Persistent Friends:The Final Episode: To have and to hold

Jason P Stadtlander
Published on: April 2013
Lying on the blanket in front of his house, the young boy watched as birds flew overhead. He closed his eyes and could hear a lawn mower in the distance and a cicada buzzing in a nearby tree. The breeze blew gently and the smell of fresh cut grass was strong in the air.

Suddenly the warmth of the sun disappeared and Jack opened his eyes to see Elaine standing over him, "You're blocking the sun."

"Am I now?" she asked smartly.

He smiled and patted the blanket, guiding her to lay down beside him. She did and wrapped one of her arms under her head as a support, looking at the clouds.

"They are beautiful aren't they?" she asked.

Jack, having closed his eyes again, opened them and look up at the fluffy marshmallow clouds that hung in the sky. "Yes."

"Summer is the best." The girl said.

"Yes, it is. It's even better when you have someone to spend it with he said smiling."

Elaine's hand reached over and grabbed his hand. He didn't flinch or pull it away, he just let her hold his hand and the two relaxed, looking at the clouds and talked about going swimming the next day.


Seventy-two years later, a now seventy nine year old man sat in a Paris café, nearly four thousand miles from where he had played as a boy and he looked down at the black metal table and at the hand that he held. It was covered in liver spots and the skin was soft and weathered. He looked up at his wife of fifty five years and she smiled at him, just as she had on that school bus so long ago when she had made the choice to sit down beside him. Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out a small blue box and handed it to her. She looked at him and smiled, then looked at the puffy clouds that floated above them and then glanced over at the Eiffel Tower which was barely visible from their vantage point. The moment was surreal. The boy she had fallen in love with so long ago, fathered her four children and loved her through the hard times and the good times still held her hand. She took the blue box and slowly opened it.

Wrapped in velvet lay the golden bracelet that she had as a child, the small golden angel still hung from it and next to the angel hung two more charms, two hands holding each other and a small golden compass.

"Through my life, you have always helped me, guided me and loved me." Jack said.

He held the small charm of hands in his fingertips. "Because you have held my hand, and my heart."

Then he held the small compass, "Because you have been my compass, showing me the true direction that I must follow."

Elaine had tears in her eyes and she once again held his hands. "I love you my husband. My hero."

"I love you, my bride, my wife and my best friend. Happy anniversary darling." Jack replied.
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