"We'll stand together
Where the daylight falls and fades
Your love lives in the sun
I will pass your way
This stands forever."
--Beverly Klass, "Temple."
"He wants to be an artist," you laugh, softly, cradling the flat cell phone between your ear and shoulder as you carry your morning coffee out onto the beach.
The white sand beneath your bare toes is warm...and so is her husky laugh. "Does that surprise you?"
"No," you admit, with pride, as you find your favorite spot and feast your gaze on the cerulean blue vision that stretches into the horizon and beyond. "Adam has always had a gift. He has magic."
"Just like his father," she says, voice full of remembrance, of smiles.
"*Non*! *Dieu*, don't compare my pathetic attempts with the cello to my boy!" you plead, cafe au lait spilling over and scalding your knuckles as your shoulders shake with mirth.
She clicks her tongue, sympathetically, as if she knows you've gone and burned yourself. "You all ready miss him, don't you?"
Your reply is earnest, automatic. "He's only been at the Sorbonne two DAYS, *cherie*...and it feels like an eternity." You lived fourteen years with just the two of you, father and son, and everything without him seems strange, seems empty.
Only the ocean seems to be full. Gleaming like a sapphire...twice as precious and three times as beautiful. But remote. Untouchable.
Her laugh brings you back from the melancholy. "At least you live too far for him to bring home the laundry."
"Laundry..." You glance down, bemused, at the bleached-out, threadbare jeans that you can't bear to throw out. Adam tried once...but you actually snuck them out of the bonfire before he could light it. It took three more washings to get out the smell of kerosene. "Not exactly the 'housekeeping' I used to excel at," you chuckle.
You wonder if she would even recognize you now. Not a single article of clothing you own is black. You only own one pair of shoes and they still gleam like new even though they're six-years-old. Your hair, now streaked with silver, is down past your shoulders. You're the perfect Bohemian. Your son calls you a 'hippie'...and he's not even old enough to remember what hippies were. But he's right. You'd rather make love, not war.
You don't own a single gun.
"Do you miss it, Michael?" she wonders. And you can see her, in your mind, a statuesque blond with serious blue eyes the very shade of the water by which you and Adam made your home. Clad in Section's unofficial uniform of basic black...but perhaps with a splash of wild color at her throat. She is confident. She is wise. She is all business...yet all heart. Madeline would be proud. So would Paul.
"No," you reply, truthfully, setting your mug down in the sand and transferring the cell to your other ear. "All I miss is you."
Fourteen years is long enough, you think. More than long enough. Your child has grown into a young man. A young man with laughing dark eyes and silky black hair just like his mother's...and the loving soul of a woman he barely remembers but will never forget. He no longer needs you to protect him from monsters both real and imagined. He no longer needs you to dry his tears or tie his shoes...or to willingly sacrifice everything you once knew to keep him safe. He can take care of himself now.
"Now it's time to take care of YOU, Dad," the wise one had informed you, pausing at the gate to the Concord. "Go find *her*. Make up for lost years. Have lots of SEX." Before you'd had a chance to respond in a properly horrified fashion, the door had closed. Typical. You'll have your revenge when he calls you collect and asks for fun money. But you know, in your heart, that he was right.
You can live for yourself now. You can live for her.
Her whisper is soothing...like the tide flowing in. "Michael?"
Somehow the word, the name, finds it's way up your tear-choked throat. "Nikita?"
"Is it time?" she asks, gently.
And you nod once, slowly, before you speak. "It's time."
You offer up your hand as the long shadow stretches out across the beach. Her cool, slender fingers slide into your grasp as you tug her down beside you. The cell phones fall, forgotten, into the dirt. And, together, you sit in silence, watching the new day begin.
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