I think it takes an amazing amount of energy to convince oneself that the Forever Person isn't just around the corner. In the end I believe we never do convince ourselves. I know that I found it increasingly hard to maintain the pose of emotional self-sufficiency lying on my bed and sitting at my desk, watching the gulls cartwheeling in the clouds over the bridges, cradling myself in my own arms, breathing warm chocolate-and-vodka breath on a rose I had found on a street corner, trying to force it to bloom.
The others would then fall silent and she would continue about doped gallium arsenide detectors, or the ethanol content of the galactic cloud W-3. The quantity of 200-proof alcohol in this single interstellar cloud was more than enough to maintain the present population of the Earth, if every adult were a dedicated alcoholic, for the age of the solar system. The tamada had appreciated the remark.