“Theres nothing like a first kiss.” It's true. And when Drew Barrymore speaks that line in the movie 50 First Dates, she reminds us all how great it feels to fall in love for the first time. If you've seen the movie, you may recall that her character is suffering from amnesia and the short term memory loss it causes her means that every day of her life is a clean slate. She has absolutely no memory of the day before, nor does she realize she is living the same day over and over again, repeating the same things. She goes to the diner and eats the same breakfast, and the same man (played by Adam Sandler) tries to win her heart. Eventually, he does win her heart, but unlike most guys, he has to win it all over again the next day. And the next, and the next. He finally has the brilliant idea to make a videotape (yes, the film released in 2004 and they had video back in those days) for her to watch every morning. When she wakes each day, she can pop in the tape and be reminded of who she is and who she is dating. This helps to avoid awkward moments like the time she woke up in bed with her boyfriend and started screaming in terror at the stranger beside her. (Although, I do admit to having done this myself in the past and I didn't even have amnesia.) But basically, she starts every day of her life anew. In some ways this seems really frightening, and it is certainly sad not to be able to build memories with someone. There is something deeply human and satisfying about sitting on the porch with the person you've made a life with and remembering the fond times you've shared. On the other hand, there is something wonderful about the idea of getting to fall in love for the first time every day, too.
Falling In Love Everyday...For the First Time
Do you remember the first date you went on with your ex? I remember mine. It wasn't a typical date, and maybe it wasn't a date at all, technically. He had hired me to model for a portrait he was painting, and when the session ended, we opened a bottle of wine. We talked for hours about everything, and didn't part until after midnight. He walked me home, and I called him on the phone to say thank you after he left. We didn't hang up until five in the morning. Less than a year later, we were married. Obviously, it didn't work out, but even in successful marriages, no one can replicate the feeling of the first date, or the first kiss. Since my divorce, I haven't wanted to start over with someone else. The years of effort in getting to truly know someone, and trust someone, just seems too daunting. I already have eight years of memories with the person I was married to, and I still don't see the point in trying again. In the movie, Drew Barrymore's memories are erased every night when she goes to sleep, so anything her husband said or did that day don't matter at all when she wakes up in the morning. If only we all could have the irritating or hurtful things our spouses do be erased in the night, then divorce probably wouldn't exist. I guess that's why the relationship experts say you shouldn't go to bed angry. Unfortunately, during my married years, I often did just that.
The Thrill of The First Date
Since I don't suffer from amnesia, I can't fall in love with the same person everyday as if for the first time. And as I said, I am not ready to commit to someone new. That doesn't mean I don't miss the feeling of a first date, and the hope that maybe this time it just might work. There is something magical in that hope, because it's the great sense of possibility. It's a present not yet opened, a party that hasn't happened yet, the first rays of sun in early morning. These are the moments we live for, because they make us feel alive. Anything can happen. Which is why, still reeling from divorce pain, I have decided to simply enjoy that feeling of possibility. I may not be ready to share a life with someone, but the hope that comes with a first date might make me feel alive again. A first date with someone who doesn't know anything about how I always forget to put the toothpaste cap back on, and leave cabinet doors open. A first date where neither of us have heard each other's same old stories, but listen earnestly to those stories for fascinating glimpses into each other's lives. No, I can't deny the excitement of a first date. Maybe I'll go on fifty of them.
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