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  • 'Sucker' - short story

    [linkstandalone] "Sucker," by Carson McCullers

    My thoughts: it's the story of Pete, who has an annoying-ass little 'brother' [technically cousin] who looks up to him, to the point where it gets irritating. At the same time, the dude has a crush on a pretty girl at school, Maybelle.. but she won't even give him any time of day, and the rejection hurts.

    In summary, she eventually warms up to Pete, and he treats his little brother likewise as images of her flood his mind with that summer's warmth. She breaks his heart though, as her feminine ambivalence sets in (#MGTOW), and she starts dating another guy.. leaving Pete in the cold. So Pete takes his feelings out on Sucker, lashing out at his brother's clinginess -- essentially turning Sucker into an angsty gangster manlet who hates his older bro's guts.

    What can I say? I've read this way back in high school, and from time to time, the short story stuck out in my mind. There's tons of times when I've read in the news that such-and-such tragedy happened, a murder-suicide, and one element which commonly occurs is the guy's girlfriend broke up with him. When you meet a beautiful girl, you can't help it -- your heart flutters in her presence as you unconsciously project all your best hopes and dreams onto her. As though she would carry you to the best places in your life.. if only you could get past her door of the law.

    "It is possible," the invisible gatekeeper goes. "But not now."

    Rationally, you'd feel waiting for the chance to see the riches beyond the door is a waste of time, but your heart compels you on, hoping you'd be the lucky one to unlock her feelings for you. Like queuing up for a match, maybe it'll be the win that'll get you to the next league. And then yes, she does let you in. It feels just as wonderful as you've hoped, getting to know the girl, and even better knowing the taste of her lips.. how warm and soft she felt, holding her in your arms (#FeelsGoodMan).

    At the same time, everything that has a beginning, has an end. That piece of heaven you've attained doesn't last forever, and a girl's heart is fickle, as you sense her love dying out, for one reason or another. She grows distant, puts you on hold. Yet no matter what you do - you could write the sweetest poems, play her favourite music or confide your heart's longings -- it doesn't rekindle, the sight of you doesn't make her happy, the way you once did back then.

    When you lose her forever, it feels like you've lost a whole world, and seems like nothing could douse the endless oceans, washing away the sandcastles you've grown in her name. It's often a common plot point when you see tragic stories regarding men. There's Cesar, in Abre los Ojos, who ends up isolated and commits suicide into a virtual reality. There's Brundle (The Fly) who tests out the teleporter out of drunken jealousy over a woman who shows interest in him. The entire story of A.I. from David's point of view is wanting his mother's love back after she leaves him in the woods, and in Cinema Paradiso, Salvatore never really recovers after leaving Elena behind in his teenage years.

    Now, I've glossed over the point of how Pete acts towards Sucker, and how their relationship mirrors how Maybelle treats Pete, yadadada. Other people have already written endlessly about that shit. But what this whole ordeal of love, attraction, adoration is, and the potential for extreme tragedy as the flip side of the coin.. it's human nature to want to find someone to wholly trust, and put your heart's faith towards. Maybe your family, a God, a close friend, your country's leaders. When attractive love comes into the mix though, you could easily dismiss it as just genetics, playing its part in wanting to reproduce, that is driving you so mad.

    But it's love. Perhaps the most purest emotion a person would have, over anything, as embodied within it is the reason to live itself. It can be argued that the opposite of love is not hate, or fear -- what you merely feel when what you love is deeply threatened -- but the sheer, absolute indifference of death, wounding the heart so deeply and painfully, needing to be conquered.

    You'd often hear how adults scoff at relationships and breakups made during school, but for kids and people who experience the need for that one girl (or guy) to look back at them, and say hello, it's a chance to be happy, to feel alive, and to feel wistful looking back, hoping it would last all the way through to summer..