Wednesday

Belize Survivor, part 43

Ron!" she called out, as she ran to him. "Ron, is that really you? Where have you been?"

"Alexis," he said in that dear familiar voice, as he opened his arms wide to her. She embraced him tightly, refusing to let go. “It's so good to see your beautiful face again. I have traveled much of the time we've been apart; I returned to Sri Lanka. Many of my relatives are very old now and I knew I'd never see them again. And you, my dear? Where have your adventures taken you in these last years?"

"I spent time in California, and I got married to a British South African. His name is Max. We've been back in Key West now for about two months or so. We're looking to open a little gift shop somewhere in Old Town."

"He doesn't happen to play conga drums, does he?" Ron asked. She told him yes, and asked how he knew. "I met a conga player from South Africa two nights ago at Mallory,” he continued. “He told me he was looking to rent a shop with his wife, but of course I didn't have any idea he was your old man.”

“Yeah, that’s him,” Alexis said brightly. “I didn’t go the other night. I injured my leg a while back and sometimes it still gives me grief.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Unusual person, your husband."

Her smile faded. "In what way?"

"Nothing certain. His eyes perhaps, or his aura, as if he were troubled by the past.” Ron seemed a bit subdued. “Are you happy with him?" Alexis took his hand, and together they stepped in to the shade.

"Some severe ups and downs. We spent some time apart recently, and only just got back together. It figures you’d sense it."

"Sometimes you're quite sure, and other times you're still in great doubt?"

"Yes. I see you've lost none of your ability to read me. What do you foresee?"

"I pick up vibrations from people,” Ron said, kindly. “Sometimes I see things, but I have never been a fortune-teller. I can only give my blessings for whatever your future may hold." Alexis was silent. She didn’t know what to say.

Changing the subject, Ron said, "Believe it or not, I saw a mutual friend of ours last week in Miami on my way down. It was Marcy."

"Really?” said Alexis, her interest piqued. “Oh, I've thought of her so often. How is she? I lost track of her a long time ago. Is she all right?"

"More or less, I suppose, but she's quite different from the person you knew. She lives in the fast lane now, fancy clothes, and when I saw her she was wearing red snakeskin boots with four-inch heels. Her boyfriend is a jockey at Hialeah Race Track, and is a whole head shorter than she is. That puts him right about at the level of her breasts” he laughed, “which I imagine is just about where he likes to be."

"Can't say that surprises me. Is she all right? I was worried about her when we lived in the pink house. Looked like she was headed for trouble – sex and drugs.”

"Pretty accurate. She's heavily into drugs and hangs out with a rough crowd at the track. I must admit I fear for her. But as you know, each person must choose his own dharma. We can influence at best, but no one else can decide the fate of another. Beginnings are scary, middles are exciting, and endings are sad. It’s the way of the world. Throughout our lifetimes, we gain family, friends, and possessions, and then we lose them one by one.”

"It's so true, but sometimes it's hard to let go."

"Attachment is the cause of all sorrow. The older I get, the easier it is to let go of some things and the harder it is to let go of others. For example, my dear, it will be hard to let go of you, right now. I'm leaving Key West again in just a few minutes. It was only mere coincidence that I ran into you at all. I'm going to New York for an extended visit.

"Oh no,” Tears welled in her eyes. “I just found you again. Don’t tell me that.”

"I haven't been well these last few years,” he confided. “I'm going to have some tests done in the hospital. While I'm there, I'll visit my children. Of course, they're all grown now, with families of their own. Although they don't much approve of me, it still pleases me to see how the little ones have grown."

"I can't believe it,” Alexis said. “You mean, this is it? After so long apart, we see each other for a few minutes? That’s all?”

Ron lifted her face and kissed her softly on the lips, this time a lover’s kiss. With closed eyes, she accepted the caress as though it were a benediction. "I am only grateful that we were able to meet at all. Serendipity. Perhaps our paths will cross again soon. We will look forward to that day, but then again, for people like us, it matters little. Time and space are relative to you and me; they always have been. We share a common spirit. Our souls understand and love each other. We are never far apart. Give me a hug." The small spry Indian man held her tightly for a long moment, then released her slowly. "Bless you. Go with God."

Smiling through a veil of tears, she wondered if she would ever see him again.

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