are the personifications of cliches, living a cliched story in a
cliched world. He's of the tall, dark and silent type; she's a
femme fatale with all the trimmings and they will soon find out how
great they are together in bed. We know how it started and we know
how it will end, and frankly, they know it as well.
Her high heels click as she walks on the tiled floor, carrying a martini over to the table where he sits, morosely pouring amber liquor into a tall glass. They exchange harsh words, threats and hideous lies. But of course, she sits down and taunts him a bit more, waiting for him the break. And when he does break, grabbing her neck to make a point, we know where they'll be headed. We know it the instant when they make physical contact, when his face is much to close to hers, when she can smell the scotch on his breath, see the madness in his eyes. It is the start of many wrong things, as they are soon to find out while gasping for air between his sweaty sheets.
But that's to be expected when a fallen hero meets the dark temptress. He gets seduced, falls into a life of sin and suffering, until his friends come for him and banish the wicked witch. He'll rise again above the scum and throw off his cloak of iniquity. He'll be a man who has been pulled to the dark and managed to free himself.
She, on the other hand, has no such luck for redemption. She is the dark, the evil and no matter if or when she repents, she will always have that burden of past evildoings upon her shoulders. Because she dirtied the supposedly pure white soul of a good man (even though it was already a shade of grey when she got to it); it will stick to her.
As she lies in his bed, in a stale apartment smelling of old books and beer, we reflect on these things and know them to be sound and true. Unless she can stop them, that is. But that would break a cliche, and cliches are unquestionably hard to break. She'll just have to work at it.
Now she turns to look at him lying next to her, his chest gleaming with sweat and eyes gleaming with lust. She leans over and bites his ear, enjoying his quick intake of breath and the way he glanced over her body. We know how she'll get him on his knees, begging like a dog for just a little bit more; to crawl into her bed and stay there until the worst is over. Addicted to her to the point where he can't focus without her touch. The power that she'll have over him... it's such a turn on.
We see this all and take it in, and agree with her conclusion. He'll be easy. Everyone concurs with this except for the man in question. He disagrees.
It takes many weeks until we realize that she's been screwed. Before, coming to his apartment was just a casual game, where they released pent-up energy and traded barbed insults.
How many times has she walked into his apartment and enjoyed his paroxysms of lust? They've thrown each other on the bed and ruthlessly used each others' bodies, wrestled on the carpet for the dominant position and felt rug burn on their thighs for days. They've also lain quietly together with gentle kisses and arms intertwined in a semblance of peace that wasn't just an act for her at least.
Nowhere did she or anyone else for that matter see this coming. The predator protecting the prey? This is against nature, against reason, against social morals, against common sense.
We cluck our tongues sympathetically. The dark temptress has fallen for her victim. What dramatic irony! This certainly isn't the typical good-man-meets-bad-woman-who-drags-him-down-to-the-depths-of-sin story anymore.
We can see she's very angry. This isn't a cliche anymore.
How could she have fallen in love with him as his guide down to Hell?
We think back to the start of this whole affair to try to figure out how the cliche was broken, how she fell for him. Misery loves company, and they are both miserable. That's a simple answer.
Or is it that despite what they say, they are two rather similar individuals? They enjoy the same type of music and movies, share the same political thoughts, read the same kind of books, and they are a very handsome couple.
But there has to be more. More than skin deep, he has the cunning and deviousness to become what she has become. And she has the ability to change and turn into a good person. They meet somewhere in the middle. He gets darker, while she gets lighter. In the color scheme they are still shades of grey.
Why does she love him? Is it because realizes they're so alike? Or is it because she takes care of him? Yes, she takes care of him. It may not be so obvious to us, but she gives her time and effort and watches over him in her own twisted way.
It's been a long time since she's been affectionate to another creature and she's a little rusty. But she tries. She tries to make a dent in his armor, bringing him a gift of ancient armor. She spares his green friend from death at the risk of looking affiliated with him. She routinely shows up to his apartment, never missing an appointed day unless an errand of evil interrupts it, which is the part he doesn't like, she guesses.
It goes on for so long, and he never realizes it. She didn't kill his green friend, she stays in bed and cuddles, she brings him gifts, looks at him with puppy-dog eyes. We can see the attraction, why can't he? we wonder.
We follow their story, intrigued when one day, drunk and debilitated, she breaks. We watch her scream at him, scream out her love and her hate and her anger and all that rage comes tumbling out in a sort of catharsis- She can't help it, she's been pushed to the point of no return.
She's so drunk. She reeks of high priced liquor, and we are reminded of the time they met in the bar. But now the situations are reversed. Her cliche is undeniably shattered as well as her self-respect; she's kneeling on the floor and whimpering. He, the one whom she had set out to break, is still strong. She's utterly a failure and the one who lost.
When she wakes up from her daze, we wouldn't be surprised if she tries to kill herself because of the shame.
we expect him to close up. Ignore her plea for some sort of
affection, however twisted; give her the cold shoulder and rebuff
her, till the next time he's interested in hot sex. That's all it
really is about, nothing more.
But something strange and unbelievable happens.
He sits on the floor next to her and pulls her into his lap. We are just as stunned as she is as he covers her face with tiny kisses.
He's never realized, he frankly murmurs to her, that she cared that much.
She drunkenly reaches for him and rambles aimlessly on about love and hate and her inability to keep on playing the same cold-hearted bitch day after day; how she can't stay in her role anymore.
He agrees that it is rather tedious.
She's shocked and so are we. They embrace in the dark and cling to each other in this horrible cliched world that expects them to be confined to their respective stereotypes. This is unexpected, both of them breaking out of their roles. Maybe there's hope for them yet.
Maybe they won't end up 'happily living ever after;' that is, after all, just another, more pleasant cliche and an unrealistic fantasy for them, but they've already broken the first and hardest barrier, the reshaping of themselves; from here on should be smoother sailing.
If they could only break a few other things, like skulls and the laws of relativity, on the way to their new life...