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Jen and Ashley: A Dialogue About Honesty and Last Words

JEN

I feel like we are best friends because I can be honest with you.

ASHLEY

I worry that I am never really honest with anybody.

JEN

What do you mean?  Aren’t you honest with me?

ASHLEY

I try to be, Jen.  I really do.  But sometimes for example if you are really depressed I try t say things that will cheer you up rather than things that are completely honest.  Sometimes I am nice rather than you know honest.

JEN

I know what you mean.   Like when I went in for the treatment last time you said I know it is going to work.  But, obviously, you did not know it was going to work.

ASHLEY

It still might work.

JEN

It might.  But it also might not.

ASHLEY

Well, anybody could die tomorrow.

JEN

Anybody could but a normal persons numbers are between five and fifteen.  And the doctors told me my number is 8 million.

ASHLEY

Nobody knows if those numbers mean anything.

JEN

Your phone number doesn’t mean anything.  But that number was developed by doctors to mean something.

ASHLEY

Well.

JEN

You know in the old days people used to have memorable last words.  When they knew they were going to die they said something that people in the future would quote.  They said serious things like “I only regret that I have, but this one life to give for my country.”  Or they made jokes like “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.”  I would like to think of something like that to say.

ASHLEY

Why?

JEN

It will be my one chance in life to be honest.  I won’t need to worry about the consequences because i will be gone.  I think I will say something like “Always be kind.”

ASHLEY

Please don’t say that.

JEN

Why?

ASHLEY

Because you are worrying what people will think about you and you are not being honest.  You would like people to think you are a good person who says “always be kind.”  Women are supposed to say nice things like that.

JEN

That’s true.

ASHLEY

You have always said things to make other people think things or feel things.  I have too.  This is your one chance not to do that.  I would feel sad if you wasted it.

JEN

I don’t want you to feel sad.

ASHLEY

Can you do something for me?

JEN

Anything.  You are my only friend.

ASHLEY

When you say your last words I want you to say whatever you really think.  If it is “fuck everything” say that.  If it is “my ass hurts” say that.  If it is “be kind” say that.  But be honest.  Do it for me.

JEN

I promise.  But Ashley, what if I don’t feel like doing it for you?  What if I feel too sick or in pain or depressed or mad?

ASHLEY

Then don’t.

THEY HUG.

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5 thoughts on “Jen and Ashley: A Dialogue About Honesty and Last Words

  1. N.S. Palmer says:

    IMHO honesty is the best policy, but it’s only a policy. It has exceptions. Kindness to family & friends is sometimes more important.

    And “women are supposed to say nice things like that?” Men too, I hope. 🙂

  2. Mikey says:

    The concept of last words is pretty outdated now that anyone can film themselves. I’ve spent a long time editing and refilming my funeral video which I want projected in a memorial service for me. It’s incredibly full of insight and wit and wisdom and very heavily centred on me, obviously. Or at least, I would have if I had more energy for it. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d like to do.

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