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nekobun avatar 7:28 PM on 11.25.2012
Red and Blue, resolving into purple.

This almost qualifies as NVGR, but given Red Vs Blue's basis on Halo, I figure it counts. Kinda personal, tl;dr ahead, so if you're not into that, you can find the Back button easily enough.

Of all the things that have ever ended up tear-jerking experiences for me, Red vs Blue was the least expected inspiration for crying I've ever experienced. Sure, it's light-hearted joking and fun from the start, but by the end of the early Blood Gulch Chronicles season, darker themes are already beginning to creep in, and with the recent wrap of season 10, business got serious, and surprisingly deep.

Probably going to spoil a bit for those who haven't watched it all; head over to Rooster Teeth's site if you want to get caught up.



While it was something of a mind-blow just finding out Church was an AI, thus explaining his ghostiness (and, subsequently, revealing his on-again, off-again, sort-of-girlfriend Tex was also an artificial intelligence), and I was bawling at the end of season 10, with the meaningful look in the Director's eyes as he realized his obsession with his dead ex-wife, the memory of which spawned Tex in the first place, had ruined his relationship with his daughter, it was RvB's ninth season that really struck close to home. The entire season, shot using Halo: Reach, focused on a recreated version of Church from his original AI's splintered memories recreating his time in Blood Gulch in the banks of a failing storage unit. His aim was to draw Tex back to his side by replicating the sequence of events that led to their original Gulch encounter, in order to get to the bottom of why she existed and why they were inexplicably drawn to one another, or at least, why he was drawn to her.

While he's waiting for things to come together, and for his own private version of Blood Gulch to work properly in the first place, Church's teammate Tucker makes it a point to rag on him about how creepy and stalk-y his Tex obsession actually is. Considering this version of Tucker was created from Church's memories, it can be extrapolated that in some ways, their discussions are a sort of internal monologue, with some of Church's better reasoning starting to slip through his long-running obsession. It seems to register, as the last minutes of the memory unit's existence feature Church pulling Tex aside, not to say goodbye, but to say he's forgetting her, letting her go. Granted, the collapse of his world turns out to be a rescue mission executed by Church's associates in the real world, and the parallel obsession over Tex on the part of Carolina, the freelancer that helped the Blood Gulch crew get him out in the first place, makes that letting go that much more difficult, dragging his turmoil (albeit with a new perspective) over another season, but that's not his fault. And it's not what I'm here to ramble about.

It was kind of a fluke of timing, but I'd been catching up on Red Vs Blue while going through old storage bins, getting rid of things I no longer need and scrounging up a few items that might be ebay-worthy, when I stumbled upon something I'd forgotten. A disgruntled-looking, plush eggplant peered up at me from the floor, almost as if judging me, just after I'd clicked "Play" on season nine's twentieth episode. The one with the Church/Tex moment I just mentioned. It struck me as to just why Church's plight was resonating so much with me, which only served to make said finale even more intense.



I spent seven years of my life, on and off, bullheadedly trying to make a half-baked failure of a near-relationship work. We never actually hooked up, just kind of orbited one another as I repeatedly screwed up chances as they came up, yet not badly enough for her to excise me from her life or for me to cut her out of mine. For example of how confusing the whole mess got, things reached a point where I'd stopped hanging out at the residence house where she, along with several of my other friends I'd known before she and I'd crossed paths, at her request and/or threat. Comparable amounts of rage were subsequently to be had from her when of my buddies decided to smuggle me in while she was visiting home, only for her to find out after I'd left, and a separate incident wherein I walked ten miles or so home from my GameStop job after I couldn't raise anyone on the phone for a ride home, rather than stopping by said residence house to ask someone there. We must've made friendly at least a half dozen other times, only for me to make an ass of myself again every time, be it for honestly trying to warn her against one friend's dubious history, or my tendency to drift toward familiar faces in unfamiliar situations coupled with an alcohol-induced haze being misinterpreted as creepier behavior than I'd had in mind.

The runaround finally ended four or five years ago, not long after I purchased a little eggplant plush, both out of my love for eggplants and purple, and to try and kick her a few bucks in what wasn't proving the easiest time for her. One of those misinterpreted, drink-addled incidents led to sharp words and a declaration that she'd never cared much about me at all, in a positive or negative light, but the situation wasn't about to be buried. We had, and still have, so many friends in common that completely avoiding one another was pretty much impossible. Thankfully, she'd at least moved a couple of states away by then, so the most I saw of her was the occasional online comment on someone else's profile, or across the hall at a convention, but there was always that little twinge as I forced myself to just walk by. If I'd been so much nothing to her, why not shut things down that much sooner? Why the years of back and forth? The lack of any real closure, just the fuck-off-and-goodbye that marked the final curtain on our little drama, left a conundrum in the back of my head despite how many of the memories associated with her I'd already repressed.

So there we were. The eggplant and I. My past staring up at me, its ":|" face seemingly condescending and judgmental in the glow of my laptop's monitor, as the third iteration of Leonard Church was finding the resolution he'd sought for so long in a way he'd least expected. Not unlike Church, I'd spent seven years trying to get things right. Trying to solve my own little Tex problem. But sometimes, you don't get closure. Sometimes, the only way to find peace is to forget.

It wasn't until the middle of last year that I realized I'd fallen out of touch with a girl who was arguably my first love, with whom I shared a peculiar, long-distance thing in high school, and that I had no desire to try and get ahold of her again. Just a couple months ago, I noticed I was the only one of my friends still mentioning the anniversary of someone I'd gotten rather close to being suddenly torn away from me and the rest of us, including her boyfriend at the time, and realized it was time to put that to rest.



And now, it's about time I forgot. She hasn't kept me from other pursuits or interfered with living my life, but she's always been there. A ghost of what could've been. A torch that, while dim, never quite sputtered out. A reminder of lessons I should've learned before I met her, and in much less hard a way. Kind of like a bruise that hadn't quite healed right, but was more an occasional annoyance, and a peculiar shade of purple. Not unlike an eggplant. Besides, there's another musing on Church's part that's got me a bit more preoccupied now, so there's no room or reason for her to hang around anymore.

As he's explaining his reasons behind recreating Blood Gulch in the now-sealed memory unit at the end of season 8, Church mentions that he's learned, "a great love is a lot like a good memory. When it's there, and you know it's there, and it's just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. You can focus on it, and try to force it, but the more you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you're patient, and you hold still, then maybe, just maybe, it'll come to you." I'm not one for holding still, normally, but I'm starting to think I've reason to give it a try.


 
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