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The Plot Thickens

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Act III

Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think about my life in terms of plot. Most stories in any medium follow a three-act structure. There is a beginning, middle, and end, with the middle section being the longest, and within which most things happen. 

My entire life is not one plot; it is made up of many different storylines that converge and bleed together. In some stories I am the lead actor; in others, I am a supporting character of varying significance; then, in others, I am an extra—someone who just happens to be passing by and never pops back up again. 

It’s hard to tell what part of the story you’re in while the story is happening to you. It is nearly impossible to gain perspective, which is why pain, sadness, and everything else that brings a person down seem never-ending. You can’t exactly tell that you’re one week away from having something amazing happen to you or that you’re about to meet someone who will change your life and start a new plot.

This is also why we, as humans, always feel that the good things are too short. If time flies when you’re having fun, then even if you’re having the best time of your life, when it ends unexpectedly, you’re blindsided by it and the good times feel incredibly brief.

Recently, a major plot twist occurred in my life, and now I’m left wondering where I am. I’m almost positive I’m in the third act of the story, nearing the conclusion, but I thought I knew how things were supposed to wind up.

This leaves me two options: either the ending is what I expected and this is a false end, tricking everyone; or I’m at the ending still, but this is how it’s supposed to be, and in that case, this ending is more of a beginning and I’ve been living out the prologue to something better.

This could either be an Annie Hall and Drinking Buddies situation (two of my favorite films), which is the first option, or it’s something more akin to a classic rom-com like The Apartment or When Harry Met Sally.

I know which I hope it is.

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