I finished watching the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice last night - the version with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (yum!). Austen's classic was one of my most favorite books as a teen. It was almost an annual ritual to pull it off my bookshelf and reread the warped, dog-eared paperback copy. For a long time, Austen's humorously written story was my romantic road map and the unconventional, sharp-witted Elizabeth Bennett my role model. I just assumed that's how life worked itself out. The Janes of the world got their Mr. Bingleys and the Elizabeths got their Mr. Darcys. Happily ever after. End of story.
Misunderstandings are always corrected. Miscommunications always remedied. Harsh words are forgiven, as are deceptions. Love is only ever temporarily unrequited. And it all comes off as politely effortless. Just be true to yourself and the person you love will love you back…eventually. Of course, there need to be a few little obstacles along the way, but in the end those will only serve to deepen your love and inflate your happiness. Yep. Sounds good to me - sign me up!
After my first real heartbreak and the end of my first adult relationship, I clung to my naïve notions formed through the pages of P and P. When you so thoroughly convince yourself of something, it's tough to let it go, especially when it's something as glowingly enticing as the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I continually tried to draw comparisons and parallels between my fleeting relationships and theirs, attempting to make sense of the many "obstacles". Silly, I know.
At some point I glumly accepted Pride and Prejudice for what it is: a finely crafted piece of literature - not a blueprint for one's romantic career. And since then, the book has remained on my shelves collecting dust.
I don't quite remember what exactly prompted me to investigate the Pride and Prejudice mini-series (I'm sure Terah had something to do with it), but I'm glad I did. Watching the familiar story unfold was like catching up with a dear old friend over a cup of coffee. When it's been that long, you've both changed, but there's still a core of affection. And the betrayal I felt melted away as the characters re-established themselves in my heart.
Rekindling my relationship with P and P hasn't, thankfully, hurled me back to those teenage years of blindingly simplistic views of the path to romantic happiness. And I was relieved to discover that I am not so cynical yet as to reject the idea that maybe things DO work out …when they're supposed to.