As life would have it, four chapters away from the famous The End in story, the writer was involved in two incidents of leave-taking in real life, last night – both related to the local Arts Center. In the first, one of the art teachers expressed the list of grievances motivating her decision to leave the Center, taking her students with her. After long and acrimonious exchanges, the person acknowledged she and her students were paid up until next May, so maybe her announcement was premature. In the second, the writer stepped down from her responsibilities at the Center, and transferred them to a woman with considerable experience with press releases. The incident was as anti-climactic as… as a prepared statement at a public event. Wikileaks notwithstanding, as a former press officer, the writer likes a certain amount of decorum in gatherings of a formal nature.
Endings. Planned ones; unexpected ones; self-imposed or against the person’s will. Long awaited; abrupt. Leaving a place; familiar objects; a routine. Leaving for a new job, or following your employer’s shut-down of his plant. Leaving with prospects; leaving with none. Leaving in sickness; leaving with both an injury and the Gold Medal. Leaving with a sense of entitlement, or as a victim of fate. Leaving as a gift, both to yourself and to others around you. Burning your bridges, or holding a housewarming. How is this specific story ending; or, rather, where is the writer leaving the various characters at the end of it?
As a reader, when you get to those final chapters, what is it you want to know? How your favorite characters will fare, of course; how you can expect them to live on, and make the best of whatever circumstances are theirs. You may wish the writer had paid closer attention to a so-called secondary character you happened to like; or dealt more or less harshly with one you found despicable. The finest endings, to this writer’s liking? The ones that leave you that nice feeling when, after a wonderful evening, guests do not overstay their welcome, and everyone moves on to the next strange and curious thing awaiting.