The International Writers Magazine: Movie Endings
It Will End?
Wendell R. Mangibin
was several years before you were bornbefore your mother
and I got engaged. It was the year I was sick. I had no sense
of time--only pillows, a thousand pounds of blankets and the light
from the tiny television. My life was that long stretch between
sleep and being abruptly awakened for another heparin shot in
the stomach. It was the year I couldnt stop shivering.
One day your mother
somehow got me in my street clothes to see a movie, an independent flick
Id mentioned months prior that I couldnt wait to see. I
was the only one in the audience swaddled in a comforter. My face burned
in the dark and it hurt to move my eyes. But I felt porous, taking in
the dialogue like water. Before I knew what happenedthe arc of
the story or the plotI was back in the hospital, listening to
the beeping I.V. drip.
Later, I would wake to the rattling windowsill, where your mother sat,
prepping for her masters thesis in Organizational Psych. After
my continuous pleas to tell me what happened, she put down that mammoth
textbook. I was in and out a few times, but each time, she took my hand
and told me an ending--a different one for every time I woke from my
"Oh yeah, in the last scene, they just slow danced so the record
wouldnt skip. Then she told him she was pregnant! Finis!"
"...Then its a close-up on Melora. Her appealing lisp slowly
disappeared as she spoke. Portishead came on. And then she just smiled.
She kept smiling and smiling until
"...So, he rolled up in his truck with a Raggedy Ann doll to see
Melora and that adorable puppy waiting on the steps while the screen
door banged in the wind. Credits roll."
I failed to recall the other endings, all of which were fiction. (Years
later, I caught the movie edited for television. It ended like I expectedthe
hero, dressed in black, staring at himself in a mirror across the bar.)
Somehow, in that hospital bed, her endings endured and morphed into
my countless dreams, each one impossibly upbeat and sunny.
I remember dreaming of you, grown, like you are now, in command of a
circus menagerie. You looked lost and you were sweating. Your brow was
like a piece of burnished wood. You pointed to Gustavas the Great, maintaining
his balance on the trapeze stand and rubbing the arm he broke only a
month ago. Despite your concern, your voice had this profound baritone
that sailed from the megaphone and across the tents, bringing everyones
attention to trapeze. The drum roll commenced. Heads turned as the spotlight
flashed on Gustavas--the children turned with their mouths agape, the
elephants glanced while balancing on one foot, the girl twirling by
her hair, the lions in mid-yawneveryone waiting for Gustavas and
his famous quadruple twist/somersault.
Somehow, amidst all this, you managed to catch a glimpse of us in the
audience. Your mother was waving frantically. She pulled her loose hair
back and curled her fingers around her mouth. She was shouting something
you couldnt hear. And suddenly, you snorted as you held back a
laugh. You rolled your eyes because you knew. You knew exactly what
she was shouting.
© Wendell R. Mangibin November 2005
Wendell is a graphic designer in Northport, New York
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