Forever

Florentino Ariza listened to him without blinking. Then he looked through the windows at the complete circle of the quadrant on the mariner’s compass, the clear horizon, the December sky without a single forevercloud, the waters that could be navigated forever, and he said:

“Let us keep going, going, going, to La Dorada.”

Fermina Daza shuddered because she recognized his former voice, illuminated by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and she looked at the Captain: he was their destiny. But the Captain did not see her because he was stupefied by Florentino Ariza’s tremendous powers of inspiration.

“Do you mean what you say?” he asked.

“From the moment I was born,” said Florentino Ariza, “I have never said anything I did not mean.”

The Captain looked at Fermina Daza and saw on her eyelashes the first glimmer of wintry frost. Then he looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love, and he was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.

“And how long do you think we can keep up this goddam coming and going?” he asked.

Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights.

“Forever,” he said.

—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love In The Time Of Cholera

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