Forever

I went on a quest to find forever for you. It was a long and arduous quest, many men died on the adventure. Some died helping me find forever, some of them died because they got in my way. Nothing could stop me in my search, not trolls nor dragons, not fear nor reason. I promised you that I would not rest, that my love for you would last forever.

You asked me what forever was, how I could possibly love you forever when I had no idea what forever was. So, I told you I would find it, and I would bring it to you and I would set it at your feet and you would know that forever was yours, as I was. You didn’t look convinced, so I set out on my journey. Armed with passion and wrapped in the armor of your warm breath. I set out to prove to you that forever was meant to be only for you.

I traveled the world looking for word of forever, if it had been spotted in distant lands or alien landscapes. I heard rumors that it had been hidden away by this sect or that tribe, my determination knew no limits, and I am not ashamed to admit that many people fell to the edge of my passion; men and women and children all perished when they felt the sting of my conviction. I tracked legends written on stone walls, and followed the instructions written in light script in books bound within wooden frames that I found on shelves long forgotten, guarded by demons borne of the spirits of past lovers.

I climbed mountains that hadn’t felt the feet of men since before cities had walls, and I walked through deserts that could easily bake the flesh off of a man, a lesser man, a man not armored in your love.

I slew dragons and faced nightmares. And still, I never lost sight of my goal, I never lost sight of you. My aim always proved true and my feet propelled me forward, kept me moving in the direction of forever, where my love could finally be made real for you.

The sun would set and I would travel through the night. On one such night I met Death in the moonlight. We saw one another and I pulled my commitment to you out for him to see. He simply walked on by, never raising a hand or attempting to take me with him. He knew that I would not go easily and that he could not prevail when I was so well armed, not when the love for a woman is the weapon being used.

So many before me have pledged forever to so many others, I found a list of all of their names in my travels, and it was a scroll so large that a temple was built around it and it was rolled so tight that the clerics could not say how many times it was wrapped around the spool in its center. The names were written in such fine, tiny writing that I could not see what it was with the naked eye. I could feel the presence though, a spirit of devotion and longing. It was a scroll of sadness I said, because none of the names on the parchment had ever quested like I was, none had sought forever for the perfect woman, had never had you as their reason to find forever.

My journey led me deep into the forest, where I met the ghost of my mother. She came to my as I slept one night and begged me to give up on my quest, told me that forever did not exist. She whispered to me of the knowledge that Death had given to her, warnings of the souls that Death had taken as casualties of the many quests like the one I was on, and she implored me to go home, to never look for something so painful again. I smiled at the ghost of my mother, that I began to see as a shade bent on swaying me from my goal, and I plunged my devotion into her breast and watched as she fell to ash.

I met a man on a ship at sea, I was looking for an island that was said to be the resting place of forever and this man told me that he had seen forever, sitting on the beach, there for anyone to snatch up. He told me that a ship could not get close enough for a man to make it to shore though, that shark infested water and treacherous rocks kept them at bay. He said that he had seen the bloated bodies of others floating as far from the shore as one might be able to throw a stone, that the mass of bodies was as wide the length of two ships from the shore and there were so many corpses that the sharks never had to kill to eat, they killed for pleasure and for sport. For the promise of a glimpse of you, he agreed to take me to the island though, he agreed to wait for me as I swam to the shark guarded island, through the bodies of fools and he swore to see me return with forever as my prize.

He took me to the island and I dove off of the ship. The ship sat anchored so far away that I could not see bodies floating, only a grey mass of something in the water. I swam into the grey mass and the sharks came at me as soon as I was within reach. Like Death before them, they saw me as a foe too formidable and they turned away, so that I could climb atop the bodies littering the water and simply walk to shore.

When I finally made it to the island, I found that forever had already left that place. I could see what it had sat for so long, its impression still there in the sand, but it was simply that, an impression left. Forever was gone. There were no tracks but mine leading to or away from the impression left in the warm sand. I had no idea where to go from here, no clue as to where forever may have gone to.

It was only then that I remembered that forever could be found in the most mundane of activities and I considered for a moment that if I were forever and I did not want to be found, I would hide and make people think that they had found me, when really they had not and I would make the experience so arduous that when they thought they had found me, they would throw me away because I was not a prize worth having. If I were forever, I would bury myself in the sand when I saw a ship approach, not trusting the sharks to keep me safe, them having grown so fat off of the corpses in the water.

I began to dig in the sand, at first with my hand and then with a hollowed out coconut and finally I fashioned a shovel from driftwood that had been washed ashore long ago. I dug, and dug and dug. Throwing sand behind me until there was a wall between me and the shore. I tossed sand in front of me until I blocked the sun from my eyes. I dug through dry sand until I found wet sand and then I dug further until I found sand as hard as stone and still I dug.

I do not know how many days I was there digging, but my arms never stopped moving and sand never stopped flying through the air. I dug a hole so deep that I had to carve out hand and footholds so that I could climb out for fresh air. The hole was so deep that I could only see the light of day for a few moments before darkness fell again. I dug until it felt like I had been digger forever and I wanted to stop because I was getting nothing accomplished, but then I recalled my own words and I knew that I had to keep going because forever was near, I just had to go a little further.

It was then that I suddenly felt something solid in the sand beneath me. I used my shovel to find the edges of what was hidden and I cleared the sand from around it and I realized I had finally found it. I had found forever buried under the sand of this forgotten island surrounded by the bodies of the dead and the sharks that feast on their flesh. I had found forever after I had searched high and low, in the dark and in the light. I had killed and almost been killed before I got to this point and finally my prize was before me.

I had to stop for a moment and sit down in the dark hole that I found myself in, I had to catch my breath, I was about to experience something holy and wanted my wits about me before I unveiled my long sought after and hard fought goal.

After a few moments to ready myself, I took forever from its sandy hiding spot and slipped it into the sack I had brought with me for this purpose. I dug hand and footholds into the sandy walls around me and climbed out of the darkness. My arms almost could not make it to the top, but I reminded them that we had reached the end of this journey and now we just had to get home to present forever to you and they found the energy they needed to climb back to the top.

I found the ship still waiting for me, out beyond the corpses and sharks, and I found the resolve to begin my journey back across the dead and set out back to the ship. The activity of the sharks increased, as if they knew I held forever in the sack at my side and would not give it to them. When they reached out of the water to attack me, I used the shovel I had carried with me to keep them at bay. I fought them off without killing them, their needed not be any more death, my treasure was already won. When I reached as far as the bodies reached, I dove into the water and with a powerful stroke, I swam to the ship and gripped the rope hanging from the side before a single shark could reach me.

The ship captain was relieved to see me, and was prepared to set sail as soon as my feet touched the deck. He never asked to see proof of my prize, he simply marked the course to you and unfurled the sails. The ship sped, as if blown by the gods, and before I knew it we had docked at your home city and I was on my way to see you.

With the ship captain in tow, I approached you. I still had forever hidden in the sack at my side, I knew that it would be so brilliant that I didn’t need to clean it up or prepare it for your attentions. I knew it would be perfect, I knew it would be everything that I wanted you to see and feel and know. It would show you how much you mean to me and how much I Iove you.

I saw you and I wanted to rush to you and hold you in my arms again but I knew that I had to show you that I had proven true my promise to you, I had to give you the gift of forever before I did anything else. I knelt at your feet and laid the sack before me. Looking up at you, I undid the strings keeping the sack tightly shut and when the opening was wide I reached down inside the sack and took forever out of the darkness and set it there on the ground before you.

I will never understand why you recoiled in horror, or why you turned to the balcony and threw yourself from it onto the rocks far below. Your body was quickly taken out to the sea before any man could reach you. I wanted to follow you on your journey, I wanted to be there as you saw your life end but I did not understand what was happening.

I had dug out forever and presented it to you. I had given you what no one before me had given to a lover. I made the abstract real for you and despite the costs, I delivered it to your feet.

The ship captain took forever from me, told me I didn’t deserve it, that I was not worthy. He left and promised me that he would hide forever someplace that no one would ever find it again and I could only sit there, shaking and nodding my head. I didn’t deserve forever, she hadn’t deserved forever and maybe the fact is no one deserves forever. Maybe forever should be a word stricken from the tongue of anyone that may ever speak of it.

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