It's so strange and confused yet so not confused that it confuses me and makes me wonder how on earth it came to be. Bittersweet was written shortly after the true events that inspired it, but somehow in the confused mess of things I couldn't decide on the form it was to take. And thus, I ended up with the story told in three different pieces: poetry, first person narrative, and third person narrative. I suppose we could stretch it a bit and add prose to the list but that's not really the point.
Actually, I'm not entirely sure what the point is at this point [insert confused shrug]. But I am remembering why I always stalled about sharing this piece. It still confuses me. I don't know what to do with it (still) so I've just left it be.
You will get the narratives today. The first person narrative is what the main character got out of her experience (which is told in the third person narrative).
I dedicate this to all the writers who know what it's like to be a story teller for so many voices. You people will totally get this.
And now I give you:
Bittersweet, And What We’d Like You to Think
This is what I think of, when I think of bittersweet.
It was early evening, a few hours before dusk. The party was just getting started, but somehow, all the gaiety seemed out of place. I found an excuse to leave a conversation and wandered away, walking down one of the long hallways where only quietness mingled. Reaching the end of it, I turned and walked back slowly to where everyone else was, my mind running too fast for even me to keep up, jumping from one topic to the next. But it always came back to this: it’s funny how when someone dies, everyone else around you seems to matter more.
I poured myself another drink, my fingers growing cold again as the chilled liquid filled the glass. Swirling the drink around, I mindlessly watched it as it ran up the sides and back down into a mini vortex as my thoughts wandered off elsewhere.
In all honesty though, if such a loss that leaves a bitter taste would immediately be followed by the sweetness of knowing, I think I’d take it, just for now. If all the years of not knowing were traded in for a time like this, I suppose it’d be well worth it.
Leaning back against the counter, I looked back over the crowd once again, raising the glass back to my lips.
Here’s to bittersweet.
(That's what we'd like you to think. Here's really what went down!)
“This is what I think of, when I think of bittersweet,” the person murmured softly to herself.
Feeling poetic tonight, are we?
Shut up. The annoying part of her brain was turned on, and somehow, he always managed to annoy her. It was alright though, as most of the time he was the one who came up with all the amusing and brilliant ideas.
“Are you guys alright?” she looked up to see one of the hosts had come up to where she and a couple others were hanging out. “Can I get you anything? Food, soda…beer?”
Beer is disgusting. She made a face.
“Beer is disgusting. I don’t like it.” Pausing for a second, she quickly followed up the blunt remark with a smile saying, “But I’m fine, thank you. Just chilling.” He seemed amused.
“Well I’m going to go get another.”
And how many have you had now?
“Go ahead, knock yourself out.”
He’s going to get roaring drunk, the voice irrupted again. That must be the fourth; he’d have to down a few more, with less than an hour between them. Then if my calculations are correct the blood alcohol content will rise to…I need chocolate. There’s lots over there. Let’s go get some.
I’m trying to think over here.
And not about brownies.
What are they talking about over there?
I’m not seriously having this conversation.
She walked over to the counter, picking up a couple bites of snacks of the chocolate variety, eating while watching the crowd with interest. Their mood was very different from what it had been earlier that day, but she couldn’t say that she minded it at all.
It’s just strange. Odd. Bizarre. Outlandish…
Look! A fly…on the brownies. Shoo.
Die, stupid fly.
…this fits the description of bittersweet very well.
There’s even a bittersweet chocolate cake over there. Look. For what she considered to be a masculine voice, he liked chocolate an awful lot. Momentarily distracted yet again by food, her thoughts wandered off elsewhere for a moment.
Just a few hours earlier, a thick, heavy sense of sorrow and loss had been enveloping the very group of people who were milling about, conversing and enjoying each other’s company. They had all said their final goodbyes to someone who was special to each of them in a different way, and though it was said that none of them wanted it to be a depressing and sad occasion, the sense of it always seemed to follow such times. It wasn’t until they had left the place of farewell that the real celebration of a life well lived was brought out, and there suddenly, it seemed right and easy to trade in the voice of gloom for one of good cheer. Yet even so, it was all still bittersweet. Beneath the sparkling eyes and smiling faces, one had lost a grandparent, the other a parent, this one a best friend, and despite everything, it was still there in the back of their minds.
It’s inevitable. It’s human nature, perhaps even selfish nature to miss someone and even wish they weren’t gone if they’ve gone to a better place. She had wandered away from the crowd, and was slowly walking the long hallway back. It was easier to think without all the noise. Barefooted footfalls made no echo along the dim, empty hall, but the sound of voices escaped the partially open door to the other room and echoed faintly, running to meet her as she made her way back. It was the time of evening when the sun is almost done setting, nearly gone, but not quite. It threw a ray of sparkling golden light into the dark place, glowing faintly as it slowly died.
Gone, but not forgotten, she mused. Not to be left out, the ever so chattery voice started up with the uninvited input yet again.
Never. Wait, should I be making up metaphors of sunsets?
You’re ruining it, she scolded.
That’s a terrible metaphor.
It’s not even a metaphor.
That shadow looks creepy.
Coming back into the brightly lit room took a few blinks to readjust her eyes to the light. Picking up the glass she had set down on her way out, she filled it again, fingertips growing cold as the chilled drink filled the glass. Leaning back against the counter, she scanned the crowd again, raising the glass back to her lips.
Here’s to bittersweet.
…Dude, you know what would be awesome? Fictionalizing this whole thing and making it into a short story!