At least not in a book.
The ending is just the place where the writer decides to stop that particular story. And sometimes in my mind I like to imagine what the characters are doing now.
Haven’t you always wondered what happens after the girl and the guy get married? Assuming they do, that is, after they decide they really do love each other.
Now there are lots of book series that take the characters from one adventure to another, having them grow together, age or mature together, and maybe even add a few family members along the way.
Nora Roberts, one of my very favorite authors, has a number of trilogies which skillfully bring favorite characters together in a three book series that you just don’t ever want to stop reading about. They’ve become old friends by the time the series ends, and you really want to know more about them, keep in touch, so to speak. Find out the story after the stories. (Actually her Chesapeake Bay Series featured 4 books, the last one set some 20 years after the first three, and it was a wonderful conclusion to the Quinn family saga.)
Nora also has written a very popular crime series under the pen name J.D. Robb. Set in futuristic New York City, and now into 53 books, her characters are unique and remind you of people you’d love to have as friends, and at the end of each book you can’t wait to hear what the characters are going to be doing next. And yes, I’ve read them all.
Joseph Flynn, another favorite author, has written a remarkable series of political novels which now total 14 books, and I’ve already downloaded the last two so I can catch up on some other people I now consider old friends.
If you’re a reading enthusiast like I am, you can certainly relate to what I’m saying. How many times have you come to the end of a great book and actually felt sad because you were saying goodbye to people you’d gotten to know so well?
Unlike real life, the characters we come to know so well between the cover of a book, or the digital pages of a kindle, seem to stop their lives, stop what they’ve been doing at the end. Like mannequins in a storefront window or people in a painting they’re frozen in time, the rest of their stories never to be told. And that’s a bit sad when you’ve gotten to know them so well.
But real life is as different from a book as day is from night.
In books, there’s almost always a happy ending. The characters evolve, have their ups and downs, their highs and lows, but things always seem to work out as they should in the end. And when they don’t work out as you’d like it to, you can always tell yourself it’s not real; it didn’t really happen, and then you feel better.
Real life isn’t like that because it’s REAL life, and life isn’t always fair and doesn’t always have a happy ending. You can try to make things work out they way you want them to, but it doesn’t always work that way.
How well we all know that.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could write out exactly how we wanted it to be? And if the story got a bit difficult, or too complicated, all we’d have to do is take our eraser, delete that part, and start the story over.
Then we’d all live happily ever after.
But life is not a book. There are real beginnings and real endings. And we can’t rewrite them if they don’t turn out like we want.
But we can start a new chapter. We do it all the time. And we take what we’ve learned from the last chapter and make it better. Or at least different.
But we learn as we go along that sometimes the endings in our books are a lot easier to live through than the endings in real life.