The everlasting moment

by Kara Fergason

It was one of those days I hoped would never end. Truthfully, I felt this way every day we spent together. She was like a feather, awaiting the gust of wind that would inevitably blow her away. But still, I held on to that hope. One look from her, one touch was all it took to quiet the unnecessary, binding thoughts of tomorrow. I let that all go with her.

We were lying on a picnic blanket together in the middle of a park. The sun kissed our faces and the slightest breeze cooled our burning hearts. Others strolled by, but the expanse of grass we lay upon felt more like a cloud far away from here. I didn’t hear the other people or anything else besides her, except her heartbeat and a faint rustle of leaves in the distance.

Something was happening, and I knew it. Yes, I knew it; I didn’t just feel it. This day was different than the thousands of days I’d lived through. For once, I genuinely questioned the limits of my existence and knew that this day could very well be my last day on this planet. Just like any other day, but this one felt different. I felt both ingrained to the hard earth and subject to the whimsy of the entire universe.

My head rested in the crevice of her tummy right below her rib cage. It ascended and descended with her every breath, and each awaiting movement brought lightness and reassurance to my billowing mind. How ridiculous it seems to love someone’s lungs and diaphragm, but I did. I smiled at this thought.

“What’s so funny?” There’s no way she could have seen my smile, but she felt it.

“I love you.”

She momentarily stopped breathing, but her heart took flight. I hadn’t even intended to tell her yet, but then again, none of this was planned, and if I died tomorrow at last, I’d die without regrets of never uttering those words.

“I know you do … I know … I,” she paused, clutching my hand, and then bringing my head to lay next to hers.

I anticipated the same hazy gaze, the same look into someplace else I couldn’t be. I knew this look by heart. But this time, her eyes held none of that glossy, transitory disconnection. They were unmistakably clear, remarkably honest.

Her tears tasted salty and sweet. I kissed them away, though I knew I couldn’t extinguish the pain she held in her heart. Rather, I embraced it; I allowed it to breathe and release itself, ready to listen to her most profound truth, the only truth she hadn’t yet shared.

“I’m not from here. I’ve traveled long roads to reach this place, and I know I’ve only been here a short while, but this is the longest I’ve ever stayed. I didn’t have a home. The places I inhabited before, I left before anyone or anything could leave me. And then I arrived here, and my whole existence changed. I stopped feeling like a floating entity. I still feared that you’d disappear. But something within me told me that you wouldn’t.”

Any remaining tears that had trickled to her chin dissolved in my hands. She looked at me so intensely that I could see her for the vulnerable, raw woman she was.

“You are my home. I’ve wandered aimlessly; my heart has led me astray. It led me here, to you.”

Her words lit a fire in me. Stricken with momentary disbelief, I wondered how something so real could feel like a dream.

“Then stay. Please stay. I am here, and I’m not going anywhere if it means I can’t go with you. We can live in love, and I will do everything I can to help you feel safe here.” I kissed her, wishing she knew just how much I cared. We were reaching nearer to each other, but something was in the way, something I couldn’t grasp.

She looked at me again, piercing me with words she hadn’t yet said.

“I can’t stay. I’ve already stayed longer than I thought I physically could. My body and soul are here with you, but at any given moment, my soul will try to leave. And when it does, I’m only halfway here. I’ve never experienced this because I’ve never made it this far in one place. I didn’t know what it means to love, to actually want to stay.”

She clutched me hard in hopes of engraving her home, once and for all. We made love until the sun disappeared, until the only lights guiding us were that of stars, the moon, and each other’s eyes. We stayed there together, in that pull between here and a different world neither of us knew of. We kept our eyes open, willing our souls to unite and become so intertwined that hers couldn’t possibly break free.

At some point my eyes drifted shut, and even in the midst of my dreams, I swore I could still feel her warmth engulfing mine.

But man believes what he wants to believe, and I am no exception.