A story that is meant for one particular person who is in my thoughts today… They will know who I mean when they read this…
One thing that makes Tera different from many others is the things she believes in. Now, not all of them are obvious, or make sense at first blush, but she believes in them deeply. And she believes in people most of all. And how the things she believes in become complete in the people she believes in is something she always thinks about.
On this particular day she was … well, to be honest the where she was didn’t matter as much as the who she was about to encounter.
He was sitting on a park bench staring out into space, a small styrofoam coffee cup held between his hands, which he rolled, slowly, back and forth as he thought about … things.
Tera was going nowhere in particular, but was drawn to him. His melancholy called out to her on many levels and it was impossible to ignore—not that she ever would. “Hello.”
He didn’t look up when she said “Hello.” Really, that wasn’t a surprise, considering his mood. So Tera brushed the back of her long, red, latex-like jacket and settled onto the bench with him, looking out over the green of the park. Seeing that he wasn’t answering, she laced her fingers together and just started to talk to him: “You know, not everything is for always. Yes, some of the important things are, but not everything.”
He turned then and looked at her, considered, then looked away again.
“Let me guess. She was everything to you, you did everything for her, and she dumped you.”
She could almost hear the bones in his neck making noises as his head snapped around to look at her again, this time with a mix of pain and anger in his eyes.
“How do you know she was for always?”
The anger left, but the pain was still there.
“The hardest thing to do is to have it in you to give always and know that is what you have in you. To give and in return expect that you will have that always returned to you.”
He looked away—the point was too painful—but she pressed on.
“Pain isn’t for always. It is fleeting. It overpowers, and it stays for a time. But it does not remain for always.”
He chuckled a bit in disbelief.
“We are all looking for the always. The one that we know is there forever. The one we know will be ours and we his or hers for always. The thing is … there is really only one Always. The rest are all may-be’s or might-be’s.”
His smile was a thin one.
“But we try anyway. We take a chance and see if this one is the one or not, then the next one, if our Always is there in front of us or not. There are many, many moments when we are disappointed and it feels like Always will never be.”
He looked at her and said the first thing that came: “I don’t want to keep trying.”
She tilted her head to the right as she looked at him: “Why?”
He shrugged and looked away again.
“Not really an answer is it? Someone hurt you, so you decide that it is better never to be hurt again?”
He didn’t respond.
“So, in doing so, what happens? You lose Always. Someone else loses Always.”
His fingers crushed the cup slightly: “There isn’t someone else.”
“How do you know?”
Back to the shrug again.
She closed her eyes: “There is someone for everyone in this world. But if you do not give yourself the chance, or give that person the chance, then you will always never find yours.”
He leaned back on the bench and started to laugh to himself at what she said. Or at least he did until he saw her with her arms crossed, looking at him, her green eyes sparkling, and found himself wondering why it was that he suddenly wondered if he had disappointed her.
She tapped a finger against the sleeve of her jacket: “Why not take a chance?”
The admission was a harsh one: “Took chances. She was … perfect. I wasn’t.”
She reached out a hand and touched his shoulder lightly: “We are always our worst critics and judges. We are the ones that see the worst in ourselves. It does not always have to be that way.”
“Safer.” That one word expressed how he felt.
“Baloney.” That one word expressed how she felt.
He looked at the coffee cup again: “I don’t think I can go through another round of hoping and losing.”
“So you would rather be safer by not putting your heart out always?”
She had an oddly bemused smile: “At the moment, you seem to be doing that with a complete stranger.”
He looked across the park: “Not really talking, just listening, for what it’s worth.”
She patted his shoulder twice: “Always is what you make of it. Make something of it.”
“Sounds like a fortune cookie.”
“Fortune, they say, favours the foolish. Personally, I believe that fortune means not as much as believing in yourself.”
“Not sure I can.”
“I am. Someone else can, too.”
He looked at her: “Who are you?”
She smiled: “Tera. Always Tera.”
He watched her leave, a puzzled expression upon him as he tried to figure out what she had told him. Eventually, he stood up, the coffee cup still in his hands, and made his way out of the park, thinking about what she said.
At least he was until he walked into a strawberry blonde that was wrapped up in her own thoughts, holding a styrofoam coffee cup in her hands, and not watching where she was going.
Not that he was, either, mind you.
“No, it’s my fault.”
They looked at one another, the world moving around them for the longest moment. He paused, considering what that strange woman said to him.
She rolled the coffee cup in her hands in a familiar way: “I was wrapped up in something. Something someone told me.”
He blurted out, the faintest glimmer of hope in his words: “Always is what you make of it.”
She answered, haltingly, a look in her eyes: “Make something of it.”
He tossed his coffee cup into a wastebasket nearby: “May I offer you a cup of coffee?”
She did likewise: “How about we share a pot?”
He smiled … a real smile: “The diner on 57th?”
She turned to walk in that direction: “Always.”
And, off in the distance, on the other side of the street, a woman in a long red jacket with raven hair and green eyes smiled and went on her way … always.