In the words of Temper Trap: A moment, a love / A dream aloud / A kiss, a cry / Our rights, our wrongs
This much is understood: unlike most romantic comedies, 500 Days of Summer doesn’t propagate the ideal notions of love. Perhaps, the opposite may hold true even as it illustrates a man’s journey of self-discovery where the audience attempts to grapple onto his life’s trajectory as he transitions.
Personally, I watched this addition to the rom-com fest quite a few years ago; precisely during the time when I, having been rudely awakened from my quest for love myself, was reluctantly embracing the “acceptance” stage.
At that point in my life, I wholeheartedly resonated with Tom’s energy. 500 Days of Summer signified everything that I so profoundly believed in when it came to what ultimately constitutes ‘love’. Much like him, my initiation point too was a strong attraction which, out of nowhere, toppled me over.
To make matters worse, the object of my affection joined me on this platform of mutual allure. Things escalated pretty fast from there.
Disassociation following a failed love does something to you; it foremost strips you of the barrage of overwhelming sentiments attached to said person. Due to this, most of my happy memories are hazy, but despite the confusing gap created to cushion the blow, this much I remember.
I remember being high, very, very high…on love. Or as euphoric I have ever felt in my entire life. A feeling, one which surpassed my fictional renditions even. Seeing Tom’s dance sequence reminded me of my own, the good encompassed every inch of my existence. I felt that this is, in fact, what the entire universe conspired to make just ‘mine’. It’s seriously funny (not to mention fucked up) how one person’s inclusion in your life can bring this much color.
Since the particular person doesn’t get to have any more screen time than I’ve already given him, then I cut to the chase. The aftermath of Tom’s relation mirrored my own; that same universe that made my heart livid with a newfound zest for life had unapologetically dug me fifty feet under.
I felt that this is, in fact, what the entire universe conspired to make just ‘mine’.
The misery that sprouts from having your heart broken is often deemed analogous to how morose you feel when you experience the death of a close one. Makes sense, after all, we are not just parting with a person per se, but the anticipating sentimental devotion that manifested therefrom as well.
And if you are me, it shuts you down entirely.
In years to come, my friends continued to gush over about this or that person entering and exiting their lives; experiencing numerous representations of love. I, on the other hand, clung to my ever quintessential caricature of love: extreme attraction + affection = love.
Being spurned by someone you deemed “the love of your life” irreparably hurts your being. Or, at least in 500 Days of Summer, it turns you into a cynic overnight.
So when I reverted back to watching the movie this time around, I expected to relive my resentment for Zooey Deschanel’s character all the same. You see, she was a physical manifestation of everything that I had to endure. A perfect depiction of how calmly a loved one flips over to this impassive, hollow, cold embodiment of divorcing the bond you once shared.
Makes sense, after all, we are not just parting with a person per se, but the anticipating sentimental devotion that manifested therefrom as well.
At least in her case, she didn’t provoke the protagonist with false promises; still, she received much hate for turning down a guy whose heart was brimming with nothing but love.
Despite this, when I observed the encounter of the film’s duo in its entirety, I came to the halting realization that I had, somehow, become…her. Whatever her reasons may be for not wanting to pledge her life to Tom is beside the point. She blatantly clarified her stance going into the relationship.
What baffles me rather is how our choices and their ultimate resolution has this innate capacity to change our take on life altogether. For me to echo her behavior in my life as of right now was a realization in itself. Was it a sad one? Or empowering? Or fearful? Or liberating? I believe it was all of the above.
Now, when I view love, which is so tough for me to undertake, I don’t enter with the same overly enthusiastic mind frame. For that created this overarching dependency in the first place. Now, I value myself enough to respect my values in any given facet of my life.
Love no longer overwhelms me. At least I don’t allow it to.
Was it a sad one? Or empowering? Or fearful? Or liberating? I believe it was all of the above.
But God has His own quirky sense of humor; the minute you become too confident, He reminds you. And thus walked in this sweet new infatuation of mine with those beautiful green eyes that reverberated in my physical being – without even asking for it, I found myself reeling.
Ergo, 500 Days of Summer’s Tom was back.
But, this time, he wasn’t going to let his heart run wild, no dance numbers, no falling down the old rabbit hole, no.
At least, not until he earns it.
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