Summer: I woke up one morning and I just knew.
Tom: Knew what?
Summer: What I was never sure of with you.
It feels odd and somewhat appropriate that I am returning to this post about 500 Days of Summer to finally write something substantial and finish it. It was started on October 7, so over a month ago. Of course, as a case of life imitating art, my own non-relationship with M. ended.
This is where I had got to with the original post, but now this post serves as something else:
I recommend 500 Days of Summer for everyone who has been, is or intends to be in a relationship. I saw it last night with M. and we both agree that it is a fantastic movie. It has prompted me to think again about an essay of mine from a few years ago on the concept of post-romance romance and Paul Anderson’s third film Punch-Drunk Love. 500DOS is a much better example of post-romance romance than PDL. In fact, of all the postmodern romantic comedies of recent years, 500DOS is the best example of post-romance romance yet.
We had similar discussions to that of the main characters Tom and Summer. How she wasn’t sure, how she still felt something for her man-child ex who had broken her heart and, paradoxically, how she didn’t want to stuff this (ie our non-relationship relationship, similar to the Tom-Summer relationship) up. She told me many times she wasn’t ready, that she wished it hadn’t happened now, that maybe this was the last chance she had. I told her she was worthy of breaking my heart. She did.
What to do?
I am pretty hardcore when it comes to enduring what life throws my way. It is easy when I feel contempt for most of the world and all the stupidities that it contains. I guess it is easier to think about what I won’t do.
I won’t stop falling in love. I could never understand the whole too-bitter, too-tough, too-broken hearted thing about people when they get to a certain age and decide that love somehow hasn’t delivered the goods so they are going to discard love and the possibility of love. That is just weak, not tough. It is an easy solution to complex set of problems. The empty feeling I have in my stomach every now and then when I think about what has happened, what hasn’t happened and what could’ve been is the price I pay for the absolute affection afforded by love. I am satisfied with this pain. She was worthy of earning it. I fell in love.
I won’t stop rolling the dice. One of my favourite sayings is derived from the philosopher Gilles Deleuze: Roll the dice and up the ante. It is not enough to take chances. All of us take chances everyday. To take chances and up the stakes without regret is the only way to live a life worth living. I’ve got no time for meek and boring people who are mere functionaries in someone else’s life. Having agency for me doesn’t mean necessarily having control, but being able to engage with life’s opportunities without knowing what the outcome will be. I took risks with my affection even though I ascertained early on our relationship more than likely wouldn’t work, but I resisted the urge to end things.
I won’t fret about not understanding. I am pretty smart and have enough of a curious intellectual disposition to be able to at least grasp most of life’s curiosities. There are some things I’ll never understand, however. Like the way periods of absolute happiness immediately preceded annihilating sadness. I am grateful for the time we spent together. Many people never get to experience any of this.
I won’t stop inviting people into my world. A relationship isn’t just between two people but between two worlds that come together as a kind of synergy. I have an ethics of hospitality when it comes to sharing my world with others. I am lucky that I have lived alone for long enough that it allows me to cherish moments of solitude, which in turn allows me to properly value what it means to be with someone. Without my generosity I am nothing.
I won’t stop listening to special songs. Music, food, television shows, restaurants, cinemas, streets and fucking pubs all become incorporated into the biography of a relationship. I am lucky to have had enough failed relationships all while living in roughly the same area of Sydney that there is no singular determining geographical romantic biography for me. Our music, if that ever existed, once filled me with complete happiness, every song was a special song, a love song, but now they are all songs of heartbreak. I am OK with this. It bestows the songs a richness that the artists who created them could never give to them. It adds something beautiful to my world, which, although painful, would not have existed otherwise.
I won’t stop writing my poem. Sure it is about her, but it is my writing. It should be finished soon.
I feel better now. I think I have reassured myself of myself.