They’d numbered many – the qualities needed to do the job. Passions and desires for secrets and more. So was the life of a spy. You give and in return you receive and take and steal away like a ghost in the night, leaving an empty safe and a broken heart behind. It was a good gig if you could get it. It was her life and passion.
In the dark of night she left him drugged in a deep sleep of happy dreams. She’d made sure of that. Still feeling his touch on her skin she dressed in absolute silence. In her bag were the documents she needed, along with photographs and other mementos, including a packet of love letters that she would keep for herself.
She might never find a love like his again. It was one of those loves that was once in a lifetime. It was the kind of love that would last forever.
He was the most well ordered and controlled man she’d ever met. His soul as full of adventure. He valued perfection. Best of all, he could exquisitely heat up the night unlike any other man she’d ever met. He was someone who’d never settle or compromise.
When he awoke hours later he reached for her, but that side of the bed was empty and cold.
Later that morning he was told she was dead. It had been an accident. That day he thought his life would end. He wanted to die. It was almost unbearable, but he made it through.
Ten years later he married a lovely, kind woman with a wicked sense of humor. They had two children. It was a lot of work and crazy living with a family and kids. Life was good, as it should be. In fact it was more than good. It was amazing.
Still, every time his wife was late or one of the kids didn’t call on time he had that feeling of dread and panic come up in his soul. He never told them, but it was always there. He couldn’t lose them. He couldn’t go through that again.
One afternoon he reached into the pocket of an old coat and found a note. It was in the script of his long lost love.
I’ll return to you.
He was beyond that. He was beyond dreams of seeing her again. He was beyond hope she was alive. He was beyond stupid thoughts. He was beyond the anger he had towards her. He was beyond the grief and the love and the memories so sweet of their time together. But something triggered his heart and he could feel a tear falling down his cheek. It was alright to mourn. It was normal. It was natural to feel and love and remember. There was no crime in that. It took nothing away from his life now.
Yet how many times had he caught himself asking “What if?”
He took the dog for a walk by the river, like he did each day.
On the bank, near where the geese always rested, stood a stunning woman with flowing gold curls and sky blue eyes. It was her. It was a his past and his dreams and his sorrow.
She turned towards him. “Hello Rob.”
The dog ran up to her wagging it’s tail. He froze.
“I was told you were dead,” he said barely able to get the words out.
“You were told wrong. I had to go. I know, I know, I know you must be angry but let me explain…”
He stood listening as she told him about adventures in a world he couldn’t imagine anymore. It sounded like more of a movie script or a spy novel than anything in his current life. It sounded like his old life.
Then she said, “I know everything about you. I’ve been keeping track the past twenty years.”
“That’s sort of creepy. I’m sure it was plenty boring compared to the life we used to have.” He watched his dog run down the beach then looked back to her. “Why did you come back?”
“For you of course. We can continue our adventure. You can get your life back. I still love you.”
He stood there thinking of all the times he would have given anything for one last chance to talk to her. Just one last chance to hold her. One last chance to start over with her and change the past.
Then he stuck his hand in his pocket and found a sticky mess of peanut butter and jelly. His daughter would always chew and lick the darned things a few times and end up with a mess over everything.
“I’m not that guy anymore. I’m different.” he said.
“How?” She stood with her hands on her hips. He thought she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. “How are you different?”
“I have a wet gooey half eaten peanut butter sandwich in my pocket, and it doesn’t bother me.” Then he smiled and gave her a kiss on the cheek and started up the trail back home.