I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind.
"What was she like? I mean, I've heard you talk about her, met her, God knows but...what was she like? When you first knew her?"
"She was...beautiful. That's the first thing I remember. Looking up and seeing a beautiful face. Knowing, in one moment, that my life had changed, that it would never be the same. That I would always carry her face with me."
"Yeah. It was. But...I think I also fell in love with her then, despite everything."
"In love? Even though...?"
"And you always loved her, afterwards."
"Yes. I guess you never quite fall out of love."
"...I never have."
"What did you love most about her?"
"Humor me. Please. I want to know."
"...I think I loved most that she never gave up on me. Even when I was at my worst, feeling sorry for myself and striking out at everyone around me, she was there. Ready to pick me up when I came back to her, back to myself. Oh, she'd yell at me, give me hell...but I never doubted that she cared. I never doubted that she loved me, too."
"Never? Even when she left?"
"I always knew she wasn't gone forever. Somehow, I always knew she'd come back. One way or another. We'd made these extravangant plans, things we wanted to do and see together. I knew she wouldn't give up on those forever. She'd made a promise to me."
"But she didn't keep it."
"She tried. As much as she could, for as long as she could. Even when we both wanted to give it up, she wouldn't admit it. It wasn't her fault she couldn't do it."
"Do you blame her? For going away and leaving you alone?"
"I'm not alone, am I? I've got you."
"Always, Nick. Always."
"Don't say always, Nat. Nothing is for always."
"Love is. You said so yourself."
"Do you regret loving her?"
"No. I only regret that we never really...had enough time."
"Is there any such thing as enough time?"
"No. But I'd give so much to get more."
"You have eternity."
"Depends on what you believe. You know, you sound just like her sometimes."
"Oh. Do you ever...look at me, and see her? Wish I was her?"
"...No. She's gone. And I would never want you to be anyone but yourself."
"I wouldn't want you to be anything else either."
"...Thanks, Natalie. I need to hear that sometimes."
"Any time. Oh, listen to us, getting all sentimental when I 've got test results to take a look at. Will you come to the lab tonight?"
"Don't I always?"
"Well, I will tonight."
He feels her lips brush against his cold cheek in a familiar salute. Contrary to his words, he closes his eyes for a moment and pretends. Then he opens them, and watches her gather her giant armload of texts, papers, tote bag and coat. "Can you get those all right?" he asks, the memories losing themselves in amusement and affection.
"Sure, I'm fine."
He gets up anyway to open the door for her, and leans over to return the kiss. "Be careful, hon."
She smiles, understanding. "I will. See you later."
He walks back into the house; it's not as big as the loft was, but it suits him and has an extra room for Natalie to use. He doesn't really regret leaving Toronto -- it was time. His only regret was leaving his last connection to her.
He walks to the mantle over the fireplace and takes down an old picture, of two people sitting next to each other, laughing into the camera. He gently runs one finger down the woman's face, as if to caress her skin through the glass, talking to her as he has many times before, hoping she can hear.
"Did you hear her talking? Isn't she something? You'd be proud of her. She's carrying on your work, trying to keep your promise. And I'll keep my promise to you, Nat. I'll keep your grandaughter safe."
"I love you. Forever."