The Thing I Like About …

The One:  the love story.

In The One, Gabe Law comes up against a version of himself from a parallel universe – Yulaw.  Yulaw has discovered that killing the other versions of himself in other universes makes him stronger, and Gabe is the only other him left to eliminate.

Luckily, Gabe has also been growing stronger – without knowing why – and he’s able to defend himself against Yulaw.  Gabe also has TK, his wife.

TK accepts the strange things that are happening to her husband almost without batting an eye.  She and Gabe have a very loving relationship, obviously built on total trust and understanding, on respect and commitment.  She stands beside him even at risk to her own life, and she’s the only thing that matters to him.  Yulaw, of course, doesn’t have such a wife …

Wait.  He does.  The bad guy’s wife is a parallel-universe version of TK, and she single-handedly breaks him out of prison so that he can continue his mission of killing his other selves.  When they see each other, Yulaw knows that his fate is in her hands and that, therefore, everything is going to be fine.  When they see each other, they clearly feel deep love for one another.  Even though they don’t know when they’ll see each other again or what on earth might happen to them , when they see each other, they’re happy.

People talk a lot about finding true love, but they say it in this fairy tale way – the “perfect” prince sweeps up the “perfect” damsel and they live “happily ever after”.  People who expect true love to be so perfect and complete – like a vase they bought and put on a shelf – set themselves up for huge disappointment when it turns out that their partners are real people, with needs and foibles and bad days.  They can even come to resent their partners, feeling betrayed by the “lie” of perfection they had envisioned.

People talk about accepting each other for who we are – an excellent notion.  But so often people use this “acceptance” as a way to justify the worst sorts of poor treatment and unhappy situations, in the name of “love”.  We put up with it for a thousand reasons, but mostly we just don’t want to admit that someone doesn’t love us, even if we stopped loving them long ago.

Gabe and TK – and Yulaw and his TK – have found the perfect balance between these extremes.  They honour one another, and respect one another, and stand by one another no matter what happens; they’re all very strong-willed, however, and none of them would likely have stayed with the other if they had received less love (honour, respect, kindness) than they gave.  TK stands by Gabe through hardship because Gabe himself is not the hardship.  Yulaw’s TK stays with him even as his life becomes increasingly chaotic because, in his relationship with her, he’s not the bad guy at all.

Basically, I think The One is saying, If you want real true love – the kind that survives hardship and death, the kind that makes you feel valued and wonderful, the kind that lasts forever and ever – then you have to, on the one hand, give and expect decent treatment, and, on the other hand, you have to be prepared for life to get stupid sometimes.  You have to be prepared for the day when your partner comes home and says, “A different me from another universe is trying to kill me.”  If you can really, truly be prepared for that, then you can face anything together.  Anything.

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