Gloomy January with its dark cloudy skies and constant downpours made me retreated into my comfy bed, entertaining myself with a bunch of blankets, pillows, cups and cups of hot chocolate and a stack of DVDs. These are some of the movies I would put under my movie selection post this month. I’d call it Raining Romance.
1. Two Lovers
After hailing this movie as one of my all-time favorite, I found out later on that it was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s short story White Nights. And I said to myself, oh, no wonder. It’s a lonely story about Leonard, a guy with a suicidal tendency who falls for his neighbor, Michelle. Everything about this movie is lonely. From the gloomy opening act to the photographs Leonard are taking, the scene at the club where Leonard goes out dancing with Michelle and her friends. I love it when Sandra, a daughter of a family friend, comes along to Leonard’s life. I love it when Michelle’s boyfriend, who happens to be someone else’s husband, talks to Leonard at a restaurant. I adore the twists and turns a little bit too much.
I love Gus van Sant. I love reading his interviews. I love books and movies with misfit characters. I guess those are enough reasons for me to love this movie. It’s about a teenage boy, Enoch, who loves going to strangers’ funerals and befriends Hiroshi, a dead Japanese kamikaze pilot from World War II. On one of the funerals, Enoch meets a curious girl, Annabel. Like, seriously, aren’t you going to be intrigued just by knowing these snippets? The movie is visually stunning; and I love every small details of Enoch and Annabel’s lives: the things they do, the things they wear, the things they talk about. And you can read Hiroshi’s love letter here.
3. Bright Star
It’s a beautiful movie and beautiful love story between the poet John Keats and his “girl-next-door” Fanny Brawne. And I love this movie so much because I love letters. Hand-written letters. Hand-written love letters, to be exact. And I am in love with John Keats. And Fanny Brawne’s cat. I am in love with the two of them. I love the recited poems during the movie and the scenes where John and Fanny walked and kissed in the woods. I can relate to Fanny. I can relate to Keats. I want that red sealing wax for my letters. I can’t stop indulging myself to read the selected love letters written by John to Fanny here.
Beth moved in to a new apartment building where she met Adam, her ‘strange‘ neighbor. It is a very grounded yet beautiful movie about loving someone; and whether there are boundaries or limitations in doing so. I love all the small details in the movie: the raccoons, tea, the cleaning of the window, the theatre, those talks about stars and galaxies… and I love Adam, too!
5. Before Sunrise
Jesse and Celine met for the first time on a Eurail train and decided to get off in Vienna and spend one day together. I love the quotes from the movie, the premise of being young and stupid and carefree, the artsy shots around Vienna, the fortune teller, the street poet, the bartender, the cemetery… I’d like to go to Vienna and do my Before Sunrise tour. There’s a sequel to this movie, Before Sunset, but if I have to choose, Before Sunrise is a lot better, and stronger.
6. Like Crazy
Jacob and Anna need to struggle with their long-distance relationship that spans between US and UK. But as it turns out, maybe it’s not really about the long-distance relationship at the first place. Maybe it’s just about the relationship itself. I love the fact that the movie feels real, instead of just plain romantic or pretty. I love the characters’ mean words as they are fighting with each other. I love the silly thoughts Anna has. I love the matter-of-factly way of Jacob. I like it because this is what happens in real life. Sometimes, love sucks.
It was 4 AM when you found yourself awoken to the sound of thunder and the pouring rain outside. You pulled your blanket closer, tighter; the dark clouds were looming over your bed as you fixed your gaze onto the white-painted ceiling. You scratched the back of your right leg with your left toes and you remembered the days when things were not as silent: when there were other sounds but rain and emptiness. That breezy summer-like desire that was so intense you could feel its passion over the distance. You grazed your fingers following the floral pattern of the unused pillow next to you–listening to the zip zip zip sound as your nails traced the lonely lines. It was so darn cold, so you turned to your left, reaching for the aircon’s remote control only to notice that you didn’t turned it on last night. You closed your eyes again but the weight of your feelings made you decided to tiptoe to the kitchen for a cup of hot chocolate instead. In the dark, you fell for the faint hum of the refrigerator which you found comforting for some reason, and you sat there on the cold floor, resting your back against the warm refrigerator door, watching the raindrops fell into the little stone-garden next to the kitchen. As you sipped the hot chocolate from the small red mug, you realized that all you wanted was just to show how much affection you had inside of you; but it wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be, not now, not after what had happened. Something was welling up inside of you as you came to this point: you wanted to let things go, but you realized that you were not ready. You were not ready to give up. You had given up many times, but this time, you didn’t want to be that someone who walked away too easily. You wanted to know how it would feel to stay when you were being pushed away. You wanted to be loved for who you are, not what you can be. You should have said them all a long time ago instead of holding things back. You were thinking where you would be at the moment if only you had. Nothing seemed to be going right. There were too many misunderstandings that all you could do was laughed it all off even though you blamed yourself for the fact that they kept happening. You watched the shadows on the wall, the way they stood there in the border between existence and non-existence, and you tried to understand which was real and which was not. But it was too complicated at times. The only thing you wanted was for things to be okay; but they were not and you just had to deal with it. It was just too much and too overwhelming for you to handle. But no, you would not break down and cry. Not this time. So you chased away your tears and shut down your mind, and for a moment, there was silence all over, as if everything stopped moving for a while; but then your heart started singing. It sounded like Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up, and you hummed along until the call for morning prayers broke in the gloomy sky.
I won’t give up on us / Even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love / I’m still looking up / And when you’re needing your space / To do some navigating / I’ll be here patiently waiting / To see what you find… [I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz]
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to a pair of wonderful eyes that you have: not because they are light brown or protected by such gorgeous eyelashes or stuff like that, but because whenever they looked at me, gently, I could see my reflections there; smiling back at me, and it made me feel so loved.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your nose: sometimes, it brushed my cheek when you were about to bury your face on my neck late in the evening, after a tiring day–and it made me feel so comfortable, knowing that you were near.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your shoulders: not because they are broad or whatever, but because you would bring my head to your left shoulder when we talked, so I could just lie there comfortably and sniff the familiar smell of your perfume. It made me feel so warm—listening to you, having someone to share my fears and dreams with.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your chest: not because it’s wide and muscular, but because when I got sad or angry, you would hug me tight and I would find my face—damped with tears, resting on your chest, sobbing there until your shirt got wet, until I was able to breathe again. It made me feel like… around you, I was allowed to be sad. That it was alright to be sad every once in a while.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your lips: they kissed me silently on the bus when nobody was looking, they voiced some intellectually-stimulating topics we could argue upon, they read the hand-written poems you scribbled for me out loud, they uttered stupid jokes that made me laugh, and they said simple things like thank-you or you’re-amazing; or other sweet things so casually in front of your friends, as if I wasn’t there. It made me feel like the happiest girl on earth.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your hands: when you held mine in yours as we walked, when you brushed my hair or my cheek mindlessly as you typed on your laptop or made a phone call, when you grabbed my waist and lifted me up a few centimeters above the ground as we danced. Those were the times when you made me feel tall.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your feet: not because they are strong and athletic, but because they had walked miles and miles away to find me, and walked towards me again, and again, and again. Those were the times when I felt wanted, when I felt like this time, someone was actually making an effort.
When I called you handsome, I was actually seeing something beyond the way you look. I was referring to your back: because I had spent so many times staring at it as you slept, grazed my fingers along your spine to convince myself that you were real, and even at the time it turned away from me and disappeared under the drizzle one day as you bade farewell, it left traces of memories from the days I cherished, and it made me feel blessed for once in my life, I had known someone like you.
Seven months and a week after my 29th birthday, I turned 29. It happened yesterday. A Sunday. I was sitting at the dining table with a bag full of chocolate, a great book on love and heartbreak and poets and writers, stacks of hand-written drafts, and a cup of hot tea. I could see the raindrops from where I sat and sniffed the comforting smell of wet soil that was wafting in the air. And suddenly, it felt like whatever I had experienced in life started to make sense.
Maybe we don’t have to understand everything (that can be really frustrating at times). All we need to do is to believe that time is indeed a good friend. Time will tell us what each missing pieces in our lives means—when we are ready to learn another lesson, when we are ready to move on, when we are ready to know the truth (because you can’t change the truth, but the truth can change you, so they say).
And just like that, I turned 29.
And I am still here: counting my blessings; and feeling solemnly content.
Before Christmas, I taught myself how to make truffles. Though it was still a bit tricky for me to make them look good, I had to say that I was happy with my first attempt. So here we go:
- 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (high quality, around 80% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup of whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) of Baileys Irish Cream
- Cocoa powder
- In a small pan, bring the whipping cream to simmer
- Pour the Baileys Irish Cream, stir it in with the cream
- Place the chopped chocolate in a separate bowl and pour the cream over it
- Stir until smooth (ganache)
- Allow to cool, then place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours
- Roll out balls of the ganache with a teaspoon and place them on a baking sheet
- Refrigerate overnight
- Once it gets harder, roll in cocoa powder
Ours is a bumpy road. Wait. No. Rewind. To be brutally honest, let me put it this way: mine is a bumpy road. Yes. Mine, and mine alone.
Because one day, “we” disappeared in front of a small alley in a small island, the two characters, W and E, being washed out by the drizzle. Suddenly, everything became discolored. Reasons were no longer exist. Things were losing meanings. Words were breaking into pieces. I lost my sense of being. And it was just like that; as simple as something that disappeared in silence one afternoon under the cloudy sky; just like all things temporary. But that’s the rule of life as we know it: everything will come to its end. It’s just a matter of how, and how long. And maybe, subconsciously, that’s what we’re doing: we’re all just waiting for something to end.
One day, when “we” disappeared, I found myself—and my heart (that had been broken many times but always refused to give up) embracing that familiar pang of sadness: of having to let go. No matter how often you experience such thing, surprisingly, one is never immune to such pain. Of course you know that you’ll be fine again—because your experiences have taught you so (been there, done that)—but still, you find it very tiring to begin again. I will definitely find it very tiring to begin again. And maybe, I won’t. Not now. Not so soon.
I know we love to begin something new (maybe this is the reason why we celebrate New Year with parties and drinks and fireworks and all things cheerful), but most of the times, we forget the art of loving an ending: to appreciate what we have got and what we have lost, to celebrate the memories and the traces of “us” that once were, to romance the things that stayed with us—that sooner or later will become us.
One day, when “we” disappeared, you told me that in the end, all that we’re going to remember is the beautiful things we’ve experienced, the beautiful places we’ve seen, the beautiful memories we’ve shared, the beautiful moments we’ve seized. I told you that it’s true, because one can always find simple happiness in everything—no matter how small; even in an ending.
And so, that one day, when “we” disappeared, I knew that we’d find each other again. When we’re ready. When the time is right. And when the time comes, it’s going to be just me and you—no such thing as “we”—because in the end, I have left something in you and you have left something in me. And even when “we” disappeared, those things we’ve left behind with each other would remain to be a part of us. And isn’t that such a relief? To know that there is something eternal even in the most temporary things, that there is something precious even in the saddest of endings. And such knowledge, to me, is more than enough.
Happy New Year 2013 and Happy Old 2012!
*) inspired by the title of Astrid Reza’s posting, “If Tomorrow We Disappear”.