Lament for Jesse

Seeing the cold reality of the tombstone stabbed the life right out of me and for a fleeting moment, I forgot how to breathe. This was love and at seventeen, love was what made the world spin. For eighty five years I had thought of no one else. When you're seventeen year after year, loyalty tends to stick. Seeing her grave stone inscription was a more distressing blow to me than anything else I had endured in my just shy of two hundred years.

You know how they say losing your first love always stings? I didn't have another love. I wasn't like normal guys, and I knew that time would only hurt me further instead of heal. Time would not grant me wisdom or maturity; it would not grant me grace or peace. I was seventeen. I was seventeen and in another fifty years, I would still be seventeen. In another fifty years, I would still remember Winnie; I would still miss her, I would still love her. Fifty years wouldn't force the teenager out of me, it would only magnify the hormones, not deflate them. There's a good reason the turbulent teen years are limited to seven. I had to live it for multiple lifetimes.

I couldn't breathe.

Anguish was drowning me and a dozen thoughts pervaded my conscience, hammering away at my weak heart and poking holes in my soul.

Questions haunted me. Questions that will never leave me be.

As I touched her headstone, I wondered…

Did I wait too long?

Did she think I had forgotten about her?

Did she doubt my love?

Worse still…

Did she forget about me?

Did her love for me fade long ago?

Did she love this husband better than she did me?

Did she love other men when all I could hold in my heart was her?

Was I just a childhood crush for her?

Was I just a distant memory?

Was I nothing more than the cusp of a dream half-remembered?

I had barely slept in worrying about her through the years. All my minutes of concern, all my days wasted thinking of scenarios with her… All the fantasies I would enact in my mind about the words I'd tell her, the way I'd kiss her, the things we'd do, the places I'd show her when we finally met again…

I knew it would be a lifetime before we would meet, but I always thought she cared for me as I did for her.

Winnie grew up. She lost the rashness. Some would say she chose the smarter path.

I know I shouldn't see it as betrayal. She lived a good life; a happy life.

But she's dead and I will never see her again.

She's dead and I'm all alone in this foreign world where I can't trust a soul.

A part of me will die with her because she was what kept me youthful this long.

Do you have any idea how lonely it is to live this way? To have no one to truly connect with, to have to be detached from every friendly face you may encounter? To know that you will never be able to be released from this pain? I can't die. I can't grow old. I can't grow up and be taken seriously and age with the world. I will stay this way always as everything else changes and reaches this nirvana I have been robbed of. I can watch but that is all I am allowed.

I loved her and I knew that if only I had her, the world wouldn't matter. She would care. She would be in the same state. She would understand. She would love me.

Someone to hold. Someone to kiss. Someone to see the world with.

She took it from me. She moved on without me. She lived without me.

What did I do wrong?

Am I destined to be this way always? In pain, always? Despairing, always?

She said she wanted to spend forever with me. You can't promise someone like me something like that and then go back on it.

There is no one else. There will never be anyone else. At seventeen, there's only one person. You have one soul mate, one true love. At seventeen, that's all that matters.

So until the end of the world, I will coast by listlessly because she took my hope away.

Of all the girls who regularly hit on me, of all the girls who try to get to know me… It's only her I want. It's only her I'll let in.

And Goddamn it, I don't care if I sound like a prick right now. Do you know what it's like to be seventeen and a fucking virgin for almost two hundred years?

I was going to die alone. If I died at all. At this rate, I'll be praying for an apocalypse.

Winnie, why?

Winnie, how?

Winnie, didn't you love me?

Didn't you know you were my whole universe?

Didn't you want to see the world with me?

Didn't you care at all?

I can't forget. I won't.

She gave up on me but I won't give up on her.

I will love her until the day I die.

It's a curse.

Love is a curse.

Life is a curse.

Oh, God, how could this be?

Jesse Tuck. Winnie Tuck. The number of times I've pictured our wedding… Mrs Jesse Tuck. The number of times I've pictured her expression upon seeing me again. Did she think I would forget my promise? If not, what went through her head as she lived life without me, found another man to love? If not, did she even consider my feelings upon stumbling here only to find emptiness? Or did she just not care?

I had to come to terms with the truth. The Winnie who died here was not my Winnie. This woman was old, and married, and a mother. My Winnie was fifteen and just beginning to live and love and discover. My Winnie died the day she chose not to drink from the spring.

I don't hold it against her. I know well enough the pain I feel from this eternity. I know well enough Tuck's speech to her, convincing her of the darker things I sugar coated. If I loved her truly, I should have been the one to warn her of the wounds drinking would bring her. If I loved her, I would be happy she avoided the curse and managed to move on. It would pain me to know she died pining for me, waiting for me. Yet still the selfish part of me wants to shrivel up and die at the thought of her lying cold in the ground.

I'm seventeen. I'm not supposed to be selfless. I'm not supposed to have to part with loved ones.

I'm seventeen. Eternity shouldn't hurt this much. I'm stuck at the point where humans are just at the point of growing up. I'm stuck at the point where you have all the spirit, all the emotion, and none of the tools to help you cope.

Winnie… take me with you.

This world of loneliness drowns me. There is nothing for me here. And now that she is gone, all I can do is wait for the world to end.

This is love.

And now all that's left for Jesse Tuck to do is walk this earth, a young man desperately struggling with a broken heart. I will always love her. Even if she didn't. Even though I have the world at my fingers. It is her I want. That's all I've ever wanted.

So I'll jump back on my motorcycle and roam this modern world. I'll smile at the old sights re-invented, I'll talk to the people who have no clue. I'll ignore the girls who are not Winnie.

Is it really possible to hurt this much? To feel this extent of pain and not succumb to it? How could this treacherous existence be allowed? Why am I made to suffer so much?

I'm handsome and young and bursting with life and none of it matters

Good bye, Winifred.

Good bye, hope.

Good bye, youth.

Oh, Winnie… you killed me.

Somewhere up there, I hope you know that.