The Season of Magical Thinking
The dawning of a love story. She watched the film again and again. She couldn’t really relate, yet she liked it. She wouldn’t let the opportunity pass by. She’d make sure the sun would rise. Yet she loved them, because they were different to what she knew. Things will magically fall into place. That was the general idea. If it’s meant to happen, it will. Pure logic. Not so logic, after all. Logic functions differently, coming from the subconscious. Its laws may be absurd, or subjective, yet meaningful, in a way that’s more important than objectivity or clarity. On that level, what counts is the meaning. Hope comes through associations and logical leaps, through magical thinking, as soon as the hidden meaning is revealed. Fate will prove us right.
That’s when she thought of it as a masterpiece. Jesse wrote a book about them. In fact, he wrote the book for them. A gift to a love unfulfilled. It was time he sacrificed, yet it wasn’t a sacrifice at all. Time would pass, even if Jesse didn’t intend to kill time. It wasn’t a sacrifice at all. He only gave time the meaning he wanted. Introverts long for connection, yet they prefer to connect alone. Then came awkward moments of communication in person, until they didn’t count as people anymore. Until they exposed themselves, jumping over the walls they had built.
Before Midnight: She instinctively didn’t like the third part. It took her some time to realize why. She couldn’t relate, although the characters tried hard to be relatable. It was that effort that annoyed her. In the end the outcome seemed inevitable. You can’t escape that fate, of becoming like everyone else. It was that kind of acceptance that annoyed her.
Even the best of relationships end up to this. The characters never claimed they were perfect. Reality always beats you down in the end. Years later, they were another neurotic midlife couple she’d despise, had they met in person. She was thankful she only met them in the film.
The fantasy was over. Magical thinking proved fruitless. She had spent her life mourning over a collapsing civilization, hoping that somehow her hopes would reverse the narrative, that they would bring back what was lost. He whole effort included just hope.
Most people loved the movie. They identified with the characters. She didn’t.
The love story of her generation transformed into the nightmare she’d tried to escape. Walking though midlife herself, the film imposed a difficult request: acceptance of failure. Her generation had failed. Most people her age had come to terms with this realization.
Not her. She refused to grow up, nor to give up.
To her, that was the end of a season: the end of magical thinking.
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist. Her work can be found in many journals and anthologies, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Maudlin house, Menacing Hedge, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry Fiction and others. She’s the managing editor of Storyland Literary Review. https://www.facebook.com/milevaanastasiadou/