That Simple Ending
“Is it wrong to think this way?” I mused, gazing out over the smooth waters of the empty pool.
“No,” she said, easing back into her plastic chair. She slid her arms into the warmth of her red sweater, twisting her already curly hair around a nervous finger. “I think it’s good actually. I wish others would think like you.” I couldn’t help but stifle a small laugh.
“Think like me? I’m not sure about that.”
“No, really,” she insisted. “Don’t let others tell you differently.”
We watched silently over the deserted pool deck, considering the intriguing context of our conversation.
“Have you ever really been in love?” she asked.
This was interesting.
“No,” I answered softly. “Not real love. Not a love that has caused me pain, you know? You only hear about it in the movies – the love that makes men fight dragons and save damsels in distress?” It was her turn to laugh.
“Yeah, I get what you’re saying. Unfortunately there aren’t any dragons or damsels in distress.”
Once again we lapsed into silence, a natural part of a thought provoking subject. A pool member had entered the gate, trailing behind an overexcited toddler who rushed for the baby pool like nobody’s business. The parent gave a shy wave and a smile to us, and then continued her steady pursuit of the child.
“In a sense I want that feeling. I want to be sad when I’m away from her, I want to have problems focusing because of her… I want to be helplessly in love.”
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m a romantic.”
“That’s not a bad thing.”
She giggled again, resting her crossed legs upon the rim of the lifeguard table.
“No, it’s not.”
“Hmmm…” I sighed.
“What else?” she asked. “I’m curious.”
The corners of my mouth curled into a smile. “Marriage. It’s so rushed into these days that people forget to check and see if they’re actually in love.”
My friend nodded sadly. She was a freshman in college. “All my friends are married. All of them.”
“The problem is that they meet these guys who suddenly give them all the attention in the world. It’s not high school anymore. Suddenly, these girls find boys that would do anything for them, and it’s comes across as the most romantic thing in the world. The only thing they want is to be with them forever. So they get married.”
“Yeah…” she whispered, lowering her crossed legs to the ground again. “It happens so fast…” She looked at me earnestly. “What do you want?”
I considered her question for a moment. “I want the Disney ending.”
She laughed. “There are no dragons to slay, Christian.”
“Yeah,” I answered with a genuine grin. “But still. I’d like to have that happily ever after. Doesn’t everyone? It’s that simple ending that makes the movies great.”
“Life isn’t like the movies.”
“It doesn’t have to be.”
All my life I have wondered what it means to be in love. Of course, there are the many crushes of my life: that cute girl in elementary school that would blow me kisses; that outgoing, over-flirtatious girl that would make me nervous by looking at me in middle school; and then that pretty girl in high school that I would share my first kiss with.
But was it love? Was any of it really deep, devoted love?
The answer is this – No. A gut feeling that pulses throughout my thoughts and my feelings assures me that I haven’t. Not really.
And herein lies the message that is prevalent throughout the entirety of this reflection – I believe in love. Not the love that your television attempts to sell you, not the love that is advertised on those giant billboards that blur past you on the highway – real, true, burning, unconditional love. And in this do I find that the Disney ending, that beautiful, simple ending, to be one of the most intriguing dreams this world has to offer.