Brett Baker was the kind of man people referred to as the solid, dependable type. He had a life-long, well-paid position with the gas company, a modest,but comfortable home, a wife of 36 years and four grown children who were ably making their own way in the world. Except for the first few years after his father left him and his siblings to fend for themselves and their distraught mother, Brett had not known misfortune or adversity.
As was his habit on Sunday afternoons, Brett took long walks with the family dog, a hundred-pound Mastiff/Chesapeake mix he named Sasha. One of his favorite destinations was Mountain View Cemetery. Set atop the highest hill in the county, the panoramic view of the valley below and the mountains to the east was spectacular. Safely situated away from the world, amid those at eternal rest, Brett would take a few minutes to sit on a bench to take in the view and revel in his privacy. It was one of a very few things in life Brett allowed himself to selfishly enjoy. Sasha was always glad of the walk’s respite and flopped down beside him to catch a quick nap.
One sunny Sunday in spring, when all the Cherry trees lining the road into the cemetery were in full pink bloom, Brett was jolted out of his quiet reverie when he heard a woman calling his name. He had never encountered another soul he knew on his visits, so hearing someone call out his name was startling. Shielding his eyes against the bright sky, Brett turned around and tried to make out who the woman was coming toward him.
“Brett Baker?” The woman called again.
As she came clearer into view, Brett instantly knew who she was. Though the decades had taken her youthful beauty and slender figure, her bright blue eyes, infectious smile and long, sweeping bangs covering her high forehead gave her away. There was no mistaking that the woman now reaching out her arms for a hug was the first love of Brett’s life.
“Rebecca!” Brett was giddy with a happiness he’d not felt in many, many years.
“I thought that was you! Oh, my. How long has it been?”
Brett shook his head. “I really couldn’t say. Years, of course. You look great.”
Rebecca laughed as she ran her fingers through her hair. “I most certainly do not, but you are sweet to say it. You, on the other hand, haven’t changed a bit.”
The old friends chatted for some time, catching up on where they had been in life, how it was possible that they had not run into one another in all these years, and what they were up to now.
“What brings you to Mountain View?” Brett asked. Rebecca told him for the past year she volunteered time with the cemetery grounds crew.
Brett nodded with a slight frown “Most people would rather work in a park, or a community pea-patch.”
Rebecca laughed again. “But it’s OK for you to take your walks here?” She smiled that wonderful smile Brett so fondly remembered. Every hair on his arms and legs stood on end.
Of course, Brett’s wife was surprised when he told her, months later, that he and Rebecca had been having an affair. He followed his confession with the announcement he was filing for divorce.
“Just take that damn dog with you when you go!” his wife yelled.
Brett parked in Rebecca’s driveway; a brazen gesture after months of hiding his car blocks away. He opened the hatchback to let Sasha out. Rebecca stepped out onto her front porch and called to Sasha. Rebecca gave the her a scratch around the ears as she let her into the house. Brett stood expectantly on the porch steps.
“You’re early,” she said.
“There was no more reason to wait any longer,” Brett replied, and then Brett Baker smiled the biggest smile he ever had in his entire life.
Inspired by this week’s preamble story, and incorporating prompts from this week and last week, either as written or indirectly referred to. Tough set of prompts to make work together!