Saturday, June 11, 2011

I don't believe in happy endings

A man I once loved said to me, “No matter what, unless we die together, it will all end in tears.”

Happy endings seem to presuppose that changing the legality of a relationship, leaving a crap job or getting out of a place you don’t want to be is an “ending”. I have never known a single human being who’s life stopped at the point where John Hughes would end the movie. An ending, happy or otherwise, begets a beginning.

I have been laid off from jobs that I hated because of financial cutbacks no less than 3 times and was able to collect federal Employment Insurance benefits whilst I tried to find something more suitable. I have yet to find that job. I don’t believe it exists. So while the ending was filled with relief the subsequent financial instability and settling for yet another job I knew I would hate didn’t really make that ending happy. The new beginning it begat wasn’t very good either, and I suspect that when my current job does come to an end I will feel anxious relief. I won’t know where I am going, but it will be different from where I was.

Having never been involved with a team or project that had an ultimate goal or finite outcome, I guess I will never feel the intense emotion of that kind of happy ending. Upon further consideration I suppose that some of the work I did in politics could have been considered to be happy endings, but the election outcome was never the end. Winning political office is never the end all and be all. The work begins the next day to begin to hold office. Just shortly after you start to feel that things are flowing as they should, it’s time to run for re-election.

What I do believe in is happy beginnings. The stereotypical “Boy marries girl” is not my idea of a happy ending. In my case it was the happiest beginning of my life. If our relationship had a “Happy Ending” I would have to say that that was the day he moved to Canada to be with me; one month before the wedding and 10 months after the first time we spoke. It was the end of long distance phone calls, the end of trying to carve out time for travel, the end of trying to find a way to work out our schedules so that we could still have lives and take care of each other across two time zones and an international boundary.

I wasn’t sick then. He was just a month after donating his mum a kidney. He had just dropped everything - the life in the city he had lived in for the better part of two decades, the job he’d had for most of that, the apartment he’d rented for years and years at that point - to give his mother an organ, move to a foreign country and marry a woman he had known for less than a year.

I have been kissed a hundred thousand million times but there are three that I absolutely won’t forget. The first one ever, the first one with Joe, ever, and the first one with Joe on the platform at Main Street/Science World Skytrain station as I went to pick him up from the station. That was the first kiss I ever got from him that wouldn’t start a countdown to his departure. He was home, and I knew that I was ending all of the long-distance bullshit that had taken over my life in the previous 8 months.

That was the moment in my life when John Hughes would end the movie. But as suddenly as that happy ending was realized, it was over. That was a new beginning. That was the start of something that we carefully considered, planned for and fretted about for the previous 6 months. That was the moment our new life had begun.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed that. I'm going to hang on to the bit that asserts an ending begets a beginning.