She continued to walk away across the beach, becoming more and more indistinct as the shimmering heat haze dancing above the sand increasingly obscured her. Distant now, she slowly and resolutely walked away for ever. I’d stopped calling out to her, knowing that it was a futile hope. I had driven her away with my insecurity, my fears and my possessiveness. I had lost her, and part of myself. The world I had become so comfortable with was gone, replaced with a terrifying vacuum; a bleak and empty absence.

All of a sudden, morning light scattered across the ceiling to greet my opening eyes. I was happy to be awake and to realise that it had, after all, been merely a dream -THE dream, once again. Letting out a deep sigh I turned onto my side to find my wife’s eyes regarding me, noticing, as I always seem to, the tiny movements as she looked into my own eyes and softly smiled. She has wonderful, blue eyes; a deep ultramarine, like the waves crashing on a remembered beach…I lose myself in her eyes. My wife is beautiful in so many ways. I am so very fortunate to share a life and be loved by her.

As I watched her that morning, the dream that had haunted me for decades  washed over me once more, the sensations of distant, real painful moments still fresh in my mind. It makes a kind of sense; the dream that is a memory. It reminds me of the depth of my pain without her, yet wakening from it is like opening the window shutters onto a beautiful, real world where we are, after all, together. The woman I loved all those years ago is real, and here. Here are her eyes, her face and the tender, loving touch which once I thought that had gone. We are together. We are for ever.

Somehow in spite of the bewildering improbability, so long after I lost her, she found me.  It’s still hard to believe. 

As young adults, struggling to keep our heads above the surface of our emotional waters, we had passionately loved, and then, driven apart by my weakness, we had desolately parted from one another. I never stopped loving her; not for a moment.

Half a world away and half of my life later, she found me when I needed her most, when I was again suffering pain and loss - when I was staring into what seemed to be a lonely future. She found me, and I lost myself in my love for her all over again.

Is it better to have loved and failed than to have never known love at all? Yes, perhaps – but, I think, only if that very same love is somehow discovered again. For twenty two years I knew the aching emptiness of believing that my true love would never return. Now, every day I mentally pinch myself; this is, after all, the kind of good fortune that I never dreamed would visit me in my lifetime. It’s the stuff of fantasy - yet here it is.

We were apart for so very, very long, yet as our relationship continues to mature, we understand how that former loss, sadness and longing has enabled us to even better enjoy our shared life today; to value the time that we have given ourselves.

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Leo Simmons is an embryonic writer, still trying to find the most efficient neurological pathways. A former British Bobby, Leo lives with his family in BC, Canada, where apart from writing he pursues a number of interests, including hypnosis therapy.

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