Walking hand in hand along Limantour Beach, as the setting sun reflected off the clouds gathering in the eastern sky, we saw the intense eyes of the whale watching the whale watchers strolling along the sand. She was less than fifty yards from the shore. It took a few minutes for us to notice the inquisitive smaller eyes projecting over the water's surface only a few yards from the growing form of the mother whale.
The gleem in those two bright eyes made my mind wander to the last hour's drive. Up the grade past big-rock and the ravine where waterfalls recently played. Along the dam spillway, over the green bridge on the state highway, and finally into the park and the lonely road to the beach. A wave crashed against the rocks. Then, facing reality, I could see Mildred's clear eyes and a single tear on her right cheek. Why was I drawn to the water's edge on a day like this? Why?
I decided to tuck the question away in the farthermost regions of my mind. This weekend belonged to the two of us and I knew that my daydreaming had directed my focus away from Mildred. There would be plenty of time to ponder the question when we returned home on Sunday evening. Until that time, making Mildred the focal point of my attention for the remainder of the weekend would not be difficult to do.
I know that it is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and that love is blind, but there was no doubt in my mind that Mildred was even more beautiful at thirty three then she was when we married ten years ago. Back then, whenever she walked into a room, men just stopped whatever they were doing and stared; they still do. A daily regimen of running and aerobic exercise has kept her lithe and lean, while high cheekbones, small dimples, a drop dead smile and cascading auburn hair only add to the package.
She walked just ahead of me, her chestnut locks beating a tattoo against the fabric of her black fleece. The long, straight line of her back was stooped a little as she gazed down at the water just licking the soles of her boots. I enjoyed the smooth whiteness of her neck.
"Millie," the wind scattered my voice, "Millie, wait for me."
She turned her eyes upon me - deep green eyes flecked with gold that changed like the seasons with her moods. Today they seemed far away, clouded. I try not to think about the single tear on her porcelain cheek of earlier today. We had made a mutual, unspoken promise not to speak of it this weekend. Still, her sad eyes spoke volumes. But suddenly her wide mouth, as though of its own accord, spreads into a wide, brilliant smile.
"You're too slow," she teases, "hurry up." The sadness in her eyes dims for a moment as I jog up to her, catching her around the waist, pulling her closer.
"I heard that it snowed out here a week ago,"
she says, gazing up into my eyes, "but I didn't think it
got that cold out here. Did you?"