I wish that every media outlet had a special feature daily titled, “The End of the Story”. Because I want to know. I want to know the end of the story.
I’m a foolishly demanding person in this respect. A lover of the “cozy” mystery genre, I have been known on more than one occasion–usually those when I’m certain I’ve pinpointed the murderer–to peek at the last few pages of a novel and see if I’m right in my suppositions. This tendency has been greatly enhanced by the advent of the e-reader, since I can bookmark the page I’m on, swipe swiftly to locate the denouement scene, and verify my deduction. (And, no, knowing the end of the story in no way diminishes my pleasure in the novel as I return to my bookmark and read the rest of the book. In fact, it just gives me greater appreciation in examining the ways in which the author builds clues, especially if I’ve guessed the wrong murderer.)
So, as I say, I am demanding in this respect: I want to know the end of the story. One news story which I never saw finished was that of the Bus Push Jogger in England. Each morning as I log on to read—not watch, but read–the news, I turn first to the BBC. (That is because I trust the British to provide the most balanced version of what the heck is actually happening in the world-gone-mad US.) Doing this means, of course, that I also read a lot of incidental British news, and the London Bus Push Jogger story caught me in its web. Contrary to my usual behavior, having read the story, I watched the video—several times, in fact—as a jogger intentionally pushed a woman passerby out of his way and into the path of an oncoming bus. Happily, she was rescued. By day’s end, the video had gone viral, but the jogger had not yet been identified. I checked back any number of times, and never found a news story indicating that the jogger had been recognized. Eventually, there were no new links, no new leads, to the identity of the jogger. The story just whispered away.
This drove me absolutely nuts. I wanted to know the end of this story—even if the end was, “Someone must know who this man is, but no one has the integrity to come forth and finger the jogger”.
A similar news story was one in a Western state in which a young woman had been the victim of road rage. An angry driver had stormed over to her stopped car and smashed his fist into the side mirror, breaking it. She had videoed the whole thing on her phone, and it was presented on the local and then national news. Yet, despite the fact that the man’s face was clearly visible in the video, again, days later, he had not been identified. Again, the links to the story simply dissipated. Again, I gnashed my teeth.
I suppose my propensity for longing to know the story’s end began when I was (as I’ve discussed in earlier posts) a “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” junkie. Now, 50-some years later, I’ve not forgotten a letter written to the columnist about the possibly-separated twins.
The letter was written by a man who explained that, six years earlier, his wife had given birth to boy/girl twins. Their infant girl had died a few hours after birth. Fast forward six years, and the man’s wife had passed away, also. His little son had begun first grade, and come home one day, desperately excited, because a little girl in his classroom shared his birthday. Later, meeting the little girl’s parents at a school function, he learned that, not only did the children share a birthdate, but both had been born at the same hospital, and resembled one another to a startling degree.
They might have been twins.
The man’s suspicions were aroused. What more likely than some well-intentioned nurse, paving the road to hell with energy, had switched his living daughter with the dead child of the other couple, consoling herself that this way each couple would have a living child?
At the time of his letter, DNA testing was the stuff of science fiction; only blood tests and an extensive investigation into the hospital’s ID practices would shed any light on the possibility that the little girl was his own child. The man wondered if he should proceed. Abbey or Ann (I forget which) advised him not to open this can of worms.
The man never wrote again, or, if he did, the letter was not published. Or perhaps I just missed it. But the mystery of the possibly switched-at-birth twins has (obviously, since I’ve never forgotten it) bothered me ever since I read that long-ago letter. And I still want to know the end of the story.
I found myself considering about this odd little facet of my personality—thinking of it a lot—while I was ill earlier this year. From the day of my initial symptoms, until I received the news that I did not carry the dreaded Lynch syndrome (a hereditary cancer-causing genetic defect), I wondered constantly about the end, possibly soon, of my own story.
This time, at least, it was not to be. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering. For I want to know. I want to know the end of my own story.