Standing at the water’s edge, closed eyes raised to the awakening sun, I try to feel. The sound of water lapping along the shoreline is new to me. Just like the little circle of metal on my left hand. Wedding ring, they call it. Pretty, I think it is. I can feel the whorls and swirls along the smooth surface and I know it is only because Lars is kind and patient.
I will never see his face the way that others will, but he doesn’t mind. I can feel him hovering nearby, I always sense him now. Somehow, he took what little joy I treasured as my own and stretched it out across the sky and beyond. I am so blessed, because I know I do not deserve him. I do not deserve this sort of happiness.
“Samantha?” Lars draws near and presses something cool into the hand I reach out to him. “Shaved ice,” he says. “Guess which flavor?”
I smile at him, because this is a game we play. I sniff at the icy treat and mostly smell sugar and salt spray, with the faintest hint of something that might be berry. “Sunrise?” I ask.
“Sunset.” He teases back and kisses my cheek with cold lips. “Do you like it?”
“I love it,” I tell him, honestly. I never thought that I would travel after That Day. I never thought that I would learn to read and write braille or make up my own secret language just for us. I didn’t think I’d learn to knit, to cook or to live.
Especially to live.
“How does it feel?” Lars whispers.
Sucking on the mouthful of sweet ice, I think of words to describe it to him. He has two perfectly good eyes, but he always wants to know what I see. When he says that, I can feel his sincerity—and I can feel his heart. “Endless. Timeless.” I try to shrug. His arm remains stubbornly wrapped around my shoulders.
“Endless? Very poetic of you. Why Endless?”
I resist the urge to childishly tread on his foot, because as amazing as these experiences are, I do not wish to dig deeper into them. I would prefer to take it at face value, enjoying what it is there and asking nothing more.
“Sa-man-tha.” He draws my name out in that deliciously dark drawl of his.
I suppose I feel in love with his voice first. The first voice that didn’t sound like the therapist he claimed to be. A voice that wasn’t clinical or bored when handling my case. He knows about That Day and he could have any woman, but he chose me. “Endless like—like Him.” When I finally say it, everything feels small.
Lars takes the cone from my slack fingers and pulls me into an embrace that holds all of my broken pieces together. “Very good, Sam, very good.” He croons in my ear. “Keep going.”
“Endless in that,” I falter. Lars squeezes tighter. “In that I can’t get away!” The words burst out. “I can’t get away, because He’s always there and I can’t run out of Him, because He is always there.” And then I am crying and my feet can no longer hold me.
“It’s alright,” Lars says.
I want to tell him no, to rage and shout and scream, but it aches. “Why does it still hurt?”
“Because He gave us a heart, loveling.”
“Oh honey.” His voice is rough.
I cry an ocean right then and there. I cry for things I thought I forgot. Especially from That Day. I was too tired to drive that night—we all were—but it was too expensive to stay in a hotel. I drove and at some point, I fell asleep. I slept through the crash that killed my entire family and stole my sight. He spared me. I prayed to die when I learned what my life would be.
But He was patient.
That’s when I first felt Him—on every breath in those painful moments of darkness. He settled into my soul and I was afraid to trust Him, because now it was a true act of faith. I would have to depend on Him—just as I did with Lars—to be my real eyes. To see people, not faces and hope, not despair. He teaches me and I am still learning.
Because He is endless, eternal and everywhere.
Even when it hurts.
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