It had become a habit, his grandkids had started sending him pictures of their artwork, little stories they wrote, and even their spoils of the garden, a snail, an occasional cacti flower or even a mud pie. Opening up his email was now a ritual. Eagerly looking forward to the familiar names. Times zones helped a lot, and it was a joy to wake up to the spoils of their days. Their smiles and words helped spread cheer through his day, while they slept. It was a cyclic festival of the bond that withstood years, time and space.
Today was no different. He had his steaming hot coffee next to the laptop and opened his email.
3 new emails!
Oooh, I get a bonus today. He grinned. His large toothed grin now with a black hole left by a tooth that he lost to a fall in the backyard. Horrid bleeding and ugly fall that was, but hey, now he was called the Bunny Gramps! Large teeth plus the gap in between to boot. So much more entertaining than the Bookster Gramp of the other side he mused!
The 3rd name was not familiar. It must be some lady selling me something, she can wait.
He opened his grandson’s mail, loved the little 100 word essay on “The pink pajamas that blew the nation apart” and chuckled as he read. The granddaughter’s was a picture of her with a toad. Yes, an actual live toad. Her hands were muddy and with her hair falling over her forehead, she had an absolute devil’s look in her eyes. Good Lord, he wondered! She was just like her mother!
Taking a sip of his coffee, he almost deleted the 3rd mail.
Hand hovering a name that rung a bell faintly, he opened it, and stared at the deep brown eyes that looked right into his. His jaw dropped and his pulse went just a bit faster. Gingerly, he placed his cup down and let out his breath. It was most definitely 20 years since he saw her, but there she was, unmistakably so, in all her vibrant sparkly eyes with wisps of hair falling along her shoulders. Brown frames that just about covered her eyes, barely hiding the crows feet. The broad smile spanning her now taut face, the curve of her smile exactly where he left it the last time he waved to her at the airport.
She was a vision.
He closed his eyes and saw her. Gray blouse with a red scarf, and her wavy hair in a swirl all around her. Tall and graceful, with a stride that masked her bad back, she smiled till the end. Then, she got upset, understandably. He was being stern, he knew it, he tried not to, but didn’t have a choice. Life was harsh to him and it spilled over on to her. A case of being entwined a way that only they could sense.
He scrolled below and read:
My Dearest Love,
It has been 16 years and 7 months since I last made contact with you, as we both agreed. I have been writing to you since then and they are all on the drive in the link below. Little bits of my life broken into days, your love and my happiness. The sorrows we shared, the giggles we volleyed in our minds like we did before. Morning walks, crosswords, dishes and trips not taken.
They will, am sure make you smile. Grin even. I had planned to hold your face, gray beard and all and kiss your forehead as I fade away, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am leaving this place early, the damn heart I tell you.
Thank you for loving me. The gift that kept giving through the 33 years we’ve known each other.
Love you, K
ps: This is a heads up for you to be writing that poem you promised me on the beach. This is your last chance sweety. You should get the date within the next few days. Whatever you do, please do not sob like a baby while you read it. I’ll be supremely embarrassed watching you from where I lie. You be good now. No rush to come meet me, am going nowhere from there.
He typed through a haze:
“I wanted to write her a poem. Delayed it for 16 years and now I write her one as a reply to what she read me from her life.”