Time for another moment-in-fiction Monday! This has been one of my all-time favorite passages ever since I read the book Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. Sadly, it’s from the end of the book, so don’t read this blog post unless you’ve read the whole thing.
These last few paragraphs feel SO real to me and could apply to many people in life: roommates who were once such best friends it seems odd now that we barely talk. Old boyfriends or friends who are boys that are a big part of my past but not part of my present so much because I’m married to the only best friend I need. Cousins I spent hours and hours with at family reunions and on holidays whose lives have taken them out of my regular orbit. Friends who have died but I continue to think I should call sometime before remembering I can’t.
I appreciate the effect all these people have had on my life and hope there is a way in our eternal existence to someday see those friendships reach maximum potential. In the meantime, we probably all live with the bittersweet feeling of unfinished business.
Here’s how the main character, Jenna, sums up her experiences with childhood friend Cameron Quick:
I think about how there are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark.
I don’t mean the usual faint impression: He was cute, she was nice, they made me laugh, I wish I’d known her better, I remember the time she threw up in class.
And I don’t just mean that they change you. A lot of people can change you—the first kid who called you a name, the first teacher who said you were smart, the first person who crowned you best friend. It’s the change you remember, the firsts and what they meant, not really the people. Ethan changed me, for instance, but the longer we’ve been apart the more he sort of recedes into the distance as a real person and in his place is a cardboard cutout that says First Boyfriend.
I’m talking about the ones who, for whatever reason, are as much a part of you as your own soul. Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business. My mom was right about that. Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to define those hundred ways, describe them even to yourself, words are useless. If you had a lifetime to talk, there would still be things left unsaid. . . .
In the end, I decide that the mark we’ve left on each other is the color and shape of love. That’s the unfinished business between us.
Because love, love is never finished.
If you’ve read this book, what do you like about it? I’m super impressed with how truthful Sara Zarr’s writing is in all of her books and hope to hit the mark so well in my own writing someday.