On Saturday I took a great class on microfiction. One of our assignments was to write a new "tail for a tale" in 300 words or fewer, making up new endings for popular films, books or reality. The choices included new endings for any presidential election, World War II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest without the lobotomy, any of the Star Wars films, or what might have happened if Jack lived instead of Rose in Titanic. That's the one I chose. Here it is:
Sometimes, after he settled into his spot on the beach and began drawing the tourists, he would see her walking by – always the young Rose. She never aged in his mind. Once a girl stopped and handed him twenty dollars and when he looked up it was her. Except then he saw that the girl had black hair and not auburn, and she wore one of those flimsy knit tank tops instead of lace. They only ever saw him as an old man. For the longest time he couldn’t go near the water, the waves. Now he couldn’t stay away. He felt the sea pull like he’d felt her pull at his wrist before the deep cold claimed her. They were looking again, for that damned necklace – as if it was the most valuable thing at the bottom of the sea.
He had tried to die that night. He tried to roll himself into the abyss but found he had no strength, or was frozen tight to the wood that bouyed him. The otherworld where she had gone was close enough to touch. He refused to call out when the boats drifted by but they found him anyway. In the daylight on the Carpathia he had seen Hockley searching for her and that was the only thing that kept Jack from jumping up and throttling him on the deck, surrounded by shivering masses in wool blankets – Hockley would never have her. Hockley would live with that as long as he lived, until he offed himself over something ephemeral and meaningless. Jack had much more. He’d had to live with much more.