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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2099306
by Espero
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2099306
A Fall Romance - A chance meeting on a park bench leads to a lifelong love story.
I wrapped my arms across my chest and rubbed them to keep warm. The wind had picked up and was blowing the fallen leaves in the park across the grass, first swirling in one direction, then turning and rushing the other way; never making up its mind. It seemed fall was determined to come early this year.

The flutter of wings on the lake made me look up. I watched them floating on the water, looking like they didn't have a care in the world. For a second, I wished I had their carefree attitude. Why hadn't Jason hadn't called; everything was fine the last time we were together. Had I somehow messed up our relationship? There was definitely something wrong but what was it?

Jason and I had met in this very park, almost two years ago. I was sitting: no, actually lying on the park bench resting my eyes. A deep voice with a hint of laughter said, “You look comfortable lying there.”

I sat up quickly, embarrassed. “Oh, yes, I was reading and my eyes got tired.”

“I've seen you reading here before. I work just across the road.” He pointed to a tall white building with IT Solutions written on the front. He was holding a cup of coffee in his hand.

I grinned, “So you're one of those computer geeks then?”

He smiled, I noticed a set of dimples and felt a little flutter. “I hope not, I try to be a bit more interesting than that,” he replied.

“Just kidding! What do you do over there?”

“Tech support, I often come here to get away and relax for a spell, especially when there's an outage.”

“An outage?”

“Yes, when the internet goes out. People can get pretty upset and nasty when that happens.”

“I'm more of an old fashioned girl I guess. I prefer reading.”

“Nothing wrong with that, what do you like to read?”

“Mostly historical fiction.” I held up the book I was reading to show him.

“Would you mind if I sat down for a bit?”

“Not at all.” I patted the bench beside me.

And so it began.

Brought back out of my reverie, I stood up and slowly walked along the river bank, picking up a stone now and again to throw into the water. I thought about Jason and his dark good looks. His eyes, so black and intense when he looked at me. Those long thick lashes, the kind any girl would die for. The dimples, did I mention that before? They melted my heart. His lips, so full and luscious. His olive skin, making him look like he had been in the sun all year round.

I was average, surely not a knockout. My stick straight brown hair was midway down my back. The only redeeming quality about it was the golden highlights that seemed to make it shine. My figure was OK but certainly not model material. I had full lips and light blue eyes that sometimes turned to grey. Unfortunately I had no dimples.

Honk, honk, honk. I stopped walking and glanced up at the sky to watch the geese flying their perfect V pattern overhead. It was their annual trip southward. Noisy little critters, they landed on the far side of the lake, still honking and flapping their wings. Nonplussed by their arrival, the ducks calmly floated around, dipping their heads in the water with only their little tails sticking up. I wished Jason were here with me, we often came down to watch them as soon as Autumn approached. I wasn't sure what he was doing at the moment, we hadn't talked in two days.

I turned back toward the park and smiled as two boys kicking a soccer ball went flying past me. Oh, to have that carefree energy again! An elderly couple walked by holding hands, they were bundled up like winter had already arrived. Several joggers hurried past and I moved aside, not wanting to break their stride. The bike path was crowded with riders this time of year; everyone wanted to be out and about before snow came to visit. There was nothing more beautiful than the colors and smells of fall. Funny that, because it was a time of ending; the end of harvests, the end of the flowers for the season, the trees now standing tall and stark against the blue sky. Yet, it was still beautiful in all its fading glory.

I sat on the park bench, the one where we had met, and looked across the road at the IT Solutions building. Jason wouldn't be there today; it was a weekend. Had he been there yesterday or the day before? I didn't know. Oh why hadn't he called? Phone calls to him remained unanswered. I sat there watching a mini tractor chugging through the park, stopping now and again to empty the garbage cans. Squirrels with never ending energy ran here and there, then furiously started digging to bury something in the ground. That accomplished, they ran off again. I supposed that they too were preparing for the winter months ahead. I heard a baby cry and watched a mother rearrange the blanket around her baby in the carriage. Would I ever have children? I wanted to.

I jumped up. That was it! Enough worrying! I would walk to his apartment building just to see if his car was parked outside.The walk to his apartment was about five blocks. The store windows were all decorated in colors of orange, green, brown, and yellow; creatively displaying jack o lanterns, gourds, leaves and squash cleverly placed around items for sale. At another time it would have been fun to linger there and add items to my wish list. Children ran out of the store in front of me followed by their mother who was trying to control their digging into bags of what appeared to be Halloween costumes. Clearly they had found what they wanted as they both seemed quite joyous.

A few more turns on the sidewalk and the stores were behind me along with the hustle and bustle of the crowds. I felt a breeze on my legs and noticed that leaves were piling up in every nook and cranny of the buildings. Another job for the maintenance men I supposed. There I was! I stood quietly like an idiot looking at his car, the silver Mustang he was so proud of owning. Now what to do? I would go up and knock on his door just to make sure he was all right, he may have come down with the flu, or something worse. I glanced at the elevator, no, I needed the exercise. Reaching the top of the steps, I walked to his door and rang the bell. I heard no movement and rang the bell one more time. Nothing. Why hadn't I brought the key along with me? Worried now, I turned to leave when a gentleman came out of the apartment next door. "Good morning," he smiled, then walked to the elevator.

"Sir, have you seen the man who lives in this apartment lately? He's my boyfriend but I haven't heard from him for a couple of days. His car is still outside."

"Ummm, let me think. I saw Jason early last week, we rode up in the elevator together. Can't say I've seen him since that I recall."

Rubbing her forehead, Beth walked over the the elevator. "I'll ride down too. I'm a little worried, think I'll go home, get the key and come back."

"Have you checked his work? I know there were a couple of times he had to go in because of something he called an outage."

"I hadn't thought of that, yes, maybe that's it."

Shivering now, I turned to go home. I realized the next bus would be coming along within minutes, so I hurried along not wanting to miss it. The bus came to a stop, I entered, threw my coins into the vat, and picked an empty seat. The last thing I wanted right now was to sit beside some chatty person. A woman got on the bus at the next stop and I watched her move slowly down the aisle. She was poorly dressed, ill kept, and looked over tired. A mother without a mate, trying to raise children on her own was what I imagined her lot in life was. A group of young boys got on the bus and walked to the back giving me a sidelong glance as they passed. I prayed they wouldn't get off at the next stop which was my destination. Lucky for me they stayed and the bus rolled on, leaving me behind. I watched it disappear down the street and then, with heavy tread, I moved on.

My apartment was only a few blocks away. I entered the apartment and glanced around spot checking that things were as I had left them. It was comfortable but very small. The third story view overlooked the river and the harbor below. The first time I brought Jason up here, I wondered what he would think, but he peeked here and there, smiled and said it was well built and had a great view. His apartment was much larger but we spent more time here. He was a good cook, much better than I, and was at home cooking in my kitchen. Sometimes after supper we would go out for a walk, then come back and watch a movie, play scrabble, or make love; in no particular order.

Soon it would be Thanksgiving. My family lived in Wisconsin and his in Henderson, Nevada. This year I was debating asking Jason to come with me for Thanksgiving. After all we had been together two years now and neither of us had met the others families. I hesitated asking, wondering what Jason would think of my family. I had no doubt that they would welcome him with open arms but how would he adapt to them?

I plopped down in the easy chair and watched the clouds roll across the sky as darkness descended. I picked up my phone and my fingers touched the keys thinking I would call Jason after all. Then, hesitating, I put the phone down and stared at it. Why was it so hard to call him? I love him and was sure he loved me even though the words had not been spoken. Clingy, that's what it was; why I wouldn't call. I didn't want Jason to think I was one of those clingy women who has to know what their man is doing every second of the day and night.

I picked up the phone again and dialed my Mom and Dad's number.

“Hello!”

“Hi Mom, it's me, Beth.”

“Beth, how nice to hear from you. Is everything OK dear?”

“Everything is fine Mom, I just wanted to see if it would be OK to bring Jason home for Thanksgiving.”

“Of course it's OK, we've all been dying to meet him. Dad says he doesn't think there is a Jason. Well you know Dad, he's always joking.”

“Sounds like Dad, is everyone else coming home?”

“I'm not sure yet but don't worry dear, there is always plenty of room. Will you drive or fly?”

“I think we'll drive Mom, Jason says he doesn't get enough time to drive his Mustang. I'll call again to let you know when we'll be there.”

“I can't wait, just bring yourselves, and drive carefully.”

“Will do Mom, love you.”

“Love you too.”

I grabbed an apple and juice, flipped on the TV, and settled on the couch changing channels until I found a movie to watch. When the commercial came on I prepared for bed, then brought a pillow and blanket to the couch.

Ring, ring, ring. My body jumped out of sleep and I fumbled around for the phone. I must have dozed off. My heart leapt, who would be calling at this time of night?

“Hello.”

“Beth, it's me, Jason.”

I sat bolt upright. “Jason, my God, are you OK, I've been worried about you.”

“I'm fine Beth but I lost my phone and I'm in Nevada.”

“Nevada, I don't understand.”

“I know, I know. I'm so sorry I worried you. My Dad Beth, he had a heart attack. When David, my brother called, I hurried and threw things in a suitcase, called the airport, left a message for work, and dialed a taxi. I was going to call you in the taxi on my way to the airport and I couldn't find my phone. I'm on David's phone right now.”

“Is he all right, your Dad, is he all right Jason?”

“It's been touch and go but he's stabilized now. I'm going home with David to get some rest. Listen Beth, I was wondering if you could do me a favor?”

“Of course, what is is?”

“Can you go over to my apartment? Not tonight, wait until tomorrow; and take a taxi, not a bus. I need you to take your phone and dial my number over there to see if you can hear it ring.”

“Yes, I'll go right away in the morning before work.”

“Beth, I hate to ask but can you check my mail too?”

“Jason, I don't mind, really I want to.”

“David's number is 702-267-5455, do you have a pen to write it down.”

“I've got it Jason, if you need anything else, just call. Call even if you don't need anything.”

“I've got to go. Beth, I miss you and I love you!”

I managed to squeak a reply. “I love you too. Please tell everyone I'm thinking of them.”

“I will, see you soon.”

I felt like all the tension of the last few days had oozed out of my body. He was OK and he said he loved me! I was ashamed that I had mistrusted our relationship, not believing in Jason, and expecting the worst. I headed to bed knowing I would finally get a good nights sleep.

In the morning I called a taxi and in Jason's apartment I went room to room after dialing his number but could hear no answering ring. Disappointed, I walked over to the window where I noticed more geese flying south. I sat down on the chair and dialed the number Jason had given me.

“Hello,” a deep voice answered.

“Hi, this is Beth, Jason's friend.”

“Beth, this is David. I'm sorry, Jason is in the shower right now.”

“Could you tell him that I couldn't find his phone, I looked everywhere. Is your Dad still doing OK?”

“Yes, I think so, we're heading over there soon. I'll tell Jason you called.”

“Thank you, give my regards to the family.”

“I will Beth. I'm sure Jason will give you a ring later.”

“OK, I'll let you go then, bye.”

It was two more days before Jason came home. He had called to say he was digging through his suitcase looking for a pair of socks when there it was, his phone. I laughed, telling him it was only because he was in such a hurry that day. He didn't want me to pick him up at the airport so I waited at home and when the door opened I flew into his arms. We spent the night making love with renewed passion and a new found closeness that was driven by the recent absence from each other.

I asked Jason to come home with me for Thanksgiving and he agreed, in turn wanting me to come with him for Christmas.

Days flew by and soon Thanksgiving approached. The car was packed, I had told Jason to only take his casual clothes as we wouldn't be going anywhere that required dressing up. Jason couldn't suppress his grin at getting to drive his Mustang. I couldn't wait for him to see how beautiful Wisconsin was. I thought it was outstanding every season but it was enhanced in Autumn. It didn't take long to cross the Illinois border and soon we approached Madison. I pointed out the capital visible in the distance and explained to Jason that Madison was a university town with an impressive campus. We headed Northwest, passing farm after farm along the way. We passed the exit to Roxbury and I pointed ahead to the bluff where The Blackhawk War had taken place.

The view approaching Sauk City, which lies along the Wisconsin River, is one of the most gorgeous I have ever seen. In the distance were the Baraboo Bluffs, once mountains that had been created when the glaciers went through. Their east west line of blue extended as far as the eye could see.

Jason asked about the fenced in facility as we approached the bluffs and I explained to him that it was the Baraboo Ammunition Plant that had been built during the war. It was closed shortly after the Vietnam War and then dismantled and parceled out. I hated what the plant had done to the beauty of the landscape. There was so much pollution in the ground that the surrounding community could not safely drink the water. It really was a shameful thing perpetrated on this small community.

“We had a plant in Henderson something like that,” Jason said. “It was built in 1940 during WWII and they produced magnesium. It's closed now. Then in 1988 the Pacific Rocket Fuel Factory caught fire in Henderson causing a massive explosion with six explosions afterward. The explosions caused earthquakes; two people were killed and there were many injuries. They still talk about it today.”

“That's terrible.” I replied. “All in the name of progress.”

We drove over the bluff and approached Baraboo, a city known as “Circus City.” I told Jason we would come back later and I would show him the circus grounds, theater, and homes that had been built by the Ringling Brothers who had chosen Baraboo as their winter quarters.

Even though the brilliant colors of fall were fading, it was still clear that the landscape with it's rows of corn and other grains waiting to be harvested, the groves of trees, and the sparkling glisten of a nearby lake or river made Wisconsin a picture of nature.

We drove through the tiny village of North Freedom to the outskirts of town and there, nestled in an alcove with the bluff rising behind it was the home I had grown up in. The front porch, that wrapped around the front of the house was still inviting as ever with the swing gently rocking as a burst of cool air rushed across the yard.

“Well here we are,” I said.

“Oh Beth, I see why you love it so, it's just like a Norman Rockwell painting.”

I jumped out of the car and walked over to Jason's side. I could see he was a little nervous but he smiled a crooked grin at me and got out.

“No need to lock it here,” I said.

He grabbed my hand. His was hot and sweaty and I squeezed it to give him reassurance.”

We walked up to the door, hand in hand. I opened it and yelled, “Anybody home?”

Mom came from the kitchen, wooden spoon in hand. “You're here, we thought you might be here shortly after noon. Dad is in the back, he wanted to have a BBQ to celebrate your arrival.”

I laughed, “Dad will make any excuse to BBQ. This is Jason, Mom.”

Mom handed the wooden spoon to me. With arms raised, she walked over and gave Jason a big hug.
“Welcome, Jason, we are so excited that you could come, we've all been waiting to meet you.”

“Thank you,” Jason hugged her back. “I'm happy to be here.”

“Well, let's go in back and meet everyone. Tom and Sarah are here from Ohio, the rest will show up sometime tomorrow.”

Beth's Dad was at the BBQ, smoke rolling out the sides; a spray bottle of water sitting on the tray waiting to put out a fire that might erupt. Beer cans cluttered the other side, these used to flavor the meat and keep the cook's thirst quenched. His white apron was stained with BBQ sauce and charcoal. He smiled, “This must be Jason. Glad to finally meet you, son.”

Jason reciprocated, “Same here, sir, thank you for inviting me.”

A hearty laugh erupted from Beth's Dad, Robert. “No need to call me sir and you never need an invite to come here.”

Beth introduced Jason to her brother Tom. “Tom, this is Jason. Where is Sarah?”

“Hi Jason, glad to meet you. Sarah ran in to Baraboo for a few groceries Mom wanted. She should be back any minute now. Have a seat, I'm sure you're worn out from all that driving.”

Jason sat down on a lawn chair, “Actually I enjoyed the drive, I don't get much opportunity to drive in the city. The scenery here in Wisconsin is breathtaking.”

“Yes, it is, we live in Ohio and it's pretty much the same. I love all the seasons, especially fall.”

Robert yelled from his stand at the BBQ. “Beth, get Jason a beer. In fact, we'll all have a beer, right guys?” His head nodded in the direction of Tom and Jason.

Beth, satisfied that the conversation seemed to be flowing well between the men, left and went in the kitchen to see if she could help.

“Anything I can help with Mom?”

“You can cut up a few tomatoes for the hamburgers if you like. I'm afraid this is about the last of the tomatoes. I've canned about 40 quarts of them for winter. Jason seems like a really nice man, Beth.”

“Thanks Mom, I think so.”

The holiday went well. Jason seemed completely at home, charming everyone, even the children who were seen flitting between inside and outside. In the evenings everyone would sit around on the porch watching the children catch fireflies in little jars. There was non-stop cooking and fragrant smells coming from the kitchen. Jason scored points with his culinary skills. Mom even showed him how to make pumpkin pie, a staple for any Thanksgiving meal. Beth's sisters Judy and Lisa pulled her aside to comment on Jason's good looks. Lisa, divorced now, lived just a few miles away in Rock Springs with her two children.

It was time for the annual tractor ride and wiener roast. Bundled up in sweaters they grabbed blankets and went out to wait for the chug, chug, chug, of the tractor. It wasn't long before the green nose of the John Deere poked out of the shed and down the road it came with a trailer hitched behind. The bottom of the trailer was strewn with straw. The children were first to jump on and find a place to sit. Next the adults hopped on, each finding a straw bale to share. It only took a few minutes to get down to the pond. Startled from their peaceful habitat there were little scurries of animals who had been disturbed by the crowd. The ducks floating on the pond were oblivious to any of the commotion. For them, life went on as usual. Mom was assisted down and her basket hauled over to the fire pit. Children were instructed to find small sticks and dry grass to get the fire going. Blankets were laid on the ground and everyone took a seat. Once the fire was going, the men took out their pocket knives and carved long sticks into pencil sharp points. Containers of food were opened; potato salad, pickles, onions, catsup, mustard. Hot dogs were stabbed with the sticks and everyone sat there turning them round and round so they wouldn't burn. Many of them did burn but were plopped into a bun and eaten anyway. The big event was saved for last; the roasting of marshmallows for s'mores.

Children were summoned to sit in a circle for a ghost story. There were fake screams all around but they finally quieted down. As Dad was telling his tale I poked Jason in the arm and pointed toward the woods. A deer, with a full set of antlers, was standing in a grove of trees, still visible in the dimming light. We watched him stand there just a minute. Then, with a shake of his head and a snort, he turned and was gone.

That evening, Jason whispered, “I want to marry you Beth, will you marry me?”

Surprised, I whispered back, “I thought you would never ask.”

The Annual Harvest Ball at the neighbor's was held every year. A local band played country music and food was served. It was always highly anticipated and well attended.

Next day there was nothing to do but say our farewells, pack up and go home. “I'll miss it here,” Jason said. “I've really had a great time, your family is amazing.”

On the drive back Jason suggested, “I think we should move in together.”

We decided to move into Jason's bigger apartment which had an extra half bath. It was also closer to both of our jobs.

I picked out a ring the next weekend and we called to tell Jason's family that we were engaged. They wanted to make sure that we would be there for Christmas and Jason assured them that we would.

Finally as Autumn was coming to an end, I was all moved into Jason's apartment. We debated when and where we should get married. We knew with Jason's Dad still on the mend, he wouldn't be able to travel. My brother and brother in law were tied down with farms and couldn't be gone overnight. What to do? I suggested that we marry in Henderson. I was sure that Mom and Dad would make the trip out there. We would videotape the wedding for the rest of the family to watch later.

Christmas season upon us, we were finally settled in the plane headed to Nevada. Jason made small talk to ease my nervousness.

“The mountains in Henderson are called the McCullough Range. They are black and were formed from volcanic rocks millions of years ago.”

“Do you ever go up there? To the mountains?”

“I used to. Henderson has eighty miles of trails.”

The droning of the plane made both of us sleepy and we closed our eyes until the announcement came that we would be landing soon.

David met us at the airport. He was tall and good looking but had a heavier build than Jason. His smile was welcoming and he gave me a big hug.

“So glad you're here, Beth. Everyone is looking forward to meeting you.”

“Thank you, it's my first time in Nevada.”

“As long as you can stand the heat, I'm sure you will like it.”

On the drive from the airport to Jason's home I couldn't help but compare the vast, stark landscape to the one in Wisconsin. Nevada had a beauty of its own with the mountain range backdrop and desert vegetation but I wasn't sure I would like to live here.

Driving through town Jason pointed out a few things to me, clearly proud to show me his town. The two brothers filled me in on some of the highlights such as the Thursday Farmer's Market, Purple Monkey Jewelry and Gifts, Gold Mine Tavern, Oscar's Steakhouse, and more. Jason told me that sometimes for fun they would all go to the Emerald Island Casino where the machines took only pennies. “Can't win much but can't lose much either,” he laughed.

We entered a very exclusive residential area and the landscape started to look more like home with green lawns, surrounded by shrubs and trees. The trees were not stocky and large like back home, you could tell they were planted when the homes were built. We entered a palm lined driveway that must have been a few blocks long leading up to circular driveway in front of a very impressive home. The home was a Spanish design with a terra cotta roof. The pictures hadn't done it justice, it was outstanding!

As we walked up the steps, the heavy carved door opened and there stood a slim woman, neatly dressed in shorts with a tucked in blouse. She appeared to be in her early fifties, with dark hair, slightly streaked with wisps of grey. She was smiling and I noticed she had the same dimples that Jason did, it must be his Mother.

“Beth,” she said; arms reaching out for a hug. “I'm so glad to finally meet you! Come in, come in.”

She grabbed Jason's hand, he bent to give her a kiss on the forehead; then she led us into the foyer. The home was very bright and spacious with large pots of plants in every nook and cranny. A grand staircase led up to a second story that circled the room with a balcony. I could see that there were large floor to ceiling windows all around.

“Where's Dad?” Jason asked.

“Out on the patio resting. Why don't you go out and introduce Beth.”

Jason's father, a very distinguished looking man, was sitting near the pool enclosed in a cabana that protected him from the direct sunlight. The patio was beautiful, it reminded me of an arboretum with plants and flowers everywhere. The pool was large and inviting.

Arthur extended his hand to me. “Hello Beth, have a seat, let's get to know each other.”

I smiled, “How are you feeling, you look good. I hear you gave everyone a little scare.”

“I guess so. I feel much better but the doc says I have to take it easy. How do you like Nevada?”

“It's very different from Wisconsin but I”m glad to be here, I wanted to see where Jason was from. Your home is beautiful.”

“Ive been to Wisconsin a few times. You're right, it is very different. If you're not born here it takes some getting used to.”

Jason's Mom joined us on the patio. “I suppose you are tired from all the traveling. I've set you up in one of the guest cottages so you can have some measure of privacy. It will get loud and noisy once everyone arrives. If you like, Beth, I'll show you around. Jason and David can get the suitcases.”

“I'd like that very much.”

I got a tour of the home and then Martha, Jason's Mom, took me to the guest cottage. “This is where the boys stayed when they turned eighteen,” she laughed. “It gave them the privacy they wanted but also the benefits of Mom's cooking and laundry.”

“I have the feeling that you didn't mind too much. This cottage is lovely.”

“We've been very fortunate. My husband has worked hard and the area's growth has kept him busy. Both of us came from very humble beginnings. I'm afraid Arthur's contractor days are at an end and the torch will have to be passed on; but we will talk about that after the Christmas Holiday. Now, I'm going to let you unpack and relax. Help yourself to anything you like, and if you need something I'll be somewhere near.”

I felt quite at home here with Jason's family. They were moved and honored that we had decided to have our wedding in Henderson, realizing that I had to exclude most of my family for the sake of Jason's Dad. They suggested we have the wedding at the house but understood if we decided to have it elsewhere, in which case they would do anything they could to help. They insisted that my parents take one of the guest cottages when they came.

Christmas came and went with all the usual frivolity, the only difference being lack of snow. We would only be there one more day and I was looking forward to going home but I knew I'd be sad to leave as well. Then came the bombshell! Arthur and Martha announced that they would like the family to gather in the dining room for a discussion. Arthur had made the heart wrenching decision that it was time to give over the reins of the business as his health would not allow him to work as he had in the past. David had already been told about the plans.He was experienced in the construction business and was the eldest son. He was asked and had agreed to run the business. The other two brothers, Jason and Jeff were offered key positions as foremen. The company accountant had indicated that she would like to retire but would gladly stay long enough to train a new employee. I had a degree in accounting and was told that if Jason wanted to move back and take on the role of a foreman, they would be happy to hire me as the company's new accountant.

Jason and I, along with his brother Jeff, and wife Linda, needed time to think before we made a decision. Jeff and Linda already lived near Henderson so they would not have to relocate. Jason worried that he didn't have the experience needed to be a foreman.

“You're trainable and you already have the carpenter skills don't you?” Arthur commented.

“Yes, but it's a long way from home for Beth. We're going to need some time to sort it all out.”

“We understand completely, we didn't expect an answer tonight.”

We were packed and ready to go. With lots of hugs and kisses we were in the car on the way back to the airport. The ride was quiet, each of us lost in thought.

David gave me a hug, and then hugged Jason and patted him on the back. “Think about it kid,” he said. I'd love to have you back here again, but I understand if you decide not to.”

“Well, David, if we decide not to, everyone will have to come to Wisconsin for a visit.”

“Will do. See you kid. Bye Beth”

Back home again Jason and I had a lot to talk about but finally made the tough decision to take a chance and move to Nevada. We would plan to be there by April 1st which would give us time to plan a wedding for June 15th. We would move to storage only what was necessary, meanwhile live in one of the guest cottages until we could find a place of our own.

April came too soon and we took one more walk down to the park where we had met. Standing at the pond we had visited during each of the seasons of the year we both knew that we would miss this most of all.

Jason put his arm around me and said, “I promise you Beth, we will return every Autumn.

The years flew by, Jason and I have three beautiful children who are now in their early twenties. The children are true blue Nevadians, totally adapted to the climate, and close with their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents in Nevada. Each year, without exception, we made the trip to Wisconsin in Autumn and stood at the pond near my parent's home in reminiscence of our days at the city park so long ago.

We lost Jason way too soon. Cancer viciously took him early this year. His last words to me were, “I love you Beth. Go home! I know you miss Wisconsin. The children will be fine and will visit. Go to the pond every Autumn, I will be there; it might be a falling leaf, the chirp of a frog, honking of a goose, or a soft breeze touching your skin, but I promise you, I'll return each Autumn.

With heavy heart, I packed up and went home to Wisconsin. Every Autumn I visit that pond. I do always feel that he is there with me in spirit, watching the geese fly overhead, the ducks floating on the water, and the leaves in all their vibrant colors swirling around my feet. Most of all, the soft breeze touching my skin reminds me that we will always be together.


5,997Words
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