“You mean you don’t have anything that you consciously avoid simply because it reminds you of something or someone you don’t want to think about?” Connor asked.
Laika looked at him like he was crazy. But, by now, Laika was used to hearing things like this.
“It’s just part of life. Things are always going to make you think about certain things. That’s just how life is. So, maybe, I guess. Maybe I do. I don’t know,” she answered.
“Like, seriously, to be honest, there I things that I know I love, but I just can’t enjoy them anymore,” Connor explained further. “It’s that whole ‘rabbit-hole’ thing. I get caught up in the memories of the first time I heard or watched it with someone else. It ruins everything.”
“I think you have some serious issues, Connor,” Laika said, trying to look into his eyes, but Connor’s eyes were somewhere else. “Like, when we sit down to watch a movie, I can tell that you actually want to watch something with me, but you stop and suddenly change your mind and decide to watch something else. And you pause before you actually stop, if that makes sense. Seriously, you have attachments to things that don’t make any sense. And they aren’t even—I don’t know. They aren’t even romantic movies, really. Well, maybe some of them are. That’s up for debate, I guess. But some of them are just movies.” Laika stopped suddenly. “They are just movies, Connor. But I’m not going to lie and say I don’t notice when this happens. It’s a real thing. It’s silly, but it does hurt me when I see you do it. You refuse to listen to bands even. And you know that they are good too. That’s the part that hurts. You’ll go so far as to say a band I like isn’t good just because it reminds you of someone else who hurt you. I don’t think you’ve ever gotten over anyone you’ve ever been with. That’s the part that hurts.”
Connor knew she was right. But he didn’t know exactly what she was right about. There wasn’t really anything about it that would make observing it or talking about it or noticing it wrong. But he knew something about what she was saying was right. It was something he needed to hear, even though it wouldn’t really fix anything about what he was actually concerned about. In his mind, it was like having a disease. It was something he wished a doctor could cure. Please, Doc. I just don’t want to have these associations anymore. Can I please just enjoy this movie again? I used to love it and now it hurts too much to watch. It sounded reasonable to him. The part that concerned him the most was that he knew other people didn’t think like this. At least not as much as he thought like this. However, he did have something that he wasn’t sharing with Laika. He had a secret list of things that he kept only to himself. He kept them so close to him that he never shared them with anyone else. Songs, bands, lyrics, books, movies, etc. They were things he would only watch and listen to by himself. He would never risk them being tarnished by sharing them with a relationship that could potentially go bad. He wanted them to be permanent. And that was something he cherished most about things he loved: He wanted them to be permanent. Sharing anything with anyone suddenly made them temporary. He saw everything in life as temporary. Except for the small things he knew only he loved in a way that was worthy. Songs and bands and lyrics and books and movies that he knew only he could fully appreciate. But over the years, he had lost a few of these precious things. Bands and musicians he’d loved essentially died to him because he had shared them with someone else. Someone temporary who he thought would be permanent. And it was all his fault. He failed to see that it was he who made these things temporary. It was he who ruined the relationships that ruined these precious things. He hated himself for loving someone so much that he felt tricked into sharing the things he loved even more. He missed everyone he’d ever pushed away. And he missed them because he wanted to love these precious things again, but no longer could.