Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2005-07-09 - 9:20 a.m.

***Warning--movie spoilers ahead. Do not read if you don't want to know about Eternal Sunshine of the SPotless Mind.

Once upon a time, overwhelmed with anger and sadness of a caliber I had never before experienced, I told Tim that if I could go back and somehow forget I'd ever met him, erase him from my life, I would. That it would be better to have never known him at all than to, at the end, feel the way I did right at that moment. We were sitting in the truck outside the Abington Ale House. It's odd how clearly I remember that moment. We were actually having something of a good evening, but somehow, that's where I ended up.

I did, at some other point after that, tell him I'd changed my mind. That even with the pain, I wouldn't trade what we had for a clean start. There was too much of value in the mix.

Flash forward to last night. Kirk and I put Will to bed and then headed there ourselves. He flipped through the HBO On Demand selections, and I stopped him when I saw Eternal Sunshine listed in the movies. Somewhat hesitantly, he agreed to watch it.

(*Side note--he had the same expression on his face about 20 minutes in that he had the night we went to see Punch Drunk Love in the theater. We just have different taste, I guess.)

Somewhere in the middle of the move, I remembered that moment in the truck outside the Abington Ale House. Apparently, I'm not the only one who has ever felt that way, in exactly those words.

I had to laugh when, about halfway through the movie, the story came together for me and I realized that the beginning was Clementine and Joel meeting again, after the mind erasing, and still starting over.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, right?

Recently, the Other Kirk and Cheryl, the couple Carla and I "fixed up" last summer, broke up. It had been almost a year since they started dating--the "fish or cut bait" point, as my grandmother would have said. My first reaction was that a) I was sorry we'd introduced them, and b) I would never try to play matchmaker again. But here's the thing--I've changed my mind on both counts. We thought they would be a good match when we introduced them. There was a LOT of thought that went into the pairing, and I would still stand by it. For a good portion of that year, they were good for each other. And if I were in a place where two people I knew and liked seemed to fit well, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

The other thing goes back to my three-pronged relationship theory, that everything comes down to a combination of ability, desire, and timing.

Every relationship we're in raises our ability level. We learn from what we've done about what works and what doesn't, what we need and what we're willing to give. The things that attract you to a person don't inherently change. The way you conduct yourself once you get past the original BANG! does.

This is why the erased relationships were doomed (?) to repeat themselves. Joel and Clementine still had that first, base attraction. Mary still found the same things attractive in Howard that she had the first time around. Without the base of knowledge of what *didn't* work between them, they were going to go around in the same circle.

On the other hand, who knows. Would being given a fresh start give them the opportunity to do things differently? Would removing the memory of a *person* from your mind remove the things you learned? I don't know. Would the second time around be easier than the first? I want a part 2. I want to see them two years down the line. I want closure, dammit!

Isn't that the base of so many issues in my life. I want irrefutable proof that the decisions I made were the right ones. A glimpse into the parallel universe where the Other Me, the one that chose the other path, lives out her life in the consequences.

Removing Tim from my memory would never have been viable, on a very basic level because we don't live in a movie and there isn't that option in reality. But I'm glad that's true. Because I *did* change my mind, once I could step beyond the hurt. And the memories in there--good AND bad--are a big part of who I am today.

The baby is awake and ready to get up, so my thought time is over. Good weekends, all.


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