You Found Me, Didn’t You…My Long Lost Lover Returns

“Message!” The phone squawks.

I pause journaling and take a look.

His name conjures an instant memory: the dining room of a turn-of-the-century duplex in a sketchier part of downtown Minneapolis. A group of us around a huge table, eating, drinking, laughing. One is the sender of the message. Another is a lawyer. We’re dating. I’m twenty-five and these are my friends.

But I had neither seen nor heard from any of them in over forty years.

The text was one sentence, almost cruel in its brevity, telling me the attorney had died that morning.

Suddenly I wanted to know everything. Had he been ill? Did he suffer? Was he still practicing law? A wife? Children? Was he happy? But I limited my response to, “I’m so sorry. Did he have health issues?”

Throughout the day, memories shadowed me like a visitation of ghosts. Our relationship had been playful, light, steering intentionally away from anything that smacked of responsibility or permanence. Eventually we found others but the friendship endured. He was a caring presence through an exceedingly difficult time in my life.

Then I married and we lost touch.

With a heavy heart, I wondered if I’d hear anything back. Messenger was quiet.

First thing next morning, the reply came with more answers than I’d hoped. He’d bought fifty-five acres near a small town in Wisconsin and built a studio where he could paint. He moved there permanently when he retired. There was no electricity and no phone service – he was ‘off the grid’ as my friend put it.

Then he developed heart problems. A few years ago he’d had a pacemaker put in but it had recently been doing more harm than good. He told the doctors to turn it off. They warned him if they did it wouldn’t be long.

And it wasn’t. He died a week later.

I left the phone and stared out over my garden picturing him, his dark hair and neatly trimmed beard framing electric blue eyes. A butterfly floated past. I’d never seen one like it before. The wings were outlined in black. The centers almost vibrated they were so intensely blue. “Hello, pretty thing,” I said, and watched it dance then flit away.

Curious about the Wisconsin town, I googled it. Around the same time my old lover had retired and moved there, I’d nearly purchased a B&B in Maidenrock, eighteen miles away. Strange coincidence, I thought.

I scrolled though photos that looked like the main street in a Western film.

Then, for no particular reason, I clicked on area parks. There were frozen waterfalls, hills and trees covered with snow. I flipped through the images and suddenly stopped, backed up, and telescoped in for a close-up. There, sitting on a fallen log, was a butterfly identical to the one that had visited my garden just moments before.

I gasped, then shivered as goosebumps peppered my arms. A Wisconsin butterfly…in Bali? The rest of the photos were scenery, not a squirrel, bird, or another butterfly in the bunch. Sadness evaporated.

“You found me, didn’t you?” I chuckled. “On the other side of the world…after all these years…”

Photo credit: Laura Stocker

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. B.Busch
    Aug 05, 2020 @ 09:30:14

    Hello from Stockholm Wisconsin… 6 miles from Maiden Rock. I’m a MN native & have enjoyed your writing, Italy was exceptional! Sorry for your loss. The connection was strong. The butterfly proves that.  Enjoy reminiscing & Bali. 

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 05, 2020 @ 17:41:43

      During the search for a potential property I visited Stockholm often. There was a Taiko drumming group that performed once while I was there and I loved it. Such a beautiful area. I’m glad you enjoyed the Italy adventure! Thanks for reading.

      Like

      Reply

  2. sageblessings
    Aug 06, 2020 @ 04:44:40

    Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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