By Sue Wolfson
It had been
39 years since they last had seen each other, teary-eyed at the airport
in Fairbanks. He had been in Alaska there on his first assignment in the
air force; she as a secretary to earn the money for tuition for art school.
There was a boyfriend back home, so she had not been looking for romance...sometimes
things like that just happen.
Theirs was something spiritual....a walk by the river, the electric touch
when they held hands, the connection felt when they looked deeply into each
others eyes. Thoughts flew between them....there was definitely a connection
there. They danced together when there was no music playing except the music
they heard in their minds. Friends worried that they were losing their sanity
when, sitting across from each other in a booth in the corner luncheonette,
they would spontaneously start laughing, seemingly at nothing! But they
knew the joke! Telepathy is a wonderful thing!
But there was a sadness there, too. Each of them knew that at the end of
the year, the girl was to return to fulfill the contract she had made with
herself...to stay in Alaska for one year, and then to go to art school and
discover what the future held in store.
As that year went on the two became closer, and there was one magical kiss
as they walked in their usual path down by the river. He asked her if she
would marry him. They were so much alike....two starry-eyed young lovers....blank
slates upon which the world prepared to write their stories. But what of
that contract? She decided to stay with the agreement, and see what would
On the tarmac that day, sitting in the plane, she cried. She knew that that
moment was the end of the innocence...that the person that she was during
that year would fade into history. That memories would be all that would
But the memories of that boy with laughing eyes remained with her all those
years. Even after she was a married woman with four children, the vision
of his face haunted her. She often wondered what he was doing...had he married
a woman who was like the man she had chosen? How many children did he have?
Did his life parallel hers at all? And, oh, how sorry she was for breaking
She had a
good life, and a good marriage. Time passed away and, ultimately, so did
her husband. The woman was at loose ends for a while, trying to discover
who she was....her children were all grown and her husband was gone. Every
once in a while she would search for her lost soulmate on the internet,
but all those with the same name were never the one she was looking for.
One day after she had just about given up, there was a strange feeling that
this would be the try that worked. Calling up a search engine she had never
used, she put in the name she had entered unsuccessfully so many times before,
and the state where she knew his family lived. Three names with addresses
and telephone numbers appeared. She telephoned the first, but it wasnt
him. When she phoned the second name on the list, a female voice answered.
After the usual hellos, the older woman with the young girl still inside
asked, Was this fellow ever in Alaska in the Air Force in 1958?
The reply came. I think you want my father-in-law.
After a moment of hesitation, the caller asked, Can you tell me where
hes living? Is he married?
No, hes divorced and living in Palm City, Florida. The
number was willingly given.
It took her a few minutes to get up enough courage to make the next call.
A very surprised man picked up the telephone in Palm City. They talked for
a very long time. There were 39 years to catch up on.
After that they spoke on the internet frequently of old
times, of what was going on with them in the present, and of the people
they had become. Surprisingly, there were few real changes. They found
out that the values that they had at the ages of 18 and 19 had persisted
to the present, and the faults, virtues and basic personalities of both
remained the same. Although their lives had taken different paths, they
also strangely paralleled. They had each had four children and adopted
one. Both were involved in art, crafts and creative writing... and both
had designed their own dwellings.
They determined to meet and, when it was discovered that he was going
to be in Baltimore on business, plans were set. She would drive down
and meet him and spend a few days. Then the two of them would drive
back to her home in New Jersey, using the time travelling to get better
She arrived in the late afternoon, and found the room. After a nervous
moment, she knocked on the door and it opened. There stood someone that
she knew and didnt know at the same time. It was someone who had
aged 39 years, but aged well, and superimposed over the older face was
that of the youth with whom she had fallen in love so many years before.
Was that chemistry still there? It seemed to be, but there was a questioning
on the part of both parties as to whether the other would still feel
the same after all those years.
They went to dinner on the waterfront. They ordered exactly the same
foods. Both even had their meat medium rare.
The two walked back to the hotel. As they stood looking out of the window,
something drew them closer. He put his arm around her waist. She didnt
object, and moved closer to him. They looked deeply into each others
eyes, embraced, and kissed...a kiss that transcended time and became
a continuation of the one that happened so many years before, as if
those years had never happened.
POETRY & STORIES