I’d finally made it back after–can you believe it?–50 years. The kids wondered why I lived in relative poverty for as long as I did, considering I made a decent income from royalties on my books. They understood when, last Thanksgiving, I announced I was closing escrow on this house. My dream house. They saw the photo and understood, having heard me tell the stories (after their father passed on of course; anything else would have been disrespectful) of Vahn, the exchange student who’d lived with us for three years when I was in high school. I’d loved him, he’d loved me, but youth and the decorum of the times then meant that we didn’t consummate anything except a few stolen kisses as we walked along the shore at sunset under the watchful eye of my parents. We lost touch about two years after he went home; I would guess that he married, had a family, did all the things a man like him should have done with his life. I’d like to think that he spent at least a little of it pining for me as I have pined for him. What the kids don’t know is that I only have a short time left. I needed to spend the last of it here, walking along the shore at sunset, dreaming of stolen kisses.
Written for The Mag.