|Limited Life and Forever Love
Author: Mademoiselle Anime Amour PM
"And some days, when doing something as menial as washing dishes or hanging laundry out on the clothelines on a sunny spring day, Winnie would let her mind go back to that day." This is what happened to Winnie after that fateful summer.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 1,785 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7764935
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I saw this movie only the second time just yesterday, and I decided that that epilogue there at the end needed a little lengthening.
Disclaimer: I don't own the movie or the book it's based off of.
Limited Life and Forever Love
Winnie Foster had gotten married at age twenty-three to a man named Alexander Jackson. After Jesse, she had doubted for years that she would ever meet anyone half as amazing. Though Alex wasn't exactly a proper replacement for that vibrant boy whose personality was larger than life, he came close. And for Winnie, close enough was perfectly suitable for her.
When she had met Alexander at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York among her many travels with her parents, she'd been struck instantly by the color of his eyes. Blue with perhaps a hint of gray. His short brown hair was wavy, and he overall was handsome.
Once they'd exchanged names and proceeded to converse about the simple beauty of Van Gogh's paintings, Winnie had assumed that maybe this man would be interesting after all.
She had ended up having many reasons for marrying Alex. For one, he had a sense of humor that could be constantly found in those blue-gray eyes. For another, he had had a similar background to hers growing up.
He'd been sheltered as a young boy not because of overprotective parents but because of boyhood illness. The minute he'd gotten better, he had confided to her, he planned on spending the rest of his life enjoying every minute of it. A sentiment Winnie could full-heartedly share with him.
Despite the satisfying years following their wedding, however, she soon realized that she could only love Alex as a best friend. It was enough love to thrive on and to grow as two lifelong companions. Divorce was the last thing on her mind; after all, she had since brought their two children into the world.
But, she knew (in her heart, must have always known) that her heart would eternally belong to another. That that one blissful summer (and yet somehow painful) had ultimately shown her what life and love truly meant in the grand scheme of things. Winnie was also aware that it was hopeless to try forgetting about her days spent with the Tucks. Quite frankly, she never wanted to forget.
Every now and again, when she washed dishes during the day with Alex at work, she wondered about the spring.
Was it still there by that ancient oak, bubbling and gurgling? If she had followed through with drinking out of it as she'd longed to back then, how much would her life have changed?
In the end, it didn't matter, not that much anyway. She had made her choices without once regretting them. And she would never have to worry about living forever and its consequences.
One night when she was tucking Emma and Jesse into bed, for instance, Winnie figured out that she would have never wished to outlive her children. No mother would want that at all, to bury her own flesh and blood.
That night, seven-year-old Emma asked, "Mama, can you tell us that Tuck story again?"
"Please, Mama," five-year-old Jesse begged.
She never told them if it was real or fantasy. No, it was best to leave it up to them to decide. Though for her, that story would be as real to her as though it had happened yesterday. Sometimes, it definitely felt like it.
And some days, when doing something as menial as washing dishes or hanging the laundry out on the clothesline on a sunny spring day, Winnie would let her mind go back to that day. The day she would always remember, the one when she and Jesse (the vivacious young man for whom her son was named) climbed the cliff Eiffel Tower. Now, she had seen the real one in Paris twice, once with her parents and the other time with her husband.
But, even that tower in the City of Lights couldn't compare to the one she'd climbed with Jesse. And what followed after, the swim and her first kiss...Hearing his voice that had that light, sweet Southern drawl...
On those days, Winnie had had to blink back tears, for she was far away from those days and that boy. What was he doing now? Did he still think of her as often as she thought of him?
Well, she could assure herself, of course. He would love her forever, and his vow more than likely held up.
Glancing back toward little Emma with her black curls and gray eyes and Jesse with his toffee-colored hair and blue eyes, Winnie let out a content sigh. No matter how much she loved (and would always love) the older Jesse, she was right where she was meant to be. She belonged as the storytelling mother to her happy young ones.
"All right. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Winnie..."
"That's your name," Emma pointed out with a giggle.
Winnie smiled back. "Yes, but this is a different Winnie."
Technically, she wasn't lying. This favorite story of her children centered around a different girl from a different time, a different place.
It was also about that girl falling in love with a boy who would always stay the same.
Back on his motorcycle, Jesse headed out on the road again, chancing a glance back over his shoulder at the stately old house he would leave behind. This time, for good. Now that he'd known the fate of Winnie, there was no point in remaining in Tree Gap. All he had was the open road before him, stretched out for eternity as far as he could tell. He smiled dryly at the thought.
He'd figured that Winnie would end up not drinking out of the spring, no matter how much his selfish heart had desired for that to happen. She wouldn't have wanted to share his family's fate in the long run, considering it could be lonely and heartbreaking.
Mainly, Jesse could only guess that as loving as Winnie was, she would have wanted to have children at some point. Aware of what poor Miles had been through, he personally wouldn't have wanted to find out what that could have resulted in. Happiness? Yes.
But, as for the pain? A whole lot of it, especially if they'd wound up burying their kids.
Jesse could conclude that if Winnie had drank from the spring and if he had come back for her when she did, there would have been a hundred years of carefree innocence. Unfortunately, like innocence, most things couldn't last forever. Except for him and his family.
Fifty years after the encounter with Winnie, they had all separated. Miles lived out west in the reclusive Oregon woods the last time he'd checked. It was a bit sad that that was the case, but it suited his older brother. It wasn't that surprising after going through that much heartache and agony that he would do that.
As for Mae and Angus, they currently lived in bustling New York, where they could be two anonymous people among millions. Thanks to the general apathy from people of modern times, none of them would ever have to worry about their secret coming out again. It was lonely, keeping this secret all to himself, but Jesse knew it was for the best.
Besides, the positive thing about being alone was that he had his freedom. With his motorcycle, he had been everywhere in this country.
From the Smoky Mountains to the Golden Gate Bridge, he had enjoyed the wonders of America. As for international travel, he'd been to the real Eiffel Tower sixteen times among all of that. And had never gotten tired of it, not once. For, it constantly reminded him of that one special girl in his eternal life.
When he'd told Winnie that he would love her until (if?) he died, he'd meant it. No other girl had replaced her in his heart since.
Whenever Jesse ventured over to places like the mall, certain parks, or even the grocery store, he would notice that he caught the eye of more than one young lady. However, he wasn't interested in their admiring gazes. One special pair of blue-violet eyes would be all he could possibly care about.
Admittedly, some part of him stung when he could tell from her tombstone that she'd gotten married, moved on from him. Yet, what they'd shared that summer she couldn't have permanently gotten over. No way. They'd experienced the forever kind of love, one that knew no limit and one that could continue after death. After the end of the world even. And Jesse knew better than anyone that it was a rare thing to find that particular kind of love. No matter how long anyone lived.
In fact, he was really proud of Winnie for leading a life of her own after that summer. It showed just how strong a person she had been in her life. Hopefully, she'd had some adventures too, some inkling of freedom that allowed her to really live.
And yet, Jesse wondered, had she thought of him as often as he'd thought of her? Well...Probably, maybe when she was doing something as ordinary as tucking her kids into bed. Telling stories that lulled them to sleep, maybe she'd told them their story.
Now, that would have been remarkable. That would have meant that Winnie had had love for him still, even if she'd been married to another man. That would have meant their love had survived. And maybe, just maybe, there had always remained in her that spirited young girl running in that grassy field with him. The girl with the braid, beautiful and radiant in the summer sunshine.
That lasting image of her running in his mind caused tears to well up in Jesse's eyes. He blinked them back successfully and kept on driving down the open road. No going back now. Only ahead.
However, as the wind ran through his hair, he liked to have thought it was her caress. A sign from her in heaven.
"I love you, Winnie Foster," he whispered to the sky. "Forever."
For a hundred more years (one for each year of her lengthy life), he would keep that promise. And even longer than that, until the end of time.