Lily Collins laughs when I tell her that she made me sob on a street corner in the dark by myself. The kind of perfect giggle only a 25-year-old British movie star (and daughter of Phil Collins) would have.
"Oh, yay. Thank you, thank you," she says. "That's so nice to hear!"
I laugh back. My normal-person chuckle. "You like making strangers cry, Lily?"
"Of course," she says. "It means I'm doing my job!"
When Lily imagines people crying in her movies, she probably thinks it's a delicate, salty trickle down their faces. But not me. Leaving an advanced session of her latest movie Love, Rosie was like trying to walk straight with a waterfall of tears and mascara gushing down my front.
Clearly, I accidentally left my heart unguarded, and this one beautiful rom-com got straight through.
You see, Love Rosie is actually one of the only romantic comedies ever (trust me, I've seen them all) that tells truth about how imperfect and infuriating love can be. In a messy, chaotic way - like it actually happens. Madness and bad decisions and missed kisses and pain and the fear that you may never find the right person.
That's the fear I had lodged in my chest when I left the cinema, by the way. That all the beautiful chaos of true love might not happen for me.
It's not often you get to confront the lead actress in the movie that made you cry. But when I did - and I asked Lily how she stays sane in Hollywood - I felt so much better.
Just like love, it was all about timing. My chat with this very famous young woman comforted me about the absence of a romantic lead in my own life at the moment. Because as famous and beautiful and successful as she is, Lily Collins relies on her friends to keep her sane.
JUST LIKE ME / ALL OTHER HUMANS.
She doesn't speak about her own romantic relationships (which I respect), but she does talk about her friends. And how they're her real soul mates.
"Through all of this strange glamour, all my closest friends are actually from high school and elementary school," she said.
"They're my people, they've been with me throughout it all and they keep me super grounded. They remind me of the important things all the time. It's amazing to be able to dress up and have fun but at the end of the day, my favourite thing is to bake, put a t shirt on, be casual and myself and with the people who matter. The ones who love you for who you are."
It just so happened that the day after my chat with Lily, my three closest friends in the world happened to be in the same city (and the same room) together for the first time in 3 and a half years.
They're my people; they're the loves of my life.
So, call me completely strange, but it took a world-famous movie star and a serendipitous best-friend reunion to remind me that friends are your real soul mates. They're the ones who make you whole. Who heal your heart when it's broken, hold your hand when it's empty.
My life is lightyears away from Lily Collins' life - and the life she lived onscreen in Love, Rosie - but it's a weird comfort to me that we operate the same way.
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