This post contains spoilers for All Falling Things.
It was my intent from the moment I started writing this book that Alice and Stanley were not meant to end up together. I just wrote their break up. I knew it was coming since the first page – and even then, it wasn’t easy to do.
It’s not that I’m jaded. It’s that their romance is not the point of the book.
After my own marriage ended, it was pretty easy to regret that it ever happened because of the hurt and pain associated with the end of it. But as time went on and I gained more distance, I realized that if given the chance, I would not have done anything differently in my own life. If not for that relationship, most of the people I hold so dear to me today, who are my family on this journey…we never would have met. This relationship was the thread necessary to tying me to these other people. And when looked at from that point of view, regret is easy to erase. I would not trade these people for anything.
When I started to write Alice, that was the idea I wanted to explore. Stanley’s mother says to him, “Not everyone in our life is meant to stay. Some people are just meant to teach us something.” This is, please excuse the pun, the heart of the book. A happily ever after doesn’t always mean romance. If not for each other, though, how different would Alice and Stanley’s lives be? We can’t know. (Well, I can, because I created them – but I hope you get the point I’m making.) Without each other, Stanley isn’t reminded of why he came to Chicago, and Alice never finds herself at Shiri’s opening meeting Lily. Remove this thread from their tapestries, and they are walking down very different paths.
Some call it fate. Others call it chance. Whatever it is, their paths needed to cross in order for them to find their right places. It just turns out, their right places are not with each other. It doesn’t mean their love was not real (I did love my ex, after all). It just means that their love was not meant for more than that.
Alice’s happily ever after was never in “finding a man” – it was in finding herself. And she does just that.