"I will always remember St. Swithin's Day..."
People tend to remember a date that made an influence to their lives. David Nicholls emphasized so in his novel that spanned twenty years. Meet Em and Dex - a "failed" dating status turned best of friends and best of lovers.
Dexter Mayhew will always be the rude guy, the guy you tend to hate but love at the same time. He has his ways of defining success, happiness, and learning.
Emma Morley will always be the geek girl, hoping of higher dreams, the girl you tend to learn to love and hate at the same time. She has the way of zoning friendships, frustrations and her feelings for her special people.
Em and Dex met one day at the grounds of Edinburgh University, where Em's friends is crazy in love with Dex's friend - putting them both in an awkward position. It was a windy summer (yes windy, since I experienced standing on the same ground on the same time these two met. I felt the feeling)
Em, believing in true love and making love - did not make out with Dex (and Dex, being the fast-guy, was disappointed at that time). They just decided to be friends.
And Em, as awkward as she will be (yes, girls are like that - and girls will be girls) "discussed" to him about dreams and her will to change the world. Yet, as young as she is - she wants to feel the romance as genuine as it was.
And there you go - the next morning, they went to Arthur's Seat (yes, too windy when I went there - and I was wet because of the rain in the middle of the Summer in Scotland! But it was fun)
Five years went on with their lives, Dex worked his way to be a TV Presented. Em sunked herself and her dreams in a Mexican Restaurant reeking of stale cheese.
"Everyone's lost as 25", Dexter told Emma. And all the while, Emma thought that message was only applicable to her. Little did she know that it was applicable to Dex, too. She did not know if whatever Dex is doing, though as BIG as he was at that stage of his career, he hasn't found true happiness and true romance yet.
And because of Em in the middle of depression, they decided to take a vacation - with discretion bounded by the rules of engagement:
2. No flirting
3. No skinny-dipping
4. No playing scrabble
It turned out that their paradise broke all the rules except scrabble. Both enjoyed the sea and view, both puzzled when they returned to their real lives.
After the vacation, and after pushing their wishes out into the world, Em felt breaking free from being a waitress to being a teacher. Dex, in the middle of flirting and fame, didn't mind the consequence.
And three years later, at 28, they met again. Em, declaring, she has found a place in this world, Dex, not realizing his place is never permanent.
"Those who can, DO; and those who can't - TEACH."
Dexter, in those exact words, ruined Em's aspirations and hope for a wonderful friendship and a possibility of a wonderful romance.
Three years of not meeting, not speaking, no letter-writing.
At 31, they met, reconciled, and restored whatever is left between the two of them. The caveat is Dex was the first to assume that he has found true happiness - in a woman named Sophie. And he is to be married.
Uhhm, I think I have to stop. I don't want to share the rest of the story as I cannot bear the moment Dexter handed over the lavender-scented wedding invitation reeking of Cash on top of the Somerset house (Yes, I was also there. I felt that feeling of escape in the middle of a party, finding my own spot - thinking about things and life in general)
I do not want to pattern my life with David Nicholls' novel. I've already experience that "Lost at 25" and I do not want to ruin a friendship - or receive any lavender-scented wedding invitation.
What I wanted is to go back to the Royal Mile, hoping for a wonderful friendship and romance. No forward-looking, no saving-the-world-calling, no career-pursuing. Just me and him - kissing and wishing that the world just stop, giving everything.