A cold, misty gust from the sea rattled the half-shut windows and loose floorboards on the porch. Pine trees swayed gently and dried twigs cracked like someone stocking a fire. Swirls of the mist draped the old white house atop the cliff along the old expressway. Loose shutters and clapboards creaked and moaned. The worn out letters on the red wooden plaque read: The Little Lodge.
He stood on the veranda and looked out to sea, waiting for her to come. Within minutes, a slender, dark-haired woman drove a red jeep in through the peeling white fence and tucked it between thick overgrown hedges. A bouquet of wild flowers in one hand and a red hand bag in the other, she strode up to the house. He sucked in a deep breath and waited. Something was different about her; the way she walked, her sway. He studied the expression on her face, his heart pounding.
The aroma of her fruity perfume blended with the mist sailed into his lungs, reviving, energizing, and filling him with old hidden longings. To run his hands through her hair and hold her soft warm body in his arms.
Her brown eyes flashed with life as she stepped up the porch, paused at the entrance and walked past him into the house, just as she had done every day for the past seven years. She ran slim fingers over the paint-peeled plaque, stroking it lovingly.
She gently placed the flowers on the floor and knelt beside them.
He crouched beside her and listened to her mutterings while she brushed a single tear from her cheek. He reached out to touch her, to comfort her, but his hands went through. Her eyes, though bloodshot from crying, didn’t reflect the same sad demeanor they had years before.
She said: “We had plans. Plans to turn this place into a haven for weary travellers. Plans to raise our children in the same peace and solitude. You didn’t stay long enough…,” she sighed, “Tunde, I will always love you. I have found Jesus now and I can let go of you. Rest in peace, my dear.”
She held a white plaque against the red one and hammered it into place. It read:
Founder: The Little Lodge
Tunde sighed. He felt the tug of heaven and knew he would never see his wife again.