I was made to believe our love would grow old

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The film ends with a shot of this very ordinary apartment building, in some very ordinary kind of street, in some sort of very ordinary city. Well, that city. The one they’ve been moving around. The light is kind of washed out and grey, but it makes the red she’s wearing stand out. She’s tired looking, but still quite beautiful in a crooked kind of way. A couple of the locations seemed a bit mundane, but people who know the town are getting nostalgic seeing their familiar streets as something a little more exotic, more filmic, than they’re used to. That restaurant with its cranky cool staff. That sleazy strip of shops. The invisible, zealous parking inspectors.

They’re standing outside the apartment block, he’s arranging stuff in the back of the car, while she gathers together her things. No one really knows where it’s going – where they’re going – but it’s pretty damn romantic and even the boyfriends in the audience are coping at this point. Because they’ve come around on her sad/happy/crazy and he is, in the end, a pretty cool guy and even the really tough, dragged-along-to-this-movie-guys liked that dumb scene when they ran to the end of the pier, stupid and happy and blindly competitive. It didn’t feel too cheesy because they didn’t look cool while running, there wasn’t any wind blowing anyone’s hair about photogenically; they looked stupid and real, like two happy Labradors. And, fuck, she really hit the ground when she fell. Oh, yeah, and sometimes they wish their girlfriends could shop that fast. Shopping sucks.

There’s some folksy, light guitar music playing in an apartment nearby, it floats down into the car park in a muffled, muted way. The camera pulls out from being in the car where they were talking, to rolling around the side of the truck and then up. Then there’s this great shot from above, where this music is all French and floaty and they’re just organising things, but it’s a bit of a ballet when seen from above. Neither of them really wants to go, so they take their time arranging themselves. The audience notices things: a motorcycle nearby with red and orange flames licking the engine’s paint job and a numberplate that reads “FIFI”; the pot plant of flowers resting, inexplicably, on the back of the cherry red Volkswagen parked in bay 23; the occasional loud cries of a baby in an upstairs apartment in the block. Everywhere it seems like there is life. And strange, beautiful, ordinary dumb things that just seem really nice right now. Not sickly, but great like we’ve all felt it before, even if we haven’t appreciated it.

And that’s where it ends. He’s finished arranging the stuff for the drive home. She’s got her bags neatly stacked by her feet. They won’t see each other for a while, and it’s unlikely to work out. Pessimists think that this is all they’ll have and, in the end, it will torture them: what could have been but wasn’t. And wouldn’t have been anyway, not according to the pessimists. They’ve just idealised it that way. Love is about bills. And coping. The interminable boredom of waking up next to that person you just don’t feel all that much about any more. Optimists think things are going to go somewhere from here. It won’t be easy, because then they’d have covered it in the film, but they think he might go with her. But not right away. Later. Much later. Or maybe she’ll go with him. Or maybe she’ll come back. Or maybe no one will go with anyone. But instead of feeling tortured by it, they’ll both remember it in different places, in different countries, with different, other lovers and that will be okay. They’ll have been in the ring. So it won’t matter, really, if it actually works out. Or so they argue over coffee afterwards. One says it’s pap and delusion, the other thinks it wasn’t that bad – that it was hopeful and, sure, sentimental, but since when has actually feeling something been that bad?

He turns to her and smiles. She smiles back.

The women in the audience, some picking up their handbags in anticipation of the credits, hope that they’ll kiss one last time and it’ll be this long, gorgeous kiss with her hands on his each side of his face and his arms wrapped around her body. They wish someone would kiss them like that, although they know it’s just a movie kiss. The guys in the audience wonder why they don’t race upstairs and have one more, rapid, crazy shag. He’s fucking late anyway. In the end, some of the women in the audience feel the same.

Of course, no one really knows what they do. Because she smiles at him, and then he smiles at her and tilts his head a bit to the side, with the music like grey-blue air around them and the baby crying and the strange, novelty vehicles abounding.

And that’s where the film ends.

But whatever.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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