Revelations - Sharks Chapter 8: Rom-Coms, Memoirs, and Superfriends
After the conversation at the bar, Maggie avoids Alex for over a week. At first it’s because she’s pissed, then it’s because she’s doing her homework, and then it’s because she’s planning for battle.
On that first night, she comes home, right after that horrible conversation at the bar, and – not that she’s proud of it – drinks herself into a stupor.
She’d told Alex that she was going to drink something hard and lose her cool when Molly had dumped her – and she certainly had – but tonight makes that night look positively PG. Tonight she nearly scuba dives into her bottle of bourbon and lets herself dig deep into pity and anger and her overwhelming need to stop feeling like this.
She finally stumbles to bed, still in her jeans, pleased that she’s too drunk to do something stupid, like set her Revelations journal on fire or call Alex and beg her for something.
She spends the entire next day nursing a truly horrible hangover. She snaps at everyone at the station, drinks enough coffee that she can actually feel her stomach lining starting to erode, and mutters obscenities under her breath about how her aging body is letting her down, and if her soulmate is going to be fucking heterosexual than the very least the universe could do is give her a body that doesn’t suffer from hangovers.
And that’s all just made her feel worse, so she decides as she rides her bike home, her head still throbbing, that tonight is the end of her pity party. Tomorrow she’ll pick up the pieces and start making plans. But for tonight, she’ll wallow.
So she figures she might as well do it right.
So she orders herself a large greasy pizza from a large greasy chain, even though there’s a perfectly good artisanal pizza place not too far way, and she eats it in bed, even though she has a perfectly good couch, and she watches a movie on her laptop, even though she has a perfectly good tv.
She tortures herself by watching the one almost-good lesbian soulmate rom-com (if you ignore their horrible outfits and the fact that literally everyone in the movie is white) from the mid-2000s.
And she’s always been pissed about all the movies about “lesbians” that have them being interested in men or involved with men or cheating with men, because that’s never been how Maggie’s done the whole lesbian thing. Maggie’s a gold star; she’d never needed to go on a mediocre date with a man or sleep with a man or marry a man to know that she liked girls.
She’s just always known.
But she’s halfway through her pity party and halfway through her pizza and halfway through her second beer when she starts watching the movie a little more closely.
Because one of the perky white women on the screen – the blonde – is super captivated by the other perky white woman – the brunette – even though the blonde is in the process of moving in with her boyfriend. That’s how they meet, of course. The brunette works for the moving company that’s doing the heavy lifting, so there are lots of gratuitous shots of arm muscles in tank tops and, oh yes, Maggie does remember why she always liked this movie.
But so the blonde is moving in with her boyfriend and it isn’t until she meets the hunky brunette with the (truly impressive) biceps that she starts to wonder.
Then there’s this scene that Maggie’s always hated – has, honestly thrown things at the tv during in the past – where the blonde pulls out her Revelations journal and re-reads all the clues out loud to herself and wonders if maybe she could have been getting Resonances of “woman feelings.”
And Maggie’s always hated it because “woman feelings” is such a stupid phrase and it makes no sense and feelings don’t have a gender.
But tonight she puts in a pin in that anger and she really watches this girl on screen. Really watches her page through this journal and really watches as the realization starts to come over her face.
Really watches her rewind and replay her whole life, looking for something that should have been obvious but never was. Really watches her wonder, for the very first time, if she’s been looking in the wrong place this whole time.
Really watches how scared she is. How upset she is. How nervous and confused she is. But, because Maggie’s really watching, she also sees the wonder that comes over her face. Sees something that’s wrapped up in fear now but will soon be pure excitement and awe.
And, of course, because this is the only almost-good lesbian rom-com, it does turn out she’s been looking in the wrong place. There are several more hijinks – and a coming out arc that feels so contrived and everyone is so weirdly supportive and it always makes Maggie cringe – but eventually they end up together.
And Maggie’s always though the brunette was too forgiving, was too naïve, for just embracing the blonde and literally u-hauling with her. Maggie’s always thought that the ending – that this would just work out for them – was unrealistic.
But she really watches it this time. She really watches the brunette decide to let herself be happy. She really watches as the blonde struggles to say it and the brunette just holds her and tells her that she gets it. She really watches as the brunette just assumes that everything will be okay.
And it’s always felt a little shitty – this movie, this plot, this thing. This idea that the world didn’t think there were enough people who’d want to see two out lesbians falling in love and finding their soulmates and both staying alive until the end of the movie, so they had to have this boyfriend thing.
But tonight it feels different. Tonight it feels hopeful, a little. Tonight it feels like maybe the blonde wasn’t just poorly written but maybe she’s just been a little lost her whole life. And like maybe the brunette isn’t just naïve but is also optimistic and just wants to give herself her best chance to be happy.
And Maggie’s known forever that the director is a lesbian, but she pulls her computer into her lap and she googles her and ends up in a Wikipedia rabbit hole, and what she finds knocks her on her ass.
She didn’t just direct it. She wrote it.
And it’s her story.
She’s the brunette, and she fell for the blonde, and the blonde had a boyfriend and was straight but they’re soulmates and, as far as Maggie can tell, they’re still together.
Maggie closes her laptop and she eats one last slice and she drinks one last beer and she stares at her wall and her mind just whirrs and whirrs and whirrs.