Unhappy Endings

Written for Trifecta. The prompt is to use the third definition of "charm." When we could no longer talk, when comebacks grew superfluous as cheese-stuffed pizza crusts and apologies became lodged between the ribs, we walked. We didn't make contact with accusatory eyes nor spindly fingers. We didn't know how to live apart, and we fought like angry cats while together. We were wine and chocolate, frick and frack, sunlight and water. Together we tasted like divine pairings, we could accomplish so many things and be so many iterations of our best selves, and our worst.

We wrote a screenplay together in a day, each picking up where the other had left off, weaving the plot in ways no one could prophesy. We got high off of the imagined drama. The impossible love triangle, the precise professions made by the man to charm both of the women at once, the compromises each character made for their own unhappy ending.

Our trusted friend was the only son of a Hollywood producer, hot shot and loaded. After reading it, he couldn't speak through his elation. We stared at one another like mutes. I opened a box of wine and we clinked three glasses together. When we'd drained the last of the crimson, our friend moved his lips.

"Brilliant. Fucking brilliant."

We were going to make a movie.

My husband and I made love in the middle of the day and the middle of the night. We climbed mountains, settling upon the highest rock with a picnic lunch, only satisfied with the widest angle of the world. We dined on oysters and shopped using credit cards. We lived the dream like we owned it.

And then I changed my mind. Or perhaps my mind changed me. Changed us.

"We have to fix the ending."


"It's too sad. No one likes a film that's ultimately depressing. No one."

"We wanted it to be realistic, remember?"

"What's so unrealistic about happy endings?"

Everything, it turned out.