Ode to Happy Endings
BY EMMA M. FRIARY
A. Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with Girl. Girl falls in love with Boy. They live an ordinary life made extraordinary by their love and their time spent together. They have their 2.3 children, a golden retriever, and visit the Cape during the summer. They die Notebook style in each other’s arms. When the newspaper writes about them they use phrases such as “everlasting love” and “a bond that could not be broken, even by death”. Their children have forever unrealistic expectations for how love should be and struggle with their own marriages.
B. Boy meets Girl. Girl falls in love with Boy but the Boy never notices and Girl is too shy to tell him. They marry other people. Girl thinks of him briefly but now loves the new man she’s with. She never crosses Boy’s mind again. They die hours apart from each other but neither would have ever known.
C. Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl politely rejects Boy. Boy shoots her and when the news reports it they say he was “troubled.” Boy kills himself as he waits in a jail cell. Girl’s family wails.
D. Boy meets Girl. Girl doesn’t like boys. Boy gets over it and they become friends. Their spouses are understanding and don’t care about the expectations placed upon them. Boy and Girl remain friends until the end of their days.
E. Boy meets Girl. Girl and Boy date a year and fizzle out after the spark fades. They try to remain friends until it is too difficult and they part, occasionally reminded of vague memories when they hear certain songs. Boy sees Girl in a grocery store years later when one of the songs they used to listen to plays over the speaker and invites her out for a drink. Girl politely declines and then sits in her car in the parking lot for fifteen minutes, wondering if she should go back in.
F. Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl fall in love and vow to be together forever. Boy goes to war. When he comes back scarred, Girl leaves him for someone who looks more beautiful. Boy is devastated and begins to drink. Girl sees him on the side of the road, another homeless vet. She wants to stop but her new husband has a grip firmly on her thigh and she finally looks away.
G. Boy meets Girl. They spend a glorious hour together in the sky before their commercial plane crashes into the Pacific due to engine failure. Their families never knew they were each other’s last love.
Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s poem “Happy Endings”