When I saw the movie Magnolia, I was too young to understand the meaning of this quote: “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.” It would take me years to truly comprehend it. But when I finally did, it slapped me in the face.

Things I’ve said or done, or the people whom I’ve tried to forget have always come back again at some point in my life. I may have considered myself done with the past, but the truth is we don’t really have a say in the matter sometimes. It’s unfair, it’s confusing and it throws our world into a tailspin in which there are no words. But how do we respond to it? Do we ignore it? Do we indulge? Do we defend ourselves? Or do we accept that certain things are out of our control? I don’t have the answer.

Despite everything, I received both an email and a comment on my personal blog from Swede last weekend:

“Call me. I’ll buy sushi.”

The comment came in just after midnight on a Friday; a Friday in which I was so hungover that I was dead asleep so I didn’t receive his invitation for sushi until the next morning.

As someone who is over-analytical, I read it 20 times. What did it mean? He wanted to know me again? He wanted to apologize? He missed me enough that he reached out to me?

Having changed my number to avoid any infiltration of him upon my life, I knew how to read between the lines. What he actually meant was: “I’m drunk. I want sushi. There is no place in Brooklyn that serves sushi at this hour, but there’s that place on 9th Street, the one we used to frequent, so let’s go there. Also, no one else is around, so you’re basically my last resort.” Yes, that’s what he meant.

Had I been awake, I would have taken him up on his offer, like the fool I am. I know it would have ended in both of us drinking too much sake, he wouldn’t be able to make it back to Brooklyn, so I’d offer him the convenience to spend the night at my place. He’d refuse to remove his jeans he never washes, so I wouldn’t allow him in my bed, and he’d pass out on the floor. I’d put a pillow under his head; a pillow that he’d toss aside in the middle of his sleep, we’d awake with me in my bed and he on the floor, and I’d be booking my next flight out of town. Yes, that’s how it would have happened. I’d bet my life on it.

When I told my friends about this, aside from them condemning any future contact with him, it was agreed that he doesn’t deserve to know me anymore. He doesn’t get to be privy to my life, unless he made the “grand gesture.”

In their minds, the grand gesture would be a detailed apology in words on paper, or a theatrical scene outside my window. But he’s Swedish, that is not how they roll. That is especially not how he rolls, so I can quit staring out my window.

It’s no secret how I felt about him, how I feel about him or the effect he continues to have on my life because I allow him to have the upper hand. But after lunch with a friend I realized, whether you’re a former friend, a former lover, a former whatever the fuck Swede was, you don’t get to have me back in your life so easily. I can buy my own damn sushi.

So for all of us who have been there and have given in, let’s recap some of the most famous “grand gestures” in film and television to inspire us to never settle for anything less. Like I said, I can buy my own sushi… and so can you.


Photo: AMC