My lovely new friend Anna Meade is getting married! As a tribute to the bride, a group of authors have gotten together to collaborate on an eBook celebrating romance and weddings, called the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower. I am honored to contribute this short story. 🙂
Wedding Toast: True love never dies. It stays with us always, and it is what makes life worth living. Cherish it always! Congratulations!
They say you know love the second it hits you. It can come from behind, sneaking up on you like a thief in the night, fully intending to turn your whole world upside down. Other times it comes at you from the front, head on, demanding your attention like some flashy dancer on a brightly lit stage. I’ve even heard of love sliding in from the side, curling up beside you like an old friend, always there and yet not always seen. But when you do see it, you wonder why you never noticed it before.
I’ve experienced all these incredible moments of love. I guess you could say I’m a lucky man. To have loved even once is one of life’s greatest gifts.
I, my friend, have loved a thousand times over.
In the twilight of my life, I can look back on it and smile. You see, it’s only in my later years that the reality of my situation truly comes to light. It takes a lot to shake off the blinders of youth and come to appreciate the importance of things like happiness, family, marriage…love. Love most of all.
Like many things in life, the young don’t appreciate love the way elders do. They toss it around, blow it off, dramatize the hell out of it, and muddy it up until it makes absolutely no sense. It takes a refined mind to truly understand the simplicity, and complexity, of love. And yes, love can be both simple and complex at the same time. It’s what makes love extraordinary.
Eventually, Death comes knocking on the door and sadly, no amount of love can stop him from claiming you for his own. But every time I experience it, I welcome Death. I welcome him because we are dear old companions. You see, Death knows me better than I know myself. He knows we will meet again, while I forget his face for a time. A memory such as that is something deeply embedded in the soul…something that only resurfaces when enough time and experience has shaped you.
When enough time and experience has defined you.
But enough about Death…he is the boring part of my story. The best part is about her.
And here you thought I’d loved a thousand women. While men may think that’s what they want, if they could know the love I have for her, they would never desire anything else. For there is nothing greater, nothing more spectacular, than finding your one, true love.
She’s been known by many names. She comes and goes, slipping in and out of my lives like silk along the smoothest skin, never permanent in one form and yet for all time it is still her. She exists as this creature of beauty, regardless of the shell she inhabits. Her beauty is within, it is eternal. It is my greatest weakness and my strength. And each time she leaves me, I ache. I ache because I know I will have to wait until I can see her again.
Until death claims me as well, and we can begin again.
I’ve married her more times than I can count. Each time more beautiful than the last, deeper and truer than ever before. You see, no matter our circumstances, I find a way to make her my bride. There were times when I was too late, and found her married to someone else. Luck favored us and paved the way regardless. Other times I didn’t find her until she was aged and broken. I still put a ring on her finger. Fate’s trickery is no match for my steadfastness.
Then there were the times when it all clicked like perfect little pieces to some magnificent puzzle. Those were arguably the best times, although I enjoy the challenges just as well. I enjoy every journey I take to find her.
It’s a journey I’m about to begin again. As I lay down this pen, my heart is full with the knowledge that a new beginning is almost here. I can feel it, just as I can feel my body dying and my soul preparing for departure. It’s something I’ve come to know well, over this eternity.
Just as I’ve come to know her. She’ll be waiting for me, out there, somewhere. I know I’ll find her again, and our love can reincarnate. Just as we do.