Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Choose An Ending

Love many ways to begin. So many ways to end. Which ending would you choose for this one?

A rugby player heads out to a dance after a match. He's in a large group with his fellow players, battered and bruised, talking over a play or bemoaning a lost opportunity to score, when he sees a pretty girl without a partner. The dance hall is crowded on this lovely night in Dublin, yet this one girl stands out from all the rest.

He's feeling bold, our lad, and he dares to approach. He finds a few words to speak, something relatively coherent. Will she turn away? Will she mock him? Is he too muscular and large, too British?

None of it. She returns his opening remarks with words of her own, and before long they are having a real conversation. He learns her name. They dance, but not too close, this being Dublin in the 1950s when too much of that sort of thing could get a girl incarcerated in a Magdalene laundry for immoral conduct.

He must return to his home in London, but they exchange addresses and they write to each other. After a couple of years of that, he invites her to visit him in his home town, and she accepts. She buys a pair of tickets to the theatre, a treat to thank him for the invitation, and he plans to take her to dinner at some posh restaurant. He's working now, with the Metropolitan Police, and that's something a man can boast of when he's trying to win a girl's heart. A steady job, one that comes with a pension for the golden years, and he can afford some small luxuries for the woman he's courting.

Police business calls him away and there is no theatre date, no meal, no evening out on the town. That was the end of it, as abrupt as that. She never spoke to him again. Maybe he felt that she should have been more understanding, given his profession. Work comes first when a man has a position of authority and there is a heater case to be solved. What was she thinking, he wondered. Where did it go so wrong?

Michael Freer lost the love of his life and now, fifty years on, he is trying to find her.

He is searching Ireland for Bridie Fortune, with a hope of rekindling the old flame. He's a widower now, and maybe she's alone as well.

How does this story end? Will they be reunited, or will we see her chatting with her friends after Mass on a Sunday, rolling her eyes as she decries the cheek of the man, to think she'd ever want to see him again after the way he treated her, and she spent all that money for the ferry across and the tickets and then to go home with nothing? The humiliation, the shame, and now after fifty years he thinks it can all be forgotten? Not likely.

Or will this become a romance, with the couple reuniting at the same dance hall where they first met, but now the dance hall is a bingo parlor filled with geriatrics like themselves.

Maybe the story will become a tearjerker as Mr. Freet discovers that his lost love died years and years ago, a spinster perhaps. Or she's a nun, dedicating her life to God when she thought she was soundly rejected by man.

You write the story. You have the prompt. Take it where you want it to go.

Reality won't be anywhere near as entertaining as what you can concoct in your imagination.

No comments: