Taking off from Denver is not a completely easy experience. The air is thin here, and the plane seems to lumber for a long time down the runway, its wings scraping and clawing for anything that resembles lift. There is almost a sigh from the plane as it gives a brief shudder when it leaves the earth to return to the sky it was made for.
Today my wife and I head to St. Thomas by way of Charlotte, Miami, and long hours in the air. To ease the stress of travel a bit, the first leg is spent in first class. The sun is toward our nose, and my wife is to my left. The horizon like the future awaits.
It has been twenty years since we have set foot on St. Thomas. Then it was for our honeymoon, now for our anniversary. Then we left teenagers in our wake, now we leave adults with mortgages and pets, and a couple of grandchildren sprinkled amid them for good measure. We don’t go to the island to recapture anything. We go to celebrate, both a milestone and a future.
That is the brightest spot in this trip for me, the sure knowledge of a future with this exciting woman who is also my best friend. Her love for me has always been a gift, a wonder, and a surprise. Her hand will always feel both new in mine, and as if it had always been there. Its love’s dichotomy that causes me to smile, and causes me to look at her and see new love and life partner.
I won’t bore you with stories of the twenty years. Most of it is simply space, passage of time. The rest an accumulation of moments, a private collection of joys and pain that are ultimately our cement. We share these memories in our eyes, in touches and caresses. And that is all the reminiscence we really need.
For now we fly, as the last twenty years have seemed to. St. Thomas awaits as it did then, as do burgers and rum drinks at the Duffy’s Love Shack. Thank you to all our family and friends who were there at our start and who have joined us along the way. Thank you, Jean-Marie, for saying yes, for giving me children, for sharing your love, and for giving me a life. All the years we have had, and all the years before us will not be long enough for me to repay that thrill, but I will keep trying.