The Truth About Forever.
“God,” she said, sighing as she pushed her hair out of her face,
“doesn’t it seem, sometimes, that the whole damn world’s uphill?”
I said, thinking about everything that had already happened to me that night.
“It sure does.”
“Oh well,” She said, leaning over her cart and tightening her fingers around its handle.
“At least we know the way back will be easy. Come on.”
My dad died. And I was there.
This was how people knew me. Not as Macy Queen, daughter of Deborah, who built houses in brand new cul-de-sacs. Or as sister of Caroline, whoâ€™d had just about the most beautiful wedding anyone had ever seen at the Lakeview Inn the previous summer. Not even as the onetime holder of the record for the fifty-yard dash, middle school division. Nope. I was Macy Queen, whoâ€™d woken up the day after Christmas and gone outside to see her father splayed out at the end of the road, a stranger pumping away at his broad chest. I saw my dad die. That was who I was now.
Her name was Kristy Palmetto.
We introduced ourselves about halfway up the hill, when we stopped, wheezing, to catch our breath. “Macy?” she’d said. “Like the store?” “Yes,” I replied. “It’s a family name, actually.”
“I like it,”
“I intend to change my name as soon as I get to a place where nobody knows me, you know, where I can reinvent myself. I’ve always wanted to do that. I think I want to be a Veronique. Or maybe Blanca. Something with flair, you know. Anybody can be a Kristy.”
Maybe, I thought, as she started to push her cart again. But even five minutes into our friendship, I knew that this Kristy was different.
“Look,” she said, as I struggled with this, trying to wo a girl any guy, especially some library nerd who’s off at Cranium Camp “Brain Camp,” I muttered. “¬—would totally want to hear say she loved him. You’re smart, you’re anyway? Who is he to judge?”
ork it out, “I don’t know you that well. I’ll admit that. But what I see is
gorgeous, you’re a good person. I mean, what makes him such a catch,
“He doesn’t make me feel bad about myself,” I said, know-
ing even as my lips formed the words this was exactly what he did. Or what I let him do. It was hard to say.
“What you need,” Kristy said,
“what you deserve, is a guy who adores you for what you are. Who doesn’t see you as a project, but a prize. You know?”
“I’m no prize,” I said, shaking my head.
“Yes,” she said, and she sounded so sure it knowing me at all. “You are. What sucks is how you
startled me: like she could be so positive while hardly
u canâ€™t even see it.â€?
I turned my head, looking back out at the clearing. It s was telling me to change.
Kristy reached over and put her hand on mine, holding
seemed no matter where I turned, someone
g it there until I had to look up at her.
“I’m not picking on you.”
“No?” I said.
She shook her head. “Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too s value you.”
“You said the other day life was long,”
short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn’t appreciate and
I shot back.
“Which is it?”
“It’s both,” she said, shrugging.
“It all depends on how you choose to live it.
forever, always changing.”
“Nothing can be two opposite things at once,” I said. “It’s impossible.”
“No,” she replied, squeezing my hand, “whats impossible is that we actually think it could be anything other then that. Look, when I was in the hospital, right after the accident, they thought I was going to die. I was really fucked up, big time.”
Monica said, looking at her sister.
“Then,” Kristy continued, nodding at her, “life was very short, literally. But now that I’m better, it seems so long I have to squint to see even the edges of it. It’s all in the view, Macy. That’s what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count.”
Monica, lighting another cigarette, nodded.
“What you have to decide,” Kristy said to m “is how you want your life to be. would this
me, leaning forward,
If your forever was ending tomorrow, s be how you’d want to have spent it?”
It seemed like it was a choice I had already made. I’d spent the last year and a half with Jason, shaping my life to fit his, doing what I had to in order to make sure I had a place in his perfect world, where things made sense. But it hadn’t worked.
“Listen,” Kristy said,
“ the truth is, nothing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody.”
She looked at me hard, making sure I knew what she meant. I did.
“So don’t be afraid. Be alive.”
But then, I couldnâ€™t imagine, after everything that had happened, how you could live and not constantly be worrying about the dangers all around you. Especially when youâ€™d already gotten the scare of your life.
“It’s the same thing,” I told her.
â€œBeing afraid and being alive.â€?
“No,” she said slowly,
and now it was as if she was speaking a language she knew at first I wouldn’t understand, the very words, not to mention the concept, being foreign to me.
“Macy, no. It’s not.”
Itâ€™s not, I repeated in my head, and looking back later, it seemed to me that was the moment, everything really changed. When I said these words, not even aloud, and in doing so made my own wish: that for me this could somehow, someday, really be true.....