Tuck Everlasting

Our coices. They have consequences. They have meaning and reason. They inspire, they enhance. And give opportunity. Opportunity is where we have the chance to excel. And we are nothing without our choices, our options, for the make us, and our person.

Today is supposedly extra special. I am now upon my seventeenth birthday, and life is still the same, ironically, since I havn't once drank of that precious spring. Even though today should be a celebratory day, I'm not excited; no, I'm certainly not that. To say the least, I'm devastated. I am now one year closer to dying. Naturally, I hate the concept of death. Every human would be.

Of course, there is another option, other than being a good girl and growing old, and that was to drink of the peculiar spring in my father's wood. Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about it and the family that once inhabited its curse. The Tucks had drunk the magical properties from that spring water and had been forever transformed physically as well as emotionally.

Each Tuck had left a piece of themselve's here, with me. Mae, Tuck's wife, will always be known as my mother. If not by blood, but spiritually, she held that title and position better than my biological mother. Angus Tuck will forever hold the position of being my father, much like Mae's role. At some points in my life since their departure, I felt they were my more loving parents, the parents who understood my rebellious and innocent nature. They will always be dear to me.

As for Miles Tuck, he left me with his compassion and hospitality. Yes, when we first met, he showed hostility towards me, but I suppose my childish ways grew on him and he came to love me as well as I did for him. I have a small inkling that I renewed his ability to love, and not to judge one by another's actions. For his wife left him for his 'sinful ways' and told the public of him and his family. He did not trust me at first, then I slowly weaved myself right next to the other people wedged in his heart: his fmaily, Mae, Tuck, Jesse, and the ones who left him with bitterness and saddness. Miles will not be forgotten on my terms.

Now Jesse Tuck: he was everything to me. I loved him. Our love will never cease. He promised we would see each other again someday. I don't know if or when that'll happen, but as the days slowly turn into weeks and those into months and so forth, I feel that the possibility becomes more and more unlikely. It depends entirely on wether or not I have the bravery to drink of the precious water with a 'T' marked on the trunk that holds it.

Coming back to the present, I sit at the base of the very tree that encases the water. I snake my fingers through the lukewarm spring andd let the water flow gently back to its origin. I've always been curious of its taste. Though, until I decide to seal my fate with one sip, I won't even bring it close to my undesirable lips.

Before, Tuck had taken me with him in his canoe to warm me of the reality they've lived with for so long. He told me it was alright to fear death, alright to want immortality. He only wanted me to know of all my options. When the Tucks left, I promised myself that come my seventeenth birthday, I would make my final decision. I could live a life and be natural in God's image or, I could drink the water and become 'immortal' so I could forever roam the earth with my love. Such a selfish act. Such an enticing offer.

Leaning over the spring, I see my reflection.

I flatten my hand above the water, and cause ripples to form and widen. When I look again, I see an old woman staring back at me with a frown. A comforting smile forms neatly on my ordinary face, and she does the same, only wrinkles obscure hers and turns the smile into a grimace. Realization sets in as my imagination has taken over and I know. I know that the elderly woman with stringy, natural grey hair is my future self. I feel a slight swelling in my eyes and begin to wipe away the now flowing tears.

I want to avoid death, but that is not the reason I cup the spring water in my hands. No, I drink of the spring because I want to share my life with my real family, the Tucks. With my one love, Jesse Tuck.

I bring the water to my lips and take the smallest sip. Even with the miniscule size of it, I know it will be enough. There is no going back now as the spring water trickles down my throat. It may very well be the most wonderful drink I have ever experianced in my seventeen years. In a rush, I cup some more in my palms and swallow feverishly.

As I dry my hands on my already dirty dress, I feel overcome with energy. I twist and twirl in a dance-like way, much like my time with Jesse in the woods before. He provided the beat and music while I provied the dance. Together, our ensamble made no sense to anyone else but us.

When I move to stand, memories play in my mind and I sigh.

The first of me and Jesse swimming. He held me as I laid on the surface of the lake we had swam in. I was terrified of drowning and he questioned my reasons. He thought I was scared of him- how quiant? It was peaceful, being in his arms as he slowly spun us in a rotation. He kept repeating, 'I won't let you go, Winnie Foster. I won't let you go.' I've always thought there was a double meaning to his words. I've tried to decipher the meaning of his strange words, but to no avail. They've always left me confused and ignorant to his pure love.

Another memory comes forth in my mind and stands out most. Our meeting.

Jesse Tuck and I had found each other randomly, by the sheer will of God. I think He wanted us to meet, perhaps so we could teach one another a lesson or two. The Tucks had taught me the value of one's life, the potential we are given at birth. We must all cherish what we've been given and see to it that it is not taken for granted.

On the day of our meeting, it was ferociously hot. I had grown bored of my confined fence area and wandered aimlessly about the woods. It wasn't moments later till I was lost. So, the only solution I could muster was the easy steps forward. Always forward, I thought. And just when I was about to give up and turn around- to surely become even more lost, no doubt- I saw a movement behind some bushes.

Before I emerged from my hiding spot, I gazed the boy- the stranger- up and down. He was...handsome. His shaggy, brown hair was in need of a trim and I liked the small act of rebellion. He wore odd attire. And he was drinking of a tiny puddle. After he finished, the boy still wasn't done with the water. He washed his face with the water to cool down from the uncomfortable heat.

I was amazed, to say the least; my father knew pracitcally evey inch of his wood and any strangers wandering in it. But there was something peculiar about the boy's presence, something that made him somewhat of a resident; he acted as if he knew this land, had been through these parts before.

Curiosity became too much and I remember walking cautiously into view.

And thus, our beautiful and tragic begginning began.

Now, I make my way on the well-worn path and to a small clearing.

Flowers- pruple, orange, white, so much white, clutter the ground and hide most of the grass. I step lightly between them, taking care not to trample any beautiful petals.

Sliding down into a yellow patch of grass, I hear shuffling. Realization that I'm not alone washes over me and I slowly turn around.

The boy, now I think of him as a man, sits on a rock, looking at me with wonder.

"Winnie? Winnie Foster?" His voice still sounds the same: high pitched and squeeky. I still remember its uniquen quality.

It takes much will to muster the one word, "Yes?", and I smile wider.

No more running. We can finally live. Ironic, no?

Jesse comes closer, stretching out his arm in an inviting gesture. "I will love you, Winnie Foster. I will love you till the day I die..." And his whispered words are followed by his warm embrace.

Peculiarities come in all ways, our enhanced life being one of them. God grants miracles, and he also creates them. His inspiration being his own grace. Jesse, the Tucks, and I can now live together, forever, and still in His image. My choice, their accident. Both consequences will not make our faith dwindle.

The secret will be kept. And the spring will be no more,for my father once spoke of tearing it down for profit. The client seeking the deed to my father's wood seemed shockingly concerned for the magical elven family living in them. For his father once spoke of them and their precious melody the mother sings in time of distress.

Assuming that very story will be passed along from generation to generation, the Tucks can rest assured that it will only become a mere legend, and old wives tale.