I’ve been thinking of my dead friend, time spent, and Cinderella.
There are many versions of the Cinderella story, some dating back hundreds of years. The version I recall had her doing a good deed for a beggar, although she lived in poverty herself, beset by evil sisters who kept her in rags to work at miserable chores. The stranger turned out to be a fairy, rather something more, a fairy godmother.
In this telling, the fairy godmother arranged for Cinderella to go to a glamorous ball. She gave Cinderella a fine dress and a horse-drawn coach with footmen to take her to the affair. The ball ensues but at midnight Cinderella returns to squalor. She is eventually rewarded for her good deeds but not before she despairingly asks questions of her fairy godmother.
Cinderella asks why the ball has to end, the music to stop, the laughter no more. Why does the coach disappear, the horses vanish, the merriment end? “Everything ends” her fairy godmother replies. “But at least you got to go to the ball.”