The happy ending is a lie. It isn’t the end that is happy. The end, the real end, is so far off in the distant future that it is impossible to see from here. Here, now, on the inside of a moment. Because that is what it is, a moment. Not an ending or a beginning, just a snipped bit of time. Taken out of context, framed and mounted, and lit with a soft glow, flattering like candlelight.
I’ve put so much weight onto that moment. That moment in the driveway with my car packed, the decisions past, plans fulfilling, journey ahead, trial behind. A slice of perfect time. A deep breath of beautiful free air and then I got into my car and I drove from one life to another. Poor old moment. It is sagging with age now and hasn’t been dusted in a while.
I want that moment back. I want to feel again that blooming, opening, sprouting rush of newness. Of possibility. That solid knowledge that I was the luckiest person in the world. That if everyone in the world could feel the anticipatory joy I felt, if everyone’s jaws ached with the nonstop grin, there’d be no more war or pain anywhere. Perhaps. Maybe. For a moment.
I’m not unhappy. I’m just regular. I’m what people mean when they say, “I’m fine.” “I can’t complain.” I’m alive and healthy and loved and the sun keeps on coming up in the east. The bills are paid. I have clothing and shelter and food and friends. Life is good.
But once upon a time life was brilliant. Once I breathed the air of such intense joy that I couldn’t see the road for the tears.
Once upon a time I lived happily ever after inside a moment. The moment ended, but life continued on.
“Oh if life were made of moments,
Even now and then a bad one,
But if life were only moments,
Then you’d never know you’d had one.”
― Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods