore ... how they could have ended ... how they should have ended ... that can be told anew. And in so doing, she would never weigh herself down again with those old, forlorn tales. Yes, they would theoretically and metaphorically still be on-going relationships, but that's really beside the point.
Second, she was left with a sense of disappointment and sadness over the turn of events in her recent relationship. Without highlighting any of what transpired there, it's enough to say that those events were foundation rattling. She had been drifting in and out of sadness with it ... coming back to hope for a reboot, but then losing hope again just as soon as she thought of those events. Maybe it would be easier to just let go ... if we're not in the same place as each other (physically and emotionally), maybe just release and allow for a more resonant union.
Then it hit her...
What if she retold the ending of her current relationship? I mean, her brain seemed to be so willing to traipse into the domain of endings anyway, trying to plan and wonder why and what-for ... what if she changed that story, too? What if she changed the ending to a happy one right now, and then her current relationship -- just like those old ones -- would remain an on-going relationship, too. Only in this instance, it wouldn't just be theoretical or metaphorical. It would be tangible and manifestational. It would be real.
How does one tell a different story, when one's brain has been telling the same kind for so long? That's a tough one.
Maybe it's easier to get some practice with some softer tales first. Some stories that still have all the fondness in tact, but that are lightly tinged with a melancholy what-ifness. If she could unstick those tales, she could tackle stickier wickets, for sure.
She spotted her prey sitting alone in a dark little corner of her mind, and leapt upon it!
She was 10 and he was 10. It was summer camp before starting 6th grade. He was a quiet boy with dark hair and the deepest blue eyes. When he looked at her, she felt her knees melt a little, and she was certain that he could see that happening to her, too. They never really spoke to one another, but she always made sure that, whenever she could, she would be lined up next to him for activities like diving or canoeing or catching minnows ... she wanted another glimpse of those eyes of his. One day, he was being teased relentlessly by some bullies, and she could see that he was getting pushed to the brink of breaking. She wanted to jump in and pull him away from there ... to show him that they were the "dumb asses," not him ... never him. She wanted to show him how special she thought he was ... but as she saw him withering under their name-calling, she felt afraid that they'd turn on her, too ... and that maybe he would turn on her, as well, to get the attention off of him. Her fear stopped her...
...Then she realized that there was no better way to show someone you care than when they needed it most. She ran over to where he was cowering against a tree, grabbed him up by the arm and said, "C'mon, I need help catching minnows!" And just like that, the two ran off together to catch buckets of them. They were still shy with each other, but he looked at her more ... and there were a lot of smiles.
She was 13 and he was 14. They met at Disney World during one of those Florida flash rainstorms as they huddled under a facade entryway across from the Haunted Mansion. They started talking, and then they started holding hands ... and she'd never held hands with anyone before. He looked at her like she was the prettiest thing he'd ever seen, and she had butterflies like she'd never felt before. He lived by the beach, and she was land-locked, but they agreed to meet a week later at dance club by her called Electric Avenue. He showed up; so did she. She saw him first and stuck to the shadows, too shy to approach...
...Then she got up her nerve, approached and took his hand. She had her first kiss that night, and they're still friends to this day.
She was 14 and he was 15. They went to the same high school and had all the same friends. They spent time together after school just hanging out after everyone went home, enjoying each other's company. He was the kindest, sweetest, handsomest boy she'd ever met and she adored him. He was of mixed race (black and white) and her white parents didn't approve, telling her that she was embarrassing them. Black girls in their school didn't approve either. They cornered her, slammed her up against her locker after school and threatened to hurt her if she considered dating him. They shoved her as she passed them in the crowded hallways, and restated their threats as they passed her each day. He wanted to date her, but she was too afraid of everyone else...
...Then she decided to follow her heart and become his girl. Their time together became some of the most precious memories she had from that time, and set the standard for the most amazing relationships she would have in her life. They're still sweet, sweet friends today.
She was 16 and he was 18. They met one night at a dance club in a city where she was brand new and did not know a soul. He was new, too -- an exchange student from Belgium, who'd already finished high school there, but was taking an extra year of high school in the States to get more fluent with his English and explore the world before starting at a very rigorous college back home. There they were -- two fishes out of water having found each other that night. He was so interesting and genuine that when he asked her for her phone number, she didn't hesitate to give it to him. He called weekly, and they talked for hours. His stories about all of the languages he knows and about his discoveries in America made her see her own life with new eyes. She always looked forward to their phone calls. But one day, when he asked her if she would like to meet him in person again for a date, she froze. She wasn't sure that she wanted to get attached to the intriguing boy who would be returning to his home across the ocean in just a couple months. She made excuses, but he continued to ask with each phone call...
...Then one day, she laughed and knew she was being silly. He was too good not to see again, and she knew it. They had a sweetly romantic few months of meeting up with each other when they could, followed by years of penpal letters. They met again in his country after she finished high school, and he showed her castles and art and things she'd only seen in books. They're still dear friends today.
She was 21 and he was 29. They met when they both transferred into the same art college and had a drawing class together a year earlier. He was from Norway and had already lived in the US for a few years at that point. When he asked her out after she'd recently gone through a breakup, she jumped at the chance, because of his easy, good-natured way and because she'd always found him very handsome. She was delighted that wanted to spend time with her, when she felt he was so much more worldly than her. After a brief time of getting to know each other outside of the school hallways, she started to feel that old fear again. He talked of so many interesting things from his life to that point, and she'd never dated anyone more than a few years older, so she felt very young and inexperienced in comparison. When he began talking about needing to stay in the country, joking about how he'd considered marrying for a green card, she froze completely with a fear that caused her to start looking for reason to cancel their next date...
...Then she realized, once again, that she was just being silly. She could learn so much from him. Why would she not leap at that chance. He was the warmest person she'd ever met, and she'd already met some truly great ones. They had that next date ... and a next and a next. And thank goodness for that! She learned that she had as much to give and show him as he had to show her. Her confidence grew right along with their relationship. Their time together became the foundation for her adulthood, and her fondness for him has never dwindled. And they are, of course, still very dear friend today.
She was 30 and he was 23. They met in grad school in screenwriting class. He was from the UK and was positively one of the funniest people she'd ever met. He tried repeatedly to ask her out, but she kept thinking their age difference would be their undoing -- she was a mother now, and he was still a fresh-faced lad who needed to sow his oats. He told her they would have fun, and she knew he was right, but that old fear stopped her...
...Then one day she realized she was being silly, that time was too short to worry about such differences, and she enjoyed the frolicking to be had with him. She also threw away her silly fears for good and never let another one stop her, not even for a minute.