"If happy ever after did exist
I would still be holding you like this..." ― Maroon 5, Payphone
Ah, the HEAs. As we submerge ourselves in the wondrous worlds of storytelling, we expect them. We crave them. We count on them. To see the heroes triumph and the villains fall is a need deeply ingrained in our subconscious. We've been conditioned to expect this outcome ever since we were trusting toddlers and listening to our favorite fairy tales. It is a fantasy that enchants us and gives us comfort. More importantly, it gives us hope. As satisfying as inhaling deeply on a warm, breezy day, pumping our lungs full of spring. After all, hope is that inhale; it sustains us, drives us forward, moves us past challenges and disappointments of every day life, pumps our sails full of courage to reach for our dreams. Hope is a powerful force! It is also remarkably resilient and will survive almost anything. Even hard lessons taught to us by experience. Often, it is so incessant that it borders on insanity.
Case in point. No matter how many times I watch Romeo and Juliet films -- Franco Zeffirelli's moving rendition of the classic tale, Baz Luhrmann's shocking punkish extravaganza, writer Julian Fellowes' gorgeously filmed vision -- each and every one of them makes me bawl. Because each and every time, I feel the impossible hope that today, the story might be told differently, that today, Juliet and her Romeo might get their Happily Ever After. At my age, I really should know better. They die and the tears come flowing. Last weekend, I dragged my thirteen-year-old (the age of Juliet!) Ptichka into this madness, and we both got misty-eyed at the end of the movie and had to console ourselves with Dove dark chocolate hearts. Lots of hearts. Chocolate cures all woes. Chocolate and hope.
Dasha loved the film. Surprisingly, her favorite character was not swoony Romeo or sweet Juliet, but Romeo's scheming, well-meaning confidante Friar Laurence played by delightful Paul Giamatti. I watched her watching the story with bated breath, saw that bright, fervent light shine beneath her eyelashes and felt an invisible thread of hope tying us together, connecting us; though at times, I couldn't keep from mumbling under my breath, "Darn kids! If only they had better parental supervision!"
Coincidentally, Dire Straits' Romeo & Juliet happens to be one of my all-time favorite songs. It's just so beautiful, so romantic and absolutely perfect for those of us who ardently believe in HEA, even if it is only a faint flicker of hope far off on the horizon.
Dire Straits' cover by The Killers.