right ending for the wrong story


September 23, 2011 by Kristen

Feeling a bit “prose-y” after a talk about writing with my extremely talented brother. (Shameless plug for his blog.) It’s not my usual sarcastic nonsense. Thought I’d break my blogging hiatus with something more serious from the personal writing archives of yester-year.

I don’t think of you much anymore. But when I do, it’s always that same moment.

You know those moments that are seared into our minds for an eternity? Like, if you had only known the scar the branding would leave, you would have never let that hot iron near you.

But once the reel starts playing, you’re forced to watch it all over again in your mind. There’s no stop button, no pause—you’re just an observer now. It’s you onscreen—you’re now the leading lady. You shout at her to “Stop!” “Don’t leave like that.” You watch as she screams those caustic last words and flings the car door shut, never looking back. You close your eyes for a moment, hoping she’ll realize that’s the last time she’ll ever see his face. But only you know the ending—she doesn’t yet. Then you wonder if he even watched her walk away.

The girl on screen runs to the door, as tears run down her face. And yours.

You squeeze your eyes shut, but that’s a futile attempt to shut it off. It’s only clearer now. Maybe this time he’ll run after her; maybe this time his hardened expression will crack. Maybe, just maybe—this isn’t the end. But you know it’s not true. Your heart starts to splinter all over again as you watch his car pull down the drive…as she crumbles into her mother’s arms. He was the kind of guy to let the girl walk away—

and I think I always knew that.

That’s when the projector clicks off and everything stops spinning—a jolt back to the present and just a pile of memories. They’ve been appropriately filed and tucked away. Except for this last one—my last memory of you. I struggle to remember your last face-to-face words to me, but I never come up with anything. I think it’s because you said nothing. So I am left with only my last words to you.

Whhhrrr. The projector starts back up and the memory replays again. Repeating that specific part over and over and over again. She wasn’t thinking about what she was saying. It was the hurt talking, it was the surprise. Those words are just the sound of a heart breaking. But maybe she was right to say what she did. Maybe it was the first time she was ever honest. Not with you.

With herself.

I meant what I said, but sometimes I’m sorry about it. And I’m still trying to figure out how I could be sorry for something, yet not want to take it back. I think that’s just how it goes with some relationships. We don’t always get to pick the ending.

But maybe, just maybe, it ends up being the right one for that story.


One thought on “right ending for the wrong story

  1. lheathman says:

    I don’t know what to say about this…wow. You are a very talented writer and a strong woman to be able to be honest with yourself like this. Not many people are.

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