The Great Gatsby “What If…” / by Academy Monthly

Nick’s words echoed pointlessly through Gatsby’s dazed, hollow head. He feared missing the opportunity to ever fulfill the dream of resurrecting his long lost relationship with Daisy. He raised his hand to halt Nick from continuing to speak in a way that seemed to Gatsby, out of Nick’s place. After a pause, Gatsby reached forward and carefully turned the doorknob like a teen sneaking through the house after a night out. When Nick caught a glimpse of Gatsby’s stone face he saw no doubt in Gatsby’s mind that he must salvage his relationship now, or he would never live out his dreams with Daisy.

His eyes met hers as he stepped into the room, and this time he was able to maintain eye contact. She was still standing, as though the tension that lingered in the air from their first confrontation was still too potent to let her sit down. Gatsby picked up on this and planned his actions accordingly.

“Sit down Daisy,” he said earnestly. The two sat down in unison, on opposite sides of the three person couch.

An uncomfortable pause.

“I want you to know that I tried to come back to you,” said Gatsby with visible effort.

“And I wanted you to know that I waited,” said Daisy as she raised her head to look at him. “I waited so long.” There was pain in her voice.

“When I was in Europe, pushing far into the enemy lines, there was no guarantee that the infantry would ever come fast enough. I only had one thing on my mind through it all.” As he spoke he reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out a circular piece of polished metal, slung on a ribbon, and reached his hand out to give it to Daisy. She took it in her hands as if it bore some previous meaning in which she was already familiar. “I was given a medal like this one from every Allied government. I was able to succeed in the Argonne battles because the thought of you guided me through it all.”

Daisy silently turned the medal over in her fingers. She looked at it as though she too was awarded the medal, as if she played an essential role in the achievement it represented. Based on her reactions, Gatsby decided to step up his approach.

“Remember the last afternoon before I went off? When I held you in my arms for hours in front of the slowly burning fire? We cared for each other so deeply in a miraculous way that we knew would be impossible to find twice in life. Remember how I kissed your head and you told me you would wait until I returned?”

Despite her reluctance to express the agony these memories were causing her, her response was shaky. “Yes, Jay.”

“I was so surprised the first time I discovered I loved you, but then it made so much sense.”

Gatsby’s truth, that he was vulnerably exposing, pervaded warmly into the air, easing the previous tensions. Daisy began to feel the deep repressed feelings she desperately walled off for years, begin to seep back into her body. Gatsby looked affectionately into Daisy’s eyes.

“I still love you, Daisy. I spent the last four years finding you.”

The strong emotions she so strenuously silenced surged through her, and she was overcome with acute nostalgia from her month of profound love with Gatsby. Her face collapsed into her hands and tears started pouring down her face.

Gatsby was overjoyed with the reaction, but it all meant nothing unless she openly confessed her love.

Daisy tilted her head up, exposing a confused concoction of pain and excitement. “I still love you too, James.”

A smile spread across his face, contagiously causing Daisy to blossom and sit up in her seat. As the two began to share stories about their lives after separating, they felt their connection growing ever closer. Daisy periodically burst into bouts of tears as the two began to unravel and reconnect. Time was no longer existent, and all exterior distraction faded into the meaningless background.

In the thirty five minutes between Nick leaving and returning, years of meaning and truth had been uncovered and revitalized between Gatsby and Daisy. They were so entranced with each others’ presence that neither of them even noticed Nick clumsily reentering. He stumbled in not knowing he encountering different people than those he had left a half hour before.