We had planned to walk to the bridge, enjoying the sunny, Sunday afternoon, catching up on each other’s lives, enjoying each other’s company. But as we began our walk, the temperature dropped drastically, leaving us shivering and reconsidering our activity choice. We quickly changed course and headed to the local movie theater; we both wanted to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
108 minutes later, I sat numb. Sad. Depressed. Utterly despondent. Tired. I looked over at Tricia, wondering if she shared my emotions. She tossed her head and said, “At least we saved two dollars by coming to the matinee.”
I’ve had several hours to process the story, and can’t pinpoint why I’m still so sad. The basic plot is this: Joel and Clementine date, break up, and each have all memories of the other erased from their minds. During the process, however, Joel realizes he doesn’t want to lose all memories of Clementine. A struggle ensues.
It made me think of all my past relationships. Would I, had I the opportunity, choose to erase all memories of any of my past relationships? As bad, as painful, as some, as many, of those relationships have been, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even consider it. Even in the worst of my relationships, there were moments of tenderness, of intimacy, that I still cherish. And I wouldn’t choose to erase just the bad memories either, leaving me with just the good. I don’t want to forget the bad either. Maybe it’s the remembering of all of my memories that has made me sad. Or maybe it was witnessing all of the beautiful memories of Joel and Clementine vanish into oblivion.
The movie’s promo tagline is, “You can erase someone from your mind, getting them out of your heart is another story.” I think of all the people I’ve had relationships with, both male and female, that still occupy a territory of my heart, even though consciously they’re not in my life. Maybe that’s what I’m mourning.