Why it Ended.

Sex and Death: The Movie ends with Lucy engaged to Harold Ipswich. Before book 6, Utah, though, they break up. Here’s what happened:

The call came in the middle of the night in the middle of a shapeless week. He never called this late unless he was out of town.  Or drunk. Or both. He hadn’t even told her he was leaving. “Hey Luce, it’s me,” he announced breathlessly.

“I know, Harry,” she answered coolly, rudely yanked into consciousness. “Nobody else calls me at 3 o’clock in the morning. Where the f…”

“Hey, that’s what makes me special, Luce. My unpredictability…spontaneity…call it what you will, but it’s…”

“Irritating is what it is, Harry,” she said, unamused by his self-mocking tone. His antics, the feeble attempts at drollery, were wearing thin, becoming maudlin. And had been for a while, she had to admit to herself, coupled, as they too often were, with copious amounts of alcohol. “And not at all unpredictable. But never mind that,” she went on, and thought, where the hell is he? He wasn’t supposed to be out of town this week. “Is that the ocean I hear?”

“Yep,” he said. “I’m working. Got a late call from the man and so here I am in Florida. I was going to call you en la manana but then inspiration struck. So I’m sitting on the sand in South Beach looking out to sea, basking in Miami moonlight, and naturally I thought of you.”

She waited for more. She heard the waves, and Harry, breathing. He was probably stoned on palomas, this year’s drink of choice. and gone, out of town, without a word to her. Was this how life would be, if she married Harry? “So, what’s the point of  waking me up at 3 a.m.? To listen to you watching the waves? What’s the….”

“Jamaica,” he intoned, imbuing the word with major significance. Again, she waited. The silence stretched.

She broke it. “Jamaica?”

“Yes, Jamaica. Yes yes, I know that’s where the Evil One, the Verde Creature, came into your life, but it is also WHERE WE MET.”

“And you rip me from dreamland to point this out?”

“No, Lucy Ripken, I rip you from dreamland to tell you that I have stashed enough money for us to take our honeymoon there, on the island where we met. Jamaica. To rid ourselves of those ghosts. Port Antonio, five nights at The Estate, best hotel in the entire fucking Caribbean, dates to be…”

“Harry, are you serious!” He was, she knew, and she knew as well, with a sudden and painful clarity, that somehow, sometime along the trail she once thought they were walking together, they had gone separate ways. She had told him more than once, more than twice, probably a dozen times, that if she never, ever saw the fair island of Jamaica again in her life, she would be just fine. Now he wanted to have their honeymoon there?

What honeymoon!? “God, Harry…” She was literally speechless. How could he get it so wrong? She wanted to cry.

But then she knew: this was a last call. The bar was closing. Something was over. Life in New York was over. Buck up girl, she thought, and did so. This is part of getting out of New York. Harry, in his oblivious way, is making it easier.

Still, until this moment she had never thought of him as oblivious. He drank too much at times, and made bad decisions, but he had always known what was up. Now he didn’t.

It made her sad. “Harry, I gotta go. I can’t…”

“We’ll talk tomorrow. Dream on it.”

“Sure. Good night Harry.” She ended the call, put the phone down, and laid there in the dark, plotting her escape. Not dreaming at all.

 

Lucy knows in her heart that Harold Ipswich was the real thing for her–the guy she was meant to be with. However, she also senses that this knowledge is somehow bound up with her life in New York–that as long as she is in New York, Harold is that man. Their relationship might have started in Jamaica, but it is a New York relationship. And so, when she decided she had to get out of New York, she realized that she also had to break it off with Harold.

Most people who have spent much time in New York understand this–how New York gets into your blood, and then your life and identity get caught up in being in the city. Becoming a New Yorker is, or was, a singular experience for people from other parts of the US and the world. The city is like no other place in America, and once you’ve lived there for a while you come to understand this. New York Nation.
Maybe this isn’t so true anymore, I don’t know, I haven’t lived there in quite a few years now, but I know that my wife and I completely and deeply identified with the city after a few years of living there–and it was really difficult for us to tear ourselves away and leave. This is how I understood what Lucy had to go through. She’s stopped believing in the city, or at least believing in it as essential to her life. Yet getting out of the city simply will not be possible while she’s still involved with Harold, because she knows he will never be willing to leave. She has to get out of New York to survive, and if leaving her love behind is part of getting out, then she will do it. She does it.
Lucky for her, she found another man in Seattle, and her relationship with him helped change her back into what she always had been–a northwest girl.
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One thought on “Why it Ended.

  1. victoria bochat says:

    hmmmm, what would have happened had she not “found another man”? Would she have survived and prospered away from NYC?

    Like

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