John Hughes Did Not Direct My Life Or, A Girl And Her Desire To Recapture The Maybe

I had this bad habit.



Two cups of Cuban coffee will send me to rehab….as it rightfully should because if you make it right, that shit is rocket fuel (I love you, Havana. Never change).


You know how some people wear their hearts on their sleeves? Well, I’m the girl who took it a step further. Sleeves are for rookies. I basically slapped a bow on mine and handed it off with nothing more than a, “Dude, seriously. Be careful…”

Needless to say, this doesn’t always work out as well as anticipated and as a result, I’ve done a little masonry and put up a bit of a wall.

Made of Supermax concrete with barbed wire lacing across the top.

Little girl
Little girl
Let me in?
Not by the hair on my chinny-chinny-chin (I’m ethnic. We’re hirsute. What do you want?)

I didn’t even realize just how high these walls were until a couple of months ago.

I was watching Sliding Doors – an innocuous bit of late 90s fluff starring Gwyneth Paltrow – and charmingly cheeky Scotsman James (John Hannah) gets into a misunderstanding with Helen (Paltrow with her sterling English accent).

So, he heads over to her place, bangs on the door and starts howling for her.

I managed to both roll and cut my eyes simultaneously (a fancy bit of ocular yoga if there ever was one) and huffed, “Please. That would never happen.”

Because it wouldn’t. No-one would show up at your door and bang away as if seeking any port in a storm.

People don’t do that.

They send text messages. They leave voicemails. They email.

No-one shows up at your door with a boombox or flowers or even an apology. It just isn’t done.

Seeing this on-screen irked me and I reacted to it in a way I never have before – weary disbelief.

I never used to be like this.

I was the girl who believed in silly little love songs and movie endings. If your life wasn’t cinematic, well – that just meant you weren’t trying hard enough and I tried really damn hard to bring that sense of magic into my life.

I was the proto-Taylor Swift…without that obnoxious “Ohmygod! Really?!” face she does every five minutes….and the millions of dollars…and the annoying penchant for writing contrived, shitty songs about her exes.

Then, adulthood smashed into me and totally disabused me of that belief.

I know movie endings don’t happen in real life. That’s why they’re the movies, right? They’re escapist. I mean, I’m a smart girl. I minored in cinema studies. I get it.

I know that my one true love will never lead me safely through the Fire Swamp or engage in a battle of wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line.
He will never race through the streets on New Year’s Eve to find me, kiss me and tell me that he loves that I get cold when it’s 62 72 degrees out or that he loves that after spending the day with me, he can smell my perfume on his clothes.
He will never get off the train in a completely different country just to keep talking to me.

This doesn’t happen. I know this, but in the back of my head – I always kinda sorta believed it might.

Then, I stopped believing in the might. The maybe. The hope and the promise and the sheer, dumb serendipity of it all.

It got lost and idiot that I am, I didn’t put a tracking chip in it so I have no idea how find it.

I don’t want to be like this.
I want to be the girl who understands that it probably won’t but maybe, just maybe…

So, how does one recapture hope?

Maybe I have approach it A Clockwork Orange style – forcing my eyelids open while marathon-watching Love Actually, The Notebook, Dirty Dancing and Sleepless in Seattle? But, I get the feeling that would just result in dry eyes and a desire to listen to the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (Look, if Hungry Eyes doesn’t do it for you, your soul is dead).

Maybe I have to stop mocking those shitty romance novels and actually read one….but no. Yeah. No. That’s just not gonna happen. If I’m looking for love stories – I skew towards Bukowski writing about Jane or Bourdain writing about pork.

Maybe I have to ixnay the Jay and ‘Ye and incorporate a little more John Legend into my life. This might actually work because the new John Legend? Kinda legit.

Or maybe there is no answer. Maybe it’s just something I have to figure out by living, man. L-I-V-I-N’….which is a real sonofabitch because let’s face it, a rom-com movie marathon takes a weekend but that whole living thing? Takes pretty much your whole life.

One thought on “John Hughes Did Not Direct My Life Or, A Girl And Her Desire To Recapture The Maybe

  1. I’m writing this on my phone – a nice way to explain why it may be disappointing. First – I’m happy to read the adult joshii, i tend to remember my former students the way they were and then I realize – they’re 30 …..30. I know that number is not as dramatic for you as it is for me. But i have to remind myself that people change and what happened a decade ago may have nothing to do with today.
    It may have been Vonnegut that said there’s nothing wrong with being child-like, those seem to be the people with all the big ideas. But he’s was also divorced and said to his ex, I’m sorry I couldn’t be every person you wanted me to be. I guess my point is – you can still save The Joshii, the writer with the child- like belief in the world, and not have the child-like belief in romance. Those two can exist without each other. Relationships are messy, and always will be. After all, ” it’s a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” If Ulysses Everett McGill can figure that out, then we probably all got a chance to.

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