It had been months since she left. I was sick of being miserable, sick of crying in the break room at work, sick of waiting (hoping) for her to call and tell me she was wrong and she wanted to come back to me. I was sick of waiting for the impossible to happen. I decided I needed to deal with my depression as quickly and efficiently as possible or I would never escape it. My solution was simple: I decided that I was living in a standard, formulaic romantic comedy. Instead of being merely a miserable spectacle, I could claim to be entertainment.
There are roughly eighty-seven trillion movies that can be classified as romantic comedies (most of them starring Ashton Kutcher), and they all follow the same basic formula: a Lovable Loser Guy thinks he's found the woman of his dreams, but just when he thinks everything is great, he gets dumped. The Loser Guy then spends most of the next ninety minutes suffering, pining for his dream woman, trying to figure out how to win her back, but failing with every attempt. Then, just when the Loser Guy is on the verge of giving up and swearing off women forever, a bizarre twist of fate causes the real Woman of His Dreams to show up. Loser Guy doesn't realize the she's the Woman of his Dreams immediately, and almost lets her go- but he figures it out just in time. He and the new, true Woman of His Dreams share a romantic kiss, instantly fall in love, and ride off into the sunset or blow up the Death Star or something.
So, I accepted that I was in a romantic comedy. I was the Lovable Loser Guy (but not Ashton Kutcher). I had completed principal photography of the "apparent woman of my dreams leaving" scenes, and was in the middle of the "suffering and pining for lost love" scenes. I still didn't enjoy them, but I was able to ride the misery out because I knew that wacky hi-jinks and True Love (True Love is always capitalized) were in my future- it was just a matter of waiting for the story to appear. In fact, in order for my theory to be proven correct, my job was to be completely unaware of the obvious- and I was really good at the oblivious Lovable Loser Guy role. I'm a natural.
The romantic comedy of my life would start with a flashback: A twelve year old kid who looks and acts suspiciously like a young Ashton Kutcher would be hanging out with his friends on a school playground. Somehow, he would bump into a girl, their eyes would lock, the music would swell, and the action would switch to slow motion, bright fuzzy light and happy colors, to signal to the assumed-to-be-brain-dead target audience that this is an important meeting. The boy would apologize quickly, the girl would accept indifferently, and they would both run off to rejoin their friends and forget the encounter- but the audience would remember.