Breakups are difficult for writers because we didn’t just love you, we love the story that we wrote you into. We loved the way you kissed us for the first time – with a crestfallen expression that overtook your face as we backed away slowly, wanting nothing more than to evade the possibility of losing you to love gone sour, hands grasped tightly and breaths rising slowly together as your lips broke down all our defenses and drew themselves impossibly close. The way we captured that instant forever in our Kodak-moment minds, plunging into a dark-room where futures entwine and develop beneath the overly-exposure of hope. We know on some level that you made out with us outside a bar on the West side of town because both of us were wasted and didn’t want to go home alone. But writers dispose of that part of their mind; the part that rationalizes and examines what has happened. Writers don’t remember the taste of stale beer and meat pizza on your lips as they kissed them. Writers re-invent their own histories.
Breakups are difficult for writers because your life is a story rife for telling. We lie awake tortured by the plot lines we summon you into – each romance a whirlwind, each lover a saint. You will exist in the mind of a writer long after your life has dissolved into a pattern Tivo and Chinese take-out – you will be woven into chronicles and fantasies that you’ll never live. The shoes we gave you last Christmas are not shoes – they are the soles that carry you over new lands, past the Warfield that once was our love, on to a sea of chance and change. The smile you gave us at the grocery store last Thursday was not awkward and somewhat forced, it was the struggle of a deeply repressed passion that tears you into pieces with every haggard breath you take. Writers will not take your life for the sometimes-good-and-sometimes-bad mediocrity that it is once you leave us. We will invent and re-entrance you; a villain one moment, a plagued man the next. Worthy of death, worthy of devotion. We will despise you by the end of chapter nine and re-vive you before the final page. Breakups are difficult for writers because we want to believe love triumphs.
In the mind of a writer, your story has not finished. We blame movies. We blame stories. We blame tales that our parents would tell us as we dozed off to sleep as young children; ones where the true love prevailed and where the pain wasn’t the end. Writers refuse to leave a story unfinished – we crave the final chapter, the change in character, the twist in plotline where the good finally overcomes evil. Where the cheating was a bad misunderstanding. Where the pain was just a love presented wrong. Writers crave poetic justice and we seek it at all costs. If an ending is unsatisfactory, we simply tell ourselves it’s not done yet.
Breakups are difficult for writers because the stories that we don’t finish leave their plotlines engraved on our souls. We want to close off every chapter with a ‘happily-ever-after’ that will never exist in real life.
Breakups are difficult for writers because stories like yours and ours aren’t supposed to end. And for writers, they never do.