Show Me Which Constellations You Know, A Denouement

Eternal Sunshine 1

Eternal Sunshine 2

Eternal Sunshine 3

People always say that this song or that book or some movie is a sto­ry about them­selves in some way. One of my friends is tru­ly deter­mined that his life has been proph­e­sied in the eight and a half minute rock-opera Paradise By The Dashboard Lights. My sto­ry was told in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, but it was­n’t any­thing with as much grandeur, it was sim­ply about a girl.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the sto­ries them­selves, but the details of each sto­ry that give them such relat­able con­vic­tion. In Paradise By The Dashboard Lights, Meatloaf sings about a coerced com­mit­ment lead­ing to an even­tu­al eter­ni­ty spent with the wrong per­son because of a stub­born, but more impor­tant­ly moral, refusal to break a promise. The prog­nos­ti­ca­tion of these par­tic­u­lars sends my friend sweat­ing when­ev­er he hears the song.

For me, it took the form of pangs, from the details of Clementine’s char­ac­ter. The fucked up girl look­ing for her own peace of mind, who applies her per­son­al­i­ty in a paste. A per­son who keeps you off bal­ance, always guess­ing, and con­stant­ly frus­trat­ed. A girl who sends off sirens in your brain telling you to run as far as you can before you get burned, but you stay any­way, against all log­ic, resigned to the even­tu­al fate.

And here I was, wait­ing to be saved, think­ing she’s a con­cept, or she’ll com­plete me, or she’s going to make me feel alive. When it did­n’t work out, I used to say that it was for the best, that I was in it to have no regrets, but it was real­ly because I could­n’t leave. I was drawn mag­net­i­cal­ly, inex­plic­a­bly, to the last per­son to deserve even the effort of all the torn up thoughts.

To the one that got away.

On the week­end, I dis­cov­ered that I could final­ly watch Eternal Sunshine with­out those pangs when I had felt them for so long, even when I already knew how impor­tant it is not to for­get these expe­ri­ences, as Joel fig­ures out while hid­ing Clementine in his sub­con­scious. All the resid­ual emo­tions have passed, and now I can talk, and laugh, and think, and share the expe­ri­ence like an embar­rass­ing ado­les­cent mem­o­ry. It only took two years.

Everybody’s got­ta learn some­time.


  1. I was going to write about this, but could not string the words togeth­er.

    Everybody’s got­ta learn some­time, yes.

  2. Time heals all wounds. Unfortunately, no one can define time. It varies in each sit­u­a­tion and creeps up on us until, one day, we sud­den­ly real­ize the pain is gone. I’m glad your pain is gone.

  3. Heh, I’m recent­ly going through some uh, “rough times” and my friend and I had just now (before i read your entry) dis­cussed how each time we have to re-learn it all over again.

    But it’s always won­der­ful when you real­ize the hurt is gone. To have the tor­ment on your dai­ly mind dis­ap­pear. That feel­ing how­ev­er is eas­i­ly for­got­ten when we move back into the next sit­u­a­tion which may or may not thrust us back to where we’d just been from again. Vicious cycle real­ly.

  4. I wish I could say that the hurt was eas­i­ly for­got­ten, but it con­tin­ued, even through anoth­er rela­tion­ship. How strange it feels to final­ly be free now, although all the more reliev­ing because of it I’m sure.

  5. this is the most beau­ti­ful blog post ive ever read.

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