The Story of the Girl and the Boy
They were each born in the year of Ghostbusters, a fact that would prove to have much more value to one of them than to the other. Unfortunately, the only film from that year featuring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell was “Swing Shift,” which would hardly become one of her favourites. But that just meant the year would have to be significant for other reasons. And it was.
A boy and a girl.
They were raised on islands, both of them. They were even born on the same island, although given that its population must have been nearly 600,000 at the time, this was hardly a coincidence. It was more symbolic that they were both raised on smaller rocks in the sea, each in a home their father built for them, brought up in woods and on beaches by four remarkable people who would prove to be far more talented than their offspring at survival and homesteading. She would later be hard pressed to cultivate even a common zucchini plant, and he would never build anything larger than a breadbox.
The children had their own skills, though. They both read like fiends, and through their youthful years their bookshelves swelled and flowed over with novels that eventually filled the attics and basements of their parents, who were, of course, never allowed to throw them away. The knights and dragons that adorned the covers of his books were echoed on hers in the form of intrepid children and winged cats.
In addition to their love of words and the boundless imaginative realms they could conceive, they were both fond of creating worlds of their own. While she adorned clothespin people with pipecleaner limbs and placed them strategically in handmade villages, he drew expansive maps on construction paper and built Lego towers to the ceiling.
Without knowing it, they would both sit in their rooms at the exact same time, working on projects so similar that they could have been twins. And as they would play out their imaginary tales, their parents in the other room would be listening to Graceland, by Paul Simon.
Later in life, the boy would wonder if there was a new generation of children who would someday grow up and meet each other and fall in love, and have that same divine connection.
“Wait, your parents listened to dubstep remixes of Katy Perry songs? My parents listened to dubstep remixes of Katy Perry songs!”
Somehow, he thought, and pardoned the pun to himself, the Paul Simon album just had more grace.
They were alike in many ways, but would never know that for years to come, until long after they had met.
It was an acting class that brought them in contact for the first time. It was a path that neither would ever pursue, a hobby to pass the time, not a true passion. But sometimes the fields you explore and abandon are the ones that provide the finest fruit. The best thing that acting would ever bring either one of them was each other.
Not that they would know that.
As they grew and learned and formed themselves into something that resembled humanity (for children and teenagers are something ultimately alien to what we call the human race,) they maintained connection without contact, like two celestial bodies caught in each other’s orbits but unable to truly see each other across the distance of space. There were parties and classes where they saw each other, but never a time when they truly associated. They were each just stars in the other’s sky.
Both quiet, both shy, both embroiled in the fleeting romances and passions that come packaged with adolescent growth. They fluttered from crush to crush, pretending each time to find the new boy or girl of their dreams. Funnily enough, they spent many of their teenage years alternating the assumption that the other was deeply enamoured with them. It was a comforting deception that somehow bordered on prophesy. But in spite of all their worldly attachments, when their formative days came to a close and they found themselves thrust into the land of adulthood, they were each alone.
They had each other.
The friendship of convenience became one of necessity. They went off to college together, were in the same classes, transferred to university, always in constant formation. It was a coincidence perhaps, or perhaps it was foresight. It is possible that one of them, or both, had some inclination of the things to come, and saw fit to stay close to the other.
Either way, a few years passed in which they always had each others’ backs. Regardless of where they were, or what accidents they were committing, or who they were making mistakes upon, they were always there for each other, offering support and friendship and warmth.
And then one day that warmth became more important.
It became critical.
It was a big step, diving into this bottomless sea with someone whom you had always sat beside on the shore. Lifechanging. They trusted each other, though. The boy trusted the girl, and the girl trusted the boy. They dove.
At first, there was an explosion of joy. It was a remarkable time, full of wonder and exploration. They would laugh and joke and spend entire days in bed. It was as if they each had a secret access to a fairytale land, akin to those that they had both read about simultaneously when they were just children. It was as if they were children again.
But there was heartbreak as well. Just like children, they were sometimes careless with their toys. Sometimes they broke them without meaning to, or left them out in the rain. A month of delight gave way to a month of struggle. David Bowie played some small role in it, as can often be expected. But when the tears had dried, they were each still there.
A boy and a girl.
And they were together. The seed of those first months took root and bloomed into a love that would grow for years until it was taller than the tallest tree. He was fascinated by her. How could he resist such a sparkling paradox? A student of English who hated talking about books, who would read eight novels a month and promptly forget everything that was in the pages. A girl who loved eating but wouldn’t touch half of the food in creation, typically based on random associations, such as whether or not she had seen a photo of a moose on the same day that she first tasted a dish. A girl who loved the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki but despised cartoons. A girl who had no interest in video games and yet had beaten Nosferatu, the most infuriatingly difficult game on the SNES. How could he resist her? A girl who worried that she wasn’t funny and yet made him laugh every day. Real laughter, genuine laughter. As someone well practiced (he wouldn’t say skilled, necessarily) in the falsification of amusement, he placed great value on a real, truthful laugh.
And so he tested her. He thought that she must surely only be this wonderful under the right circumstances. He subjected her to a series of experiments designed to locate the point at which she ceased to be perfect.
While hiking, she was amusing. While playing baseball, she was a delight. Camping under the stars in conditions she was completely unused to, she was hilarious. Even when strongarmed into playing Dungeons and Dragons, she never failed to enchant him with her humour and charm.
He never did find the point.
And so he dedicated himself to her. He cooked for her, cleaned for her. He watched the shows she liked and rubbed her feet when she was tired. And even when she wasn’t. He chopped up close to two-hundred apples across a three month span and pretended to like eating them so that she could have dried fruit to eat too much of. He moved to the desert, where his lips peeled and his coastal instincts withered in the sun without the protection of the forest or the sea. And yet he did this happily, willingly, and he would live there forever if it was called for. Because she had asked him to. And he would do anything she asked of him.
This story, the story of the boy and the story of the girl, is not a story with an ending. Not a proper one, at least.
A good story would define a horrible conflict to challenge the duo. It would be literary to introduce some heartbreaking tragedy, to have a passing truck strike a stone in the wrong way, lodging in his nasal cavity and forever robbing him of the ability to smell freshmint.
At the very least an ending would be written in the tradition of the old stories. A happily ever after of sorts. But that phrase is just one of many. In Catalan, they say “and with a dog and a cat, the tale is finished.” In Czech they finish tales with “a bell rang and the tale comes to its end.”
This particular tale will finish with the Hungarian phrase that best completes this chapter in a story that will continue for as long as stories are told. The story of a girl and a boy.
Itt a vége, fuss el véle.
This is the end; run away with it.