For some reason, this reminds me of a French film I saw as a teenager. I haven’t seen the film again, and I have no idea what it’s called.
In the last scene of the film, the two lead characters – the man and the woman – are sitting in a café. They’ve been through so much together. And now they’ve gotten each other in the end.
It looks like a happy ending.
The woman gets up. She’s going out to powder her nose. Or whatever it is that women in French films do in the bathroom. The man is left sitting alone at the table. He takes her napkin. He writes something on it and then he pushes it back to her side, and then he gets up and leaves. The woman returns from the bathroom. Through the window the camera catches the man who disappears around a corner, behind a shoulder. She looks at the napkin. Picks it up. And everyone can read what it says in her face.
This is where the film ends. A real film ending. But nothing ends like this in real life. It’s impossible.
In real life, she wants to know where he lives.
In real life, she wants his mobile phone number. She wants to call and say; “where are you?!” … “there’s something we need to talk about here.”
In real life, they will meet next weekend at a party with some mutual friends, and it will be awkward.
In real life, the story continues.
In real life, you never get the end to stories like these, because the train arrives and you need to get on it and because those kind of stories never end.
This is freely translated from an excellent episode on endings of the Danish podcast Third Ear. The episode was the last in Third Ear’s first season, after they ran out of money, and were unsure about the future of the show. Third Ear