I figure it’s been nearly 2 years since Denny died, so maybe it’s not a full-blown spoiler anymore. But still. Denny dies. He comes into your life, is all perfect and dreamy and wonderful, and then THUD.
To this day, all I have to do is see this and I start sniffling. Seriously.
Look, I understand how silly this is. He’s a *fictional* character. He doesn’t *really* exist. But he died. And he broke my heart. Shattered it into eleventy billion pieces. And those pieces collapsed on the bathroom floor. (Again, seriously.)
You think this is silly? HA! You DON’T EVEN KNOW. It’s not just Denny. It’s the actor who plays Denny; he breaks my heart too. I saw a preview with him and the *second* his face showed onscreen, my eyes filled with tears and my bottom lip started trembling and I had to grip the hand of the unfortunate person sitting next to me. (I’m a movie crier, PS. And not the pretty kind of crying where one tear falls in a sloooow, lovely trail down my cheek. Nope. I’m a *sobber*. A hiccupy, blotchy-faced, sniffling, breath-holding sobber. Just ask Miss D what happened when we saw August Rush. (Actually, please don’t. She almost decided to ask me to find a new place to live that night, I think. Never speak of August Rush to her at all. Ever.) So if you are ever with me at a movie and it’s *slightly* sad, please just know that I’ll be crying my eyes out and you might need to remind me to breathe. Honestly.)
I just realized I’m not as bad as my sister. All you have to do is *say* the words “Brokeback Mountain” to her and Ceci starts crying. And this is not a girl who cries at much, EVER. I mean, you can mention Denny to me. I can even talk about him. A little. Sort of. Hm.
Anyway. Yes, even just seeing the actor-Denny makes me sad. When I was home over the holiday, Mom took me to lunch and a movie to celebrate my birthday a bit early. We saw PS I love you and I think I cried throughout 93% of the film. Aside from the fact Denny is in this movie (and IRISH!!), the story is heart-breaking. Well. Heart-breaking if you are silly and get caught up in fictional stories like I do. Or if your emotions are easily manipulated (as mine are). Basic plot: girl meets boy, boy and girl fall in love, boy dies, boy speaks to girl from beyond, girl meets Denny, Alida cries, blah blah chickflickcakes.
My mother couldn’t believe my (over)reaction to this movie (and to actor-Denny). She kept telling me that Denny wasn’t real, that he didn’t really die, that I was being a little weird, honestly, if I stopped to think about it. And I know she’s right. So I stopped. To think about it. (Later, so that if I started crying again, I wouldn’t embarrass her in La Madeleine.) And finally I figured it out, why Denny’s death broke my heart, why a silly movie like PS I love you could cause me to dehydrate.
It’s very simple. It’s the portrayal of love. I’m not talking about the acting. It’s the way the idea of love is communicated in these things which, put simply, is this: love = certainty. That’s it. That is the thing that makes my heart break every time I see Denny flatline and the thing that kept the huge lump in my throat throughout the silly chick flick. The idea that true love, real love, lasting love is based on finding a person about whom you are *certain*. There’s no question of if this is the right decision because you know from the top of your head to the tips of your toes that you want to choose to love this person every day, for the rest of your days, all the way to forever. I’m not talking about soulmates because I really don’t believe in that. I think love is a choice and I think real love exists in the certainty of that choice. That’s what for better or for worse means, to me.
The rest of love, aside from the certainty? I’m not sure. I think it’s raw though. Gritty and raw. Because you are presenting yourself, naked and real and open and vulnerable to another person and saying, “This is me. This is who I am.” And to do that? To strip away the excess and remove the flair and present yourself at your worst as well as at your best? That takes balls. Which is important because I think you *have* to be tough in order to allow someone to be certain about you, to believe his or her certainty in *you*.
When you find that certainty, when you allow another person to see the Raw You, that’s when things change. That’s when you begin to adjust yourself to the other person, to stretch your life into new shapes so that your Someone fits. But you don’t realize you’re doing this because you’ve already decided that you are Sure. Your heart begins to beat in time with another heart but you don’t notice because you are Sure. And yes, as you move forward in this new life, things aren’t always going to be wonderful and schmoopy. Things are actually going to suck sometimes. But if you can find your center and if your center is Certain, then I think love will last. Because you’ll make the same choice again and again. You’ll choose your Someone.
I know this sounds a little naive but let’s call a spade a spade; I’ve always been a bit wide-eyed and naive. And while I’ve never experienced love in this way, I *am* certain it exists. It’s there. I can’t explain it but I feel it, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. So I’ll breathe in and out and I’ll live my life and experience people and love with abandon and not be afraid of falling sometimes.
And I won’t feel silly for crying in movies or for my broken heart over Denny’s death.
Because I’m Sure.