Getting to the end of something, anything, was the epitome of childhood. Finish your homework, you get to go out. Finish clearing up, you get a treat. Finish that sentence and you’ll either be reprimanded or rewarded. Finish your nap sooner so you can go out and play. Finish your broccoli, it’ll make you strong and healthy. Finish school, you’ll be the smartest — ever.
However, as you get older, endings take on a whole new meaning, and they just don’t seem as… fun.
Putting a final stamp of “done” on something (or for those of you in the communications/journalism know, a -30- to signify there is truly nothing more to come after that point) just isn’t as satisfying in some cases. Family members pass away, pets die, jobs are lost, friendships fade, relationships tank, people move away, and suddenly you desperately don’t want anything to ever end again.
I realize I’m not too good with endings.
In journalism school we learned about something called the inverted pyramid: Put all the important bits and juicy information at the very beginning of the article because readers usually only make it about 2-3 paragraphs in then taper off and never finish anyways. So, the ending didn’t matter. Because no one ever got to it.
I think I took that lesson literally. I never really thought I’d get to any endings. At least, not the endings I’m dealing with now.
Perhaps I’ve been living my life like an inverted pyramid. And as all the juicy interesting bits are starting to taper off, there’s not much left … and I’ve not put together a proper ending, a valid conclusion. And I’ve suddenly realized I have to. And it scares the shit out of me.
I don’t mean that my life has to come to an end soon, as in the conclusion has to be written NOW — just in case anyone was about to pick up the phone or come rushing over here. No, no, I’m saying things need to be concluded and closed in order to move on to the next more appropriately written piece that I think should read much more like a feature column with an appropriate beginning, middle, and end.
I’m not good with endings.
When I was 13 years old, we moved from a small little town to the big city. The small little town had been my home for two years, and my summer and Christmas home for 13. I had been attending a private boarding school in said town. I had friends. I loved it there. And then my parents told me we had to move.
I lost my mind. I thought my world was ending. I cried. Endlessly. It was horrible. I didn’t know how to properly end it. I didn’t know how to accept that one chapter was truly closing and another about to open. I couldn’t look to the next pages. I couldn’t look to the next plot. I could only focus on the loss of the current one.
The same thing happened when my parents threatened to leave the province I’m currently in and move to another when I’d just started CEGEP. I had just started dating my boyfriend (who’d then become my husband and now my ex) and I was desperate to not close that chapter. I couldn’t accept it. I cried. Endlessly. And they said they’d wait till I finished school, and they did. The moment I graduated University, they couldn’t sell the house quickly enough.
When my 19-year-old cat was on her final days, I couldn’t bring myself to put her down. I watched her whither and wear away. I cried. Endlessly. I finally, after weeks of watching her hobble around (in a diaper no less as she could no longer control herself), took that final (ha ha) step to bring her in, and even then SHE made the final decision and the ending into her own paws and died in my arms on the car ride to the vet.
I think I was forever grateful she did that. Saved me having to end it.
And now, as I work with a lawyer to finally, legally, put an end to my marriage after a full year of separation, I can’t handle it. I’ve cried. Endlessly. And I can’t imagine the ending. I don’t want the ending. I know it’s the best thing. He’s moved on. Fully. Completely. And I thought I had, too. Fuck, I thought wrong.
Perhaps it’s the simple fact that something is coming to a close — finishing. That’s what I can’t stand. I know I’ve already accepted us being apart, so why would this upset me all over again? I feel like an idiot. What, I thought we’d fall in love again? Bullshit. I imagined we’d get back together? I’m not that stupid (I hope).
But, do I still care about him? Deeply. Maybe that’s the dumb part. I wish I didn’t care. On so many days, after so many tears and cursing at myself I wish I just didn’t fucking care. After all, I’m the one that broke us, right? Why the hell would I feel something now?
I wish I could breeze through it like it seems he is. I wish I could just walk away, not a flutter of an eye, not an emotional outburst. It would make things so much easier for everyone involved. One day, I’ll ask him how he did it. How he shut me out so quickly. One day I’ll want to know. I’ll need to know.
A very dear and smart friend said something profound as I cried over text messages to her: She told me that while the door was closed on us, I was happy with it being open just a crack. She’s incredibly right. And now it’s about to be shut and locked for good. No more crack. No more opening.
It scares the crap out of me. Makes me feel alone in the ending of it all. Makes me feel panicked as to what will happen next. This is all so final, all so complete. At least, it will be once the paperwork is done. I’m terrified. Utterly and completely terrified.
I should be feeling relief. A sense of freedom even. My parents are ecstatic. They want nothing more than for both of us to be happy (even if that means being happy apart). They want me to start my next chapter. But I can’t for the life of me fathom legitimately ending this current one.
It’s all so final. So …. -30-.