They lay together on the small patch of sand by the pond. Lying in his arms always gave her the feeling of being safe and secure. The world was spinning correctly and everything was where it was supposed to be. He calmly stroked her grey hair as it shimmered like sparkles in the glow of the setting sun. She thought to herself of the number of times they had spent in each other’s arms by this pond. Of course the time would have to be measured in decades for they were both well past sixty years of age. They had shared all of life’s pleasures and disappointments right here beside this pond and the setting sun. Their eyes met in a loving gaze as she turned her head and said “It’s almost time”. He knew exactly what she meant and his heart climbed into his throat. As if reading his mind, she knew he was struggling to find words of comfort. As she had so many times before, she reached up, placed a finger to his lips, and whispered, “I know”. As the words floated away on the evening air she closed her eyes.
He instinctively knew she was gone because he suddenly felt as if he was only half there. Thoughts of calling for an ambulance crossed his mind and were quickly dismissed because he remembered his promise. She had known this time was coming since the day the doctor told her there wasn’t anything medicine could do for her. It was then she made him promise that when the time came she wanted to be near their place and not in some hospital. Well, it seems she got her wish since she left this world from her favorite place and now he was all alone. Calls would have to be made eventually because they couldn’t just lie here all night. He decided those calls could wait as he held her tightly and continued to stroke her hair. He waited because it was ‘almost time’. Through the tears in his eyes he stared at the brilliant flash of light as the setting sun reflected on the glass-like surface of the pond. The ‘time’ had came again as it had thousands of times before.
His mind began to wander to the first time he saw this magical pond that seemed to line up with heaven. He reckoned he would have been about 15 years old. His family had just moved to this small town and bought the old farm place. As the movers continued to unload the moving van, he took the opportunity to explore his new world. When he came over the little rise behind the house, the pond exploded into view. It was encircled with cattails so high he could just barely see the water. Off to one side there was an opening in the cattails and a path seemed to meander down to the water. In a fast trot he ran through the opening and burst upon the bank just in time to see a wondrous sight. Right before him stood the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Apparently she had been swimming since her hair was wet and she was lying on some towels. As their eyes met, he tried to think of some words, any words, to say to this gorgeous creature. He hoped they would sound cool so she would be impressed, but the only thing that came out was a weak, “Hey”. He lowered his head in shame that he couldn’t even say something intelligent. Try as he might, he just couldn’t find any other words to say. With his mouth open and words about to be blurted out, she calmly said, “It’s almost time”. Taken aback by her calmness it took him a while for the words sink in. What time was she talking about? Before he could ask for an explanation she patted the towels next to her in a sign for him to sit. She said, “You have to be sitting to see it”. Like a typical 16 year old trying to act cool, he sauntered toward her only to trip on a root and nearly landed in her lap. She giggled and told him to hurry and sit down. He quickly did as she ordered because apparently something was about to happen, although he still had no idea what she meant. He was staring at her as his mind thought of the wild possibilities of this chance encounter. That was the first of many times that she seemed to be able to read his mind. She smiled and said, “Not today” and he was embarrassed because he sensed she knew what he had been thinking. While attempting to apologize for his thoughts, she reached a finger out and placed it to his lips and said “Shhhh, it’s almost time”. Although he didn’t want to turn away from her, a sudden flash of light caught his eye and it startled him for a minute. The reflection of the setting sun in the pond was dazzling and he was mesmerized by the special effect. After a few spell-bound minutes he realized she was staring at him instead of the reflection. She later informed him it was at that exact point in time that she knew they were meant to be together for a long time. As he would find out in the years to come, she was right.
They were inseparable after that first meeting. Whenever people would see one of them, they knew the other couldn’t be far away. It was truly as if they were one person. Of course marriage came as soon as they were of age and children soon followed. After his parents passed away, they moved into the old farm house where they raised their three children. Sometimes the kids would accompany them to the pond and joke about going to the ‘almost time’ place. Life was good. Time went by quickly and the kids grew up and found lives of their own. They were alone again as if life had run full circle. Through it all, they were never far from the pond. It was as if they got strength from the pond and its reflection. Each evening that they would spend waiting on the reflection always included her remark, “It’s almost time”. It was as if she knew the precise minute of the brilliant flash.
The neighbors found them the next morning. Still in each other’s arms and facing the westward sky as if they were waiting for the next sunset. Their ‘almost time’ had become ‘forever time’.
Darrell Goza, December 13, 2005