by Daniel Powell
We had come to our end, and when the realization hit me in a place of such striking beauty, it was all I could do to stifle a laugh.
Three years. What an arbitrary figure, right? To some, it’s a phase. To others, an eternity. To me and Maryanne, it was just about the horizon of what we’d come to call our lives.
And the weird thing was, each of us saw it. Early.
“You’ll come with me, Alex. You think you have a choice in this matter, but you’re wrong.”
What could I say to that? She was the one with the high-powered job. The connections throughout the state of Oregon. Her grandfather had governed the state, for Christ’s sake.
“But I’m going,” I said. My voice was calm. I flashed the eyes she had always claimed to adore. “People need us there.”
“People need you here. Have you even looked around?”
I bit my lip, because it was hard to see her. To really see her. When we were in college, we’d talked about traveling. The Peace Corps. The Red Cross. We’d gone through the list.
“Mary, it’s almost the entire southeast. Think about the fallout. Americans need our help. They need human contact and they need it now. Florida. Georgia. Alabama. They’re hurting. We have to go…”
She ducked her head, and when she met my eyes, a single shimmering tear tracked down her left cheek.
“Please?” I said.
She nodded, and we packed our bags.