She’d always thought of herself as a city girl, or at least suburban, picking her living spaces as much for their distance from a good café – anything over half a mile was too far – as for the state of the kitchen, the size of the bathtub, and the amount and quality of natural light.
Still, she loved her husband – was still madly in love with him after twenty-three years, so when he asked her to spend a week in a cabin in the woods with him, she couldn’t refuse. After all, he’d been on innumerable trips to the beach for her.
On the drive up, she made the requisite jokes about the dark forest being the perfect setting for a murder mystery or horror movie. “You’re not planning to chop me into pieces and hide them under a carpet of pine needles, are you?”
“Of course not,” he’d replied, blue eyes twinkling at her when their gazes met in the rear-view mirror. “For one thing, this isn’t a pine forest.”
“So. Not. Reassuring.” She sing-songed the words.
Their first two days were sodden with rain, but her husband kept a fire burning in the Franklin stove and lulled her into a good mood with endless cups of gourmet coffee and the soft strumming of his acoustic guitar, classical music alternated with folk – her favorites.
On the morning of the third day at the cabin, she woke before him, and set the coffee to brew. The rain had finally stopped, and the first rays of sun were beginning to penetrate the morning fog. She brought her mug of coffee with her to the deck that surrounded the cabin and lost herself in the view.
Birds called to each other in the trees and she glimpsed a couple of squirrels playing on a nearby branch, making her smile, but it was the light on the trees that really entranced her. The play of sun and fog, brightness and shadow. She almost believed that if she could just stretch far enough she could catch a piece of morning mist on the end of her finger, like cotton candy at the firemen’s fair.
She didn’t hear him come up behind her, but she knew he was there even before his rusty-voiced “Morning, babe,” tickled her right ear.
He slipped his arms around her from behind, and she leaned back against his chest. “The rain stopped,” she said, as if he couldn’t tell.
“It’s not the beach…” she began.
“No, it’s not the beach.”
“But it’s kind of magical in its own way.”
He didn’t respond, not with words. Instead he squeezed her just a little tighter, and then released.
Together, they watched as the forest fully embraced the new day.