I have been conflicted as soon as I learned that Grace was dead. The ship that I adored and fell in love with was now hopeless. Let me clarify hopeless in terms of a future, but not destroyed. In fact Hardlet despite anything is evidence of how love can bring out the best of you and has the potential to make you a happier and stronger person. I have no regrets shipping this ship and I will continue to ship this ship forever. Because regardless of what happens to Rich whether he lives or dies, loves again, or even has a sex change the love that Rich has for Grace and the love that Grace has for Rich is eternal. It was real. It was true. It was Hardlet.
The real conflict lies between my devotion and love for my ship with my love and devotion for Rich. I want Rich to be happy and I want to be comforted by the end of this series with the knowledge that he will be okay. I am not someone who thinks that Rich needs to stay devoted to Grace until the day he dies. Grace would not want that and I don’t want that as much as it hurts for me to picture Rich with anyone else…eventually he will meet someone else. He may fall in love with that someone else; however, Grace will always be with him.
There is talk about what is the appropriate time for Rich to start dating. The truth is …there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The heart waits for no one and the heart acts without thought of convention. My friend lost the man she loved and she found someone else. She started dating this someone else six months after her man died. The first few months of this new relationship was filled with confusion, guilt, and having to come to terms with so many conflicting and complicated feelings. It is not unreasonable (in my opinion) for Rich to find someone at the end of the series. I may not like it and I may hate her on principle; however, it does not cheapen Rich’s feelings for Grace nor does it make him a bad guy. Things like this happen especially when you are lonely and hurting. My friend still loves the guy she lost. Visits his grave every birthday and celebrates their anniversary. However she is with someone else. The guy she is with knows that he has to live with the knowledge that this other guy is a part of her and when I met him…I hated him. He is not the guy my friend is supposed to be with.
So I guess this is what I am saying. I hope that Skins does not write Rich a love interest. Because I personally do no want to see it and I am personally not ready to accept anything other than Hardlet. However the reality of the situation is that if Grace really is dead…she’s not coming back and Rich deserves to be happy. He deserves a second chance at love. She will have to be someone who respects the fact that Rich comes with baggage…beautiful baggage…and her name is Grace.
So I will cry with the rest of the Hardleters if that Alice character becomes part of the plot. I will be angry if we get Alice without Rich talking about Grace. I will be conflicted and lost. However I think despite everything we should think about Rich. Which is hard…because he should be with Grace and I think Rich would say the same thing.
Biscuits for all. I hope that this comes across as genuine and not preachy. I just wanted to write this just to have people think for a few minutes before we all inevitably throw shit at our televisions.
I also remember Alex Arnold saying that he hopes that people still want Rich to be happy. I think he knows that some people will be upset about Hardlet and may worry that people won’t care about Rich too much or may fight certain things that are coming plot wise (possibly). I’m a Hardlet shipper…however I am trying my best to put Rich first. However own the feelings you have. This is not intended to shame you for your feelings or to keep you from voicing your truth. No matter what. We are all on an emotional journey. Alice may or may not be important; however, Rich and Grace will always be important.