Sometimes the voices call, and I must go. As a cloud may drift in an endless sky, following invisible masters, so, too, must I. A glimmer of sunlight crept through the curtains, found my sleepy eyelids, and upon that golden beam, she rode.
John. Remember me?
Her voice, like warm kisses and honeysuckles, pulled me from winter slumber, and I smiled.
Yes, Julie, I do. How could I forget? You know I do.
My parents said I was too young to know real love, but they were wrong. I did love you, John.
I loved you, too. I wish we'd stayed together, no matter what anyone said.
Look for me, John. Come find me. I wait.
I untangled myself from the bedding and lay flat, looking up at the ceiling.
So many years have passed since Julie and I were in love. Perhaps we wouldn't have made it. Perhaps we would've failed like so many others who married too young. But then again, how wonderful it might have been.
It was only an hour's drive to Clarksvale, so I got in the car and drove. The grey January day tried to push Julie out of my mind, but couldn't succeed. Past houses and hills, I followed the winding road and echoes of her voice to Clarksvale. Nine AM found me entering the city limits.
There's the little burger joint where we used to sit close, share a chocolate shake and drown in one another's adoring eyes.
Passing by the city park, I remembered a spring day when we sat on a bench beneath a canopy of Pink and white blossoms. Your face was too close, your heart too open, and I kissed you. I was afraid of how you might react, but my fears were groundless. I still remember the taste.
I drove to the top of Walnut Hill, turned off the ignition and got out.
The wind up here is frigid. This is where we used to park, but we were never cold. No, we made a fire of passion and promises. I said I wouldn't be gone long in the service, and you said you'd wait. How did that go so terribly wrong, Julie? How did we not keep those promises?
What's wrong with me? Why did I drive here, looking for a dream that time and circumstances stole twenty years ago? A damned fool--that's what I am. Nothing wonderful survives life's long winter.
Driving toward home, I see a small cafe and realize I've not had coffee. Over the door, the sign says "Julie's Diner".