There was a long dirt road leading to the water. It was dry and cracking from a summer with little rain. It was well-traveled, with grooves worn deep from the passing tractors. Dusty blackberry bushes lined one side; rows of beets and turnips stretched out along the other.
The salt air drifted gently over the fields. I glanced down as a small white butterfly danced around my feet, around one and then around the other. I smiled, following its cheerful choreography with my eyes.
Would you look at that sky?!
There was a familiar thickness to his accent; a heaviness as his hand grasped mine.
Days like this are my favorite, ya know?
He smiled at me, and he gently squeezed my hand.
It had been six years since I last saw that smile.
My mind started racing with all the things that have happened in those six years, all the things I wanted so badly to tell him about. Joining the Navy. Adventures at sea. Mountain climbing. Marriage. Divorce. Babies. Relationships. Leaving the Navy.
Relationships and babies. That was why I was there that day, on that dusty road. A fragile relationship that's one more stupid argument from being over, and a baby that is turning one. A baby that is the reason behind leaving my job, leaving this state, leaving my comfort and stability for something more. A baby that is the lone survivor of three, a baby with a dead brother and a dead sister.
My head started spinning. I couldn't breathe. I was shaking. I wanted so badly to talk to him, to tell him, but I couldn't find the words. I started to cry.
He put his arm around me and laughed. Silly girl, just let it go. Just for today. Just walk with me.
He smiled at me again. I never could say no to that smile.
And so we walked, his hand in mine, along that dusty road through the turnips and the beets.
As we walked, all those things started melting away. It was like the last six year never happened. It was just my friend and me, together again, without a care in the world.
When we reached the end of the field, I stopped at the bench to take in the view and take some pictures of the flowers. I watched as another small white butterfly danced around my head for a couple seconds and then fluttered off into the blue sky. When I looked back, I was alone.
Happy Birthday, Andy. Thanks for the walk.