Memories Fade, Stories Endure

On Rashomon, The Tale, and Persistence

“The story you’re about to read is true…

…as far as I know.”

Interlude 1
February 26, 2020. 

Hour 4: I stare, once more, at the harsh white of the blank page. 

If I tell my story, if I tell this story, it has to be perfect. Right? And everyone knows perfection starts with the lede. 

I write this lede because I cannot come up with another; I cannot land on something that feels worthy of the story I hope to tell, the story I so desperately hope you’ll believe. I cannot put words down because I cannot think about what happened long enough to string something together. I cannot encompass the thing with a pithy, concise opener because I cannot get my arms around the thing, because every time I previously sat down to think about or talk about or feel it in the last few years, my mind simply raced around it, or touched on it briefly before sprinting away.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” says Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, paraphrasing the work of French poet Charles Baudelaire. I’ve come to realize, then, that trauma is the devil. Because try as I might to name that insidious evil when speaking to the few people aware of its existence, all I can muster is some version of the shamefully mumbled “you know, what happened.” My trauma has convinced me that if I do not name it, then maybe it didn’t happen. Maybe it doesn’t exist.

“We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It’s easier that way,” the Commoner says to his companions in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon(1950).

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live. So what’s your story?” Staring straight into the camera in Jennifer Fox’s The Tale(2018), Laura Dern demands this of me.

All right, here’s your story.


Prologue
April 29th, 2018 – June 7, 2018. 

My story starts with the stories of others. 

A lilting breeze shuffles through my beard, the invisible rays of warmth bursting through the trees overhead. Laughter. It echoes, horrifying and haunting, taunting me. Taunting me? Is that me he’s looking at? A hand on…me? – that’s me. Wait, is that me? That hand can’t be on me, and yet I feel it against my skin. Caressing, a hint beyond appropriate, but just the barest of hints. No, maybe more now. That’s not right; something isn’t right. It’s too late to say anything now; I should have said something already. Now I can’t say anything. I try to say something. It’s lost in the wind.

These aren’t my memories. They are those of Tajōmaru (Toshirō Mifune), the bandit who traces the murder and rape he will commit back to the softest of gusts. They are those of the Samurai’s wife (Machiko Kyō), raped by the bandit, whose every recollection is tinged with the manic cackle of Tajōmaru, one single memory infecting each and every moment, the prism through which an entire experience is recalled. This is not my story.

They are also the memories of Laura Dern’s Jennifer: the faded, gilded pictures of a brain that hasn’t so much papered over trauma as it has seized control, taken ownership of something too vulnerable to let anyone else dictate its terms. They are Jennifer’s fears that enter through my eyes and ears but ricochet deep in my amygdala. They are her doubts that appear to me distorted, like a funhouse mirror image—or perhaps a filmmaker’s chiaroscuro shadow—reflecting the doubts I hold but refuse to acknowledge. This is not my story.

These are the thoughts that fester as I witness these two films just five weeks apart.

These aren’t my memories. Absolutely not. 

So why do they burrow into my brain?

I watch both of these films alone. I don’t do it on purpose; I plan no great revelation. But made nearly seven decades apart, these two interrogations of memory sink me further into my own consciousness. In Rashomon, Kurosawa provokes my internal critic. He makes me question my own mind and he introduces the derision of outside voices to my imagination. About a month later, I sit with The Tale. Fox forces open the blackout-shades-as-self-protection-mechanism that I had previously yanked over my eyes. If I can’t see you, you are not there. But she turns my gaze toward the experiences that lie beneath my sensory confusion and denial.

And yet I still ignore something inside of me. Trauma is a journey—no matter how powerful the medium, no film can force me toward the destination faster than I can handle. But these two start the trip. They throw coal into the engine room fire of the train that’s barreling toward self-realization. They push me toward my truth at the same time they give me the tools and the vocabulary to studiously avoid it. In short, Rashomon and The Tale supply the ink that will eventually write my story. They speak to me, yes; but more accurately, they speak to each other through me.


Obstacle One: Shame-Doubt
June 8, 2018 – July 27, 2019

I close down in an instant.

“It’s human to lie,” the Commoner (Kichijirō Ueda) says to nobody in Rashomon, speaking instead directly to the temple that looms over this small group seeking shelter and truth. “Most of the time we can’t even be honest with ourselves.”

The months drag by after I first see Rashomon and The Tale. The oppressive heat of summer in Washington, D.C. bears down on me. My thoughts act like tides, pulled almost magnetically toward a cinematic moon: the sexual assaults at the center of these two films. But these are stories about other people. They have nothing to do with me.

Rage seeps in through the backdoor of my brain, the part that tickles when a scent from childhood triggers a long-thought-lost memory. I can identify neither the memory nor the trigger in this case, but I recognize the feeling that sneaks in and quickly expands to fill the space: resentment. Bitterness. How dare my brain even feint toward this patently absurd notion? I can’t get Tajōmaru’s cackle out of my head—the lines of his face, the gleeful mania in his eyes. Why won’t he leave me alone? 

In The Tale, Jennifer’s partner Martin (Common) confronts her without realizing it, questioning her desire to find those who victimized her. “I am not a victim,” she lashes out. “I don’t need you or anybody to call me a victim, okay? Because you don’t have a fucking clue.” 

Self-denial is a powerful force. And film is a medium uniquely equipped to reflect the pitfalls of memory: the oft-cited maxim teaches us that seeing is believing, so how could our mind’s eye lie to us? Our recollections manifest in visual form; they must be true. Both Rashomon and The Tale emphasize the unreliability of the storyteller, but both seek to convince their audiences of a capital-T “Truth” using the implicit connection between images and reality.

Watching The Tale, I see the past first as Jennifer saw it for decades: with her as an experienced, mature teenager when a maybe-wanted sexual encounter arrives courtesy of her running coach (Jason Ritter). Repression is not as simple as it seems. When our bodies decide they are not ready to confront a certain trauma, our minds pick up the mantle by creating an alternative reality. If we subconsciously “refuse to believe that man would be so sinful,” like the priest (Minoru Chiaki) in Rashomon—especially if it is someone we know—then we consciously reinvent a man who did not sin.

These films kick me again and again, reminding me my memory is not reliable. The danger is obvious: two films should not make me question my trauma. But cinematic fate is funny that way, and timing is everything. In the months before watching these films, I constructed the reality—the Rashomon-esque temple of cards—that kept me away from my own truth. Now I have seen them, lived with them. Rashomon and The Tale cut the knees out from under my self-defense-mechanism. They set me on the road toward overcoming that first obstacle. As the sleepless nights pile up, I understand that Fox and Kurosawa have pierced the first holes in the illusion that I was doing okay. 


Memory Mechanics
July 28, 2019. 

During Rashomon, I think of a Japanese word I learned a few years prior: Komorebi (木漏れ日). Komorebi refers to the few beams of sunlight that filter through the forest canopy and reach the earth; it has no English equivalent. The concept is reflected literally in Kurosawa’s film—it fills the frame during the first moment we visually enter someone’s memory—but it’s also refracted metaphorically, by the way his camera peers through the trees at the disputed events, or by the words Tajōmaru speaks when he begins his story. 

“If it hadn’t been for that wind, I wouldn’t have killed him.”

It’s over a year later. I sit alone in my empty new apartment. My synapses fire for the first time; I make the connection. My sense memories pierce through the canopy of defense mechanisms I’ve erected like redwoods in the forest. In the early moments of The Tale, Jennifer flashes on a brief image of her coach-turned-abuser running through the woods. And on another of his lover, accomplice, and victim-recruiter standing at a fence, hair shimmering in the sunshine, the picaresque scene full of bright possibility. As viewers, we have no context. Even Jennifer has no context. 

Trauma memory does not obey logic. 

Fox wields these repeated flashbacks by filtering them through the unreliability of memory: each time her on-screen self remembers the same moment, we see a slightly different scene. Sense takes primacy; time and narrative logic take a backseat. The small changes are symbolic of the larger lies we tell ourselves. But the echoed flashes also reflect the mechanics of trauma: if my suffering is made up of 5,000 frames, I play the same five in my mind on repeat. Call it persistence of memory. Like the image of Tajōmaru laughing, certain moments embed and repeat themselves, removed from the narrative logic that I have suppressed. These are the touchstones of my fear and pain and doubt, the ones that must necessarily take on an outsized importance in my processing.

And like the sunlight through the treetops and the wind that grazes Tajōmaru’s face, it takes a burst of sense memory to punch through my hard-wrought mental wards. I don’t remember a touch; I feel a hand that isn’t supposed to be there. I don’t look back on my emotions; I experience the confusion and fear first-hand, like it’s happening right now, and again, right now, and again, right now. “The body remembers everything, it really does,” Jennifer’s abuser says to her in one flash of memory. It might be word-perfect corporeal remembrance. More likely, it’s the result of an adult brain forcing the language of abuse through her own decades-old mental barriers. Because when all else turns away, my body remembers. 

And once the memories come, they force their way through at inconvenient times. One minute I sit in a work meeting, the next I’m reliving the moment I should have tried harder to stop him. Later that night, as my eyes close and my brain seeks the solace of sleep, I’m confronted instead by the pain of my failure to fight back or run away sooner. Now I’m vomiting in the bathroom again, but I’m really safe in my own shower. These are disjointed flickers of truth, like the shaky, halted storytelling from the woman named only as “The Wife” in Rashomon. They erase any sense of past or present, just as Jennifer’s memorial interruptions in The Tale play less as flashbacks than extended interludes. My months of disassociating have abruptly ended. As Jennifer puts it: “I’m just locked in. I can’t turn it off right now.”  

But like Jennifer, my brain isn’t quite prepared to provide the context yet. Mercifully, as the weeks drag by in a haze of unwanted recollections, these two films fill in the gaps for me. The unparalleled visceral accuracy with which they depict trauma memory forces me to overcome my resolute denial. My insistence that I am not a victim. Something happened to me. I am finally ready to admit that. 

I have finally seen my own Komorebi. My canopic shields are torn to shreds. The beams of pain shine through.

But exactly what is it that I see?


Interlude 2
December 10, 2020. 

I’m frozen again. Paralysis sets in with the realization that one wrong move could wreck me, and no moves, well, no movement whatsoever feels safe. Static indecision never destroyed anyone, at least not quickly. The fear of sudden impact renders me inert. My trauma speaks to me in a disturbingly familiar, gravelly voice. Go ahead, it taunts me. 

I don’t. As I circle around telling this story, it’s about telling it to myself, getting it out of my head and putting it somewhere. Fragments come jumping out in no particular order. It’s not a clear narrative. It’s a jumble of half-thought, half-felt ideas and memories and quotes and references and suddenly there it is, there is the thing that makes it all make some sort of sense. 

I unfreeze. I remind myself I do not ever have to do anything with it. 

I move on. 


Obstacle Two: Blame-Doubt
July 29, 2019 – February 24, 2020

There’s a reason you don’t know many details right now. At this moment—a year after I first saw these films, nearly four years before I will finally finish this essay—neither do I.

But as I sit with the knowledge that I can no longer deny the existence of some event, questions rush in even faster than memories. Questions that bring blame. Answers that bring shame.

Why didn’t I stop it?

Tajōmaru recites his story before The Wife gets her chance. Rashomon visualizes his point of view with stark images: he moves to kiss her; she stares into the trees, the rays of sunlight poking through. Cut to: The Wife drops her knife. Close-Up: Her hands crawl up his back, lust seemingly coursing through her extremities.

Complicity. 

I did not stop it → I must have welcomed it. 

I did not push him off hard enough → I can only have pulled closer. 

I did not demand firmly enough that he stop → I guess I asked that he start.

“I refuse to believe that man would be so sinful,” the priest in Rashomon says to the group immediately after The Wife tells her story. I refuse to believe someone I know could do that. 

I am the only person left to blame.

Why didn’t I tell anyone?

“I would never tell my parents,” Jennifer insists to herself in transitional narration, reflecting her recently discovered diary entries, the uncertain voice of her younger self merging with her confident intonation decades later. “It was like an unspoken oath.”

I told my wife moments after my disgrace. And for over a year, I did not speak another word about it. But now I have forced my brain to confront these moments, and I wonder why I never confided in another friend or family member. Deep down, I must have known it was my fault. 

This cycle is deadly.

First: I was somehow a participant, so I do not share my pain. 

Later: I did not share my pain, so I must have been a willing participant.

A warped version of the transitive property that slowly distorts any shred of confidence in my own recollections.

Why did I keep spending time with him?

“I just don’t understand,” Jennifer’s mom (Ellen Burstyn) exhales, exhorting some explanation—any explanation—from her daughter, decades after her repeated abuse. “Why did you keep going back?”

This is the fatal blow to my addled brain. I remained close. I spent time with him. I laughed—oh god, I laughed with him. Surely my own brain and body and spirit would not have betrayed me. I could not laugh with someone who sexually assaulted me. There, I said it. Or rather, I wrote it down—the first time I’ve done either since I told my wife, and eventually, my therapist. 

I did not act hurt at all times. So I could not have been hurt.

Why don’t I have more answers?

The final question shoving itself in front of my eyelids at night is a painfully meta one: why do I have so many questions? My very basic lack of satisfactory answers confronts me constantly.

As The Wife barrels toward the conclusion of her story, she realizes with a startle that she cannot finish it. She does not remember how she left—she stood by a pond, and… that’s it. The pieces around her trauma have blurred and faded; warped and disappeared; returned and escaped once again beyond her grasp. And just as this missing piece casts doubt over her lived experience, so too does my own failure to recall every single minuscule detail leave me questioning my own memory. 

“What did I say?” An older Jennifer demands this of her younger self, in a storytelling flourish that forces Fox’s stand-in to confront the person she once was, and vice-versa, in The Tale. “I don’t remember. I must have said something. I only remember them. Why can’t I remember myself? Did I say yes? Why would you do that?” 

In that last statement, Jennifer turns the blame not just on herself, but on another version of herself. I do the same. It allows me to replace a small piece of my shame with an overpowering anger. 

And this is what I am left with. Rashomon and The Tale nudged me toward a reckoning. And as my unwilling mind inches toward truth, it turns its gaze inward. When the questions fade away, I’m left with a burning shame over the role I must have played in inviting; encouraging; welcoming; failing to stop. 

I sit also with the weight of Rashomon’s place in the canon of film history. This celebrated film emphasizes the subjectivity of truth and the unreliability of memory: it sets up the certainty of individual recollection just to shoot it down, repeatedly undermining what we see with our mind’s eye. What is Kurosawa telling me about my own memories?

I can no longer avoid my memories, but now I cannot trust them. In The Tale, Jennifer asks herself the scariest question that floods my mind each night when I close my eyes: “What if you’re wrong?”

If I have no faith in myself, I must find answers elsewhere.


Letting Myself Remember
February 2, 2020.

Rashomon concludes with a short coda. The story has been told. After a brief scuffle upon the discovery of an abandoned baby, The Woodcutter (Takashi Shimura) reaches for the orphan; The Priest questions his motivations; The Woodcutter reveals that he simply wishes to care for the child. With a single act, one man has restored The Priest’s faith in all of humanity. The rain ceases. The sun emerges. 

This is the future I seek for myself, and as I sort through a jumble of memory fragments and insecurities, I take a simple lesson from Rashomon: only another person can restore my faith in myself. I cannot trust my own memory. I need some “objective” verification.

Desperation sinks in. In The Tale, Jennifer seeks far and wide to find someone who went to the same camp she did—she even returns to the site of her trauma. “I need to talk about it with someone who was there,” she says frantically. 

I turn back to the movies. I know to watch Rashomon first and it knocks me off my axis just like it did the first time. I move quickly to The Tale—if I try to stretch this over multiple nights, I’ll lose hope; this is a game of momentum—and it catches my free-falling brain. This is when I first start writing. Just notes. Half-sentences, whatever emotions I can manage to put words to.

After rewatching The Tale, I carry my head of steam into my bedroom to talk to my wife. I have nobody who was actually there, but I have her, who I called immediately after it happened. And still the only person I have told. She is more objective, I explain. My memory is unreliable. 

Before I collapse into bed that night, I jot a few final notes down. My wife told me that when I called her, I was nothing more than afraid and apologetic. As far as facts go? She does the only thing she can: she tells me what I told her. I spilled out my experience just hours after it happened, and her brain kept it safe for me while mine twisted into a fully stocked armory aimed directly at my own psyche for two years. But once I was ready, she reminded me. 

And in this moment, I know that Rashomon is wrong. My memory is my greatest strength. My subjectivity is my secret weapon. After seeking validation elsewhere, Jennifer finally turns to one last mental rabbit hole where she confronts her younger self. “I’m trying to understand,” she urges herself, visualized by Fox—a documentarian—as older Jennifer in voiceover interviewing young Jennifer. And it’s this absence of malice—there’s neither shame nor blame in the perfectly empathetic Laura Dern’s voice—that finally unlocks Jennifer’s own mind. She seeks only to understand. And suddenly, her mind obliges. She experiences the full memory for the first time.

I thought I needed a third party to provide objectivity. But what my wife offers me is even more valuable than some objective truth—she gives me permission to trust myself. To trust and to listen to my own memories, without the blame, shame, or doubt that I have leveled at myself for nearly two years. 

And suddenly they flood in. Everything presses down on me. It’s heavy but it is welcome. In what I think is an ironic twist of fate—but which I will come to learn is an inevitability—I fall ill mere days after I finally re-experience my trauma in full for the first time since it happened. “My body had told me what my mind refused to accept,” Jennifer explains. “I’m tired. So tired. Tired in ways that I’m afraid.” 

It is a small piece of outside evidence that kick-starts the domino effect that leads to Jennifer’s eventual self-revelation in The Tale, when a friend from camp shows her pictures from that time. “I was so little,” she marvels. And it’s my wife giving me the approval to listen to myself that leads to mine.

I was sexually assaulted. And it was not my fault.


Interlude 3
March 20, 2021. 

I cannot do this. I try to write for the third night in three weeks. I fail again. I’m done for the night, probably the week, maybe longer. 

Why isn’t it getting easier? Why isn’t recovery linear? I don’t know. But at least now I know enough to offer myself a bit of grace.


Obstacle Three: Burden-Doubt
February 26, 2020 – March 2, 2022.

The hard part is over. I exhale. I flush with relief.

I am wrong. 

In a conversation late in The Tale, Jennifer corrects someone who tells her that she said that “he sexually abused you,” clarifying that they “had a relationship.” Despite gaining clarity, she still denies her pain when confronted with it in person.

She clearly wonders who will believe her after so many years keeping this to herself. I turn into a psychotherapist, my confidence buoyed by the many sessions with my own. And even if they do believe her, why put that burden on others? She decides this is hers alone to carry. The movie has shown me that much—I jot down in my notes that The Tale provided these explanations for her lack of disclosure. 

But it doesn’t. Jennifer says none of that, and the film itself does not spell out any such justification. Just as the mechanics of cinema rely on our visual brains to fill in the gaps, so too do the best films offer silence or ambiguity as a space where their viewers can fill in their own stories. And so watching The Tale—and earlier, Rashomon—I pour my own fears and insecurities onto Jennifer. When she does not share her truth, I justify it with my own reasons for not sharing my truth. I have been doing this for months: pushing off the decision to tell my closest friends and family what happened. And now I’ve foisted my excuses onto Jennifer.

They Won’t Believe Me. Days drag on. Months. Has it really been years? If I was going to tell someone, I would have by now. I should have by now. If it was something as serious as sexual assault, surely I wouldn’t wait. 

Surely nobody will believe me now. 

Jennifer’s mother’s voice rings in my head. “Why did you keep going back?”

Purposeful or not, this question is loaded with bullets that penetrate my psyche with cruel, relentless precision. With every moment these films have given me strength and revelation, they have also taken from me. They confront me with question after question, accusation after accusation. 

Rashomon made me question my memory; The Tale allowed me to trust myself. Now, just a few weeks later, The Tale convinces me that I cannot trust others with my own story. 

And even if they do believe me?

They will judge me. “How horrified my husband must have been,” The Wife moans as she wraps up her story in Rashomon. And later: “To have my shame known to two men is worse than dying.” 

Even as I watch one woman accepted and embraced by those she loves in The Tale, I witness another shunned and shamed for her victimhood in Rashomon. I don’t pretend that my life is anywhere close to that of a woman in 1940s Japan, but the kernel of doubt is there. The only certainty is that nobody can judge me if nobody knows. 

And even if they don’t judge me? They will resent me

Through the support of my wife and my therapist, I overcome these fears.

I listen to The Priest, who puts it simply. “If men don’t trust each other, this earth might as well be hell.”

I finally tell one new person.

He says he believes me. He says he is sorry that happened. 

And soon, he stops talking to me. Weeks go by. Months. And I understand; I have placed a burden on him. But every insecurity I have is magnified. My fears have become prowling, slobbering wolves circling my bed at night, keeping sleep far away, and when it finally comes, invading my dreams. I begin experiencing vivid flashbacks—half-awake, half-asleep, fully believing I’m back in that night. Night after night. 

I listened to the Priest from Rashomon, but now I hear the Commoner. He speaks to me and about me. “Everyone is selfish and dishonest,” his voice rings out, and as it does, I realize that telling others is nothing more than a selfish act. I am imposing my own baggage onto them, in the hopes that they can shoulder the load. That they can ease my pain. Sexual assault is my burden, and telling others is an act of burden-shifting—and, in the process, turning my entire self into a burden. 

I cannot risk losing others because I ask too much of them. 

Tajōmaru’s laughter echoes. 


The Impossible Clarity of Rage
March 3, 2022 – September 19, 2022

Late in The Tale, Jennifer asks her mom why she’s so angry.

“Well, why are you not angry?” 

To this point, my body has not permitted anger. I have felt complicit. And deep down, I have known that to let rage in would be to direct it at myself. 

But as I have finally accepted that I am not at fault, the annoyance has creeped in. Now it’s irritation. Soon it graduates to a powerful emotional tool: indignation. This is my greatest weapon. Anger is raw and unfiltered. But indignation is a fury supported by some sense of justice.

I am able to tell a few close friends and family. They offer me unqualified support. Now several years later, I know I would not be here without them. And, by extension, without Jennifer. 

When Jennifer confronts her abuser in The Tale, a funny thing happens to me. Her abuser falls quickly into the language of psychosexual violence. He uses a soothing voice to assure Jennifer that she has deceived herself. When I first watched this, I felt her doubt. On my second and third times, I want someone else to jump in, to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this man abused Jennifer. 

But the solution is so much simpler, and so much more honest. She just refuses to believe him.

As I go back and replay this scene to double-check my notes, I understand better. All of my fears about othersthat they won’t believe me, that they will look at me in disgust, that they will see me as a burden—these are fears about myself. I remain terrified that some part of me knows the truth. That I’m lying to make myself feel better, and that the real me will judge me, hate me, turn his back on me. 

The anger was important: I needed it to prevent the crippling fear from keeping my story from others. But anger—even indignant rage—will always fade. And when that happens, I have to find a way to live with myself. With my whole self.

And I no longer need the tools. When every doubt and question and internal critic speaks, I have a new solution. I just do not believe them anymore. 

I believe myself.


Obstacle 4: Story-Doubt; Storytelling; Interlude 4
May 1, 2023.

I finished writing in a bourbon-infused sprint. Two hours, three nights a week, two months. This is the time I carve out to open my conscious brain up to my trauma and let it guide my hand. I hope that the emotional and psychological toil of the last sixty days will finally exorcise and excise the pain that is imprinted on my soul.

I wrote this as I experienced it—this is my script, my film, my story. 

Had I known the obstacles I would face when I started writing over three years ago, I would not have had the courage to begin. But we must start our stories even when we don’t know how they end. I didn’t know the four doubts that I would be forced to overcome. You have walked by my side as I shared the first three. First, the shame-doubt that kept me from acknowledging the truth that I was sexually assaulted. Second, the blame-doubt that weighed on me as I questioned every moment I didn’t stop it sooner. Third, the burden-doubt that warped my vision of relationships and inhibited my willingness to share my experience with those closest to me. 

The fourth doubt is both simpler and more complicated. It has infected every line of this essay. It is the crushing responsibility I feel to get my retelling right. To make my tale worth it.

I call it story-doubt.

It is the reason for my shame-doubt: because this will be framed as the story of a victim, and I do not want that to be my story.

It is the reason for my blame-doubt: because I cannot share, never mind remember, every single detail. 

It is the reason for my burden-doubt: because surely my story cannot be important enough to put in writing. 

It is my final obstacle, and it’s one that was toppled by a very simple act. I just kept writing. And every time a writing session broke me down, the next one built me back up. And by the very simple act of finding the finish line, I have proven to myself that I am not a victim. I have stopped blaming myself. And I have shown that my story is important. 

There is no perfect story. The best films are projections: the psyches of those who made them blasted onto a silver screen. Stories cannot show us every moment; they invite us to fill in the gaps. Stories cannot speak for everyone, but they do speak to everyone. 

The story you just read is mine and it is true, as far as I know.