words Maya Smale
Ella sat on her couch staring at the television. She had just recently gone down the rabbit hole of watching every Marvel movie on Netflix, which originally, Ella told people she had absolutely no interest in because she preferred ‘character-driven, art house films’. But, when Ella split up with her ex-husband, Sam Daniels, her pretentiousness finally gave way. It turns out that superhero movies are a good 2-hour distraction from life problems.
At this point, Ella had watched three consecutive movies and she felt guilty for not doing something more productive or ‘intellectual’ with her time. So, Ella stood up and made her way to the bookshelf on the other side of the room, stepping over half-eaten bags of Doritos and shuffling her way around random pieces of clothing to get there. The bookshelf was unusually large and only half full—Sam had taken the other half. But, still, there was easily over 400 books in there: too many to choose from.
As Ella sifted through the classics section, she noticed a book with a bright green spine sitting in between 1984 and Dracula. She pulled out the book: Rejuvenate your Life, Rejuvenate YOU, by Sam Daniels.
Ella knew Sam had left his book there on purpose, and for that she had an overwhelming urge to rip apart the spine and throw the pages into the hearth of a fireplace she didn’t have. Instead, she flung the book across the room, slamming it against a wall and leaving it to drop in a heap of creased pages on the ground.
Ella once loved Sam. They met in a writing class at university and quickly became each other’s favourite person; they were both aspiring authors with similar dreams. Ella wanted to write contemporary fiction stories, and Sam, who studied psychology, wanted to write self-help books. After university, they rented an apartment together and did the whole ‘independent, young adults’ thing. Ella started working on her untitled novella, and Sam began writing Rejuvenate your Life, Rejuvenate YOU. Sometimes, they would stay up all night together discussing certain passages they were writing.
‘Do you think Jessica should go to Japan or not?’ Ella would ask.
‘Well, if you want Derek to think Jessica is a coward, then yeah,’ Sam would say.
Eventually, Sam completed his book and set out to find a literary agent; he secured one after four months. And in those same four months, Ella had restarted her novella twice. Over the next year of waiting for publication, Sam created a Self-help YouTube channel, which quickly gained a following; so when his book was finally released, it became an unexpected New York Time’s best seller.
At first, Ella was elated for Sam. They actually had money now to put towards buying a house–Sam did. He chose a modern, two-story home, close to his agent and over 7 hours away from Ella’s family and friends. But, it was fine. Later, Ella stopped attempting to write her novella and instead helped full-time with Sam’s YouTube channel.
After 5 years of playing Sam’s supporting act, Ella broke. She cried and yelled and screamed at Sam about how he never supported her career and how he rejected her desires. Sam was the one holding her back from reaching her own success and fulfilling her own dreams.
Sam may have overlooked Ella’s feelings, but she was the one who gave up on her novella, and she was the one sitting on the couch binge-watching movies.
Ella picked up Rejuvenate your Life, Rejuvenate YOU, and started reading.