Creative non-fiction: Happy Endings

Foreword: As part of my creative writing course, I had to write creative non-fiction with narrative elements: characters, setting, plot, etc. It was extremely challenging, even scary. I made a list of events I thought could be of some interest and started several drafts. In the end, I chose a fairly cheesy event, but I think it was worth writing. It could be extended, made more tangible, but I’m fairly satisfied with the current version. This happened 5 years ago, around this time of the year. It’s also an ode to happy endings in literature. They’re the best.

~*~

Happy Endings

            I graduated in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. All through my bachelor’s degree, teachers kept repeating that there was a huge need for translators and we’d never lack work. It turns out language professionals aren’t always up-to-date on the matters of economics.

I spent two years doing odd jobs before I finally got one in my field… in Ottawa – 5 hours from everyone and everything I know.  I went. I’d stay a year, get some experience, then find a new job back in Québec City.

By the end of my ninth month of exile, I was restless. I had gone to several job interviews in my hometown, but none of them had paid off. I was almost 25 and nowhere near “having my life together” as I thought I should. An existential crisis ensued.

I used several tricks to feel better. I started writing a middle-grade novel for NaNoWriMo to get my mind off things. My fiancé tried to help me, to find a way to bring me back home that wouldn’t put us in a financially unsustainable situation… But without him by my side to make me laugh every day, my mood only got worse.

Then, on my birthday, my roommate, who was also my landlady, told me I had to leave within two months because she was going to sell the house to move with her new boyfriend.

I broke.

I hate moving, and I hated the idea of having to move somewhere else in Ottawa. In my mind, the next time I’d move would be to go back to Québec City.

A few days later, I sent my fiancé an email that was more or less a break-up letter. I woke up the next morning more depressed than ever, dragged my feet downstairs and… saw my white Elantra through the window. The car I’d bought with him. The car he’d kept when I moved to the national capital. What was it doing there at 6 freaking a.m.?

No doubt he saw the light turn on, because he got out of the car and came to the door. I didn’t understand. How was he there? He lived 5 hours away from me, how was he there a Thursday morning at 6 a.m.? I opened the door for him.

“What’re doing here?” I asked. I am a fairly intelligent person, but, confronted with an improbable event two minutes after waking up, my mind was trapped in a loop of confusion.

“I’m taking you home,” he said.

“We went over this.”

“We’ll be alright, kay? It’s not healthy for you to stay here anymore.”

It was the climax of my own fairy tale. Prince charming had come to get me. This prince wasn’t rich, and a sedan is less romantic than a horse, and I was still in my pyjamas, but that moment seemed perfect nonetheless.

I quit my job the following Monday, became pregnant two weeks later. We had our struggles, but we made it. Besides, my Ottawa employer called me a year later to hire me as a long-distance employee.

There might be no real “happy ever after” in life, but there can be happy endings on paper. Of course, I skipped over the part between then and now where I wanted my life to end. But “happy” and “ending” are all a matter of perspective.

~*~

I hope you’ve enjoyed this and happy holidays!

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Short story: Hellhounds

Foreword: I thought I’d make a Halloween special and write a horrorish short story (“-ish” being the key morpheme here). Here is what I came up with.

~*~

Hellhounds

Some beasts are roaming around. I can hear them growl. I caught a glimpse of them once: dog head, black fur, glowing red eyes. They seem out of place. Why are they here?

They’re coming after me. I have to run. I can still keep them at a distance, but they’re getting closer. They’re getting faster. I have to keep sprinting. I can’t keep that up much longer.

Somebody save me.

I felt the pain before I realised they had caught me. Hellhounds, that’s what they are. They’re cutting through my skin with their claws and teeth. One of them has ripped my belly open and is chewing at my guts, the other has torn off my heart. I can’t yell, I am choking on my own blood. My whole body is convulsing.

I should be dead.

I touch my chest, there is no wound. The hounds are immaterial. Yet I feel them shredding my whole being into pieces.

They’re eating my soul.

They’re tearing it apart and swallowing it. The torment is unspeakable. I wish they would kill me and put an end to this torture. I beg for mercy.

Somebody kill me.

It’s over. They’ve eaten it all and left. I feel good. The pain is gone and I can think clearly. My emotions are gone too, but I am better without them. They only made me suffer. I’m ready to start a new life. I have no purpose anymore, but I have stopped caring about such whims.

I am free.

One cruel angel retrieved parts of my soul and gave them back to me. I told her to leave me alone, to mind her own business, but she wouldn’t listen. “You need it,” she said. Like hell!

I am in agony.

My soul is in pieces. It is bleeding. The angel said I had to sew the pieces back together, but I don’t know how. I cannot focus on the task. I hurt so much. It’s like the hounds are eating me from the inside.

God came to me in my sleep. She assembled two pieces of my soul. I know how to do now. I can do this.

It looked easy when God did it. For me, it’s impossible.

I went to see a prophet. He is enlightened. He knows how to sew souls together, but he cannot do it for me, so he’s teaching me how.

This is difficult. It is taking so long. I can’t do this. Just let me die.

I went to see the prophet again. He taught me patience. I sewed other parts together. I think I’m getting the hang of it.

That’s it. It’s done, finally! My soul is back together. I feel good. I can see things clearly now.

There were no hellhounds.

There was no angel.

There was no God.

Only me.

And the prophet.

My therapist.

~*~

Seriously, I’m experimenting here and I have no idea whether this is any good. I’m glad I wrote it though; it was cathartic.

Critics are welcome!