Julia had spent the last twenty years existing. Not experiencing all that life offered. Not truly living.
Out of the blue he’d made contact. They took it slowly, old school. Phone calls, lunches and dinners, movie outings, picnics on the beach. After three months at this glacier pace, they went away to the Dandenongs for a romantic, cosy weekend in July. They lit a fire in the cabin, read books and listened to music. Later that night, after dinner in an Italian restaurant, he made his move.
The twenty years melted at his first touch. It was as if they’d never parted. He remembered her body, her responses. Julia felt tears trickle down her cheeks.
‘Are you alright?’ he whispered, wiping her eyes with the bedsheet.
‘I’m happy,’ she answered. But the waste of twenty years niggled deep.
The next morning they made breakfast, wearing only the plush robes provided in the cabin. The sun shone through the kitchen window, clear blue skies deceiving in their brightness. Julia went to the porch to bring in more firewood; she lit another fire while the bacon spat on the stove. She heard the pop of the toaster.
Now, in her own home, she remembers that weekend, over six months ago. It was the beginning of her life, in a way; she unpressed the pause button and let herself feel, love again.
He stands in front of her, holding a ring. She’s too old to be a bride. But she wants it. All of it. With him. He’s lit her from within, her iridescence illuminates the dim, tunnel-like hallway in her home. His face is open, readable. He won’t hurt her this time. And she finds the word tumbles out of her mouth, independent of her brain.