You know how it is when you’re at a movie, and the house is full and everyone is seeing the same actors say the same dialogue, seeing the same tears and kisses, and at just about the end of this love story, you get it. It’s kind of tragic love story, the guy really does love the girl, but she dies. She dies. But he’s okay. That’s the point. She dies and he’s okay because even though he misses her, what came alive in him did not die with her and so he will be okay. You get it even though the guy never says, “I’ll be okay,” even though there’s a funeral with black umbrellas and heavy rain, even though he can’t yet take her picture off the wall, you still get it. You get it so clearly it’s as if someone did say, “He’s going to be okay,” but no one said it, you just heard it.
Which is why it’s disorienting when you leave the theater and your friend says, “That was so depressing.” Your friend was watching the same movie as you, and everything you believe you now have, you feel was given to you by that movie. If you got it then the movie must have given it to you, and movies don’t give to some and not others. How could he not get it?
“It’s so depressing,” your friend repeats. “Whose bright idea was it to do that to me?”
You don’t know what to say. Your friend senses something in your silence, and he turns to you, and for a moment it’s as if you aren’t friends anymore, as if it was maybe your bright idea. He’s your friend, and you want it to stay that way, but you can still feel what the movie gave you, and it’s yours now anyway, and there’s nothing you can do about that.
“How should it have ended?” you ask him as you head for the car.
“God, I don’t know. I’m such a softy. I just like everyone to be okay.”
“I know what you mean. Those are my favorite endings, too.”
He thinks for a moment. “If I died, would you be okay?”
“Would you want me to be?”
“Yeah, I guess I would.”
“Then I probably would be.”
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com