A Different Take on the End of the Great Gatsby

June 2, 2017
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Up in the city I tried for a while to list the quotations on an interminable amount of stock, then I fell asleep in my swivel chair…
I was as useless to the task as would a child be. When the phone rang around noon I woke up in a sweating daze. It was Jordan. She called around this time normally every day when she couldn’t be found between the hotels, the clubs, the parties, and the private houses of the city. We talked for a while in meaningless chat as if it had been nothing but another day. But unlike others, today her voice was harsh and dry. Bringing up Daisy and my actions last night, suddenly her remarks made me rigid. “I’ve left Daisy’s house,” she went quiet over the line before her voice picked up in a more usual flaunted tone. “Nick, I just remembered something I want to tell you! Not two minutes after I left as we were driving in the car I saw the strangest thing in my mirror. Tom’s car pulled from the drive and left the house.” I was more surprised to hear her voice renewed than the news that came from it. But it did strike me as odd after I thought about it to reply. “Where did it go?” I almost heard her shrug on the other side of the line. “I don’t know. I believe the road it took headed towards West Egg.” … then abruptly we weren’t talking any longer. I don’t know which of us hung up with a sharp click but I know I didn’t care…

I called Gatsby’s house a few minutes later but the line was busy. I tried four times… On the fifth time, an exasperated voice answered. “Gatsby residence.” “Hello I need to speak to Mr. Gatsby immediately! Tell him it’s his neighbor Mr. Carraway with urgent matters to discuss!” The voice on the other side did not change at all in tone and answered instantly. “Mr. Gatsby is currently occupied at the moment.” Whatever servant he’d hired that held the phone did not hold it close to the their ear. Sounds echoed from the background and bounced in my head freely. One sound caught me in relief and startelement all at once. A light and alluring laughter all too familiar in quality. Daisy. It had to be Daisy. “Please tell him I insist to speak with him at once!” Impatience struck my voice and held it that way. But it did not affect the servant who’s exasperated tone stayed stoic amidst my own. “I’m sorry Mr. Carraway, Mr. Gatsby is currently occupied and does not wish to be disturbed…”
“... Hello? … Hello?!”

Before I continue, I want to tell you what happened at the Gatsby residence whilst I’d been the phone. Daisy, as I’d assumed, had taken Tom’s car not two moments after his back was turned to her. She’d driven as fast as she could to the house across the bay that mirrored her own in fame and fortune. Her hands had been shaking at the wheel and jolted the car over the road as Gatsby did. She hadn’t stopped until the car slid into the extravagant gravel driveway. With that she’d stumbled out and rushed into the grand doors. Gatsby met her not inches from the door and enveloped her in welcoming arms. “Daisy darling what is it?” She clutched tightly to his shirt and wept pitifully into his shoulder. “Jay I can’t take it anymore! I can’t live with myself! I can’t live with what I’ve done! Let’s run away and never come back!” He brought her head to rest against him with a gentle hand and shushed her. “Daisy darling no one knows it was you… No one knows…” He took time and patience to comfort the golden girl who’s broken heart had started once again to bleed. Together they walked the halls of the mansion in unison. Sunlight that fell in through the windows felt warm and soothing against her prickling skin. As he held her and they started to speak softly of the many things, the barrier she’d put up against him the day before fell away. The years that had flown to the wind between them once again dissipated as wood burned to ash. “Let’s go outside Jay. It’s a lovely day to walk about in the sun.”

George Wilson had lost his sanity the moment he’d stared into Myrtle’s lifeless eyes. Michaelis had noticed something had changed amidst his despair. “Then he killed her.” Something had snapped. “You may fool me but you can’t fool God!” And there was nothing he could’ve done to stop it. From the moment he reached into the drawer and pulled out the gun, George Wilson was unreachable in his own mind. His own soul had disappeared into a world of dark haze. All that was left of him was anger. An vicious and primal anger that could not be tamed. Not even by the taste of blood. “God sees everything.” Indeed he knew, God had seen everything, and he would yet see justice brought to his wife. When a worn and grateful Michaelis had left the garage, Wilson had been standing by the window pane staring out into nothing. He didn’t think much of it at that moment and hurried on his way out. Four hours later when Michaelis returned, Wilson was gone.

Daisy squealed in laughter and put her hands up in defense from Gatsby’s attack of splashed water. She retaliated with her own splash and drenched her lover. They laughed without care in the pool he’d not used once that summer. They didn’t even notice when the phone rang, only when the servant had picked up the phone and was speaking into it. “Who is it old sport?” Gatsby laughed as he jumped onto the side of the pool. “Mr. Gatsby is currently occupied at the moment.” Daisy splashed him again and her laugh rang out as she followed suit. “Jay, come back in with me!” She tugged his arm, re attracting his attention. The servant watched as the pair embraced and danced around until Daisy had Gatsby back to the pool to push him in, almost rolling his eyes. “I’m sorry Mr. Carraway, Mr. Gatsby is currently occupied and does not wish to be disturbed…” A thunderous BANG suddenly rang off behind him, all three people flinching from the mere noise. The next thing he heard was a pained cry. Gatsby watched Daisy as her face began to fall in shock and agony. They both looked down as a blood began to stain her bathing suit and ran down her wet skin. “... Daisy?” Was the only word he could manage. Her eyes fluttered. Her knees buckled and she fell against him. Daisy was dead before Gatsby could lift her head again.

“... Daisy??” The servant dropped the phone. Gatsby’s knees were next to buckle. But his arms stayed locked around the body. “DAISY!!!” George Wilson watched the man cradle the woman and shake without emotion. The servant looked back at him, only mild horror played in his eyes. Their eyes met as he lifted the gun into his mouth. “God sees everything.” He pulled the trigger.
I’d heard the gunshot in the background. After trying to regain someone on the other side, I hung up and ran from the office to take the next train out of the city. It would be too late for one of them, I didn’t want to accept it. But I knew it was true. Each moment I watched the land of ashes pass away behind us felt like years. Finally returning to West Egg I rushed up the front steps into the towering mansion… With scarcely a word said, four of us, the chauffeur, butler, gardener, and I, hurried down to the pool. Long wails led us there that could barely be specified to gender. When we arrived, the first body we saw belonged to George Wilson. Blood surrounded his head and a gun lay by his hand. His eyes stared up into the sky as empty as the wife he’d watched die. In dumb stricken horror, I reluctantly cast my eyes upon the second victim. The shot I’d heard before had been the death of Daisy Buchanans. Her body lay curled against Mr. Gatsby, blood caked over both of them. The holocaust was complete.

After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day, only as an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby’s front door. Most of those reports were a nightmare--grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and untrue… Not an hour after we’d found Daisy, I called up Tom upon instinct. But later on I came to realize he’d known it long before I had. Tom and his daughter had gone away early that afternoon and taken baggage with them. He’d sent not even a flower to his wife’s funeral. Having seen him just a few days before presently, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t forgive him for what he’d let happen to Daisy, or like him. But what had been done was, to him, entirely justified. To me, it was careless and confused. Tom was a careless fool, he shattered things and creatures and then retreated back to let others clean up the mess he’d made. To what I don’t know. Perhaps his money, or his vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept him in one piece. As just as her mother and father were, their daughter would grow up to be a fool. A beautiful, careless little fool.

Mr. Gatsby arranged the funeral for Daisy nothing short of being fit for a queen. It strikes me now as rather odd considering he could barely lift himself from the ground after her body was taken from him. Nevertheless, at my urging he put himself into what he still could do for the woman he loved. He spared no expense, and the Gatsby mansion became the tomb of a goddess. Rows upon rows of low burning candles and roses stretched through the halls, up the stairs, around the pool, amidst the deck, and surrounded her casket made of carved Mahogany. A professional organist from France came to play for the funeral. When the day came, I can recall hundreds of people had come in black to bid goodbye to the golden girl. Some had known her closely, others were friends from Chicago. Her family wept and left. Actors and famed stars she’d admired at Gatsby’s party nodded once to her in respect and continued on with their lives. Hundreds came and hundreds left, most not even knew the girl who shined like the sun and had a voice of money. Through it all Gatsby stayed in the exact same spot next to her casket, not wavering or acknowledging any person once. Afterward, I’d walked to the dock and found him standing at the end staring out across the bay as he once did not a summer before. He looked at me and told me something that I’ll never forget. “... I believed in that green light old sport, as you might believe in God. It’s the blissful future that year by year recedes before us. It has eluded us, but that’s no matter now… I’ve done it once to gain my name, I’ll do it again in Daisy’s name. All of us will do it in the name of the American dream… We’ll beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

It was the last time I ever spoke to a man named Gatsby.

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