The Letter


As always, Dennis knew exactly what she needed and provided it. As she stood on the deck of the little cottage at the top of the walkway leading to the shore, she marveled at how well he understood her. Leave it to Dennis to arrange for them to enjoy an end-of-summer vacation on the coast. The cottage was charming — just right for the three of them. It was located a scant mile or so outside a quaint village that tourists had yet to discover. Dennis learned about it from a colleague who rented the same cottage a couple of summers earlier. The little town was per se Americana, complete with a Labor Day fireworks display heralding the end of the summer season.

“Leaving?” she responded breathlessly to the curve ball fate had just pitched directly to her. “No, I’m not leaving. I’ll be back in a few moments.”

“Oh, good!” he said genially. “I was hoping we could catch up a bit.”

She studied his eyes, remembering all the times that, as a young woman, she had looked expectantly — hopefully — into them. He looked exactly the same save for the small but distinct lines at the corners of his eyes that had grown more pronounced when he smiled and a few gray highlights in his hair. He was as impossibly attractive as ever.

“I am totally impressed that you became a doctor,” she told her former biology classmate, Georgia, “especially after having me as a lab partner! Quite an accomplishment!” she laughed.

“Actually, you inspired me,” Georgia replied.

“I did?” she asked incredulously. “How in the world did I manage that? When it came to anything science-related, I was a pitiful student.”

The telephone began ringing just as she closed the door to her hotel room and started down the hallway toward the elevator. She never even considered not turning back to answer, confident that the call was either from her son or Dennis.

“Hey, Mom,” her son said cheerily before she even had a chance to say “hello.”

“And you got married just like that?” Amy said incredulously.

“Just like that!” she laughed. “It was an amazing day. We only had about twenty-five guests and got married, barefooted, on the beach at sundown.”

“When did you tell your families that you were pregnant?” Amy pressed.

The florist delivered the flowers late Saturday afternoon. A beautiful bouquet of her favorites — delicate pink roses. The card said simply, “You will be picked up at noon on Sunday. Be ready. Love, D.”