Yesterday afternoon as I was dropping off my overdue library books in the after-hours book drop, I noticed a car alone in the parking lot, parked in a corner. My curiosity was peaked, so I shamelessly looked into the car as I drove up, and saw a young woman inside, frantically wiping tears from her eyes. She was alone in the vehicle and maneuvered to cover her face as my car got closer. When I left the lot and looked back through my rearview mirror, she had her head down on the steering wheel, her body shaking with sobs.
I had that momentary sting; that urge to pull over, knock on the window (probably scare the sense out of the poor girl,) and ask if she was okay. It occurred to me then, that anyone parked in the parking lot of a closed library on a Saturday afternoon was probably desperate for privacy. My last thought as I drove off was ‘I wonder what the whole story was.’
Last night, I watched the final episode of “Downton Abbey,” and it has me thinking a great deal about the writer’s hunt for the happily ever after. It’s a week before Valentine’s Day, and it’s a difficult time for many to be single, or love-lorn, or hurt. Like any woman of a certain age, I’ve loved and lost, and loved again, and hoped, and lost faith in love, and found myself so filled with excitement, that I could barely sit down. It’s a byproduct of the romances I read as a child, before I was old enough to understand what real love was, or looked like.
For those of us who love romance novels, it’s the days when our hearts are so broken we can’t see forward, or when things in life are so slow, we long for excitement, or when we just need proof that things can possibly work out; that send us in search of the happily ever after.
I wasn’t able to comfort that young lady, but she’ll be on my mind for a long time to come. She and others like her, myself included, are the reason I write. It’s the reason I wade daily through words and stories. It’s the drive behind the hunt for the happily ever after.