Chapter 59: Happy Endings
Park sat there on the floor of his bedroom, where he was when his father handed him the postcard, breathless. He had the biggest smile on his face as he just sat there for over five minutes, stuck like glue. All the while, he is reading those few words on the postcard repeatedly. Park was contemplating on how and when he would go to see Eleanor. That is, of course, if he decided to go. Everything in Park was telling him to pack up and head out immediately, with no second thought about it. On the other hand, Park questioned himself, wondering if it would be worth it to go and see Eleanor, not knowing what to expect. Eleanor had already left him once and she couldn’t even say she loved him so he couldn’t help but wonder if it was even worth going. Park was completely unsure of what he should do. “What if she’s just playing games?” Park asked himself. He decided the best thing to do is to think on it for a day, or two at least, which is the smartest thing to do. Park’s father always said to him, “Never act off of impulse; be wise in your decisions.” Park certainly had a lot to think about.
Park pressed the postcard, that is now so precious to him, against his racing heart and took a deep breath. Holding this breath, in perfect posture, back straight, shoulders back, and chin up, Park closes his eyes for a few seconds, still holding the same breath. As he exhales slowly, he opened his eyes, looked at the postcard, and said, “Fuck!” With a mixture of emotions coursing through him, he jumped up and walked over to his mirror. Park then kissed the postcard, holding the kiss for a little more than a few seconds, and puts it on his mirror. Afterwards Park put on his slippers and was ready to go downstairs for some breakfast. Just before exiting his room, after opening the door, he paused for a moment and took a look back at the postcard on his mirror. Smiling extraordinarily big, Park let out a sigh of happiness and said to himself, “This is fucking crazy!”.
Park had already thought Eleanor was out of his life forever. Although he had gone to prom with another girl and even kissed her, he was unhappy without Eleanor, and it wasn’t the same. Park missed Eleanor very much. Park only went out with Cat to take his mind off of Eleanor, a plan which backfired. Going out with Cat, kissing her, and holding her hand only made him miss Eleanor more. It felt so un-real and lifeless with Cat. This made Park reminisce more on how amazing and real his feelings felt when with Eleanor. The feeling that Eleanor gave to Park was like no other. He felt that no one could ever compare or be able to take her place. Park thought that he would find happiness in his life again. Receiving this postcard from Eleanor really brightened his day and gave him some hope. All day, Park thought about Eleanor’s postcard. He loved her so much that he even admired her unique handwriting. Still debating whether or not he was going to go see Eleanor, Park came up with some pros and cons. The day he got the postcard became the longest day of his life. Evening came and Park stared at the postcard for a little while before going to bed. He kissed the card one more time as well. Lights out and ready to crash, Park said to himself, “What the fuck do I do”?
That night Park dreamt of seeing Eleanor. In his dream Eleanor said to him, “I love you Park.” More than anything, though she was mean to him and pushed him away. When Park woke up he felt sad. It was weird, although he knew this was only a dream, he found himself leaning more towards not going. All that day he was a little depressed and confused, he was almost at the point of saying fuck it and moving on.
That evening Park stayed up late watching movies. He watched a mixture of comedy, fantasy, and one romance movie. The last movie Park watched was the romance movie, just before going to bed. In this movie he heard one line that really spoke to him. This line had a helped him come to a final decision about going to see Eleanor. As soon as he heard this line he sat up and said, “Fuck it, I’m going!” What he heard was an actor saying to an actress, “When you find love, you do whatever it takes to make it work, you never know if you’re going to find it again.”
Park shut the television off and went up to his room and packed for his trip. Full of anticipation, Park didn’t get any sleep; he couldn’t sleep. Just before the sun came up, Park made himself a lunch for the road, got in his truck, put some music on, adjusted the mirrors, and drove off. First things first, Park stopped at a gas station to fill up the gas tank. In this moment Park thought to his self, “It’s a good thing I saved up some money.” After gassing up, he proceeded on his drive to see the love of his life. As soon as Park arrived at his destination he felt so nervous, he got butterflies in his stomach. He parked his truck, looked in the mirror and got out. He then walked up to Eleanor’s doorstep and knocked on the door. A few moments passed then Eleanor opened the door. She put her hands over her mouth and said, “I love you”, “I fucking love you Park”, and jumped into his arms. In response to the postcard that Eleanor sent him, which read, “Waiting for You!” Park replied, “Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Eleanor and Park truly are two individuals whom are in love with one another. Eleanor and Park were made for each other. They were soul mates; two people destined to be together. There is no way that they were not in love. In the book “Eleanor & Park,” a strong feeling of intense love and care was created all through its contents. For the book to end the way it did seemingly ruined the whole story. It was a letdown; it had an ending without an ending. Eleanor and Park make a connection, Eleanor moves, Eleanor sends Park a postcard consisting of only three words, and bam that’s it! Personally, I was left saying “What the hell!” This book has a horrible ending, even more so because the three words on the postcard remain as unknown, a mystery never to be known.
Eleanor & Park most definitely deserves a better ending, one more fitting to end a great story. With the ending being so disappointing, I decided to make a new one. Now, as for the original literature, including the ending, I did not change any of it. I simply added an entirely new addition, chapter 59. Eleanor and Park, the main two characters of the book, “Eleanor & Park,” were most definitely in love. It cannot be any other way. Park verbally speaks the words “I love you,” to Eleanor (Rowell 114). Eleanor on the other hand, does not ever say the words I love you to Park but I know she does love him. Whether or not Eleanor loves Park is surely a controversial topic. Believing that Eleanor did not love Park because of the simple fact that Eleanor never brought herself to say “I love you,” to Park, is a closed-minded assumption. Although she never said she loved him, she obviously did. There is an old saying that I have always loved to quote. “Actions speak louder than words.”
Eleanor’s love for Park is expressed through her actions. For instance, when they speak on the phone, she always tells him how much she misses him and how she hates being away from him. At one point, she even tells Park, “I think I live for you” (Rowell 111). Eleanor says I love you to Park without physically speaking the words “I love you.” There is a reason why Eleanor does not say it aloud to Park. In a way, she just cannot. Not because she doesn’t love him, but because she doesn’t know how to express her emotions, as she is not used to it. Eleanor comes from a background of domestic abuse, in terms of physical, emotional, and verbal pain. That is all she knows. For a man to express care, love concern, and kindness is foreign to Eleanor. The only male model she has in her life is Richie, her stepfather, and he is the complete opposite of everything she sees in Park. It’s all just so hard for Eleanor to take in. Everything Eleanor had experienced with Park was the first and only time she had ever had such an experience. Having a boy be interested in her was new in it of itself, let alone all that came with it. Eleanor learned to cope by shutting people out and keeping her guard up, but she did not do this to Park. At times though, she does, and for his sake because she does not want to bring him down. She truly does care for Park and that is another act of love. If there are any people who fit the description of the characters, Eleanor and Park, they deserve to find true love and have a happy life. This is another reason I felt it necessary to give this book a happy conclusion where Eleanor and Park end up being together.
Chapter 59 is an alternate chapter, displaying a new ending, written by myself, Peter J. Herring. In the book when Park tells Eleanor, “I love you”, she does not say it back. In the new ending, that I created, it is the other way around. Eleanor tells Park, “I love you”, and he does not say it back. Instead, Park replies with a sarcastic comment regarding the postcard Eleanor had sent him. He obviously loves her very much. Eleanor and Park connect on many levels. Some of which are intimacy, romance, and physical attraction. These are part of a triangular theory of love. Part of which is commitment, both short term and long term, short term commitment being the decision that one loves another and long term commitment being the commitment to maintain that love (Robert J. Sternberg). With all the chemistry these two had in the story of Eleanor and Park, the story should end with the two of them together.
A triangular theory of love.
Sternberg, Robert J.
Psychological Review, Vol 93(2), Apr 1986, 119-135.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.93.2.119
Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. St. Martin’s press, 2012.