It had been a beautiful day, indeed.
Walking by the water, just a couple of feet behind her, his mind was rushing… It hadn’t been just a beautiful day, but an almost perfect one. The best they had had in months, maybe in years?
It wasn’t often that they had a whole day off together. And when they did, they usually spent it doing work around the house, or shopping for this and that. Her to-do lists were legendary, and he didn’t recall ever completing one.
But this morning she had let him sleep late, for one thing. And when he had finally dragged himself out of bed, she was waiting for him to take her breakfast. She was in a great mood, and he had absolutely no reason to be grumpy. He smiled, as she poured coffee in his mug.
The day’s agenda was probably soon to follow, and from her sudden sweetness, he was guessing he would have to either dig herself a pool, or redo the whole house’s roofing. Or worse. When she sat in front of him, she had another surprise for him.
Why don’t we spend the day out together, James? Just you, me and Ruffles… I prepared a picnic, we could drive to the beach, it’s been a while and they said the weather would be lovely on the news!
He hated that his first thought was ”what’s the catch?” She wasn’t a bad person, after all. How long ago had he started to always expect the worst from her? A long time. It was sad, she didn’t really deserve it.
To his defense, the timing was a little awkward for a love birds gettaway. But she couldn’t guess that.
Now, watching her silhouette kneeling on the sand with their beloved poodle, he was besieged with doubt. They had had a nice time…. When they didn’t have to discuss finances, or argue about what he had to fix next on their house, they still could share good laughs.
They were a good team, just not what he’d call lovers. Not anymore, and he had patiently waited for the flame to light up again. But love was not about being patient, it was about sharing dreams and working together to make them come true. They had worked a lot, alright, but mostly to take care of the bills.
He was ambitious, and had climbed the ladder step by step at the office to make their life more comfortable, but he knew that was futile. He didn’t need more money, and to spend more and more of his time away from home. He had his own dreams… Kids running around in the backyard. But he didn’t see that happening with her.
They had tried, once upon a time, back when their were smitten with each other. Now, he didn’t even really see her baring his future child. He didn’t want her, in all honesty. He wanted children born from true love. And they had lost that along the way.
He smiled as the dog chased a couple of seaguls, running in the water as if his life depended on catching the white birds. She was trying to call back Ruffles, but he knew damn well that the furry ball didn’t even hear her.
Of course, he was aware that the butterfly-flutter-in-the-stomach kind of love didn’t last. But after more than four times the time he had shared with her, his mother still had that sparkle in her eyes, when she spoke of her husband. It was a different kind of love, less intense yet so much stronger than anything he had experienced himself.
If true, long lasting love existed, he wanted it too.
She was walking his way… On days like this one, he remembered how beautiful she was. It was the routine that made them ugly. And tomorrow, they’d fall into it again, and for how long before they would spend a stressless day together once more?
The sunsetting light was flattering her, but he couldn’t live from one shooting-star moment to the next, anymore. When she was only a few steps away, he gathered all his courage.
Karen… I have to tell you something.
She smiled, but there was something strange in her stare.
Ok, of course, dear… But me first. – She paused, obviously looking for the right words – I got a call from the doctor yesterday. I didn’t want to tell you before, because I thought I was just being over-dramatic as usual… But… I kinda got bad news.
She teared up, and he hadn’t even said a word. This was bad. He dared asking.
She looked devastated, and lost. What now?
I would like to thank Jan, for the picture that inspired this story. My dear Danish friend finger feeds me little pieces of Denmark, regularly… But this picture was especially inspiring, and I (luckily) was allowed to use it in The Cove. Thank you, Jan!