by Mary Dexter Rownd
She huddled on the hillside, clasping her knees tightly, looking down over the beach. Despair filled her thoughts.
She looked up as a bird flew overhead, graceful in the waning light. It reminded her of the last time she was here with Jim before he left for Iraq, and the promises they made as they held each other. A bird had soared above in the dusk. It seemed like an omen to them, promising a future life together.
He was gone. A telegram stating that he was killed in a suicide bombing came weeks later. Her life seemed over. The ache in her chest was almost too much to bear.
She remembered the many times she and Jim had planned their lives. The wedding, the hunt for their home, and the children they wanted. Most of that planning had taken place right here, while they lazily watched the water, the beach, and the bird overhead. They always felt the bird was the same one - - their talisman.
She sat there watching the bird floating overhead, her thoughts slowing. She thought about the love she and Jim shared, the oneness in spirit when they were together. She felt the bird was Jim, returned to remind her their love was forever. The tears flowed, yet there was a feeling of peace.
Her face lifted and she whispered goodnight. In the distance came an answering bird call as nighttime darkened the sky.
(Mary Dexter Rownd, born in Kansas,married with three grown children, currently resides with husband Kenneth, at La Crosse, Wisconsin.)