Forever and Always

On a clear day, they say you can see forever. Today, I saw forever in his eyes.

It's been five years since we first met. It's strange how the days can blur together, and how time can pass so fast that you don't even realize it's gone until it's too late. And it is too late.

It was a beautiful, spring day like today when we met. A light breeze swept through the campus, carrying on it the sweet smell of flowers. I was late for my Fine Arts class. My alarm didn't go off and I had slept in so I was in quite a hurry. You, a new exchange student from Canada, were on your way to the same class. It wasn't the greatest first meeting, or the greatest first impression, but it wasn't horrible. At least it made a great impact; though I never did find one of my sketches, the wind must've taken it.

You were so polite and charming. I was hooked the first time you smiled. It was as though a veil, that shrouded the world my entire life, had been lifted from my eyes. Everything just fell into place. Never before had I ever felt such extreme emotion.

And how silly we were! It was clear to everyone but us. It amuses me how I thought I was hiding my infatuation well when it was apparently quite transparent. But we lost so much time, dancing around each other for months, nine to be exact. I am forever thankful for that glorious winter day. I used to loathe thinking what my life could have been like if not for that day. But now, I don't know whether to be grateful or miserable. It is such a bittersweet memory.

Everyone ditched us at the ice rink so it was up to you to teach me how to skate. It was going great and then I slipped. "My hero!" You said you would always be there to catch me. "Always?" You answered me with a kiss and a whispered forever. I never knew how short forever could be.

It was the best of times and never the worst. Even complete strangers called us 'The Perfect Couple' and commented on how well we complimented each other. You made up for my faults and I made up for yours. We completed each other; we clicked; we were made for each other. We were every cliché ever made. Soul mates that fate brought together. It was my destiny to find myself in your arms.

Oh God, Max! Where did I go wrong? Why did I freeze up? I'd dreamed about that day even before we got together. I'd rehearsed my response in front of the mirror. Why was it so hard to say it to you? Why couldn't I say it? My mind is in a downward spiral, torturing itself with the What-Ifs and Could-Have-Beens.

Oh Max, if only I had said what my mind was screaming at me. If only I had reacted the way I meant to. If only… maybe you wouldn't have left me. All the people were standing and watching. My heart aches in sympathy for how it must have felt. The look on your face when I just stood there, dumbstruck, while the crowd started to whisper was heartbreaking. I should have run after you! But it was so sudden-no! That's not an acceptable excuse. There is no excuse. Oh, Max.

I sat there for hours, Max. Hours after you had left, after the crowd had left, even after the café workers had left. I don't know why. It's like I was frozen in time, and all I could do was sit and watch the world go by. When I got home and you weren't there, all I could think is how I must've hurt you. Then I got the call.

It's my turn. I let go of your mother's hand and hug your father when he steps down from the podium. I stare out at the sea of solemn faces surrounded by black. What do I say to them, Max? What can I say to them? Oh, Max.

I twist the ring round my finger. Your mother gave it to me. She said you wanted me to have it. I can't take it anymore!

I run to your coffin and collapse beside it. I sob out the answer I've always wanted to give to you- the answer I should've given to you then.

"Yes, Max. I will marry you."

"I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity."