Rule #1: Sometimes people die.
Rule #2: Death cannot be cured.
Rule #3: Doctors cannot change Rule #1 or Rule #2.
Rule #4: When favorite writers use these rules to kill off a favorite character, they pisses me off! And they make me weepy. And they piss me off because they’ve made me weepy!
But I have recently learned Rule #5: I don’t have to finish the book just because I started it or because it’s the next in the series.
I was reading a series of murder mysteries that are, generally, light and fluffy, but well written with good character development. As I normally do, I bought two at a time. I had started reading the one before I looked at the blurb on the back of the next. “It’s been more than a year since her husband Martin’s death …”
Well crap! I love Martin. I love Martin and Roe as a couple. Martin gets killed off by the author.
Now what? It colors everything in the book. I know he has a finite number of hours left. I know at some point in the book I’m going to be horrified and grief-stricken, then the aforementioned weepy. I keep hoping for some good moments between Martin and Roe, some soft words and tenderness that both Roe and I can hang onto at the end.
At some point reality finally took hold and smacked me upside the head.
It’s a book and I don’t have to read it! I can skip to the next one. There is no rule that says I have to put myself though this. I have enough sadness in my real life; I don’t have to deal with the death of a fictional character if I don’t want to. Unlike real life, I can skip over that part and pick up with Roe a year after the fact.
Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of Dad’s death. I don’t need to live through Martin’s death by the same cause. Not now. Not at this time in particular. I give myself permission to skip that.