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I’m sentimental.

I get attached to things and people.

I pretend to be a pessimist, but I’m really an optimist. I want to believe the best about people, that things will work out, not because they always do (they often don’t) but because, in an ideal world, they should. In Hollywood they do. Doesn’t (shouldn’t) love trump all?

Should I blame Hollywood for thinking that tearful reunifications are not only meant to happen but are a good idea? Should I blame Hollywood for thinking that obstacles and incompatibilities are just quirky plot points meant to delay that inevitable joyful reunification? Should I blame Hollywood for allowing me to hope that maybe, one day, my life will feel like an ideal world if I only make the right choices?

In Hollywood, if you don’t close the door all the way, it’s usually a good thing — unless it’s the only thing standing between you and a serial killer. But I don’t live in a horror movie. I don’t know a single virgin who has been murdered in the woods or in a basement. I keep thinking (hoping) that I live in one of those rom com ensemble pieces where misunderstandings are wrapped up by narrative’s end (if not before), with love and hugs and kisses and uplifting music, and so slamming doors, saying permanent goodbyes, would actually disrupt the plot, would break the rules.

Other than Janet Leigh in Psycho, main characters aren’t supposed to disappear halfway, and if they do, it’s because they are supposed to come back — with a tearful yet surprising (although not really because we saw it coming) reconciliation. In the movies, doors are only closed half way. In the movies, true love perseveres. In the movies, true love never dies.

But in real life? You bet it does.

Stubborn adherence to Hollywood trope just ends up wasting time and causing endless heartache because in real life, casting is built on the musical chairs principle.

But I’ve never been good at games — or letting go. I crave consistency. I want (need) people to stick around. I don’t like switching out one person for another — I want to keep them both. I don’t want things to change.

So what do I get out of this? Usually, relationships drag on way longer than they should. Usually, I get my heart broken two, three, ten more times than necessary. I’m just terrified of letting go too soon. I’m just terrified of losing someone before the narrative is fully complete. I’m just terrified of closing a door on someone who isn’t meant to go.

Does this make me an optimist? Or does it just make me an idiot?