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With a twist

I watched another one.

I watched another Christmas rom-com. Except this one was one of those rom-coms with a twist – you know the ones where the romantic interest turns out to be a ghost? Yeah. One of those.

And look, I quite like it when the outcome isn’t girl gets guy and they live happily ever after. I quite like it when, instead, girl builds a better life for herself despite the profound absence of guy, because he was actually dead all along. I guess that’s more relatable for me. But it’s still a bit sad, right? Like, it’s not as good an outcome as if girl built a better life and then guy was magically resurrected and they lived happily ever after, is it? It doesn’t have quite the same depth of satisfaction. The story doesn’t quite feel complete. Something is missing.

I thought, at first, this post was going to include criticism of the idea that girl even needed guy to facilitate healthy transformation in the first place. Like if we’re gonna challenge stereotypes, why not fucking push the boat out? And that would, of course, be criticising myself, because I did. But the reality is we are ill prepared for the life we enter into, and we rely on many crutches to get us through the day. Acknowledging that is not a fault.

But if, when one of those crutches breaks – which, considering the strain we put them under, is nigh on inevitable – and we fall painfully; if we then somehow, from some place, find the strength, the wisdom, to rise on our own and walk forwards, then we, and the whole world, should rejoice wholeheartedly. That should be more than enough of an arc to sate us.

So why is it that I feel so empty when the crutch is not replaced? I don’t need it anymore. Why do I want it so badly?

I quite like it when stories mirror the natural, complex, partial satisfaction of life. The trap with life, though, is that you can always keep hoping that the story isn’t over. And that’s the very thing that stops the story moving on.

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