500 days of life
Let me tell you a fairy tale love story. Boy meets girl, they look at each other, they fall in love. There’s a small fight followed by a bit of sobbing. Don’t worry, everyone makes up. They realise they can’t live without each other, someone gets down on one knee and BHAM! Happily ever after! Almost every rom-com will have you believe that this is how you get your bae. It’s really that simple. Or, is it? Let’s be honest, we’re not all Julia Roberts to get our very own Richard Gere for a grand “Pretty Woman” moment *queue tears*.
Once we get into a relationship, we realize these movies are filled with BIG. FAT. LIES. Shocker! It’s not all black and white. It’s grey, blue, pink, and so many other colours we never thought it could be. Our own personal movies, i.e. real-life, are filled with moments of crazy laughter, excessive boredom, intense crying, screaming, snot-filled tissue papers, boredom again, cute mementoes, and ruined makeup. They don’t always have a happy ending. We’re constantly left wondering: “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED”?
Let me tell you a different story. Boy meets girl. They look at each other and the boy falls in love. Girl? Not so much. Boy has a dream, a fantasy, and expects the girl to be exactly like that. Girl doesn’t fit into that idea and so the boy becomes sad. Oh wait, this is an actual movie. Woah, pretty accurate. Our boy is named Tom and our girl is Summer. I hereby present to you “500 days of Summer”.
Tom and Summer met at their workplace. They have the same interests, like the same geeky things, love for The Smiths, and more importantly, they look adorable together. So naturally, we expect everything to work out. But when you take a closer look, their foundation is a tad bit shaky. He grew up believing he’d never truly be happy until the day he met “the one” but our girl Summer did not share the same belief. Tom liked her the second he laid eyes on her. They went out drinking, hung out at the movies, well, you know how it goes… It was a match made in Tom’s heaven. She was his soulmate! But oops, she didn’t want a boyfriend; all she wanted was to slay life! She liked being on her own. She even told him so, and though upset, he agreed. You see, this is where necessities and luxuries in a relationship high-key screw it all up.
For Tom, it was a necessity to have love in a relationship, and for her, it’s a luxury. *Redflag alert* Nonetheless, they like each other’s company and keep going at it. For him, labels and consistency in a relationship is so important while she says “Who cares? We are having fun!” Guess what happens if we put these two together? We end up with a relationship dynamo about to explode, don’t you agree?
Tom gives and gives to a relationship that doesn’t really exist and Summer just keeps taking from something she doesn’t define as a relationship. He ends up feeling drained and mentally exhausted. He blames her and constantly asks himself “Why am I giving so much when I receive so little?” Summer, quite clueless at this point, finds herself taking the defensive stance all the time, like a closed book: “I told you I don’t want anything serious. Who asked you to do all this?” Ahh, we’ve stumbled on to a game I like to call “Blame Ping-Pong”. Here, instead of a ball we pass the blame back and forth. Only difference, this particular game never ends well. Hold on, isn’t real ping-pong like that, too? Never mind, you get the point.
Since our protagonists never take the time to explain or listen to each other, they give us 30 more minutes of pure entertainment. Oops, I mean learning; 30 more minutes of learning. In their story, there is no balance or shifts in the roles of giver and receiver. This affects the basic foundation of any relationship: RESPECT. Tom constantly feels used and disrespected. Summer can’t understand why and starts feeling suffocated. For him, respect has now become a luxury and for her, space. When these two integral necessities of a relationship become a luxury, that relationship is pretty much over. And so, Summer dumps Tom’s salty butt in the next scene. Sad, but true.
Fast forward to months later or should I say seasons? Tom meets Summer at a hunty’s wedding and yet again we see a difference in what they need in a relationship. He wants (read as expects) a label, another chance at a relationship that crumbled. What does Summer need? She needs friendship, a luxury that Tom can’t afford her. So, when he finds out she’s married, total devastation occurs… to put it mildly.
Tom and Summer are the classic example of a relationship gone wrong, not because they were bad together, rather, because they needed something different. It happens! As life moved on (within those 500 days) they grew up, in a way. They started seeing the other’s perspective. Tom finally quit his mundane job and pursued something he thought was exciting, while she finally met her husband and ironically, believes it was destiny that got them together. Wow, we’ve come a full circle. Morale of the story: Relationships are hard. We don’t always get what we give. Sometimes it clicks with you, sometimes it doesn’t. Lastly, “It’s not you,
it’s me or me, it’s just life”. BTW how’s your life?