Infinity and Eternity
To see a world in a grain of sand
and a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour.
--from Auguries of Innocence--William Blake
Beverly had been such a beautiful bride. She didn't need any opulent gown or glittering jewels, she was breathtaking in her own right. Those long, lithe legs, her dancer's body and that incredible, fiery red hair were the stuff of men's dreams. That hair wasn't the only thing fiery about her, she was passionate about more facets of life than could be recounted. He had been completely captivated by her from the moment they'd been introduced. After what felt like the longest courtship in history, she was finally his and he'd planned their entire future together in those long moments that it had taken her to walk down the aisle to him. So far, their lives together had been a dream come true with the promise of so much more to come after.
Serving together, watching Wesley grow up together would provide the foundation of their shared life and shared memories. Making the usual childhood mistakes, they'd see him through them together and years later laugh fondly about some of the more outrageous antics. The good times and the bad, nothing would ever be too much for them to get through as long as they had each other. They would grow old together, he could picture them sitting on the front porch of a simple but picturesque house on Earth. He would retire an Admiral but she'd insist that he keep an office at Starfleet Command mostly to keep him out from underfoot. She would, of course, be head of Starfleet Medical--that brilliant mind of hers as sharp as ever. He imagined what she might look like at that age and in his mind she would always be the most beautiful woman in the universe--and her hair would still be a vibrant red. They would sit on that front porch in the evenings and watch the sun go down; some nights they'd stay out there and count the stars as they appeared, one by one. Bickering like all old, married couples, trading barbs and retorts while they walked through their twilight together, sarcasm and wisecracked retorts belying the years of deep, undying affection that they shared. Their anniversaries would be celebrated with the friends they'd made over the years; their lives would be filled with love, laughter and music.
A lifetime of unlived memories flashed before Jack's eyes followed by regrets, the regret that he would never get to live the life he had planned out with Beverly and a sharper pang of regret that he couldn't share those dreams of their life together with her now. There wasn't even time to say goodbye to her in a message; such a small thing but with all of the experiences that he would never have, his only wish in that instant was to be able to tell Beverly goodbye. Then his world exploded.
"Weep for the lives your wishes never led."-- Wystan Hugh Auden