A Hypothetical Diary From Rick and Ilsa

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Rick’s Diary, Entry #***
Date: **/12/1941

Why, oh why did you return? Wasn’t it enough what you did to me in Paris? Seeing you again and hearing that song has brought back emotions that I have buried for months; why didn’t you come with me? We could have been something beautiful, escaping the fore coming tragedy and would have built a life together back in America, where we could live in freedom and peace.

I could never forget that moment at the train station, receiving your “note” stating that you couldn’t be with me. I stood there in the rain waiting for you, soaking myself and clutching on the heels of a hopeful journey that we were going to embark together, only to be crumbled and penetrated by your words in ink and paper. Your letter washed the words away as I read it, almost like tears that becomes worse if wiped; my heart sobbed as I read it, and continuously so as I sat on the train.

I was on my way to America, but I couldn’t go through with it; there was no point in escaping to such a paradise if you weren’t there with me. I found fortune and reputation in Casablanca, a land where revolting vultures lurk about and hopeful refugees attempting to push on their journey to Lisbon. Unlike them, I refused to be consumed by the pressure, instead I thrived in it; I have created a paradise for myself where people could dine, drink, gamble; a shelter from the world outside.

I was once a sentimentalist at heart, I rooted for the underdog and endured for those who I believe deserved glory; all it took was you loving me and soon after destroying it, since then I have become a monster that repels away the sadness that wraps my lonely heart. There is no point left in helping others as soon after they would just forget you and be thankful for the incentives that I bring them. You used me Ilsa, you lured me in and played with my heart, convincing me that I was yours and you were mine.

To top it all off, as you entered, you had the nerve to play with my sentiments, letting me hear such a song that only brings me heartbreak. Since I saw you tonight, I have done nothing productive but sat on this chair, consumed by the harsh shadows, guzzling down drink after drink, hoping to forget, but instead has exposed my true condition, unable to compose and reason with myself, angrily demanding Sam to play the song, transporting me to what I considered to be the most enchanting days of my life.

You returned to reason with me, and ask for forgiveness; hoping to explain the situation in France. Maybe it wasn’t fair to you for me to immediately attack you, maybe it was best for me to give you some space for explanation; but how could I, all that ran through me was hatred and jealousy, with the man you entered with, a man far above me that to even compete would be futile.

A part of me is happy you are here; to finally see your beautiful face again that melts my heart so deeply. Your return has brought me hope, but the circumstances make it almost impossible for us to be together, so much has happened since then. But a part of me is also angry for what you have awoken in me, I was doing fine when you were out of my life, I was a survivor.

Why, oh why did you have to return?

***

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Ilsa’s Diary, Entry #***
Date: **/12/1941

I am so sorry for what I have done to you; I have made you this angry and selfish man. I came to you privately in the middle of the night, even after the curfew, hoping to explain myself and ask for forgiveness. On my way there, I couldn’t help myself but to cry, what you must have felt to have read that letter. I should have come and said it to you in person, but to do so would have been difficult, I knew just by looking into your gorgeous brown eyes and lovely smile that I would have abandoned my husband and start a new life with you, a life where I wouldn’t have to be in danger, to not have sleepless nights worrying that you have been captured or killed.

It was loneliness that led me to you, since hearing of the death of my husband, I didn’t know how to cope until you came along; you brought love and hope back into my life, and I thank you so much for that. The life I have with my husband is one of loyalty and dedication, we believe firmly against the rise of the Third Reich. My husband is the leader of the Czech resistance, and the work he has done with it has influenced many like it around the world; but also because of this, we live a dangerous life together. He has pleaded to me time and time again to be separated from him, to ensure my safety, but to be far from the man I love would have broken me, as you can tell from how I was when we met.

Our time together may have been short, but it was one of the most wonderful days of my life. To be separated from it was one of the most heartbreaking decisions I have ever made for myself, a spot where I could not win whichever way I choose; even if I went with you, it would have broken me deeply since my husband was always been there for me, even since I was much younger, he has opened the world to me in ways that I have never expected. Without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am now, and I owe him that for the rest of my life.

Seeing you again in your club has brought back the cherishing memories of Paris, and to hear Sam play As Time Goes By again has warmed my heart in ways that I never thought was possible after what I did to you. Since our conversation from our reunion at your club, feelings of regret has begun to rush through me, I constantly try to reason with myself that being with Victor is the right decision; he is my husband who has gone through great sacrifices to ensure that I remain with him, even if in moments where my presence has become a burden to his odds of escaping the pursuing Germans, he never abandoned me. Victor needs me; he called for me when he was ill after his escape from a concentration camp, it was then that I was informed that he isn’t dead, and it was my obligation to be there and care for him. It was a reunion I never thought possible, just like the one we just shared.

Seeing you again this late at night and revealing yourself to the hateful man that you have become, I was both guilty and angry; I shouldn’t have put you through so much, only to cut away from you at the last second, it wasn’t what you deserved, but I hated you for not allowing me to gain that second chance, even to explain myself for what I have done, just to make you empathise, even for a little, on what the circumstances has done to me.

I do still love you, and the longer I stay here, the more it grows; I know that if we don’t get out of here soon, that I wouldn’t be able to resist leaving you once again.

Paris has both saved and destroyed me, lifting me from the dark pit I have fallen into, only to come out of it a villain of an innocent man’s heart. Even if our relationship has disintegrated for over a year, I am yet still in mourning.

***

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Casablanca is a cinematic treasure that has moved me in ways I never expected. In this recent viewing, I have speared deeply into the minds and souls of its characters, empathising and sympathising with/for them; elevating a romance that in no way would ever have a satisfying ending, especially for our heroine. There is nothing like Casablanca, it stands as a timeless piece of art that touches its audience in the most intimate way possible, we find ourselves within the characters, dwelling on their emotions and penetrated by their predicaments. A film that is able to achieve this deserves the acclaim and status it has received, and it would continue to earn its place in the generations to come. I personally thank all of those involved in creating such a masterpiece.

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