“You were foolish to expect this to work out,” Angela told me, carefully folding my navy blue satin pajamas before placing them into the suitcase atop the pile of sweaters and skirts she had already pulled from the closet. “There’s never a happy ending in these situations…you should know that by now.”
I sat huddled at the foot of the bed, watching her work with her usual businesslike efficiency. Angela and I had been friends since fourth grade, and even as children she would come to my house and organize my room while I sat moaning about my life – the teachers who didn’t like me, the parents who overprotected me, the boys who used me.
“You have this fairy tale view of life, Tricia,” she continued, turning her stern gaze toward my pathetic form. “You expect that every man pays you the least attention or treats you remotely decently is going to be your Prince Charming.” Her expression softened into a smile, the kind you give a recalcitrant puppy who pees on the rug even though you’ve just taken her outside. “Even married ones,” she sighed.
It’s true, I don’t have great judgment when it comes to relationships. I’ve fallen in love with the wrong men ever since I can remember, starting with Billy Tucker, that nasty little five year old who lived behind us, and who came to my house every day just so he could play my brother’s computer games. I was certain he loved me, and was crushed when I invited him to my birthday party and he just laughed in my face.
And now I was packing up the remnants of my latest failure in love – or rather, my best friend was packing them for me – a year long relationship with a really super guy who conveniently neglected to tell me he was still married.
“I just want a life,” I said, realizing that the words “like yours” were the implicit ending to the phrase. Angela had a great husband who adored her, and seven year old twins who excelled at everything from soccer to chess. Talk about happy endings.
She sat beside me and wrapped her arm affectionately around my shoulders. “I understand,” she said. “But you have to be realistic. And your life doesn’t have to be like mine,” she continued. “Your happy ending could be something completely different.”
I knew what was coming next. Her familiar “you have so much talent and you’re not using it” speech. Angela was certain I was then next Pulitzer prize winning novelist, if only I would work at it a little harder.
Who knows, I thought, maybe she’s right. She’s been telling me as much ever since I read her my first short story, “The Black Room,” a gothic potboiler penned at the tender age of 11.
“Come on,” she said, pulling me to my feet. “Let’s get you out of this apartment before Mr. Wonderful comes back. You’re coming to stay with me for a while. I’ve got a room ready for you, and I’m going to lock you in every morning and not let you out until you’ve written 2000 words on that novel.”
“I don’t have a novel,” I whined.
“Then it’s about time you started one,” she told me, closing the door firmly behind us. “Just make sure it has a happy ending.”
for more happy endings, go here