Joan Stephens

Always: a word that Vincent understood very well. Whenever he heard it, he was constantly reminded that he was always alone even when surrounded by family and friends. That he was free yet at the same time relentlessly bound to his tunnel world by the chains of his differences. Unceasingly, he yearned for the sun, for the sunlight, yet it was only the night-blanketed city and the moon that belonged to him.

He also knew that the community viewed him in terms of always: invariably gentle, kind and caring; infinitely patient; ever ready to lend a helping hand; and perpetually on guard to defend his world.

Only he knew the unremitting and incessant battle with the dark force that lived within him, which would frighten and dismay them. And he lived day by day with the fear that he would lose the battle.

But now there was a new meaning to the word since Catherine had entered his life: constancy. And this ‘always’ he pledged to her and held close to his heart. He would love her eternally, regardless of what happened in the future. She would live in his heart forever, and everlastingly would he adore her. Her love was his unfading sun, and it banished for all time the dark and lonely places from his soul. Continually, when he needed solace or just to heard he soft voice, he went to the woman who lived in his heart. And now he was going to her to pledge his undying love and himself to her . . . Always.