Do you remember how, in The Cider House Rules, Homer says: “Let us be happy for Fuzzy Stone. Fuzzy Stone has found a family”? Fuzzy Stone had not, in fact, found a family, he was dead from a respiratory infection, but was, at least, no longer an orphan.
Let us be happy for Gwyneth and Chris. They have found release.
Did I know them? No. But they seemed miserable and bored and lonely together, and were never in the same country, and now they are free.
I like to think of Gwyneth and Chris as the couple in The Mountain Goats’ triumphant ode to codependency, “No Children,” but having broken through the barrier of their own stasis into the vital, beating hearts of their separate futures. Are you familiar with “No Children”?
Let us imagine them, merrily, singing it together at karaoke in a few years for the wedding of a mutual friend, full of happiness, full of mature self-awareness:
CHRIS: I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
GWYNETH: I hope we come up with a failsafe plot
to piss off the dumb few that forgave us
CHRIS: I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
GWYNETH: And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it’s already too late
CHRIS: And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
CHRIS: I hope I lie
and tell everyone you were a good wife
and I hope you die
GWYNETH: I hope we both die
CHRIS: I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow
I hope it bleeds all day long
GWYNETH: Our friends say it’s darkest before the sun rises
We’re pretty sure they’re all wrong
I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn’t over
CHRIS: I hope you blink before I do
and I hope I never get sober
GWYNETH: And I hope when you think of me years down the line
you can’t find one good thing to say
CHRIS: and I hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You’d stay the hell out of my way
TOGETHER: I am drowning
there is no sign of land
you are coming down with me
Hand in unloveable hand
and I hope you die
I hope we both die
And then their friends whistle and clap, and Gwyneth and Chris hug, and their kids giggle, because their parents are so much happier apart, and are dating people who bring them joy.
Congratulations. Utterly unsarcastic, completely heartfelt congratulations.
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.