An old, worn book closes abruptly, and dust whirls about the surrounding air. You stare at the crusty, brown pages that are bound together and rub your forehead frantically. Before you can bring yourself to open up the book once more, you stand up and begin pacing the room. Back and forth, back and forth, time and time again; all reality fades as you venture deep in thought and muse over the ending of such a book. “Why?” You think to yourself, “why did it have to end like that? The.. The her-.. it was a-.. but everyone was s-.. it just wasn’t righ-” You stop pacing, close your eyes, and take a deep breath.
Your thoughts begin to sort themselves out and interconnect with all the underlying meanings and poetic interpretations. The story was simple, and yet so complex. It was beautiful, and yet so horrific. It was epic, and yet so innocent. It was proud, and yet so humble. It was romantic, and yet so heartbreaking. It was terrifying, and yet so relieving. It was truly a masterpiece, but why would a master painter end his final masterpiece with his smallest of brushes, his slightest of strokes, and his faintest of shades? Your eyes begin to feel a hint of moisture as tears threaten to break free. “But why?” You softly whisper.
You open your eyes and look back at the book on the desk. Its worn cover reminds you of all the adventures that took place within its cleverly crafted reality. You walk back to the desk and sit down, leaning your head against the sweaty palms of your hands. Your eyes close once more to visualize every brush, stroke, and shade which composed that beautiful canvas of words. You see all those near death escapes, all those tears shed over lost ones, and those grand, epic battles in which the hero was victorious. You see a romance which blossomed, and yet never was. You see friendships, refined through the hottest of flames and crafted through the depths of trust, mystery, and danger.
However, the ending was the final touch. Meanwhile, your vision seems to blur as tears swell up in your eyes.
The hero had accomplished his task: defended the defenseless, helped the helpless, lifted up the lame, spoken for the mute, and vanquished all evil forces which for so long had tormented all whom he had sworn to protect. To celebrate such a mighty victory, all the people had gathered together and sat all the war heroes and soldiers on pedestals to commemorate their bravery and courage. Meanwhile, the one who had been the first into the fray, the one who had saved the most, protected the most, given up the most, fought the most, and was the key to every last victory, stood idly by in silence. He couldn’t help but smile, for it was a smile of contentment, yet solemnly mixed with heartbreak and sadness. No one knew that it was his time to leave.
Tears fall to the book below as your mind’s eye is captivated by the ensuing moments.
Their farewell to him was that of silence, and though not one head was turned at his departure, he walked off with his head held high. No one thought to thank him or honor him for that which he had done throughout the years of danger, adventure, and heroism, and no one was there to see him off. However, as he was nearing the outskirts of the present city, he paused to see a homeless little boy and girl, side by side, starving with nothing but rags on their backs. He took a few steps towards them, but their eyes gleamed of distrust and irritation. Nonetheless, he took off his heavy coat and encompassed the little girl with it (leaving all the money he had within its large pockets). Then he took off his gloves, boots, and socks, and dressed the little boy in them. Finally, he gave all of his remaining food to feed them, which was more than they had scavenged for weeks. Their confusion and distrust melted into indebted gratefulness, and their gratitude sprung from a well that was once dry and now filled to the brim, for they had never known the loving care of a father.
And so, this was his farewell: two little homeless children embracing him with tears overflowing their eyes. Before he left, these were his final words,
“I fought for you. Nothing less. Remember me.”
Your head rises from your palms as you helplessly gaze at the old, worn book. The ending now makes sense. Well assured, you open to those final, fateful pages once more.
As you ponder his final words, you realize that no more follows. “The End,” is absent. “Why?” Because it was never the ending that truly mattered,
It was the beginning that followed.