“But don’t you think,” I persist, “that it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

Mr. DeTamble regards me. He takes his hands away from his face and stares. Then he says, “I’ve often wondered about that. Do you believe that?”

I think about my childhood, all the waiting, and wondering, and the joy of seeing Henry walking through the Meadow after not seeing him for weeks, months, and I think about what it was like not to see him for two years and then to find him standing in the Reading Room at Newberry Library: the joy of being able to touch him, the luxury of knowing where he is, of knowing he loves me.

The Time Traveler’s Wife