An uncertain future

viet-namWillie and Fran liked to picnic on their favorite granite bluff. It overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. Warm summer updrafts carried the sound of waves up from below. The last time they visited what they called their “private place,” they made love.

No one noticed, not a soul; not even the birds. Their picnic wine sparkled in the sun. After lunch, they talked for a little while, and then went silent. Sounds that lovers make blended with a seagull chorus. The soft rumbling waves  below, became part of their  their ocean-side symphony. Spent/ they edged toward the rim of a granite outcrop. Looking out from their private place, the sandy shoreline below went on forever.

“Isn’t this beautiful?” Fran said. Willie propped his chin on one elbow, and drew in a deep breath.

“Yes, honey. It is. I’ve dreamed of this place. A sad dream. One I can’t shake free. I’m in our private peace and I look down from the bluff. A giant rolling whitecap crashes loud on the hard-packed sand. It sounds like a huge canvas of a painted flower being ripped apart along its petal length.”

Fran touched his cheek and thought, “How can I not love this man?”

And from that day forward, she wrote to him every Sunday. Willie came home from Viet Nam three years later. The loss of one his hands and a leg mattered not. They embraced tight for three full minutes. Tears of love and sweetest joy bathed each other’s shoulders.

The lovers never returned to their bluff overlooking the ocean. It wasn’t necessary. Their private place had become almost sacred in their hearts. And they kept the memory of it locked away forever.