Sheila gazed around the restaurant, noting the high-quality linen napkins, the strolling violinist and the crystal wine glasses that looked very expensive. There was even a Maitre’d dressed in a tuxedo. She looked over at her handsome, smiling husband, and asked, “Are you sure we can afford this place?”
“Yes,” Trent replied, taking her hand. “Tomorrow we worry about expenses and budget. Tonight we celebrate.”
“I’m so relieved, happy and grateful all at once! I know I’ve been given a new chance at life, and I’m gonna make the most of it. I’ll thank God every day, for letting me stay with you,” Sheila said, her eyes brimming with tears.
Trent felt his own eyes burn with tears of joy. “Yeah, He really answered our prayers, didn’t He? For a while there, it got pretty tough and I really thought the cancer was going to win. But, you were tougher,” he said smiling.
The waiter returned and took their order. He noted the hand holding and the way they gazed at one another. He left their table shaking his head slightly, thinking, newlyweds, not realizing they’d actually been married eight years. Throughout dinner, they talked, laughed, held hands and even fed each other, like couples sometimes do. It was obvious to everyone, how much in love they were.
“What a wonderful meal!” Sheila exclaimed, folding her napkin.
“Did you want to order dessert?” asked Trent
“Oh, goodness no,” Sheila replied, “I’m stuffed! Maybe a walk along the beach instead?” she asked.
“Are you feeling up to it? I don’t want you to overdo it.” His brow furrowed a bit with concern.
“I’m fine, really. I’ve been given a clean bill of health and I feel good. Please…?” Sheila smiled at him, knowing he wouldn’t turn her down.
“Ok, but if you get tired…,” Trent began.
“I promise I’ll let you know,” Sheila said.
They walked down toward the water. The moon was nearly full and gave off plenty of light to see. There was a breeze coming in from the lake, making the night air a bit chilly. They walked arm-in-arm, about a mile and turned, making their way back toward the car.
Opening the car door, Trent asked, “Did you have a good time tonight?”
“Yes,” Sheila replied, reaching up to hug him. “I’ll remember tonight for the rest of my life!”
“Me too,” said Trent looking into her eyes. Then he lovingly and tenderly kissed her.
Startled, Sheila looked around and saw the storm was moving in. Lightning streaked across the sky and thunder boomed. She hadn’t even noticed. Realizing she was cold, she pulled her wrap tighter and reached for her coffee. Taking a sip, she found it too had grown cold. I wonder how long I’ve been sitting here, she thought.
She stood and crossed the porch, watching the rain come down. With a slight smile, she looked across the land, taking in the scenery, her eyes finally resting on the mountains in the distance. Man, we used to love watching the storms roll in over the mountains, she thought. When they’d first met, she’d been so excited to find someone who loved storms as much as she did.
Her mind started racing – again. How could this have happened? It’s been ten months since the doctor gave me a clean bill of health and we went out to celebrate. Why, Lord, why?
It’d been the next day and Trent ran to the store to pick up a few items she needed for dinner. She’d felt uneasy, but dismissed it. Then the phone rang. In a cruel twist of fate, the day after she was given her life back, Trent was in an accident that took his. The other driver had been drunk, crossed the median and hit him head-on. With that, their life together had ceased.
She knew it was time to move on. He wouldn’t want her to stay stuck, mourning forever. She looked up and prayed, "Thank you God, for our love and the time I had with him. Help me to go on." She turned and went inside to make a call.
“Mom, I’ve changed my mind. I do want to come and visit.” They talked briefly, making plans. She hung up the phone, looked at the small piece of driftwood she’d brought back from the beach that night, and whispered softly, “Oh, and God, thank you that last, wonderful memory.”
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