Monday, August 29, 2016

End Game

Not long after one of your recent ruminations about the endings you'd encountered in the first wave of books and stories you'd read, which nudged you forward to consider the types of endings you prefer now in the things you read and, not without surprise, the things you write, you came upon a remarkable film clip from a film dating back to the silent days.

In the film clip were two actors you'd known better as performers in the films of your youth, in which there was indeed a sound track. In this particular clip, a young John Barrymore sat disconsolate at a table, ravaged by age and regret, the spirit beginning to lift from him and, thus, signifying how we were observing him at the moment of his death. 

At that moment, his image seemed young, ardent, handsome. Across the room, the spirit of an individual portrayed by Mary Astor. Even when you saw her, in her middle age, as Brigid Shaughnessy, in The Maltese Falcon, she didn't merely radiate beauty and stature, she exuded it.

The two spirits in the film clip before you meet, embrace, seem to melt into one another for a long, poignant moment before they drift off together to eternity, the embodiment--no pun here--of the romantic happy ending and, indeed, one you could see for your parents.

This film clip reminded you of a number of other films in which the ghosts reunite or gather to greet one who has recently crossed over the metaphoric rainbow bridge, separating those of us who live from those who await us "on the other side."

How then could this not remind you of a pair of adverts from Facebook, one in which you are offered the opportunity to buy a commemorative bracelet honoring your furry pals who have preceded you over the rainbow bridge and who surely will greet you on your own venture across that span. The other linked some wind chimes outside a cemetery dedicated to animals. 

You could, by pressing a button, hear the wind chimes which, presumably, would tug at your heart strings to the point where you donated to some animal memorial fund and the almost certain happy ending knowledge that your own friends, Sam, Edward, Blue,Jed, Armand, Molly, Sally, and Goldfarb would gather to greet you on your own venture into the dark hole of eternity.

Happy endings thus assure you of the connective tissue that binds you to those you care for and, even against your contrary beliefs, the prospect of some sense of awareness in which you will experience belonging to the universal elements, their governing forces, and the qualities that govern them.

In the happy-ending movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a down-on-her-fortunes widow is forced to a remote cottage, now haunted by the ghost of its former-but-still-irascible owner, a one-time captain of a merchant vessel. The ghost and the widow not only meet, the ghost dictates his memoirs to the widow, who publishes them, earns enough royalty to get by and raise her children in comfort. When the widow's time to cross the bridge arrives, who is there, waiting for her? And of course they stroll off to their destiny hand in hand. No sex in the other world, but jolly good company.

Unless there is some unaccountable traumatic event in the immediate future, you see no Rainbow Bridge beckoning you, which condition may, with proper deliberation, provide a story for you. At the moment, your own preferences for endings are neither happy nor laden with the heavy blankets of noir, rather then of some irony in which:

1. An individual whom you will portray as a loner yet by no means a misanthrope, is led by circumstances to a maze garden, becomes lost, attempts to peer through a hedge for some directional clue, only to meet the inquiring eyes of another being.

2. An individual who voluntarily opts into an assisted-living facility the, in the act of sorting out his few remaining belongings, discovers a box of correspondence from the former occupant, all letters unsent over the years, addressed to him.

3. An individual every bit as convinced as you about any activity subsequent to the individual's death, awakening as if from a dream, finding himself in what appears to be a park, a park with a name such as Bridgeway, persistently followed by a dog of the breed and sort you find least attractive, bearing a collar with a name tag of the sort you would never give a dog, and with an ID on the collar listing you and your last address as its owner and place of residence.

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