Friday, July 11, 2008

Moon River




She liked how he said her name. Like the new language of her on his tongue was a sweet to be sucked on.

“Lauren.”

She smiled into the phone.

“I was just wondering what you thought about life after death.”

She sat on her bed.

“This is why you called?”

“I think it’s important. Don’t you?”

Audrey Hepburn began a muted Moon River on the TV. Her thoughts fluttered.

“I don’t know . . . isn’t it more important to think of this moment? How we’re living?”

He worked the graveyard shift because it offered better pay. She worked days. When they had met two months ago, this hadn’t been a big deal. An ambulance wailed across his night, while crickets strummed in hers. Whatever. They had to do what they . . .

“Well, yes. But life, death. They’re connected. What we think of death influences how we live. How much we’re willing to risk.”

“I suppose.”

He sighed.

“Here’s the thing: I just lost a patient. A newlywed. Car crash. His wife went bonkers. Grabbed a syringe and started slashing at her skin. Had to be sedated, and—”

Tears filled her eyes.

“Aw, hell,” he mumbled.

“It’s okay, Ethan. You’re allowed. It sucks.”

He sniffed. “Thanks.”

Audrey Hepburn had the saddest, most beautiful eyes of any creature she had ever seen. Wasn’t she in a movie where she played God?

“But it got me thinking, Lauren. Do you think they’ll ever be together again?”

“The dead man and his wife?”

“Yes.”

She inched the volume up on the television.

We're after the same rainbow's end--
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

Audrey smiled.

She turned off the television.

“I’m not sure that I do.”

A long silence. Then—

“Lauren?”

“Yes, Ethan.”

“Then what the hell are we doing spending this lifetime apart?”


19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Great ending to this. And a great sentiment.

ChrisEldin said...

I hope these two sentimental lovers will make it. I think they will.
So easy to read and romantic!

Vesper said...

Excellent, Sarah! I loved everything, the dialogue, the thoughts...
Thank you for the clip from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - Audrey Hepburn is sublime...

Sarah Hina said...

Sometimes it's interesting to end things on a question, Charles. Perhaps it makes the reader think about the answer. Thanks. :)

I hope they do, too, Chris. For some reason, I had Moon River in my head the other day. Now I know why! :)

And yes, I've been working on making things a little easier to read. So thank you for the feedback!

Isn't she, Vesper? I'm a bigger fan of her in Roman Holiday or My Fair Lady, but she's always a delight.

And I'm glad you liked the story, too. :)

Cynthia said...

Very piognant, written in truth,
especailly the last line, and
so true.

Ello said...

I loved this ending. Absolutely loved loved loved this ending. I want to read more about this couple because of this ending.

jason evans said...

Haunted by the time that slips away.

So easy to be soothed by the grains of sand cascading between our fingers, by looking forward to the wonderful things to come. But what is the future other than just another "now" moment waiting to escape our grasp?

To me, this is the anti-idealist statement. The now does matter. It will never come again. And no higher concept will effectively replace it.

Oh, and by the way, excellently portrayed.

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, Cynthia. I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

Ello, there's nothing like a (small) cliffhanger! I'd like to know more about this couple, too. Thanks, my friend.

Jason, my first instinct was to say, You're wrong. If someone isn't satisfied with the present, why not examine what's broken in order to work toward a better future? That's what I had in mind for this couple.

But I thought about it some more.

Future-fixation can be self-defeating. If the power to change things is not within our grasp, or if we become numb to a still-beautiful reality around us, then what are we but ghosts, haunting our own time? And that's pretty sad.

Thanks for showing me a different perspective. I need that, sometimes. :)

J.C. Montgomery said...

Seems everything I wanted to say has been said, so all I can offer is that this is wonderful and evokes so many feelings. My father was a firefighter, several of my cousins EMT's or Paramedics. This is a conversation I can truly understand.

Aine said...

Very nice writing! I enjoyed reading this-- it made me think, too.

As Jason noted, it's easy to be soothed by dreams for the future. I've tended to live by that (big surprise....) But I'm learning that the present moment is of critical importance (thanks, Jason!)

I believe both perspectives have great value-- if one has no vision or dream for the future, the chain of "now" moments can become disjointed and self-defeating. You can't build a solid structure without a plan, even if each brick is carefully laid.

BTW, I love the names: Ethan and Lauren. They just sound like they were meant to be together. ;)

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, J.C. I'm really glad you came by--I enjoyed the writing on your blog.

And I'm glad this felt authentic to you. I am all admiration for the people who are capable of doing the kind of work you describe. It takes a special kind of grit.

Aine, you make a valid point (which was my initial feeling too--yes, surprise ;)): having no plan for the future can also be damaging, if we are capable of change.

Ethan and Lauren have a rather small impediment: the hours they work don't suit their budding relationship. It may take some small sacrifice, but that could likely be negotiated. It's about prioritizing what's important in your life. Too often, money assumes a significance that a slight change in lifestyle can repair. Of course, the issues involved can be much trickier. But that's another story.

And thanks for the kind words. Always. :)

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

That was beautiful!

We just waste life away till one day realization dawns that it's too late.

Glad these two realized it much earlier :)

Sarah Hina said...

Hi, Sameera! I recognize you from Jason's contest. So glad you came by. I look forward to visiting your blog more in the future. :)

And yes, hopefully this couple finds it easy enough to accommodate their dreams.

Lena said...

that's awesome. I liked the way you used the movie here. And this unexpected question in the end. Sometimes we really waste our life thinking that we can catch up with things in the future. But then this future might never come for us.
And you made us realize it with this short piece :)

vishvsambyal said...

wow....superb....simply superb ending..i never saw it coming.. excellent piece of writing..needs to be published sumwhere ..really *claps claps*

Sarah Hina said...

Hi, Lena--thanks so much for visiting!

You're right about wasting time. "Someday" we will change and shape our lives into what they should be. I think Ethan just realized that someday had arrived. :)

Vishvsambyal, thank you! So glad you came by.

That's a really nice thing to say. Maybe I'll try to get some of these shorts published...someday. ;)

Beth said...

Sarah, how can you keep cranking this stuff out? Are you making a book of short stories or are these all ideas you have for novels or what? I've been coming here reading and enjoying long enough to now ask. What's the deal?

And also, contest is up and yours is my favorite entry thus far. I commented there so you can read it there, but wow ... so many writers in the world, but not enough talent. You have bucket loads of talent. Um, maybe boat loads. I have no idea what bucket loacs are or why I wrote that.

Sheri said...

Sarah, this is one to definitely develop into something much more lengthy. I really liked both characters very much and their interplay with one another. Seriously, how do you keep cranking this stuff out!!!!

Sarah Hina said...

I'm not sure what I'm doing with these shorter pieces, Beth, except for enjoying myself and improving my writing. I probably should look into publishing some of them, but there aren't enough hours in the day!

I really do appreciate your extreme generosity in giving me such wonderful feedback. Bucket loads or boat loads--I'll take them either way. ;)

Thank you, Sheri! Not sure I could stomach a whole book of this little minx. But she was fun to spend an evening with. ;)

I'm so glad you liked it!