Simone Bonhumeur was one of those young, waifish girls that men can’t help but lust after. And, being young, she couldn’t help it that, even by 2010, she still had yet to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In 2004, she was only thirteen, and though kids are getting cooler and cooler as each generation comes along, she was trop jeune to have gone to the theater by herself to see it. And she didn’t exactly have the sort of friends that appreciated anything other than getting high by the Place de la République and talking about how overrated French New Wave cinema was. It wasn’t exactly a time when French preteens thought very highly of Michel Gondry, either. He had yet to truly warm their hearts with The Science of Sleep in 2006. But Americans, on the other hand, fell so madly and instantly in love with the tragic romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The same way Simone did when she finally watched the film in 2011, at twenty years old–which is what convinced her that she was meant to move to New York and live out her ESotSM fantasy by going to Montauk in the winter.
It was a slow crawl across the Atlantic, one that began with her strategic marriage to an American college student who was studying biochemistry at the Paris Descartes University. But for a biochemist, Paul wasn’t all that intelligent. Or at least not shrewd enough to comprehend that Simone was blatantly using him for citizenship reasons. But maybe he didn’t care. Like so many American men, the prospect of telling people he was with a French woman usurped all other aspects of logic and reason. So after finessing him with the taut pussy les femmes françaises are purported to have, Simone managed to secure a wedding ceremony to Paul in his hometown of St. Albans in Vermont (it didn’t hurt Paul’s allure that he came from a state so close to Simone’s final objective destination).
His parents didn’t like her, naturally. They were the type of overly involved in his life sort that would never have liked anyone he brought home, even if it was Mother fuckin’ Teresa. But Simone was French, and could resultantly match anyone’s rudeness tenfold. Her speech was short and clipped with them, but never let on overtly enough the extent of her contempt. When the small, sparsely attended ceremony was over, Simone and Paul stayed at a bed and breakfast in Woodstock (Vermont, still–not New York). It was there that Simone did her best sexual work, soon after able to convince Paul of just about anything, including a move to New York City in spite of the fact that biochemistry was really more of a west coast pursuit. Only dead organisms reside on the east coast, after all. Nonetheless, Paul got a job at a privately funded research facility near Central Park West, and spent many long hours toiling away to afford their apartment near Amsterdam and 66th. Simone earned her keep in cooking, infusing her dishes with light sedatives that would keep Paul off her back while she went out at night in search of the person who would really accompany her to Montauk in the winter of next year. That was her her cutoff time for being with Paul. Poor stepping stone to ultimate goal Paul.
It was a shame he wasn’t a more suitable choice for fulfilling her Gondry-inspired chimera. But he was far too unromantic–lacking in the whimsy required from the experience she had been working the past three years to cultivate. She wasn’t going to entrust someone as blah as Paul with the delicacy of this dream. Even though, yes, Jim Carrey’s character, Joel Barish, was tantamount to going to the beach with a stale piece of bread, she wanted her self-made version of Clementine Kruczynski to have better taste, to not settle for a man so bland. She needed a person with charisma and pizzazz, and she knew there was no better place to find such a being than the West Side Highway, which, for whatever reason, no one ever seems to call by its rightful name of Joe DiMaggio Highway. Yes, you’ll find all manner of adventurous creatures over by the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, just sitting on the benches in front of the water and ruminating on life in the depressed existential fashion Simone was searching for in her Montauk mate.
After a few consecutive evenings investigating the area upon adequately drugging Paul, she found the perfect partner in crime, a shaggy black-haired man in his late thirties, whose name she later learned was Jamie Morrow. She liked the sound of it because of how closely it resembled “tomorrow,” holding promises of the future that she had a hunch he could deliver on. She quickly found that Jamie came to the edge of Twelfth Avenue every night, and slowly but surely started inching closer to his bench with each new evening. He finally broke the silence by asking her, “Are you stalking me?”
“What if I was?” she returned.
He raised his eyebrow. “Well, then I guess there wouldn’t be much I could do. The police don’t take female stalkers very seriously.”
“One thing we’ve got on our side.”
He tittered in a way that suggested he felt women were constantly victimizing themselves with statements like this. But Simone ignored it.
Jamie asked, “What is it that you want from me?”
“Nothing. I guess I just wonder why you’re here every night.”
Jamie shrugged. “It’s usually quiet and nobody bothers me. There’s not that many places like that in the city.”
“Oh. So I’m bothering you?”
Jamie smiled. “Not at all.”
It was soon after they were having stand-up sex (more comical than stand-up comedy) near the gravel by the water. They had descended from the railing above to do so, and their relationship carried on in this fashion for many nights after. It was about two months later that Simone finally found her moment to suggest what she had been plotting all these years: “Would you like to go to Montauk with me?”
“Montauk? It’s gonna be fucking freezing.”
Simone smiled. It was all the better that he had clearly never seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It would add an authenticity to it that she probably couldn’t achieve with a man equally as obsessed.
“Yes, but no one else will be around. It’s a lovely time of year to go.”
Jamie shrugged. “You got a car?”
And so, three days later, on a Friday while Paul was researching away at work, Jamie and Simone drove to Montauk in the car she pretended to own but had actually rented so as to make it seem just slightly less contrived to Jamie.
Even though taking the Long Island Railroad would have been the definitive method of travel for staying true to the film’s narrative, Simone didn’t have time to waste, considering Paul would be home by eight. Plus, she had to put the mattress she had purchased just for the occasion on top of the vehicle.
Jamie was more bemused by the mattress than skeptical. He didn’t even bother questioning why she had chosen to bring it, instead kissing her and saying, “You look especially sexy today.”
Yes, he was already leaps and bounds ahead of both Joel and Paul, and all of her patient maneuvering over the years was at last paying off.
She timed their arrival just right, getting to the Montauk beach near the exact filming location of the iconic scene at dusk. She recklessly drove her car onto the beach so that it would be easier to carry the mattress to the precise spot with the help of Jamie, still not one for inquiring as to what the fuck it was Simone was doing.
After plopping it down and spreading some blankets over it, Simone motioned for Jamie to join her on the impromptu bed. She didn’t need to do anything sexual to get an orgasm from the experience she had at last succeeded in manufacturing.