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issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii issue ii 

The Boys We Write Novels About: The (Realistic) Romeo and Juliet of the Post Covid Age

Grace Kaye | prose

How the Story Ends 

They always said that you should fall in love with a writer. They’d take note of every beautiful part of you and hold it in their hearts, then pour it out on paper, and other people would read it and see how they felt about you. You will live forever in their description of you, in between their words and sentences and flowery language like a perfect snapshot of how you were in the moment where they first figured out how your eyes were a warm and kind honey-brown like the very essence of you was stored in those eyes. It was like a little love letter, but only you really knew it was all yours. 

Whenever she met a new boy it was always the same.

She told him she was a writer. He would raise his eyebrows, and ask if he could ever read anything she wrote. 

She would always say yes, she was desperate for a reader. Someone that would scan their eyes over her words on the page and fall in love with it. Scan their eyes over her small and wiry frame and fall in love with her. Because of course, anything an author ever writes is a thousand teeny-tiny fragments of their heart spilled in ink across white-lined pages. Loving their work is loving them.

Which means, of course, everyone she had ever loved had found a way to self-insert his way into her writing. Every word was made up of a thousand tiny love letters dedicated to whoever it was she was writing about this time. Of course, she never mentioned the poems she’d written for whoever had come before, stories and novels that had become barren graveyards that held the skeletons of lost loves. 

It was really when a writer stopped loving you, or when you stopped loving them that was the sad thing. Because if a writer spent all of this blood, sweat, and tears in writing about how much they loved you. How you looked through their loving, romantic, rose-colored descriptions and all the tiny shards of their heart they pieced together was just a waste of words and time. But they won’t really believe that. You’ll still be locked inside their heart because that’s the problem with being a writer. They remember everything.

How convenient was it, her poems were how they stayed in touch. They’d pass them back and forth in secret. Poems he had asked to read about the first boy she had ever loved, and later the ones that had somehow become about him. And now, the ones that he had written for her was how they fell apart. 

How. Convenient.

There wasn’t any love in between the lines, not like hers for him. His final goodbye was written all over it, it was heartbreak in the form of a sonnet. And yet, he was still just all she wanted to write about. Well, the huge, gaping hole in her life where he used to be.

Why were the hollow ache in her chest and a blank page staring up at her the only evidence he was ever there at all? It felt like there was so much left that was unsaid. So much that was left unfinished. A thousand different versions of “I love you,” that were left unspoken.

She had a bad habit of leaving things unfinished. Moving on from projects as soon as she got bored of them, racking up thousands of abandoned plots that she didn’t even bother counting anymore. She was always moving on, she always had to. Because if she wasn’t getting tired of people, people were getting tired of her. She was always the first to fall in love, and always the first one to break it off. She never had any other choice. But they’d be the first to move on, the first to give up on the other. And she’d be stuck waiting for them to come back.

They never did.

She wasn’t really a good writer, she thought. She only ever wrote romance and of course, no one ever took romance seriously. And she never finished anything, and the things she did finish had unsatisfying endings because she could never really let go.

For someone who was so good at running away, picking up, and leaving everything behind unfinished, her heart was pretty damn stubborn.

She still found herself stuck here, waiting hopelessly for him to come back. He wasn’t going to, she knew that. He was the only person that was going to hold her down, keep her back in this deadbeat town in this redneck state. The place she had wanted out from for as long as she could remember, even if the only way for them to be together was to run away together. She had wanted an escape from the whole world, and Ro was it. He was her escape, her way out.

The summer that she and Ro had met had faded away, along with him in her life. In his absence, the chill of autumn had settled into her heart in the place where he had used to be. But, the misplaced longing for him had stayed. As if he was going to change his mind and meet her underneath her window. She waited patiently for him, her best friend. The one she had fallen for, who she looked at with starry eyes through rose-colored glasses. She prayed that she’d hear the soft tapping of pebbles against her window, and see the outline of his silhouette standing in the dark in the front yard below. 

But she knew he wasn’t coming. It had all been a misunderstanding, but it had been so long now she had run out of time to explain. And he had already gone. Maybe it was for the best for him. There was no sign she was coming back even if he knew she missed him, it wasn’t good for him to wait for her. She was only holding him back. He couldn’t continue to wait for someone who he could never be with, it wasn’t fair to him and it was only hurting him anyway. She loved him, so maybe it was time to let him go.

Maybe it was for the best, for both of them. He didn’t want to hurt her anymore by continuing to reach out, by making it harder for her to accept that they would never be together. He thought that if he really loved her like he said, if he really cared about her he had to let her go. He thought it was for the best that they forgot each other, but if missing him was the only way she could remember him as she loved him, she’d miss him forever. 

Maybe, in some way, her family had been right. All he had done was hurt her in the end, whether he meant to or not, he did. No star-crossed lovers style fairytale ever worked out as planned. Romeo and Juliet died at the end. So did Heer and Ranja, Tony in West Side Story. Even Gatsby. There wasn’t a single version where it worked out, why would two delusional, lonely kids be any different? They had placed too much trust in each other, in a fleeting teenage relationship that wasn’t mature enough to actually go anywhere. They were willing to give up everything for one another, they had relied too heavily on the other for happiness. Now they were doomed to leave one another behind, the future they were going to run away with each other into. All that it left was hurt and blame. And now she had to pack up her things from her place in his heart and leave without a goodbye. 

Maybe someday they'll meet again. They’d run into each other one more time, at the same beach access that had been their hiding place from the whole world. Maybe after a lifetime of being apart, they’ll still love the other. She thought she would, because if missing him was the only way she could still love him she was determined to miss him forever. Maybe they’d be older, smarter. Good enough to finally get it right. Maybe they’d pick up right where they’d left off and be just as happy as they were now. 


Grace Kaye is a young writer from New Hampshire, although she claims she’s a Massachusetts girl. She can often be found writing about the world around her and if not, she is procrastinating. You can find her on Instagram @gracekayewritesstuff.

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