Was it a promise? Or a plea to remember her? Was it wishful thinking? A wink at immortality?
Who dares to say “Always” in a world plagued by climate change and global warming? How can she sign something “Always” with nuclear weapons prolification, terrorism, financial meltdowns and ecological destruction rife all over the Earth? With freak accidents, madmen with guns, asteroid impacts? Cancer. A million things can go wrong. It takes just one to end your “Always.” So how can anyone even imagine “Always?”
Always is every time, at all times and For all time. Forever. Continually, repeatedly, in any case and without end. Always is the sun rising and setting, hopefully. Time. Space. Rocks, maybe. But even the Earth may not be around for always.
Shortly after Marika died I found a small gold ring in her room. A ring, an unbroken circle, symbolizes infinity and undying love in many cultures. But this ring is one of those adjustable bands where the ends don’t meet. As soon as I put it on I could tell it would snag on something someday and fall off. It is not for always; sooner or later I will lose it. And that will be okay. I’ll wear Marika’s ring as long as I have it; when it’s gone I won’t regret not tucking it away in a box or someplace safe.
We used to say that Marika lived like the lights could go out at any time, like she had only an hour left. How differently would we live if we all had expiration dates stamped on us like cans of beans?
Maybe I need to embrace “Always” and live like I’ll never expire.