Hind-sight being what it is, maybe "The Proposal" wasn't the best movie to go and see today, on the 1 month anniversary of my "I Feel That Way, Too...But I Think We Should Just Be Friends" conversation. Yes, the movie was funny, and sweet, and everything that you would expect from Anne Fletcher, director of both "The Proposal" and the previous "27 Dresses." At one point, as Sandra Bullock waved an adorable fluffy white Samoyed puppy at a golden eagle in exchange for her Crackberry, I found myself doubled-over and shaking in hysterical, breathless, noiseless laughter. (The last three times I've gone to the movies I've ended up in hysterics this way, even if it wasn't a particularly funny movie. I cracked up in "Watchmen" because of Malin Akerman's chin-mole, otherwise known that night as her "second profile, or Pale Mole Rising." She was yet again in Fletcher's second movie-- you may know Akerman as Katherine Heigel's entitled younger sister in "27 Dresses" as well. Apparently, Fletcher has a director-crush on her.) Not an overwhelmingly "chicky" flick, as Ryan Reynolds plays someone a little bit more downtrodden and submissive than most leading men tend to be, and there are no "shopping spree" fashion montages, but a really solid showing at a movie about men, women, and how complicated relationships can sometimes be-- can you imagine marrying your boss so they can get their green card? I don't think so.
It seems like I'm destined to spend the night of the 18th of every month around 8:30 feeling queasy. Last month, it was because as soon as I heard my phone ring with Perfect's "3 AM" ringtone, I knew it-- I knew I was losing the relationship, the sex, the plans we'd made for things like travel and visiting and motorcycle rides and roughhousing. I stood in Cait's kitchen, staring at the ID on my phone's screen before even flipping it open and thought, "here it all goes." I was so uncharacteristically quiet during our relationship negotiation (or "downsizing") that Perfect asked not once, but twice if I was ok, still there, and handling it. Both times, it took me a moment or two to fight back the "end of relationship and sex" nerves and nausea and answer him. I remember staring at my feet a lot, and once, leaning over the sink, thanking god I was so close to it if that's what it came down to.
This month, I gorged myself on about half my body weight's worth of popcorn to try and stop my feelings, which were simmering all throughout the movie, from actually exploding in a theater full of middle-aged strangers. (Lots of middle-aged women friends in groups of two or three, and a few middle-aged couples...Alli and I were officially the youngest patrons at the showing.) For the day, the circumstances, and the tender yet never overly mushy moments in the movie, it may have been a bad choice in casual Saturday afternoon flick, as it put me on the warpath for love to conquer everything. If a tyrannical book editor can inspire love in her beaten assistant, I should have no problems convincing Perfect that my feelings + his feelings= let's try for the best, you fucking dumbass. Right? Wrong. My life script wasn't written by Pete Chiarelli, and I do not have Sandra Bullock's capacity for wit and grace under pressure. I just tend to pop, like I was ready to, both emotionally and physically, by the time the lights came back up at the end of the credits.
"That may have been a bad movie for me to watch," I confided in Alli. "And the popcorn made me sick."
"Yeah, I was thinking that it was a little positive with the whole love-conquers-all," she said.
"I really just want to call him now and be like, "look, this is what I feel, and this is what you feel, and we can make this work, and WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING?!"" My voice raised progressively higher throughout this diatribe. "But I know I can't, because then I would be proving every Crazy Bitch or psycho woman stereotype he ever had true. Do you know how many miles stand between me and a bad life decision?" I held up my fingers. "Four. Four miles between Perfect and I right now. And a whole lotta words."
"I feel like leaving this theater right now would be a bad choice," Alli conceded.
"Yeah. A.) I would probably get sick, and B.) I would make a Bad Life Decision. Again. Can we start abbreviating these to BLDs?"
And do you know that the kicker of the movie's moral was? When you love someone, you do whatever it takes to let them know. You fake a heart-attack. You try to stop a plane. You run from Alaska to New York City. (Not really, but you know, you hurry via private boat, plane, and foot.) Walking out of the theater, a clever mix of the smell of popcorn invading the entire theater and sidewalk in front of it and raw emotion and frustration made me want to vom. Why, WHY, I do not understand, can I not get my own "love conquers all" Hollywood ending? Why can't I even get a meeting with Perfect to discuss this? Why does Father Time in cohorts with The Universe keep making our schedules opposite and therefore, us unavailable to each other? Why were we even allowed to meet in the first place, and "click" and have one of those (previously thought to be fable-like to me,) instant connections like "I need and want this person, and this person needs and wants me, and the Earth drops from under me when I see them"? (Apparently, love-at-first-sight comes in a few different varying degrees, and I achieved one of them, maybe known as "I Care About You At First Sight. And Find Myself Ridiculously Attracted To You, Too.") If this is a test of patience, decidedly one of my worst-honed and almost nonexistent virtues, I like to think all this practice and good behavior while waiting is going to pay off in the end. Pay off BIG.
In the meantime, what they usually all say to you during your whole "I'm broken-up with and hurt phase"..."Times heals all wounds"...fuck it, it's all a big, fat, bleeding-heart lie, and you know it as well as I do. Time doesn't heal all wounds-- time just makes you forget a little bit and not think about it as much. Every time you do remember it, it smarts just as much as it originally did. There is no "getting over" some things-- first love, big betrayals, hurt feelings, crushed dreams, favorite memories together, or sometimes, just the scent of the deodorant someone used.
Some things are easy to quit: one day, I woke up, thought "I'm going to quit smoking weed," and POOF! Haven't felt the need or urge to sense then, and I'm the girl who used to host Weed Wednesday and Tweaker Tuesdays. Some things are harder to quit: drinking when your body tells you there's no need to stop yet, and in fact, another, please--; driving on the left side of the road oversees when you're used to driving on the right; dialing a friend's old phone number. And some things are nearly impossible to quit: obsessive-compulsive habits; using your dominant hand to to everything; and for me, having Perfect be a Big Thing in my life or getting over him. Maybe the fact that I'm having such an impossible time cutting him out means something. I've always been one of those girls who finds it much easier to just cut-off an ex when the relationship ends and then feasibly never talk to them again-- in fact, The Flaky Artist is the only one I was able to salvage a manageable working casual friendship with after a year. But Perfect? Perfect's just THERE.
He was there for me on my birthday; there when one of my best friends found out she was pregnant and I needed someone to go to who wouldn't judge either of us for freaking right the fuck out. He watched me brush my teeth, and put on deodorant and acne cream the next morning without even a flinch. He politely said, still reclining on my bed in just his boxer briefs, to say "hi" to my mom for him when she called after we had had sex. He always, still, lets me know when he'll be in town, even if we won't get a chance to see each other, just so I know he's in the area. (This is more than any other man has ever done for me. Usually, I hear, "Oh, yeah-- I was in town that night," two weeks after the fact.) He somehow, through leading by doing, got me to be more honest and open with him than 99.9% of the other people in my life by being open and honest with me and then asking questions and being persistent about them while still supportive. One of his favorite things to tack on to the end of a question if it looked like I was stalling with an answer was "I'm sorry if it's too personal; you don't have to answer it." But I always did, anyway, no matter how personal the question was or how loathe to part with the answer I was. I don't think I have ever once flat-out lied to him. I have never had a man be so solid, so dependable, and so there for me. Well, there within reason. I have to admit, now that we are no longer "us," it feels a lot different to not be able to just expect him to drop everything and show up to see me. I don't like the way it feels, but I'm coping, more or less.
In the end, of course Ryan Reynolds gets the girl. In the end, I ended up being able to keep my over-indulgent popcorn down. In the end, Alli and I got home safe without any side-trips or phone calls or freak-outs. In the end, I may not see Perfect tomorrow as we had hoped, but I will see a friend of his in Worcester, and that will hopefully be enough to keep me present and in his loop. And in the end, I may not get my rom-com ending, complete with swelling chorus of violins, but maybe, just maybe, I will be able to get the chance to salvage this relationship. And that's all I'm really asking for.
P.S: And, oh-- no Perfect and Baby Mix illicit bro-love sightings. Of course. Silly.