Exaggeration and Blank Verse
How She Dies
Battlestar Galactica
Horatio Hornblower
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

This is not how she dies.

She dies in my arms, age seventy-nine, in the bed we’ve shared since our wedding night. We have children, and grandchildren. I walk beside Angel at the funeral, feel Charles’s hand on my shoulder, sense Lorne a step behind us, because our friendship has lasted and deepened over all the years. We stand together in a blue-silver evening and say goodbye to the light at our center.

She dies loving and loved, at the end of a long, full life. She dies as my wife, bound to me by love and time for eternity.

This is not how she dies.

She dies in one of the freak accidents that kill humans, the fragile creatures that they are. She’s hit by a car when she’s crossing the street. She has a sudden heart attack in the middle of her favorite Mexican restaurant. I can see them all in my mind, the thousand different ways a mortal woman dies.

She slips and falls and breaks her neck. She’s on that one plane in a million.

It’s senseless and stupid and perfectly, unquestionably human. There is no second-guessing, no placing blame, only tears that dry, in time.

This is not how she dies.

She dies sheltering an innocent with her body, or from a sword that slips around her guard. She dies a soldier, doing the job she dedicated her heart to, not up here in this glass and chrome coffin she chose only with her head.

She dies in a way that we can pretend is what she wanted, one that lets us remember her smile. She dies a hero, not a victim, not being cooked from the inside out by ancient parasites while she writhes and weeps and hurts.

She doesn’t die because of me.

This is not how she dies.

This magic death is bloody and stupid and tragic, but it isn’t right. The irony isn’t there. He chose the system; that’s what has to kill her.

She dies alone in an alley, eyes glassy and wide from too much smack. She dies ripped to pieces by a rapist strung out on drugs of his own. She dies alone in a dark apartment, the bloodstained razor falling to the floor.

Angel’s lost the path, lost his mojo, and she’s got to be the symbol of that. The fallen princess eaten up by his corruption.

This is not how I die.

I don’t want to die like this. I won't.

I die closing the portal that’s opening to draw the world into Hell. I die solving the big mystery that saves us. I die with a smile on my lips and an accomplishment in my hands. My death is not a waste.

I don’t want my death, my life, to be a waste.

I can’t imagine the story going on without me. I’ll be gone, and they’ll keep walking and talking and fighting and living. It isn’t fair.

I want to see how it ends.

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