Season Five: A short story set in “the real world”

Season Five: A short story set in “the real world”

In which we are the protagonists of our own TV show, and the real world is its bleary setting.

Art by Brent Sabas

The season picks up two months later, after you and your friends graduate from college.

This season, things will be different. For one thing, you will be far from the locations you’ve gotten used to. Beloved characters will be going off into their respective fields, making it difficult to track their development. You know that some will meet considerable success and others failure. You in particular have a good idea of what it is you want to do.

When the first episode begins, you are waiting at the airport to say goodbye to your best friend, who is going abroad to finish her studies. She is going on scholarship, and you will not see much of her for four years, except, of course, during the occasional winter finale and summer block.

You know she is nervous. Rather than smile at you for surprising her at the end of her time as a regular, she is unable to pull herself out of her mother’s car. She attempts to lug a bag over her lap and set it on the pavement, but her grip loosens and the bag spills open. You rush to help her get her things together.

Throughout the episode, it becomes clear that you have a promising work prospect in media. In fact, you tell your friend that the day she leaves is the same day as your big interview. The only thing holding you back is the compound experience of several embarrassing interviews you had gone through in between seasons. You worry that you’ll be an hour late for the interview, only to learn that your potential employers are still on the way to the office by the time you arrive. You worry that you’ll tell the interviewer that you are only there to explore the position, but have no real interest in taking it, if offered. You worry that they will chide you because they sense that you are not masa enough.

You are at the end of your thread. Graduation gifts do not last forever, and you live alone.

You are waiting for an ending.

At the interview, you find yourself convinced of certain white lies you tell the interviewer. You say that the position is something you’ve been working towards in your own practice of personal media. You say that you are willing to learn certain technical skills that aren’t expected of someone with your background. You are given friendly warnings, but you accept them. The immediate result is ambiguous, but you are optimistic. Your parents give you advice on how to politely follow up and communicate your continued interest in the position. And yet you are wondering what a fitting conclusion would be. You are waiting for an ending.

You get the job. You seem happy to be there. You make friends and you become close with a very select group. You have experiences. You stay for several months, but you realize you are not actually good at your job. You realize that the lies you told at the interview were important, because if they were true, you wouldn’t be as terrible at it as you are, now would you. You wonder if you are the right person for the job.

You are looking for an ending.

You are too scared to quit your job. Instead, you and your boss agree that you just don’t need to stay on. You would like for this to be a resolution, but it is too messy. You are looking around again.

You wait for an ending.

You return to where the season began. You are putting things together into a bag, and you are at the airport.

You think of all your past seasons, of neat segments that punctuated living, kept it simple.

You think of how endings do not come as easy as they used to anymore.

Here is no ending.

The season begins with failure. In episode one, you quit your job. You mess up at interviews. You fall out of touch with friends.

And by the end of the episode, you are long gone and far away. You do your taxes.

#career #literature

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