This is a one-shot about Tom and Summer, focusing on what Summer felt during the "bench scene" and how she really felt about Tom. Reconciliation is in order, but it is not easy to achieve it.
This story was written for my sister, who loves this movie very much, and the story is dedicated to her.
You are welcome to read and review this story. Enjoy! Lorien Urbani
I've enjoyed coming to the park ever since Tom showed me his favourite place. Tom was right; that park bench is located in a perfect place. You sit in the middle of silence and nature, while right in front of you is the city with its impressive buildings. Tom appreciates the place as the architect he is; I just like it because it's beautiful and peaceful. And, it reminds me of my friend, Tom.
Tom was right about this place, and about another, far more significant thing. Which is why I am here every day for an hour; he is bound to show up any day now. He will not leave his bench vacant for a long time, although I suspect that he has been avoiding it because of me lately. I know Tom and I am aware of what I was to him and of what he was and was not to me. But we have something in common; as much as this spot reminds him of me, it reminds me of him, although in a different way. He just doesn't know it.
Tom was right. He was just not right about me.
I wait for him, to free him. He needs to move on, as I have moved on. But even if he forgets me after the day we finally talk, even if he hates me, I will always remember him with warmth, friendship and love. Because the truth is – Tom changed me. He taught me many things. And in a way, he saved me.
I used to be very numb. I did not believe in fairy-tales and love, or rather true love, was just another fairy-tale. Nothing moved me, nothing stirred feelings inside me. I was just not particularly impressed by anything or anyone. I guess some people are just born this way. It's not a disease, it's just how you are. Of all the people in the world who could be moved, Tom Hansen fell in love with me, his complete opposite, a person who could not be moved or impressed, which was something that he needed.
I saw Tom as a curiosity. He was many things I was not, that I could not relate to and even believe in. An idealist, a hardcore romantic, the sort of guy who believes star-gazing is the best way someone can spend their time and that true love is part of one's destiny. He was in the orbit of romance, observing the world through rose-coloured glasses. He thought The Graduate showed true love. Yes, I definitely saw Tom as a curiosity. I hadn't been curious in a very long time, so I began an experiment called Summer+Tom equals ?xy?. To be honest, I wanted to be moved. I wanted to feel how it felt to be like Tom.
He moved me, just not in the way either of us had expected it. Tom wanted me to fall in love with him and I tried to fall in love as an experiment, to test Tom's curious little theory about true love, butterflies in the stomach and heart-shaped objects circling around your head. None of it happened. I did not fall in love with Tom and my experiment failed. I proved nothing. But as sad as that was, Tom still managed to move me. I only realised that later, when I met my husband.
I was sitting in the Deli one day, reading Dorian Gray, my favourite book of all times, when a handsome man walked over to me and said, "Sorry to bother you, but wow, I've never seen a person reading Wilde in a deli. I think this is really cool. I love Wilde."
We started talking and suddenly there were the butterflies, the heart-shaped flying objects and even a performance of fireworks exploding in my head. I fell in love. Love happened to Summer Finn, of all people. And it was then that I knew that was Tom's doing. Without Tom, my heart would have never opened so widely as to let another person in.
Tom was the first person I did everything with. I laughed with him, told him my secrets and even showed him my tears. Tom was my friend, my best friend, and although I thought his theories about love were silly while we were together, he subtly inserted them inside me. Tom really is a great, talented architect. He found an empty building and had a vision. He laid the foundations below the empty building right before it started to crumble and disappear into a pile of insignificant rocks. He painted the walls, changed the windows, wired the house with electricity and even took care of the furniture. He blew away the dust and polished everything to a brilliant shine. Tom Hansen did all that, with his love, dedication and enthusiasm and I did not know that until I found my own love.
Tom prepared me for love, so when it came, I knew how to recognise it and embrace it. I learned it from him.
I was never in love with Tom, but I did love him, just not the way he had expected it. He will remain one of the best and most important people in my life, forever.
Finally, I see Tom's familiar silhouette walking up the hill. He looks, professional and...empty. He looks great, but he doesn't look like the Tom I remember. This man is crushed, still hoping from the pit of the cave he's in that Summer Finn will change her mind. But she won't; Summer is married. He sits down on the bench and watches the city before him, thinking about the past, no doubt, and what this place usually meant to him, wondering if it would ever mean the same thing to him again. Oh, so typically Tom.
I call his name and he turns around surprised. He seems to be experiencing so many different emotions: happiness, confusion, anticipation of another rejection, the wish to reject me on the spot and not talk to me at all. But we talk, about him, about me, his job, my husband. He is so confused, so crushed, unable to find a way out, so I offer him the rope.
"I woke up one morning and I just knew," I tell him.
"Knew what?" he demands, thirsty for answers.
"What I was never sure of with you."
It was not easy to say this, but I had to. I have to be honest with Tom and he has to be able to move on. If hating me helps him, then so be it. I acted very selfishly around him when we were together, I am trying to make amends now.
My answer truly is a blow to him. He turns away abruptly, his shoulders shaking ever so slightly, swallowing down tears. He turns back to me with a gray, sour face, but the tears are gone; the hurt in his eyes is the only proof they ever wanted to emerge. And, in fact, besides grief, I notice relief, too. I finally gave him a definite answer.
After offering him a blow, I want to offer him hope as well. Tom tells me he does not believe in what he used to believe; he calls it nonsense. I tell him how I met my husband and how it was meant to be. The way I met my husband was as if Tom Hansen had written a script for it and Tom must know; he was right.
"I just kept thinking...Tom was right!" I confess and he laughs in disbelief, but he is already half believing that I'm telling the truth.
"It just isn't me that you were right about," I add more seriously and I feel tears beginning to sting my eyes.
I am sorry that I hurt him, but grateful for what I achieved because of that. I am happy to see Tom believes me and that he will be okay, but it saddens me that I may never see him again. I will lose far more than he will lose by letting him go entirely.
I put my hand on his, without looking at him, and squeeze his fingers with mine. I want to show him, through the touch, how much he meant to me, and how much he still means to me.
My touch means I love you, Tom Hansen, and I always will. My best friend, Tom. The man who freed me: Tom.
He feels that. Out of the corner of my eye, I see his touched, sad face as he realises the truth, as he is becoming reconciled with it, although reluctantly. It is hard for the both of us to let each other go.
Before he manages to say a word, I say goodbye to him and leave. He calls after me and I turn around.
"I really do hope that you're happy," he says and he really, absolutely means it.
Now I know that Tom will really be fine. He will find a way in his life and it will be without me. I am proud of him, and of what we had. I will never forget him. His good wishes mean the world to me, although I will never say it to him. My happiness wouldn't be complete without Tom's blessing. I give him a big, yet gentle smile. He returns a feeble smile. We are reconciled.
I turn around again and walk away, not looking back, although I want to, just to make sure he is fine. I feel so protective over him. I think my feelings for him are actually pretty sweet.
We won't see each other for a very long time, if we ever see each other again. But, in all honesty, this world is actually a very small place. And you never know what will be waiting for you just around the next corner.