798

All of us are capable of such sustained pettiness and irrational self-interest that I have come to honor death.

I do not like it.  I do not cherish it.  But I honor it.

Love is meaningless.  What is it?  I have experienced it, and even I do not know.  Poets earn handsome sums and painless immortalities lying to people about love.  Love is selfish.  Love can only be experienced by one (not two, for it is never the same twice).

But death?  We know death.  Death is shared.  Death is ultimately finite.  Death strikes the legs from everyone.

Quentin’s son, a son he never knew existed, has died.  And in Quentin, I see a changed man.  Not boy, but man.

That same child is niece to Magda.  She is no longer a wild beast spitting poisoned laughter with wanton abandon.  She is humbled.

And I?  I am reminded of the deadly consequences of my mission, and that I now am not only the custodian of life in 1969, but for those I’ve come to love in 1897, as well.

Magda will cast no more curses, for she suffers the result of her own.  And Quentin has lost one of the few people who would have not only loved him, but made him feel respected.

I will call for no arms.  They were unsheathed months ago, and my arms are numb from carrying them at the ready. There will be the call for trumpets.  I will brag with victories and congratulate myself on my wit.  Tonight, however, does not belong to me.  It belongs to Quentin.  It belongs to Magda.  It belongs to one of the futures that will never be.

BC

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