I am in probably the strangest mood I have been in in a really long time. I don't even know how to describe it. I feel like a mix between sad, contemplative, and hopeless. And it's all thanks to a story. Since I've gotten home from school I have been pretty lazy, mostly I've been sleeping late and reading. A few days after I got home I read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" in less than 24 hours. It was by the same guy who wrote "The Kite Runner" and of course it was terribly sad, but it had a hopeful ending. It was about 2 women in Afghanistan who are married to the same terrible man. It was soooo good, I obviously couldn't put it down. It made me cry, like really cry. I've cried in books before, a few tears isn't uncommon, but at this one part near the end I had to put the book down and get a tissue I was crying so much.
Next I read "The Other Boleyn Girl." My mom had read it a few years ago, and she told me I would like it. So I read it all 600 something pages of it and loved it. It's about Mary Boleyn, the younger sister of Anne, Henry VII's 2nd wife. The whole book I knew that Anne was going to be beheaded thanks to Mr. Crook's little rhyme from 10th grade, and it was really good but sad too. Although sad, it ended with hope.
But then I got Atonement. I saw a preview for the movie months ago and of course I wanted to see it. A love story set in the old days with Keira Knightly and a cute boy and World War 2, totally my kind of movie. So with a gift card I got for Christmas from Barnes and Noble I went and bought the book. When I finished it, I didn't think it was as good as I had expected, but now that I realize that I can't stop thinking about it I like it more. Even thought it's terribly depressing. After everyone left my house Saturday night after watching the Aggies lose, I got ready for bed and finished reading Atonement at 2:30 in the morning. I had to wake up at 7:30 to go to church, then went to the Texans game and was in the sun a lot, so I thought I'd go to be early because it was a long day on less than 5 hours of sleep. But then I decided to see if I could watch the movie online, and I could. So I watched a bootleg version of Atonement where people moving up and down the rows in the theater blocked the view and the picture went in and out of focus and I couldn't read the subtitles when they talked in French, but I wantched it until late. And realized that I was so anxious to finish the book that I didn't read the ending right. Most of the movie was almost exactly like the book, the very end was understandably different because a character had to explain what happened rather than the narrator. But I read the ending of the book wrong. It was even more sad that I had thought.
After reading the last couple pages again, I realized that I was stupid, and then got really sad. The whole premise of the story is that Robbie and Cecelia are childhood friends, he is the son of her maid. One night they realize that they love each other and express this love, but Cecelia's little sister Briony is a little bitch. Briony thinks that she is protecting her sister, and in doing so tells a lie that sends Robbie to jail for 3 years. Cecelia separates herself from her family completely, and moves to the city to become a nurse. She and Robbie write letters to each other and finally meet when he is realeased. They only have a little time, she is on her lunch break and he was in the army now. It's the first time they see each other in 3 and a half years. Robbie is about to go to army training, and when he is done, he and Cecelia were going to spend a week in a house on the beach to finally have the time together that they dreamed of. But the war starts, and they never get that chance.
So 5 years after the lie is told, Robbie is in France, the army is reatreating and the only thing that keeps him going is his thoughts of Cecelia. His love for her is his motivation to keep going even though he is injured and starving and tired and has seen horrible, horrible things. So him and 2 others arrive in Dunkirk and wait for boats to carry them across the Channel. Meanwhile, Briony is training to be a nurse and at 18 realized the terrible things her lie caused. She wants to make amends with her sister. She doesn't expect forgiveness, but she hopes that maybe she can get Robbie's record cleared. Cecelia ddin't respond to her letter, so Briony goes and finds her sister's apartment. Briony starts to explain herself, and Robbie walks in. Robbie was alive and was with Cecelia. Cecelia had to hold him back from attacking Briony, he was so angry and rightfully so. The couple tells Briony that they will never forgive her, but gives her directions on how to explain things to their parents and the police. And then Briony leaves and Robbie and Cecelia have a few hours together before he goes back to the army.
Then it fast forwards 59 years. Briony, who was always writing as a child, is an old woman who has written her last novel entitled Atonement, the book you had just read, the part of the movie you had just seen, was Briony's novel. But there was a big difference between the story and the truth, the part that I misread the first time. Briony never went to visit her sister, Cecelia and Robbie never had one last time together. Robbie died the night before the army left Dunkirk. In the movie it shows him not waking up, holding all of Cecelia's letters in his cold hands. And Cecelia was killed a couple months later when London was being bombed by the Germans. The first time I realized that they both died, but I guess I didn't fully grasp that they never had those final couple days together. It's just soooo sad. Because of a wicked, wicked lie that Briony told, Robbie never got to go to medical school, never got to marry Cecelia like he wanted to so badly. His life, and in turn Cecelia's life, was ruined. They never got their week by the sea, they had a few moments in a library, and a few more over tea. Their story was sad, but unlike most books I have read there was no hope in the end. They lived apart, and they died apart. Right before the movie ended it showed Robbie and Cecelia by the cottage on the beach that they should have spent a week. They are laughing and playing by the water, in love and happy. That never happened, and watching it was sad.
This was sad enough, but then I got even more depressed. This is just a story, but how many thousands of men did not return home to their sweethearts, their wives, their mothers, their sisters. And how many of the soldiers did come home to find their loved ones had not made it. This during every war, happening right now. Then I got even more sad. I am a ridiculously hopeless romantic. Absolutely hopeless. I can watch movies with happy endings, I can write stories that end at the worst hopeful, but they aren't real. Robbie dying the night before he would have returned to Cecelia, although fictional in this case, that was real for many people. Half of marriages end in divorce, that is real. The fact that I will not get my Cinderalla ending, that is real. I'm too wrapped up in daydreams and stories and movies. I worry about not meeting the guy I'm going to marry before I get out of college. I can dream and fantacize and daydream all I want, but it's not real.
I just feel so weird. I've never felt like this. I keep thinking about what a little bitch Briony is, how she ruined Robbie and Ceceila's lives. But that's just a book, just a movie. Then I think of Robbie lying dead on the ground when people are leaving for home, holding on to all he had of his love. Then I thought of the movie "All Quiet on the Western Front" where the main character was the last soldier killed before peace was declared. Somebody had to be the last one. They were hours away from home, but didn't make it.
I don't like this way I'm feeling, but I can't stop thinking about Atonement. I have a runny nose and a little bit of a sore throat and all I feel like doing is lying down and watching Project Runway. I just hope tihs passes and I can go back to my happy daydreams. Although I know that I'm silly and foolish and naive and dumb, I didn't feel like this.