Please Don’t Be Eaten by a Wolf

tumblr_kumhia1e3c1qzb7gjo1_400This weekend, I sobbed at the bookstore. If that sounds ridiculous to you, don’t worry. It was completely ridiculously ridiculous. There, in the middle of the New Fiction aisle, my eyes welled with tears and I choked back an involuntary sob. It was pitiful. It’s also what I deserve for reading the ends of books first.

Yes, I’m a book cheater! Rare is the novel I buy, without first checking to see how it ends. I’ve done this for years, scandalizing the hell out of our dear Mae, who believes in preserving the integrity of intended story structure. I’m all for story structure, but I’m also all for not being surprised by the narrator getting boiled alive in the school showers halfway through the book. Spoiler alert: I may have been traumatized by R.L. Stine’s Cheerleader series. As a late 90’s tween, I vowed never to be caught off guard by charred pep squad captains again! So, I cheat.

Which is what I was doing Monday afternoon, when I took my little sister on a celebratory “We don’t have school today!” bookstore adventure. Perusing the new releases, I picked up a book that received great buzz in the UK last year. The plot was intriguing, but had the potential for tragedy: woman is hired by man, man is training to hunt man-eating wolves in a forest, man and woman fall in love, despite danger of wolf attacks*. So, I flipped to the back of the book and read the end. Surprise! The man totally goes into the forest and gets eaten alive by wolves, after the woman begs him not to go. He tells her he loves her, kisses her, then nobly marches to his doom.

woman-cryingY’all, I lost it. All I could think about was Professor McGregor choosing to do the same thing. In reality, were we ever endangered by lupine warriors, he’d hire someone else to do the hunting or construct a clever trap that would keep him from becoming wolf vittles. Also—let’s be real—we live in Texas. A person is much more likely to be bitten by a snake, than to be eaten alive by anything. Logic was beyond me, however. I was overwhelmed by the realization that forever, that word that had so terrified me in past months, is not really forever. Barring miraculous advancements in modern medicine, we are not immortal.

Yes, that’s a morbid thought. It’s also one that needs to be dealt with…in a way that I feel completely at a loss to grasp. Love on screen is a lot of smiling and pining, which is certainly involved, but my variety also contains equal parts worry and protectiveness. Part of loving Professor McGregor is wanting to see him safe and happy, always. But there are things in this world – wolves and snakes and diseases that no gun can reason with – that threaten us.

Working in hospitals, I’m reminded of human frailty everyday. It’s just now, that I have a person who is mine, that the full impact of that hits me. For the first time, I’m jealous of Bella Swan. It’s not because she’s a spineless twit who made two supernaturals fall in love with her, but because—no matter how she might wish it otherwise, once she realizes how annoying Edward’s whining is—their love is actually forever.

Which brings me back to the wolf book. I’ve always been an empathetic person, quick to see myself in characters and situations, but suddenly my reactions are more violent. It was easier to read stories of love not conquering all, when I was neither in love nor desirous of its presence. So, am I just going to cry a lot now? Will the rest of my life be spent with tissues and waterproof mascara close at hand? That sucks. Y’all, I don’t want my days to feel like Nicholas Sparks marathons. Puffy, splotchy wimp is not my chosen aesthetic! Hell, I’m super embarrassed to even be writing this post. Walking around so vulnerable/drippy would mortify me!

I’m not marrying a vampire. Surely, I will get used to that fact eventually and stop being so damned emotional. You know…unless we have kids and I start crying over children, instead. I may have to institute a stronger Happy endings only! rule in my reading material. One can only bawl in Barnes and Noble so many times, before they ask you to stop shopping there. That would really make me sad.

– Grace

*This is not the actual plot, but just in case you want to read the book I picked up, I invented a storyline to keep you from being spoiled. You’re welcome. Unless there is a book about wolf wars on the shelves now and I just spoiled that one. If that’s the case, then I’m sorry and, also, what a coincidence!

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14 thoughts on “Please Don’t Be Eaten by a Wolf

  1. Thanks for your honesty! I am newly married and regularly struggle with the very same feelings. It seems like we will always be together, but any day could take one of us away. Yes, depressing, but like you say… it must be dealt with. And if we choose to deal with it, I imagine there comes a point where we are more accepting and comfortable with that reality.
    I appreciate your openness 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comment! Honestly, it’s such a relief to know that I’m not the only one who thinks about this. Some of my married girlfriends gave me the side-eye, when I brought it up at dinner the other day. Fingers crossed for both of us that it does, indeed, get easier with time.

  2. i do this thing where i ask him to text me when he arrives home after we go out for a date…thank God he humours me cause I would just become a messed up ball of worry if I didn’t get to know that he’s safely arrived at home…i feel silly asking…but it gives me such peace of mind….

    • Yes! I do the exact same thing. It’s something my mother has always done for me, which I thought was ridiculous, but it’s now been instituted with Professor McGregor. I just feel so much better, knowing he’s arrived safely. It also makes me feel slightly less crazy that he does the same thing for me! Thanks for the great comment, QueridaJ. I’m glad not to be alone in this boat…

  3. Once upon a time I used to never cry. I was stoic and had a caustic wit. It was awesome. Then one day I met a man who swept me off my sarcastic feet and carried my unprotesting carcass to the altar. We’re atheists, so the altar was metaphorical, you understand. Still, no outward change. Then, one day, we spawned. Nine months later my man-child arrived and I’ve been a weepy, ghastly mess ever since. The end. I now cry during books, films, and half-marathons. As I crossed the finish line in my last race, I spied my wee little one and the husband and burst into tears. Total sap. Welcome to the club. 🙂

  4. Had you not categorically stated in a previous post that you are not pregnant, I would have written your sadness down to raging baby-hormones… A colleague of mine says that since the birth of her son five years ago she is not able to read about- or watch movies where someone dies without bawling her eyes out, so I’m not sure if it gets better with time… I hope so though.

  5. I’m a cheater too. I always skim ahead. I don’t want to spend my time and emotionally invest in something that doesn’t turn out well. As you point out that happens far to often in real life, I don’t want my escape life to be that way too.

  6. Mere months after I had met the love of my life (and now my other half and father of our sons), he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal but in his case thankfully dormant disease. It was the first time I was confronted with exactly the same feeling of worry that our love – which I had waited for for a long time – might actually not be forever. Every now and then the mood strikes again but fortunately I am able to simply forget the fact of his mortality for the purpose of leading a fulfilled and happy life. For the same reason I also manage to ignore the threat of my boys leaving before me. It keeps me sane.
    Thanks for the honesty, Grace, another brilliant post.

  7. Pingback: Top 10 RAWResome Blog Posts {Jan. 20 – 26} | julie's chick lit

  8. Would you be willing to give the real title of the book so that happy-enders-only rule keepers like myself may be warned never to read it? 😛 Because now I’m reaaaally curious!

  9. My husband is a triathlete, and a couple of times he has come home late from a workout to find me a sobbing, angry mess, certain that he got hit by a car and is lying in a ditch somewhere. He doesn’t understand why I worry about him so much.

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