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The Dream Eternal

By: Katrina Smith-Robson

A fable from the beginning of time tells us of a world in which the male amd female were united in one body sharing one mind and one soul, but having two hearts which beat exactly in sync. When mankind sinned, the Gods thought long and hard about how to punish them. Finally, it was decided that they would seperate them forever. And so with the wave of a hand, one became two. Loneliness was born that day on the earth. For countless lifetimes each searches for the one to whom they belonged, but only rarely does one find their lost soulmate. Only rarely do two ever truly become one.

Chapter One

In all honesty it had not been a very good year. It started out just fine. January and February, the very worst of the Pennsylvania winter, was spent in the South. Hilton Head, South Carolina to be exact. She was with a husband she adored, and her third grandchild had just been born. She had even managed to lose 40 lbs. At 49, life really didn't get too much better than this. Yes, Sarah Johnstone was a happy woman.

In June, she and her husband began making plans for the next winter. After much searching and researching, it was decided that the Costa Del Sol sounded interesting. Plane tickets to Spain were ordered, hotel booked, a tour to Morocco planned. Yes, this would be the best winter since her husband had retired.

But on a sunny October morning, just three days after the celebration of her 50th birthday, she received a phone call that would alter her plans and her life forever.

The voice said something about “ Jeff's being rushed to the hospital” Well, that just wasn't possible, she thought. He was at the health club taking good care of his 62 year old — 170 lb. body. He was the picture of good health, a youthful athlete who had aged with such grace that no one would have guessed his real age; a secret which he had kept even from her until they went to get a marriage license some 19 years earlier.

Later that day, when the sun had set, so had her hopes for that wonderful old age she had planned with the man she loved. A massive coronary the doctor had said, that just seemed so impossible. After all, she was the one who weighed 160 lbs, she was the one with the 220 cholesterol and the doctor who kept telling her to get more exercise. How could he be gone and she still sitting here and why did she want to eat?

Her oldest daughter had joined her at the hospital and when she turned to the stunning young woman, still a size 3 after giving birth to 3 children in 6 years Sarah marveled at what she had created from her own body. Had it really been 30 years ago that this first of two miracles had entered her life?

She had been just 19 when she and her first husband, Daniel, had struggled through a 28 hour labor together. Both had wanted a daughter and a daughter they got. Louisa was then as she is now, beautiful.

Six years later, a second daughter came to them, but this time they were not together. Dan lay dying one floor above her in the same hospital. A drunk driver had delivered the pain on that day. She had no memory of the labor. She was later told by a friendly psychologist that the brain can only feel one pain at a time. She thought that must be true.

She always dated the end of her youth from the day of Kathleen's birth. Dan lived long enough to see his second daughter and to hold her in his arms, but not long enough to tell his wife how happy she had made him.

From the very beginning this tiny blonde child had seemed to understand everything. She was gentle and kind, lacking the rebellion Louisa would display in her adolescent years. Bright and funny she had grown into a beautiful competent young woman. Following her graduation from college she had moved to Chicago. Sarah and Jeff both missed Katy in their lives, but she had a right to have her own life, even if they wished she hadn't wanted one.

Kathleen had always seemed to be the child she truly shared with Jeff.

Three years after Katy's birth she had met Jeff. He was far from the first man she had dated, Dan had had the good grace to leave her alone right smack in the middle of the “Sexual Revolution” and she revolted with the best of them and maybe the worst of them, depending on your views on such matters.

Jeff was the best in anyone's view. Her parents loved him from their first meeting. After all he played golf, had clean fingernails, shined his shoes, and had a great job, what more do parents hope for? Her parents had not seen her exercise of sexual freedom as a good thing. A nice husband was just what she needed.

She was a little hurt when she and Jeff told her parents of their decision to marry. She was thrilled at showing her mother that he really was “going to buy the cow after having gotten the milk for free.” Of course, that was an unspoken message, what she heard verbalized was her father saying, “What the hell do you want with her?” Jeff thought it was some sort of joke and laughed reassuredly. She knew what her father meant. She understood it was a serious question to which her father had no answer. After all, her mother had recorded his first words at the time of her birth in her baby book. She never forgot reading them, and always wondered why her mother thought she would want “not another girl” saved for future generations to read. She had never asked the question, and now her mother too was dead.

Had someone as important as a father said that of one of her girls, she would have taken the secret to her grave. Of course, the world was slightly more accepting of girl children in 1966 then it had been in 1946. But still a mother ought to have known better.

She knew her parents loved her, but her knowledge of what he had said, always colored, subtly, their relationship. What could have been golden turned to a slightly tarnished brass.

None of that really mattered now. Why was she thinking of it?

For a second she wondered what was the appropriate first food after your husband's death. Pizza seemed a bit too much like a party, but after all it was Friday. Friday had been Pizza night for years. The rituals of their lives would be hard to do without.

She had to make plans for the funeral. She and Louisa could work it all out, divide responsibilities and eat at the same time. Yes, pizza would solve many of her immediate needs.

As she and Louisa walked the long hospital corridor to her car, she thought again of the men she had loved: her father now dead from smoking cigarettes, Daniel dead at the hands of a drunken driver at 28 and now Jeff. Maybe her 4 year old granddaughter had it right. “I'm never going to get married,” she had said. “Men just die.”

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Chapter Two

Three days really isn't much time; but it is all one gets to plan a funeral. People to call, arrangements of all kinds from what the casket should look like, to what to feed people after the service. Being Irish, she had a deep and ancient understanding of the proper way to bury the dead.

For her the first process had to do with the grave goods Jeff would take with him into the next world. These had to be things of great value to him, but of little value to the world at large. The small things that made up his daily life. Golf balls, that was easy. He had a new package of a dozen which she had purchased for a Christmas gift. Since he wouldn't be there Christmas morning she would give them to him now. A driver and a putter would be essential, tees a must. As she opened the trunk of his car to find the appropriate clubs, she found two boxes already gift wrapped. He too had begun his Christmas shopping. She wanted to cry as she touched the wrapping and remembered all the lovely Christmas mornings they had spent together. She remembered the first Christmas when they were just dating. He put lights and tinsel on a houseplant and gave her a brown leather purse. He hadn't celebrated Christmas in years, but her presence in his life made him feel different about so many things. He did not want to fall in love. He did not want to marry again; but there was something about her, a fire inside of her that made him want to warm himself by it. He never told her this, but every morning of his life, he woke next to her and smiled, thinking how lucky he was.

She pulled herself together thinking she had two months until she had to deal with Christmas without him. Now she had a funeral to deal with. She took the clubs and placed them in the kitchen next to the golf balls. Now, what else did he use on a daily basis? A pair of black reading glasses caught her eye. He had them all over the house. Yes he would need his reading glasses. Something from the university he loved came next and then his car keys with the key chain he had bought when they were in Paris. Oh Paris, what a fabulous trip that was!

She stopped her search for a moment and went to the music cabinet where she found a tape they had purchased from a street musician someplace on the Left Bank. She placed it in the machine, sat down in a chair and remembered him.

Her eyes filled with tears, but she wasn't sure what she was crying for. Was it the loss of his life or the loss of hers?

When the music ended she returned to her search. Next she found herself in his workshop, where he had spent so much time making the things she had asked him for, the shelves which he had become famous for in the family. Everyone had asked for one, and everyone who asked got one. She remembered the year he had asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she had told him she wanted only one thing, a love letter. Near to the holiday, he was in his workshop every day and she was told not to enter. She heard the sounds of building, but had no idea what he was doing. On Christmas morning he gave her a beautiful, perfectly made dartboard inside a wooden cabinet. She told him it was lovely, and kissed him, then he said, “Do you know what it is?” “Why, it's a dart board isn't it?” she replied. “It's a love letter” he said. From that day on she always hated it when people playing darts missed the board and hit the open doors of the cabinet.

Into her collection went his tape measure and his carving tools. The next decision was what he should wear. She knew the tradition was suit and tie, but he hadn't wanted to wear a tie since the day he had retired. She couldn't condemn him to wearing one for eternity. She opened the door to his closet and there it was, the cashmere sweater he had purchased at St. Andrews in Scotland. She always loved the way he looked in the red sweater, and he loved to wear it. So, it was decided, he would be comfortable and ready for a game of golf should anyone invite him to play.

The day of the funeral was bright and crisp as only autumn in Pennsylvania can be. The sun was shining. “He would have loved this day,” she thought when she awoke and saw it. Both daughters had spent the night with her, and she needed to wake them. First though she took his pillow in her arms and held it close to her. It still smelled like him and she vowed never to wash the pillowcase.

What must be done was done. She got through the day. Once or twice she caught herself laughing at someone's reminiscence of Jeff. His loss was felt by so many people; but they would go home and go on with their own lives. She, however, would never be the same.

That night, she put on one of his T-shirts and went to bed. She tried to remember what it felt like to have him inside her, but already she couldn't remember. What she could remember was how safe he had always made her feel. She closed her eyes with that thought.

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Chapter Three

It wasn't until sometime in November when the first confirmation arrived for the trip to Spain. She had forgotten all about it, but now she determined that she would take the trip by herself.

She made it through all the weeks that followed, even getting through the Christmas season. Her children were of immense help to her, and the small grandchildren made everything alright. She was lonely, but not alone.

When the day to depart arrived, her daughter Louisa took her to the airport and waived good bye, glad to have the responsibility of her mother off her shoulders for a month. While she loved her dearly, she had enough responsibilities without worrying if Mom was ok.

Boarding the plane, Sarah thought to herself, “gosh, I'm glad I don't have to keep Lou's spirits up anymore.” Such is the way of the world.

Finally, the plane touched down. "I am here," she thought to herself. "I am really here." As she left the plane she wondered what she would do if no one were there to meet her. Routinely, she passed through customs and collected her luggage. Jeff had always done that, while she stood and waited. It was nice to know she could do it for herself. Just as the full realization of being alone in a foreign country hit her, she saw him, a dark little man holding up a sign with what was almost her name. Mrs. Jonston. What's the occasional wrong letter, she thought, he's here for me!

She introduced herself to him and off they went to a little cab waiting at the curb. He had handed her a white envelope filled with information regarding her stay. The drive to the hotel was almost complete before she realized she had not even looked out the window. When she did, she saw something akin to Myrtle Beach, had it grown up in Mexico instead of America. Multi-floor hotels surrounded by walled private homes, hiding their gardens from the prying eyes of tourists. People walked their dogs and stray cats abounded. It wasn't Pennsylvania. Then again it wasn't exactly what she had expected. But, then so few things had been lately.

Upon reaching the hotel, she found a resort complex with 3 large buildings each nine stories tall. In the center, gardens, two swimming pools and lots and lots of chaise lounges — all filled with what appeared to be 80 year old men and women.

"Oh my God, what have I done," was her initial reaction to what she saw, but then a gorgeous, young man behind the reception desk spoke to her in perfect English tinged with the most delicious accent she had ever heard. "May I help you, madam?"

“Yes, indeed” she thought, “you really could help me, but unfortunately for both of us, you probably just want to give me a room so you can get my luggage out of the lobby. Ok, I'll play along, because in all honesty a room with a bed for sleeping is exactly what I need right now.” “God I hate being old,” came to her mind.

That thought was a revelation to her. “Am I old, am I really old or do I just feel old?” Well, who wouldn't feel old after what I've been through. A widow, not once; but twice. Then it occurred to her, “if I'm old, what does that make all those people out there on those lounges? No by God, I'm not old, not for a very long time yet.” As she was escorted to her room, she remembered a line from the movie Lost Horizon. The ancient priest had said to Ronald Coleman, “Birthdays are just fences we place around our minds,” she was young when she had heard that, but now she was beginning to understand its meaning. If she had built her own fence, perhaps she could tear it down as well. She was damn well going to try.

When the porter opened the door to her suite, she was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't large but it was complete. A nice little living room with a television, she hadn't expected that, a small kitchen with a refrigerator, sink and a 3 burner stove. The shelves and cupboards were empty, no pans, no dishes, glasses — nothing. For a fleeting moment she wondered what they expected her to do with the stove, then she thought she would treat this Spanish stove just as she did her American stove — she would ignore it.

The bedroom was small, but it did have 2 twin-sized beds pushed together inviting a kind of intimacy she would have no use for. She missed Jeff and wanted to cry, but not in front of the porter who was laying her bags on the very bed Jeff should have lain on. To her joy, both rooms shared a balcony.

She tipped the man and when she was alone she walked into the bathroom and stared at what was reflected in the mirror. The jet lag sat on top of her face, overlaying the pain and disappointment of dreams lost, plans unfulfilled, but most important to her, the face in the mirror was no one's love. This had never happened to her before. In the 37 years of her life that had followed puberty, she had always been in love. Love was a state of grace to her and now she felt shut out of heaven, there was no more love in the world, at least not for her.

Perhaps nothing could be done for the pain, but sleep would cure the exhaustion and a shower would remove the wrinkles, at least for now, and after all — now was all she really had. The events of the last few months had taught her that. Life was what you could grab each day. She wasn't sure yet how she would use this new found knowledge, but looking out the window over the Mediterranean Sea, she was quite sure she would put it to good use.

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Chapter Four

Six hours later she woke, not exactly refreshed, but no longer exhausted. For the first time she walked out onto her balcony.

She marveled when she saw what lay beneath her. To her immediate left lay the blue Mediterranean Sea, the water which formed the boundaries of the ancient world, she had so loved to study as a girl. The ships of Caesar and Cleopatra had sailed on these waters, the Phoenicians had carried their alphabet to the world on these very waves, the Arabs had sailed across them from Africa to bring civilization and the all important zero to Spain and the west. Then they had fled back across the same water to save themselves from the Inquisition. The modern world had polluted the Sea's body but her soul was intact, pure and undisturbed. The waters of history flowing ever onward. What was the death of one man to her who held the bodies of Greek and Roman, German and Celt, Arab and Christian, Crusader and Fascist, she was the ”Mother of All” and now Sarah had come home to her.

To her right lay the mountains of the Sierra Madja. She would pass through those peaks to reach Malaga and Granada, Ronda and Caesuras not to mention the greatest adventure of her life, Morocco. She had planned these side trips with Jeff, and she would take them alone. There was sadness in the thought, but for the first time there was also a hint of excitement. She was free to follow her own heart.

To her left lay the past and the right waited her future and directly below her lay a sleepy little collection of adobe and terra cotta houses where no one appeared to be at home. Somehow those empty homes felt like her present. Empty of all, but a dog's bark made her realize that not all was as it appeared, even in an empty place —someone would return to feed the animal.

Food. She really hadn't thought of it since she was fed on the plane. Not even she, who liked all food, could be expected to enjoy airplane food. Yet, in a way it was quite fulfilling, because it did what a good food should do, it passed the time.

She showered, dressed and went downstairs to the Dining Room. She passed the ancient men and women who earlier had occupied the lounges. Now they had paired up into those wonderful, mature couples she and Jeff had always planned on being. She wondered when she would begin seeing the world through her own eyes instead of the eyes of a couple.

She did not want to eat alone so she asked the Maitre 'D if there might be someone else eating by themselve. “Si,” he responded and walked her to the table of an elderly woman.

Sarah asked if she could join her, and the woman seemed thrilled to have the company. Her name was Iris and she lived in Cambridge, England. Sarah found her accent comforting as she remembered the many trips she and Jeff had taken to England, one of which had included a trip to Cambridge.

They spoke of their hometowns, their children and their accommodations at the hotel. Iris had a room on the first floor with no view at all, but she was satisfied. She had spent many winters in this hotel. Then she spoke of her husband who traveled to Greece in July and August. Iris found Greece too hot, so she traveled to Spain in February and March to escape the gray English winter.

“What a good idea, separate vacations while you are both alive,” Sarah thought. Perhaps, if she and Jeff had done that she wouldn't feel so deserted now.

It was from Iris that she learned this was mostly an English hotel and that they were right in the middle of the English neighborhood of Torremolinos. Pubs up and down the streets everywhere she told her.

Sarah breathed a quiet sigh of relief. She had always loved English pubs with their informal, friendly spirit. There had been times when she had been with Jeff in one, that she had secretly wished she were alone, so that she might have tried openly flirting with an Englishman. Well, now she was alone and there were the pubs full of Englishmen. She would have to think on that. Maybe tomorrow.

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Chapter Five

The next morning dawned bright and sunny, just as she had always imagined Spain to be. It was a perfect day, especially considering it was February, a gift from God not to be wasted. She dressed and went to breakfast.

Entering the same dining room as last night, she looked for Iris, but she was nowhere to be seen. She found a table and sat herself down, alone and friendless she thought for a moment, but then she vowed to herself that by the end of her stay she would have filled the other chairs with people she liked and who liked her.

For the first time in her life she wouldn't have to worry about what her mate thought of the friends she made. There was something exhilarating in that, a feeling of truly being her own person. A woman alone, yes there was positive about the way that sounded to her. 50 years of being chaperoned had come to an end. Absolutely no one cared what she did now. She had no one to make excuses to. Yes, that was exciting.

She left her table to check out the buffet breakfast. The scrambled eggs were too mushy and the bread too white, but the pears were marvelous, as was the cheese. She saw a line at a machine and people carrying cups away, perhaps that was some sort of European coffee machine. She had never drunk coffee. Once when she was 14 her father had taken on her first airplane - one of the new passenger jets. The stewardess who served her meal had asked her the “coffee, tea, or milk” question. Not wanting to be taken for a child, she had replied coffee. She forced herself to drink it because she didn't want the stewardess to think she hadn't liked it. To this day she didn't know if all coffee was awful, or whether United Airlines just served awful coffee; but she had never tried it again. Perhaps European coffee would be different.

She took her place in line. When she worked her way to the front, she discovered a cappuccino machine. She followed the instructions conveniently written in four languages. Low and behold a cup of cappuccino emerged. She had seen people adding cinnamon to the frothy top. She followed their example and walked away with her first grown up cup of coffee. She was feeling very good about herself as she made her way back to her table.

She ate and sipped while listening to the conversations around her. It wasn't eavesdropping since they were being conducted in German, French and Japanese. Occasionally, she would pick up a word of English, but it reinforced that she was no longer in Pennsylvania. “Oh Dorothy, how frightening Oz must have seemed” she whispered to herself.

On the elevator, as she returned to her room on the 9th. floor, she decided to devote the day to housekeeping chores and sitting on her balcony soaking in the sun. She knew instinctively that this warm, bright sun was the cure for the gloom of the last months. Who could feel badly while bathing in this golden light? She had become very tired of answering the question, how are you? She knew people didn't really want to know. They were just being polite. They wanted her to say, I am fine, so they need feel no responsibility for her. She wanted to scream, I am feeling awful, I need to be loved, and held, and desired. Without that I am only half a person. But no one wanted to know that. And so for months she had simply replied, “I'm fine thanks and how are you?”

It had always been her practice to hide from the sun's rays. Her fair skin burned so easily, a tan was never worth the pain she had to endure. As she uncovered her pale, Pennsylvania body to the Mediterranean warmth, she felt something akin to the afterglow of great sex pass over her. She inhaled and sucked the feeling to the center of her, to the place, that had not felt warmth since October. Yes, she thought, she would heal in this place.

An hour later, deciding not to push her luck with “El Sol”, she dressed and went to find a grocery store. The man at the desk told her that if she climbed the hill right outside the door she would find an Aldi. Out the door and up the hill she went and there at the top sat an American style super market, something she had never seen before in Europe. Europeans buy enough food for a day or two, but seldom do they purchase more than they need because storage is difficult. She studied the sign outside. The store remained open in the afternoon. This too was unusual because most Spanish establishments closed at 2:30 pm and didn't reopen until 4:00 or 4:30. This time was dedicated to the siesta, but few Spaniards returned to their homes to sleep. They met their friends in restaurants or bars, or perhaps returned home for lunch and an afternoon soap opera on the television.

She ventured inside, not knowing what she would find, but she was desperate for Coca Cola and something chocolate. She walked around the store to get her bearings.

For the first time in her life she knew the pain of being unable to read. She didn't understand the labels or the pricing system. She asked a young man how to read the label, he told her the first number was the weight in kilos the second the unit price and the third or last number would be the actual price she would pay.

She thanked him for his help and complimented him on his English. He blushed and said, “Thank you very much, ma'am.” "Ma'am," she thought, "Have I become a ma'am?"

“Now,” she thought to herself, “it is time to buy.” She picked up three huge Nestle Crunch bars, one six pack of Coca Cola, which in February still had Santa Claus holding that 6 oz. bottle she remembered from her childhood and carrying the salutation !Felices Fiestas! Next came two large bottles of water and 5 oranges, along with a loaf of round bread and a hunk of cheese. These staples would give her something to munch on in her room. When she approached to cashier, she was a bit nervous that she might make a fool of herself. She observed, one aisle over, a woman putting her purchases in a plastic bag . Well, she could do that, and when the girl told her the price in Spanish; she glanced at the cash register and read 850. She reached into her purse and located 1 — 500 peseta coin and 4 — 100 peseta coins, handed it to the cashier and accepted her change. “Like a native,” she thought. “Gracias,” she said with her friendliest smile, picked up her two bags and walked out.

Outside she allowed herself the luxury of a deep sigh and a feeling of accomplishment. Many women she knew back home would have been frozen in fear, doing what she had just done. For that matter, many men may have been frightened by the prospect of being alone in a strange country. But, she had done it! It was such a little thing, and yet, it is the little things upon which we build our self-esteem. She would survive. She was now sure of it.

She felt the sun on her face as she descended the hill back to the sea and her cocoon in room 3913. This made her smile, one of those deep smiles, which come only when the soul is content.

This is the smile, which pulled men to her, but she did not know that yet. She was about to learn.

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Chapter Six

“Say Luv, how about letting a lonely Englishman buy you a drink?”

She looked around to see where the voice had come from. Had it been speaking to her?

The Merry England Pub was a tiny establishment sandwiched between two other pubs that appeared equally non-descript. A man of about 35 or 40 sat alone at a table in the outdoor patio drinking something tall, iced and containing a lemon. There was nothing threatening about him, so she smiled and heard herself say “sure.”

“Oh American are we?”

“Yes, I am,” she said with her sweetest American accent.

“I've been to the states, what part are you from,”he asked?

“Pennsylvania, a small town near Philadelphia called Malvern.”

“Never been there, but I've been to California, which I've been told isn't America, but I really enjoyed myself. The people are the friendliest I've encountered anywhere on earth.” He said this with a wistful smile on his clean shaven face. “I was a Royal Marine so I have seen a lot of the earth in the line of duty. Always liked San Diego the best.” He then related a story about meeting two young women at a bar. The girls seemed very interested when they discovered he and his friend were from England.

“They asked us what we had seen of the area. When we told them we had just arrived, they asked if they could show us around the next day. My friend and I said certainly, that would be very nice of them, never actually thinking we would ever see them again. But the next day, we heard a horn outside our motel door. There they were in an old beat up VW convertible, you know the one we always called, a bug. They took us to the Zoo and then to a marvelous restaurant up in the hills, it was one of the best days of my life. Ever since, I have a real soft spot for Americans, especially its women.”

Sarah was glad those girls had been nice to him. Somehow, it made her feel close to home.

“I'm glad you enjoyed your visit” Sarah said.

“Oh, that I did, I could have stayed, I had a job offer, but I didn't. Been kicking myself ever since,” he said.

He looked at her holding her bags and said, “Please put those heavy things down and join me for a drink.”

She did as he asked, glad to put down the burden. The sun had grown very hot, and the lemon thing looked inviting.

“What are you doing in Spain,” she asked?

“Like a lot of guys around here, I've been through a really nasty divorce. Spain is kind of like the French Foreign Legion for Englishmen. We come here to forget and to be forgotten. We come here to rest and heal, sometimes to hide from things too painful to be looked at straight on.”

Having answered her question, he felt free to turn it back to her. “And why, my beauty, are you in Spain?”

For a moment she was speechless. He had called her “my beauty.” How sweet. Did he mean it? She hoped she wasn't blushing.

“My reasons aren't too different from yours. My husband passed away quite suddenly last October. We had planned this trip together and in all the confusion that followed his death I forgot to cancel it. When the tickets arrived, it was too late to get a refund, so I decided to come alone.”

“I am sorry to hear of your loss. Did you love him?”

“Of course, I loved him!” she said a bit sharply.

“I only asked because for love to survive in a marriage is very unusual in my experience. Mostly, it seems to me, people just get used to each other.” He told her that he had been married three times and failed miserably each time.

Now she had to face the fact that she wasn't really sure she had loved Jeff. That was the nightmare she refused to dream. When the thought had crossed her mind she had sent it away. No reason to think of love and what it was now. Too late to fix anything that might have been wrong between them. That really was the problem with death. It ended your chance to make things perfect. Perfect love surely must be an illusion, but what a lovely dream it was.

Knowing it was time to change the subject, the young man said, “Where are you staying?”

“At the Puerto Sol,” she replied.

“Well them,” he said, “we are neighbors. I live below you in one of those little houses between you and the marina.”

“I've been wondering about those places. They doesn't seem to be occupied, but I hear the dogs barking.” She was glad for the change of subject.

“You are right. Most of the owners aren't here this time of year. I'm house sitting for a friend and I feed about six of the dogs who are left to guard the houses.”

“How about that drink now?” he said.

“Sure, what is that you have? It looks very refreshing.”

“It is called Gin and Lemonade,” he replied, wrapping his hands lovingly around the cool glass.

“I have never tasted Gin but I am very partial to lemonade. I'll give it a try," she said while thinking to herself that this was her day to try new things, first coffee and now gin. How grown-up she was acting.

He retreated into the dark interior of The Merry England pub and returned with a lovely tall glass.

She sipped it carefully not sure what to expect. Preparing her mouth for the sour flavor of lemon, she was surprised to taste sweet, then she realized her drink was full of 7-Up.

“Excuse me, she said, this appears to be 7-Up, not lemondade.”

“My fault luv, we call 7-Up,lemonade. I have no idea why, but I'll try to remember you speak American, not English.” He said the words with a sense of glee that made her feel special. Was he going to need to remember her?

She suddenly realized they had not introduced themselves. “Do you have a name you might like to share with me,” she inquired?

“God, where are my manners? You must think I was brought up by wolves. My name is Grahame.”

“Mine is Sarah.”

“Well, very pleased to meet you Sarah of the beautiful eyes.”

“Likewise I am sure, Grahame of the ice cold drink.”

They both laughed and returned to what seemed to be an easy comradeship. It was then that she realized this was the first conversation she had had with a strange man since she had made the funeral arrangements with the undertaker. The thought made her a little uncomfortable, but before she had a chance to deal with it, an older couple approached the table.

“Well, here are some countrymen of yours,” he said.

“Betty and Jim, this is my new friend, Sarah from Pennsylvania.”

Betty and Jim smiled warmly, explaining that they were from Nebraska and had spent the winters in Spain since Jim's retirement from the Navy, some fifteen years ago. They chatted for a while, making polite inquiries and giving information about the area. The sort of thing new neighbors might exchange on a street in Malvern, she thought.

Before they left, they invited her to join them for Betty's mother's 85th. Birthday party the following night at Coco's pub a few streets away.

She thanked them and said she would try to join them. She wanted to make it sound as if she might be too busy, rather than she might be too frightened.

Sarah thanked Grahame for the drink and got up to go, he rose with her taking her hand and kissing it. She smiled and said “thank you.” She was so vulnerable, he couldn't help himself. He took her in his arms and kissed her on both cheeks.

“That is the Spanish way of parting from a friend you hope to see again.”

“It is very nice,” she said, hoping he wasn't able to see the excitement his gesture had caused. “Will I see you tomorrow night?” he asked as she walked away.

She turned and smiled her very best smile and said “I hope so.”

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Chapter Seven

Back in her room, she unloaded her groceries and began to feel at home. When she walked into the bedroom, she saw the maid had closed the curtains, probably to keep the sun and heat from the room. That was just what she had come here for. She pulled the drapes open. Heat poured in through the closed glass door. She opened the door, sighed, and began to remove her clothes, first jacket, then slacks, followed by sweater, and underwear. She lay down on the bed to take a bit of a rest, while allowing the sun to warm her.

She basked in the new feelings of success and independence she was beginning to enjoy. For the first time since Jeff's death, she felt her own woman. No longer mourning what had been taken away, but curious about what lay ahead.

Casually without even thinking about it, her hands moved to her breasts. Her fingers found her nipples and as she pulled gently on them, thoughts of the encounter with Grahame flooded her mind.

As her nipples hardened, she wondered what sort of a lover he might be. He had mentioned three failed marriages, maybe that in itself spoke of some problem; or maybe not.

The pleasure she was beginning to experience wiped all thoughts away, as she lost herself in her own responses. Her hand left her breast and moved to her newfound rib cage. She had lost 20 more pounds since Jeff's death and her body no longer felt like her own. “Bones” she thought, “I have gotten bony! In my whole life, I don't remember ever feeling these bones before.” She explored them, they had to be hers she could feel them just barely below the skin stretched taut over them. She felt large bones fading away to absolutely tiny bones at the bottom. The wonder of it was only second to the feeling she had when her hands reached her stomach, and found it flat. She had known she had lost weight, she had had to purchase new clothes for the trip, but she had not truly felt the loss until now. She had a lovely body, one she could be proud of. “Imagine that,” she thought.

Her hand continued to move down her body until it reached that spot, so strategically located in what she thought of as the center of her. From this one spot had flowed the most divine pleasures of her life.

Her fingers parted the lips that hid the true prize, that tiny lump which could swell and throb at its owners command or at the command of others. Again, she was remembering the joys of sex with Jeff. He had known her so well.

At first he had fought her aggressive manner difficult. He was used to being the hunter, not the prey. But eventually he had learned that she was the most responsive when she was allowed to initiate and so he ceased his old ways and moved into the 20th Century with her. His Victorian male beliefs were replaced with a new sense of himself as part of a joyful, willing team, whose sole goal in life was to bring pleasure to one another.

She remembered, but now she was a team of one. He had taught her how to give herself pleasure, usually while he watched.

The thought brought a smile to her face as she invited him to enjoy her. She opened herself, so that he might better see. She took the small lump of tissue between her fingers and began rythmatically pulling, then stroking; inviting it to come out and play.

She felt it swell as she moistened it with the fluid now flooding her vagina. The rhythm changed, faster and faster as she fought the inevitable. The moans escaped as her lower body began moving with the beat of her passion, her brain had closed down now and the lower spine had control of her. She placed two fingers deep inside herself, while her thumb continued to minister to her clitoris.

Suddenly, she realized, it was time, she ceased all external control and allowed it to happen.

From deep inside her, at that place she imagined her womb to be, she felt the contractions begin. One then two, no need to count them as her fingers strained to reach deeper inside herself, trying to reach as deeply as he had once reached; moan followed moan as the tension of the last months rushed from her body. Now, drained, exhausted and relaxed, she gasped for air, wondering if the dead watched the living; then settled back on her pillow and slept the best sleep she had in months.

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Chapter Eight

Sarah woke in a dark room; she had slept right through dinner. She got up, showered, and went to her tiny kitchen and made a meal of bread and cheese. She ate one of her candy bars for dessert and then turned on the television. The only English station was something called Sky TV, which appeared to be a CNN knock off for British tourists. She watched for a few minutes, but when they began to repeat the same news stories every ten minutes, she decided to watch Bonanza in Spanish. The evening passed very slowly, but it passed.

The following morning, she rose early and decided to swim. Being American it never occurred to her the outdoor pool would not be heated, but it wasn't. She had seen people swimming in this water yesterday, “my God,” she thought, “these old English folks are certainly hearty.” Disappointed in herself and the frailty of her body that refused to enjoy a dip in 50 degree water, she decided on breakfast.

Breakfast went very well, she met a lovely couple from New York, he a retired Spanish teacher from the city school system and she the widow of a navy doctor. To her delight she discovered they too would be taking the trip to Morocco. She breathed easier knowing that she would know someone. They parted company vowing to eat together later at dinner. Slowly, she was filling up her table. Iris, Philly, whose real name was Phyllis and Don made for a very nice beginning.

The day was spent in visiting the small shops along the Playa del Bajonadillo. She found the lovely marina and wondered at the luxuriousness of the yachts docked here. In a world so full of need, why did some people have so much? Why did she have so much, Jeff had left her with enough assets to allow her to live very comfortably for the rest of her life? How could she make the most of her life now? The choices were all hers, no one to consult, no one to consider, a bit frightening actually. Being in total control was a very new feeling for her.

Her only purchase that day was a lovely bunch of flowers purchased from an old woman in the street. In the midst of winter to be able to buy flowers like these was a treat. She carried the bundle home and divided it between her two small rooms. Now, her environment was really beginning to feel like home to her.

As the afternoon wore on, she began to consider the possibility of attending the birthday party she had been invited to. She wanted to go, the evenings were too lonely here in her room, and she had not yet made enough friends to venture into the couples who enjoyed the entertainment after dinner in the hotel. Grahame had indicated he hoped to see her again. Could she be so bold? Showing up unescorted, in a strange bar, in a strange country; could she pull that off with a bit of sophistication? She wasn't the least bit worldly, but no one really needed to know that. She could act the part, then maybe she would become the part. A decision was reached. She would attend.

She met her new-found friends for dinner, and as they chatted about the discoveries of their day, she began to think about the evening to come. It occurred to her that in her entire life she had never walked into a bar alone. Like so many new experiences she was having, somehow it felt like time to do this bold thing. And she did think it bold, no doubt about it, good girls didn't do things like that.

The very attractive, young man was again working the desk when she stopped to asked for directions to Coco's Bar. He smiled and said, “you look lovely tonight, Mrs. Johnstone.” That was what she needed. “Oh thank you, Jose,” she said as she quickly read his nametag. “I have been invited to a birthday party,” she replied, while trying not to blush at his compliment. He smiled, knowing that he had touched her. “You will be the belle of the ball, I think,” he whispered to her. It was against company policy to flirt with the guests, but this woman deserved to be flirted with, he thought. This was a woman who could fire the soul of a man, and his body too. She was no girl, he could see that, but he could feel how warm and giving she might be as a lover. Women like this one are why young men dream of older women. He wondered if she knew the effect she was having on him. “No, she was as innocent of her charms as one could be,” he thought, “that is what makes her so beguiling.” “She is at one time, sweet, and wicked, I believe I may dream of this woman tonight,” Jose thought, as he got out a map and showed her the directions to the place she was expected.

She said thank you to Jose and left him without knowing his thoughts about her. Had she known, she would surely have smiled, as her thoughts about him had not been so different.

She was very pleased to arrive at the door of Coco's, but she hesitated for just a moment before entering, what if Grahame wasn't there? Betty and Jim would be there, and they were the ones who had invited her, what if they didn't remember her. She took a deep breath and opened the door.

The bar was dark, but full of sound. It drew her inside, and she quickly located the hosts of this party. Jim rose to greet her and escorted her to a seat beside him. Betty was in the kitchen he said, making last minute arrangements for food. He ordered her a drink and while they waited for it, he introduced her to the guest of honor.

Gertrude Smith was the sort of woman she had always feared she would become. Loud, over dressed, over made up, but she seemed to be enjoying herself completely. Gert, as she preferred to be called, put her arms around Sarah in welcome. “My best wishes for the happiest of birthdays,” Sarah said.

Gertrude responded with a heartfelt “My dear, you are so welcome. I remember how hard it was for me when I lost my poor, dear, husband Albert. Seems like a hundred years ago now, but it has only been 9 years. Life goes on, we must find a way.” With those words she moved on to meet other guests whom she had clearly known for many years. Her naturalness, made Sarah a bit envious.

Her drink arrived, and Betty appeared almost at the same instance. Betty seemed genuinely glad to see that Sarah had been able to make it. Asking Jim if he had introduced Sarah to the other guests and being told there hadn't yet been time, Betty grabbed Sarah by the hand and took her around. Never good at remembering names, Sarah strained to try to remember at least a few. Harriet and Paul from California and Jane and Bob from Connecticut chatted with her about home. Neither couple had been home for over a year. Spain was now their home. She understood Connecticut with its bad winters, but she wondered why anyone would leave California for Spain. She would later discover that many of the expatriot Americans were hiding from the Internal Revenue Service.

As she was walking back to her seat near Jim, a young man walked up to her and said, “excúseme que puede la señora bonita yo le compra una bebida.” She smiled her best smile and said, “I am sorry, I speak only English.”

The young man smiled back and said, “Good, that is my best language too.” He was clearly English, she thought. “What a lovely accent you have,” she said. “Me, I have no accent,” he responded. “Now you sound just like Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas.” She laughed and said, “I think the resemblance must end there.“

“So, I will translate what I asked you earlier, I said, pretty lady may I buy you a drink?” It really is my best phrase of Spanish. I have been practicing it in front of a mirror for a year.” He laughed at himself and she liked that. She could almost see him standing there getting it down just right. He was so young, she thought. At his age, you practice everything don't you? She was about to say that he could buy her a drink when she remembered she had a full one sitting on the table awaiting her return.

“I'm sorry,” she said, “I have a drink I haven't touched yet, and I am not much of a drinker to begin with.” “Maybe later.” The words had no more than left her mouth when she saw the door open and Grahame walk in. He surveyed the room, spotted her and came right to her, taking her in his arms and kissing her like a long lost lover, he whispered, “I was hoping you would be here.” The young man moved away and left the two apparent friends to themselves.

Later in the evening, the Kareoke began. This was something very new to Sarah and she enjoyed it as each person took their turn at entertaining the room. The young man who had offered her the drink earlier did a version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” with such conviction she was impressed both by his voice and his understanding of the topic of the song. Several times she felt he looked right at her when he sang the lyric “loving eyes can never see.” What was he trying to say to her, she wondered? Oh, she was just being silly. Why would he sing to her?

Grahame did his best to make himself unforgettable. As the evening wore on, she began to see why three wives might have chosen the convent over life with such an arrogant man. She missed the quiet, unassuming nature of Jeff. He had never bragged about himself or what he had achieved. He had certainly spoiled her for men like this.

From time to time her eyes found the young man in the crowd, clearly enjoying himself with some other young people at the end of the bar. She stayed with the older crowd, wishing she didn't belong here.

When the evening ended, she excused herself and left. Grahame followed her out the door and asked if he might walk her back to the hotel. She really didn't want his company, but it was a dark evening and she was more afraid of the night than she was of him. He seemed to return to the nice guy who had bought her the iced drink as they walked, perhaps the cool night air was clearing the alcohol from his brain.

Arriving at the hotel, he asked if he might come up to her room. To her surprise, she heard herself say, “Thank you, but I am very tired tonight.”

He smiled and said, “Well, next time then. Good night Sarah.” He then bent down and kissed her good night. She found that enjoyable, and wondered if she had made the right decision. She had to start again sometime; maybe it would be best to practice on someone she didn't really care about.

Too late to change her mind, he was walking away, and she could never call him back. She walked into the lobby and Jose inquired as to her evening. “It was great fun,” she said walking into the elevator.

When she got into her bed that night, her mind returned to the evening. The young man was still in her thoughts. She wondered why? He was not at all like the men whom she had been attracted to in the past. She had always chosen tall, darkly handsome men, always men years older than she. This man was many years younger than she, short, not more than an inch or two taller than she was, balding, wearing glasses and a bit over his ideal body weight. Could she even call him a man, he was really not much more than a boy. But, it was the boy in his eyes and in his laugh that made her remember him now. It was his youth that made him beautiful in a way she did not yet understand.

Sleep came easily, as her mind thought of him. Her dreams would be sweet tonight.

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Chapter Nine

The next weeks passed quietly. Sarah made several day trips to nearby towns and villages, until soon the marvel that was Spain became too repetitious. She couldn't remember the names of the places, and the people all began to seem the same. Perhaps, if she had been able to talk with them they would have become individuals. She might as well have been deaf and dumb. She hated that feeling of not being able to connect. She tried her best smiles and that seemed to break down a few barriers, but mostly she talked only to the English speakers in the hotel.

The nights passed too. Each night after dinner she joined her growing group of friends for the evening's entertainment and pitchers of Sangria. Flaminco dancing exhibitions, ballroom dancing for the residence, singers, comedians, and the occasional movie passed the time. It wasn't that she enjoyed these events, but it did allow her to talk and laugh and get to know people. She didn't feel alone although she was lonely.

She had gotten so lonely that one night she actually went looking for Grahame. He was easy to find and seemed truly glad to see her. He took her to a lovely restaurant and then invited her back to his place. This time she went.

It was time, she wanted to have sex and he wanted to have sex. She didn't love him. Being honest she would have to admit she didn't even like him. That wasn't going to matter though. He was hard, and he definitely liked her. He offered her a drink, she accepted. It wouldn't hurt to relax, she thought.

He was gentle with her. When she finished her drink, he walked to her and took her hand in his. She rose to meet him and he backed up to a chair, as he sat, he pulled her down on his lap. “You are so tiny, I hope I don't hurt you,” he whispered. His kiss was sweet on her lips and she began to warm to him. He reached to a light switch and turned it down low.

In the soft light, she looked into his face. He was somehow different than when they had first met, not so sure of himself. He seemed vulnerable, somehow needy. Is it possible that he was as hungry for this as she was? Had he been starving for the touch of a woman? She knew that hunger. She determined he would not leave this room unsatisfied.

And so the dance of love began between them. He unbuttoning her blouse, she shivered in his arms, responding to his every touch. Gentle kisses turned to passion as tongues found lips. When it all became too much, he stood her up and then joined her for the walk to his bed. He removed her remaining clothes, and smiled at what he saw. Not a perfect body by media standards, but the lovely round warm body of a woman. He laid her down gently and removed his own clothing. She smiled at the erection she saw.

Not a single word passed between them; unless you call a moan a word. When she felt his lips on her breast, she quivered to his touch. He felt her passion rising as he moved down her body. Parting her legs, he was pleased to feel the moisture between them. She liked him; this was going to be fun for both of them. His tongue lowered to her and as her body moved to him, the first moans began to rise from her throat. Her hips pulsated to his rhythms. He loved the taste of her. This was a woman, he thought. A woman who needs to be loved. That thought forced him into her, she cried out as she felt him penetrate her. How long had it been? Too long, she had forgotten the joy of being connected. Her arms went around him and her legs encircled his back. He rode her and she loved every minute of it. Her sounds made him feel a passion he had forgotten he possessed. He wanted to see her face, to know what she was feeling. He opened his eyes for the first time ever during lovemaking. He lowered his lips to her. He must connect on every level with her. He watched her face as she reached her first climax. Such tension, such release, this is what beauty really is, he thought. He could not hold back, he would join her in this release. Both straining together, wanting what the other could give. Taking all, giving everything. Again and then again they reached the pinnacle of pleasure. She had not been with a man with such stamina before. At one point she thought she would die from it all, but she did not die. Instead, she rose from her grave and began to live again. She had awakened from the long nightmare of aloneness and grief. She was of the world again.

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Chapter Ten

Grahame and Sarah became a couple at the Porta Sol. Many of the married men envied his position beside Sarah. Had she known the thoughts men had for her, she would have been too embarrassed to face them. She did know she had an effect on them. She also noticed that since her return to being a sexual creature, they seemed even more interested.

She did not love Grahame, but she had learned to like him. He was an excellent sexual partner. She found giving him pleasure to be as lovely as accepting it from him. She practiced all the arts she had learned on him. He took her to a few places she had never been before. Places neither husband would have asked her to go, but Grahame did not ask, he simply took.

As their time together came to an end, he sought to get a commitment from her for the future. He did not want to let this marvelous creature go. He had had many women, but never one like this. She was rare in her pure sexuality. She had no fear, she was never embarrassed, yes an unusual woman. And, somehow, she was a lady. His mother would have loved her. She would make a wonderful wife, he thought.

Unfortunately for Grahame, her thoughts had nothing to do with marriage. She was simply enjoying the connection, the experience of sex with a man she did not love. A new experience for her, and one which she felt quite exciting. Love was illusive in this world, but now she suspected it might be unnecessary.

Their last night together was difficult for her. She would not hurt him. She promised they would be together again. Perhaps, he could visit her in the States. She gave him hope and that was all he really needed.

They spent the rest of the night memorizing each other. They tasted and probed and remembered everything. He because he loved her; she because she didn't know when it would happen again.

The next morning she boarded the bus to go to Morocco. Several couples who had stayed at the hotel with her were also going. A group of eight English speakers would take the tour, she had been told. She had already met 3 couples who were going, she made 7 and to her surprise the young man who had tried to buy her a drink at Coco's weeks before made the 8th member of the group.

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Chapter Eleven

The group would be known to themselves as Omar's Family. A tour of 40 people, mostly Spanish speakers left Torremolinos at 8:00 am. By 11:00 am they where on a ship crossing the Straights of Gibraltar. The group congregated on the deck. No one wanted to miss the sight of leaving Gibraltar and Europe behind and approaching the shores of North Africa. They talked and laughed like old friends.

The young man from Coco's was a bit uncomfortable since all the others all seemed to know each other. He sat quietly to the side reading a book. Sarah recognized him immediately. She had often thought of him, but he did not seem to realize that they had met before. Or if he did, he didn't acknowledge it.

Sarah watched him as he turned the pages of his book faster than anyone she had ever seen. She wanted to introduce herself, but didn't want to interrupt. She waited. The boat was approaching the African shore when he finally put the book back in his rucksack.

Sarah excused herself from her friends and walked to the spot the young man had made his own. “May I join you,” she asked.

“Of course,” he replied in that lovely English accent she had heard so often in her brain.

“You don't remember me, do you,” she asked. “Excúseme que puede la señora bonita yo le compra una bebida,” she ventured. “Sorry, I don't say it as well as you do.”

He smiled and said “not sure if I should be embarrassed or not.” “Did it work?”

Sarah giggled and blushed as she remembered how well it had worked. “I already had a drink.”

“Coco's, now I remember you, I kept thinking I know that woman.”

“You don't exactly know me. We never introduced ourselves. I am Sarah Jonestone, I live in Pennsylvania in the States.”

“And I am David Maier of London, that's in England.”

She laughed,“very nice to meet you David. You and I seem to be the only two singles on this trip. Would you like to team up? Sit together, that sort of thing.”

“An interesting offer,” David smiled his smile and asked “a seat next to you, is that what you are offering?”

“It is a beginning,” Sarah said in what no one would have missed as flirting.

David blushed and said,“We can give it a try, after all it is a bus, how much trouble can we get into on a bus?”

Sarah wondered if she dare ask him his age. She decided it was best to wait for him to volunteer. She knew he would. And he did. 30, oh my God, she thought, no way he will be interested in me. He is so darn cute though, in a strange sort of way. She had thought of him so often after their very casual encounter in the bar. He had even visited her dreams. There was something very special about him. It would be a challenge for her to hold back and remember her age. Damn, there it was again that age thing. She had not thought of it once when she was with Grahame, he had chosen her. He had never asked her age. Now, this young man by her side made her feel old again. When they arrived at the shore of Spanish Morocco, the bus was unloaded from the ferry and all the tour found seats. The English speakers, Omar's Family, sat together in the rear on the upper deck. Feeling very exclusive, they laughed as though they had known each other forever. Adventurers on a caravan, Sarah thought. David shared bits and pieces of information with her, she liked what she heard. She too, told him a little about herself, but she was being careful not to sound old. Then someone two seats back ask her a question about her granddaughter. Oh no, she thought. He knows.

A few hours later, the bus made a lurch, and a noise rose from the bottom of it. They had broken an axle. Now somewhere high in the Atlas Mountains, the adventure truly began. All riders were asked to leave the bus while the driver crawled beneath it. Apparently, the driver was also a mechanic.

Sarah walked off the bus with a sense of wonder, the Atlas Mountains looked and sounded so exotic to her. David left with a book in hand. He found a seat on the ground and returned to his reading. She walked to a small group of children who had gathered to look at the newcomers. The berbers of the mountains made lovely children. Not Arab in appearance, more like the steps of Russia she thought.

The little boys were busy throwing rocks at a group of three small girls. Two mothers watched but did nothing to stop them. Sarah walked toward the mothers and showing them a candy bar, then pointing to the children received their permission to give it to them. She broke the bar in half and gave half to each girl, then took another bar out of her bag and gave each of the boys a piece. The children smiled and devoured the unexpected gift. They crowded around her and chattered like children the world over. She expressed her appreciation by telling the mothers that their children were beautiful. She did this with a series of gestures which any mother would recognize as complimentary.

She glanced at David sitting alone. He is hiding, she thought. Not comfortable with strangers. In all this beauty, he reads. What she didn't know was that he had watched the entire event with the children. He had thought her silly for even approaching them. Beggars every one he had thought. No, he was not the type to feed a stray dog, or a strange child. He wished he were that sort of person though. Open to life, and what it brought to you. Just then he noticed a young man of about 20 riding down the hill on a donkey. Sarah had not seen him, but he had seen Sarah and David could tell he was looking at her. Of course, a woman like this would be rare in these parts, but there were 20 or so other such rare sights in his view, why had she caught his eye, he wondered.

As the young man reached the small grist mill in front of the bus, it was clear to see, he was staring at Sarah. Sarah finally felt it, and turned to see where it was coming from. She saw standing in front of her a true work of art. He could have been a Greek statue chiseled in antiquity. Dark curly hair, eyes as black as coal and long luxurious eyelashes over a nose which was truly remarkable in its fine design. His lips were full, but not so full as to look feminine. On his head, he wore a baseball cap with USA on the front. All this and a donkey too, she thought. He was shy in a way, he would not try to speak to her, but he was undressing her with his every glance. She saw his eyes move down her body. She could do nothing but smile and perhaps blush. She wasn't sure what to do, but she was sure all eyes from the bus where on her.

She smiled a smile which tried to say excuse me to the young man, and she walked toward David. When she got there, she said “I could use a bit of help here. Could you just act like we are together and I somehow belong to you?”

David having seen the entire exchange, looked up at her and simply said, “No.”

She was shocked, no one had ever said no to her request for help in her life.

“Why not,” she asked in a tone which might be called hurt.

“If you will flirt with every bloke who rides a donkey in your direction this sort of thing will continue to happen. I didn't come to Morocco to be your bodyguard.”

No one had ever spoken to her like that before, who did he think he was? After all, she had asked politely. Very well, she thought. I'll find someone else to help me.

She walked to a group of two couples she had known from the hotel. The young man soon left on his way back up the hill. One of the men in the group mentioned that it was a good thing the donkey knew his way home, because the driver was looking backward the entire time. “You do have the most remarkable effect on men Sarah, he whispered.

When they were able to return to the bus, David did not sit with Sarah. He chose a seat among the Spanish speakers and continued to read his book. Sarah felt lost. She didn't know what she had done to upset him so.

Finally, the little band of travelers reached their first destination. Arriving hours later than they were expected, the kitchen staff that had been forced to wait on their arrival served a meal which Sarah was sure had been mixed with the dishwater. She hoped all the food in Morocco would not be so bad. But she was tired, and fell off to sleep quickly.

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Chapter Twelve

The next few days passed quickly, the little band of travelers moved through the medina's of Morocco. Each stop brought a flurry of buying. Brass, oriental carpets, leather goods all made with loving hands. Not to mention the ever present photographs which appeared like magic. Picture taken the day before and developed during t he night. Each day began with a view of the day that proceeded it. She saw David in many shots. He seemed to be alone or standing among the Spanish speakers. What had she done to make him abandon the English speakers? Had they noticed his absence? She thought perhaps they did not. No one mentioned him. Each night the bus would deposit them at the 5 star hotel of the day. Each night they ate together. Each night they became closer as a group. Each night she missed his laugh.

On the third day, he came to her when the bus stopped for lunch. He asked if he might sit beside her. Her heart beat faster as she smiled and offered the seat next to her. The other English speakers greeted him and inquired as to what he had been doing with himself. He had been reading and enjoying the scenery was his only reply. There was no sense of his having been upset with them, just that he had something else to do.

Lunch went quite well, she thought. Should she ask him to join her in the bus? No, she thought he had better be allowed to make all the moves. She did not think she could stand being refused.

When the bus loaded up again, everyone took the seats they had been sitting in for days. She had a lovely view of Don's balding head directly in front of her. Being a Spanish teacher came in very handy. The guide gave lengthy descriptions of Morocco in Spanish, and then two sentences in English. Don would translate what the guide had really said. This added to everyone's enjoyment. The seat beside her remained empty.

She didn't know why that made her sad. He was too young. Why did he have such power over her sense of well-being?

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Chapter Thirteen

The next day found them in Marrakech. What a day, the street vendors who did everything from charm snakes to pulling teeth. Sarah loved every minute of it. The men of Marrakech found Sarah nothing short of fantastic. Her obvious love of life was not something they were accustomed to seeing.

David spent the day very near her. He did not speak to her, but he watched her. He watched the men watch her. He did not know why it made him angry to see her the object of their attention. He had to fight back the urge to say something to the guide about her behavior. Was he angry with her, with the strange men, or with himself?

That night they checked into the most elegant accommodation of the trip. Each of them had a private villa on the grounds of a Polo Club. Each villa was surrounded by it's own private garden. Sarah could not believe her luck. Now this was the way she had dreamed of Morocco. After settling into her private piece of paradise, she walked out into her garden. She glanced at the surroundings and realized the mountains were in clear view. As warm as it was, there was still snow on the tops. She took a deep breath and thanked God that she had come. Just then, a couple rode by on polo ponies. They waved and she waved back. She giggled as she walked back inside. “I have waved to someone riding a polo pony, little Sarah Johnstone of Malvern, Pennsylvania.”

She decided that a bath would be just the thing to get her through what she thought might be a long night. This romantic spot made her feel all the more alone. The tub was the biggest she had ever seen. She opened the large window over it. The garden provided her total privacy. She filled the tub with bubbles and warm water. When all was ready, she dove in with a genuine sense of pleasure.

In the luxury of the water, she thought of him. Not Jeff, not the missing husband; rather the missing young man, David. She felt her hands moving over her smooth warm body. The heat from the water was relaxing every inch of her. She was almost asleep in the bath when something roused her. She listened and then she heard it again. Someone was knocking on her door. She got out of the tub and wrapped a huge towel around herself. She opened the door just an inch to see who might be calling at this hour.

He stood there, smiling and inquiring as to whether he might come in. She fumbled for the right words but all that came out of her mouth was, “why, of course, David. “ Why was he here, what did he want?

David glanced down at the towel and said, “I'm sorry, you were bathing.”

“No matter, I was done, if you hadn't come I probably would have fallen asleep and drowned myself in the tub.”

“Sounds like a lovely way to go,” he said.

Those were the last words he spoke. He reached for the light switch and turned it off. Now, only the moonlight lit the room. Two beds stood on what could only be described as a stage at the far end of the room. He walked up the two stairs, and began to undress beside one of the beds. Slowly and deliberately he removed all but his briefs. He had a magnificent body. What she had mistaken for fat was in fact solid muscle. She had never seen a man built like this. He could have been a weightlifter. Perhaps, he was.

She stood by the door, paralyzed. What was she supposed to do? Was this an invitation? Well, clearly it was. He had gone to the trouble of finding which villa she was in. He had come to her.

Without further thought, she walked up the stairs to him. He had laid down on the bed and she sat at the foot of the bed. She leaned against the wall, still wrapped in her towel. Her hand reached out and touched his foot. Gently she stroked it, feeling his skin against hers. It was a good thing that she had chosen to sit down because the nearness of his body made her knees weak. Her hand began to slowly move up his powerful leg. Such muscles didn't happen by accident. His legs needed two of her hands. She moved her body over him and continued to explore the length of him. Quite by accident she brushed against his penis now standing erect, but trapped inside his shorts. Dare she free it? Not yet, she thought. She continued to move her body up his until she found herself sitting over his waist. She lowered her lips to his and felt him shutter when they connected. His hands moved to her towel. He stripped her of her last remaining protection. She would be his, and somehow she felt she had always been his. He didn't feel new, this didn't feel strange, she knew this man. Her soul had longed for him through encounter after encounter. She had had so many men, looking for this one man. Her soul melted into a puddle of joy as he placed his strong hands on her and rolled her over. He would be dominant tonight.

His penetration made her moan, and his movements pushed her deeper and deeper into that place all women search for. Her arms encircled him. Her legs held him. Her heart beat with his. She was finally one. “Oh David,” she heard herself moan over and over again.

Hours later when it had all come to an end, she lay in his arms. He asked her how many times she had cum? “Three before I quit counting,” she whispered.

“Not bad for our first time,” he responded.

She heard the words, and understood there would be more of David. “There must be more of David,” she thought.

Each night for the rest of the journey he came to her. He was careful not to show any interest in her during the day. She didn't understand this, but she accepted it. She wanted to be playful with him, to hold his hand, to feel those strong arms around her in front of other people. She did not want to hide what was happening between them. She was a woman to be proud of, why was he trying to hide his interest? Then it came to her. “My God, he must think I am too old.”

She made a conscious decision not to think of that. He came and that was all that mattered to her. In the dark, in her room, they were together. Together as she had never before been. She wanted only to pleasure him, and he sought only her pleasure. He too felt the bond stronger than either could fight. What drew him back to her night after night? What kept his eyes glued to her during the day? What made him angry when she laughed with someone else? Who was this woman?

All too soon, they found themselves back on the ferry. The dream was over. Life would go on as it had before. Or would it? Could it? Having found each other, how could they just say good bye?

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Chapter Fourteen

The tour found it's final destination, the Madrid Hilton. Sarah was desolate. Was it all over now? It had been the sweetest two weeks of her life. David was also racked by thoughts of parting. He knew she was too old for him, he knew his family and friends would not accept her. He knew his life would be empty without her. But, what to do?

Each checked into their appointed rooms. Neither knew what came next. Finally, after a last group meal, followed by tearful good byes and promised to meet again, Omar's Family separated. Each would return to their own homes tomorrow. David walked Sarah back to her room, and as she opened the door, he turned her toward him in the hallway and gave her a passionate kiss. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw two couples from the tour. She returned his kiss with all the desperation she felt mixed somehow with the pure joy of having known him. When the kiss was finished, he followed her into the room. They spent the night together, but not in feverish last minute lovemaking. Rather, it was a night of celebration. They had found each other, found each other in a world of five billion people. He held her in his strong arms, and she held him in hers. He whispered to her, and tickled her feet. They had a pillow fight around 2:00 am and laughed until 3:00. Then they held each other's hand and fell asleep. Each dreamed their own private dream of the future or was it the past they dreamt of?

The next morning found them both at the Madrid Airport. Her plane to New York left two hours before his plane to London. They shared a quiet lunch together. Then he walked her to her gate. Never had she had such feelings. The thought of leaving David broke her heart. Why she wondered had he become so important to her? The thought of not sharing the same air with him or even the same time of day had her almost in tears. She would not cry, she was almost sure of that, but how would she turn her back on him and walk through that damn departure gate. She prayed that he would stop her, ask her to stay with him. Make a new life - start again. Be young again, young with him. But, he said nothing. He held her close he kissed her in front of all to see. But he did not say the words she longed to hear. She would not beg although every instinct in her wanted to fall to her knees in front of him. Every instinct save one, her pride would not let him know how much she hurt.

Her pride dragged her away. At the gate she offered her ticket and passport to the security man. She felt something very strongly pulling on her, as she turned to look she saw him. Tears in his eyes waving a little boy wave, now her heart broke in two. One half flew over the crowd and crawled inside him to comfort him. She would not return home the same woman who had left.

She had kept just enough of her heart to stay alive. She would never again have enough left to love any other man. She would love this David forever. She would wake with him on her mind. She would go to sleep at night imagining herself in his arms.

She tried to forget, to move on. At last she knew she needed help.

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Chapter Fifteen

It became an imperative for her to discover why she was so obsessed by her feelings for David. They had continued to e-mail and speak on the phone after they returned to their own lives. Her days began to revolve around these small connections. It was so not like her.

She had never been so connected to another person, man or woman. He was somehow part of her. He knew her and she knew him. She needed to understand this feeling. Had they known each other before? In a life neither of them could remember. But, a life she still felt. A life in which she loved so deeply that the parting from it had left her alone in a world full of people. She began to wonder if it was possible to find him in her past. If she could, then perhaps she could trust the future of this most improbable of relationships. If they found each other in this life, might there be a chance of finding each other again. Sometime in the future when she wouldn't be too old and he too young?

She was overwhelmed by a need to know. Was he there? Was she imagining her knowledge of him? Was she that lonely? Had she created an imaginary playmate for herself, as children often did?

She opened the Yellow Pages. Someone must help people locate past lives. She searched until she found it. Dr. Anna James, Specialist in Hypnotism and Past Life Regression. A phone call, an appointment made, she breathed more easily now. She would find him if he was there. She would know why she needed him so. She picked up her journal. She needed to record this journey.

Sarah's Journal Entry

Today, I took a step into the unknown. Will I have the courage to keep this appointment? 13 days is long enough to come to my senses, perhaps I will.

May 25, 2000It began today, a journey I believe I was meant to take. Dr. James is a very nice person. She claims to have helped hundreds of people regress to past lives. Well, I am still a bit skeptical, but I am in need of an adventure and this is as good as any other I can think of. Today, we visited my past in this life. I sat in a large, black, reclining chair. As I pushed it back and found myself lying comfortably I began to relax. Her voice was soft as she asks me to close my eyes and empty my mind of doubt. Slowly, she moved me farther and farther back into my own mind. First, yesterday - what had I had for dinner? Then, my 45th. birthday, then my 35th. Suddenly, I found myself in a small desk looking up at a Sister Mary Leo who was patiently teaching the multiplication tables. 6 x 1 is 6, 6 x 2 is 12, 6 x3 is 18. What are you wearing, Sarah, she asked? “A green dress with smocking on the top, my mommy made it for me.” I remembered watching my mother sewing with her needle and thread. She worked so hard as a nurse, but she took so much time and effort to sew my clothes. She always wants me to look nice. For a moment, I was sitting in a kitchen chair while she braided my long dark hair. I felt her pulling it to make it tight, ouch! I said. Dr. James said, “What are you feeling that hurts you?” “Mom always pulls too hard when he braids my hair.” All right Sarah, let's go all the way back to the beginning of Sarah's life. What do you see? “Bright light, it makes me hurt. I am so cold, and so tired, where is she? I don't know these voices, I am scared, and I want her back.” “I'm calling for her, can't she hear me, mommy hold me make me warm. Put me back.” Then I heard the words, “Sarah come back now, come back to this day May 25, 2000.”

I always thought that hypnotism was like a coma; you wouldn't remember what had happened. Not the case, I remembered it all, the words, but more importantly the feelings. Suddenly, I miss my poor, dead mother more than words could say. I sat with tears in my eyes. If she could only pull my hair one more time.

“You are a very good subject Sarah,” the Doctor said. “Next week we will see what lies behind the door you wish to open.”

June 10, 2000Another visit to Dr. James and this time I moved beyond Sarah. Amazingly, Katherine looked just like me. Small, dark hair, big dark eyes - it could be no one but me. I recognized the town I lived in as Amsterdam. “I hear swing music playing in my brother's room. He is older than I and very handsome. I am very proud of him. He had his Bar Mitzvah last year.” “I hear a voice ask me “what year is it Katherine?” I glance at a calendar on my desk and reply, “why 1938 of course.” “At least for a few more days.” “It is snowing and very cold today.” “So let me understand you, your name is Katherine and you live in Amsterdam and the year is 1938 and you are Jewish. Is that correct Katherine?” “Yes, of course, and you forgot, I am 10 years old.” The voice spoke very softly now, “Katherine, I want you to go to your 21st. birthday party.” I listened to her words, I wanted to do what she asked, but try as I would, I could not find the place. 21st. birthday party, “perhaps I hadn't had a party” she said. “Just look for the day you turned 21. Again, I looked, I walked up and down halls, but I could find no door label 21. I began to cry, more out of frustration than fear. “I can not find it, it is not here.” Even softer now I heard the voice beckon me back to the present. “Come Sarah, the date is June 10 and the year is 2000, join me here.”

June 17, 2000When I arrived at Doctor James's she inquired how my week had gone. “Very well, thanks for asking.” Should I tell her about the dreams, I wondered? No, not important. Before she put me under she explained that there might be some uncomfortable places visited today. Did I feel strong enough to go there? “Of course, Doctor, I am looking for my truth.” “Then close your eyes and listen very carefully to my instructions.” I did as I was told and I heard the voice say, “no matter what you see or feel today, know that you are safe. You are with me and I will let nothing happen to Sarah.” “Do you understand, you are safe.” “Yes” I whispered and I began falling backward in time.

I stopped at 1943. I fell back into Katherine's now ripening body. I felt my breasts held tightly inside my dress. My hair was no longer braided but fell softly over my shoulders. The bloom of youth was on my face. I looked into a mirror and smiled as I fastened a bow into my hair. Then I hear the noise, so much noise. I hear my mother scream, my brother runs into my room and stands in front of me. The door bursts open and there they stand. Dressed in black, these evil men. Something about them has always reminded me of spiders. They point a gun at us and tell us to move downstairs with the others. I am so frightened, but I know my parents are downstairs; I will just go to them. I will do as this man tells me. “Mama, I am coming for you” I shout. My brother tells me to be quiet. He is always so bossy. I hear the voice say, “Come away from there Katherine, we will move ahead 3 days.” “But my Mama needs me.” “No, Katherine she is fine, come away.” “Meet me 3 days in the future.”

“It is very dark, and so cold, but the stench is awful. Where am I?” “Mama, mama, “she takes my hand. “Katey,” she whispers “go back to sleep, we will be there soon.” “Now I remember, we are in a train, packed in like cattle.” “I am so hungry!” But my mother's hand is warm and I hold on to her very tightly.”

Shortly the train stops moving, the doors are opened and for the first time in days we see the sun. It hurts my eyes and I close them. I hear voices shouting and a woman who is with us in the train and speaks German; tells us that we are to leave the car. Mama holds my hand very tightly. I can feel her tremble, is she just cold? It is a far way to jump down and my mama falls. A young boy helps her to her feet, and then he reaches his hand up to me. I take it, and when I do, I look into his blue eyes. They were so warm and yet so sad. But, he smiles at me. He is the opposite of me, his hair is curly, mine is straight, his is light and mine is dark. But his eyes beckon me to him, as eyes have never done before. I cannot help but smile at him. Perhaps, I will learn to love him here in this new place.

My friend, Sylvia had a secret boyfriend. Maybe, I too would have one. Soon, the spell is broken and men are yelling at us. Finally, someone speaks to us in Dutch and we understand that we are to form a line. We are told to mark our belongings and leave them on the platform. They will be brought to our rooms after we we're settled. Mama does not want to leave her small bag, but a woman takes it from her and she promises her that she will keep it safe. Now, they separated the men from the women. Mama cried as Papa and Ben were taken away. “Mama don't cry, they will be in the room when we get there.“ Mama tries to smile, but I can still feel her trembling.

It is our turn to move. We are going to a shower room. We are all so dirty from the trip that a shower will feel very good. Neither Mama nor I want to take our clothes off with so many strangers, but we are a very clean people. Mama always says, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” We do as we are told, but we stay very close together and Mama tries to hide me. We walk into the shower and wait for the water to clean our bodies, and our spirits. Oh no, Mama what is that smell? I couldn't breath, the harder I try, the more it hurt. Then I begin to see the women and children falling. Mama holds me and put my face against her chest. It was warm and comfortable there, and then suddenly there was nothing. I looked down at my body lying in my mother's arm and wondered what had happened. I see others like myself, blank stares and then slowly they vanish. In the end, I am alone in the room. I have never heard such silence.

Then the fans turn on and the doors open and men come in. They walk to the bodies lying on the floor, naked and vulnerable. The men all wear the star on their clothes, and one of them begins to recite the pray for the dead. Quietly, so as not to be heard by the guards, but I heard him. Each man takes a woman by the arms and drags her to the door. Then a man takes Mama's hands and without looking at her, he pulls her away from me. I see him; the boy from the train with the warm eyes comes for me. He had looked for me, I could tell that. He bends over my still body and kisses my lips. It is my first kiss, and I can't even feel it. Now, he lifts me into his arms. He carries me as I had Dutch men carry their brides over their new thresholds. I walked along side of him, where else could I go?

He followed the men to a place that smelled of burning flesh. I had no body and yet I could see the putrid smoke and smell the stench. The bodies of the women were being thrown into the ovens. I try to find Mama, but without life they all look alike to me. Empty shells. Mama is gone forever and I am alone, accept for this boy who is still with me. He waits until all the others have been disposed of and then he takes my lifeless body to the fire. He lays me down as a mother would an infant in her crib. Then he blessed me and wept. Had he too known I was meant for him to love? Had he felt it when our hands touched as I had? Who could know what he felt, but his tears are for me. A girl whose name he will never know.

I hear Dr. James say “go forward Sarah and tell me what you remember.“ I waited to be called from this place, I was sure I should be in heaven. After all, I knew I was dead. Several days went by, had I been forgotten? “Mama come and get me, please. “ “It is so lonely here. “ Then I saw him again, meeting another train. I determined to see if he treated all girls as he had me. I watched, he did not; he did not even look at them. He just did what he was ordered to do.

I knew then, that somehow I had been special and so I choose to protect him if I could. For the next two years I stay beside him, I watch him sleep; I walk with him in the horror of his days. I whisper when he should hide, and he survives. Finally, the horror is over and he is free to go. I watch as he boards a boat for Palestine. But, this time I do not go. This time, I am called to a new body. And, I am told to forget all that has come before. I try, but the blue eyes remain in my heart. And the memory of his spirit is so strong. “I will not forget you my friend.” “I will not forget.”

The voice is so sweet as she calls me back. “Come back Sarah, Katherine has told us her story.” I wake with a start, and cry out. “Oh my God, David!”

And so, Sarah understood. Now what could be done with this new knowledge? She had met him before. If she could trust her memories, she had protected him before. Could that alone account for these feelings she had. This feeling of having been evicted from the only real home she had ever known. There must be more to their story she thought. She would find her whole truth.

July 1, 2000I was so excited about today, I found it impossible to sleep last night. My appointment wasn't until 2:00 pm. It was the longest morning of my life. Finally, when I got to the office, Dr. James asked me what I was trying to accomplish. I told her I just wanted to move quickly through any past lives we might find to see if could find my friend again.

“Why,” she asked.

“Well, it seems to me the more I remember the feeling when Katherine touched his hand, the more it feels as though I recognized him and he me. I am just wandering if that is possible. “I knew what to do, so I sat in the chair and prepared for the journey back in time. I hear her voice, but I don't really need it, the years fall away quickly. I look at each face as I journey further and further back in time. Some faces are very familiar to me, I see my mother and father in many lives, even my sister is there sometimes, but I do not see David. Farther back I travel. A bit like watching fast reverse on the VCR. No voices, just faces. There are times when I want to stop and visit, but the voice keeps me moving.

Suddenly, movement stops. I am standing on a crowded street in a city I do not recognize at first. I look around and have a sense of being in England, but when? I look about for a sign of the date, but I see no calendar, or not even a clock. I stop a woman, “Do you know the date?” I ask. She looks at me with fear. “No, my lady, what is a date?“ She moves away into a stall. I hear my voice, “no matter Kathryn go about your business.” I must find Issac Ben Saul, mother is very ill and he is the only physician she will allow to care for her. Father is off with the king and I am the only person she trusts to find him. I have never been to the Jewish quarter before. “Please God let me find him before it is too late. Let no harm come to me here among these heathens. Forgive me for searching for a Jew instead of a Christian.”

I ask men and women to help me find him, finally an old man directs me to a street called Old Jerusalem. When I turn the corner everything changes. No garbage or refuse in the street, no animals routing, women are busy sweeping the street of dirt and dust. I even see a place of baths. We have no such things in my part of York. “York,” I cry out, now Sarah knows where she is. I see the sign of the mortar and pestle, my heart is beating very fast; but I have no choice. Mother is dying. I walk up the steps and enter a room, which is dark but sweet smelling.

I hear a soft voice inquire as to my need. My eyes move to the direction of the voice and then I see him. Hair as fair as flax, even in this dimness it shines. No Jew has hair that colour. He must be Saxon like me, although my hair is dark from my mother's welsh blood.

“My mother, the Lady Edyth is very ill, will you come sir?” He quickly gathers boxes and potions and rushes down the stairs. I have to run to keep up with him, and when I shout to ask him to wait, he turns. That is when I see his eyes, as blue as the heavens and as clear as a mountain stream. I have never seen such eyes. I stare until he comes back for me.

“Come Kathryn, you are the Lady Kathryn are you not?” “We have no time to waste.”

I shake my head and remember my poor mother. No more words are exchanged between us. We reach my home and I take him to mother's room. So hot, he opens the shutter and I feel air flowing in.

“No, I cry. The vapors will be bad for her.”

“Nonsense girl, fresh air will help revive her spirits.” “Now, go sit in the corner while I examine her.” “Tell me of her decline.”

“She was fine, using the time that father was gone to clean the rushes on the floor. We worked for days, sweeping and burning. Then workmen came bringing the fresh greens for the floor and the next day she sickened.”

“What happened then,“ he asks.

“She didn't come down the following morning. When I went to her room she was burning up, Mildred our cook made a broth for her of meat and mushrooms. She swore it would heal her, but it seemed she just got worse."

“Would she have any of the mushrooms she used left?”

“Perhaps, I will ask.” When I return to the room, I have a basket of white mushrooms. When he looks at them he shakes his head.

“Child these are a powerful poison.” “Has anyone else eaten of them?”

“I don't believe so, Mildred was saving them for mother.”

“We will have a devil of a time saving your mother, but I will do all that is humanly possible.” “Do you trust me girl?”

“I do not know, you are a Jew and I have heard it said that you kill Christians.”

“Nonsense,” he shouted, if I wanted your mother dead, I would simply leave. She will be dead in two days with no help from me.”

I begged,“Oh sir, she has faith in your healing arts, help her please if you can.”

“And your father, will he accept me?”

“No sir, I think not.” “But he is far away with the King in Winchester.” “He need never know.”

“Silly girl, how little you know of the world. He will know and there will be hell to pay if your mother dies. Do you understand the risk I take?”

I had seen the hatred the common people had for the Jews, the fear, “I understand sir.”

For days he sat with my mother, bathing her head and mixes special herbs to relieve her pain. She speaks nonsense and shouts obscenities I would never have expected to hear from so high born a lady. He told me it was the poison speaking and not my sweet mother. He forced clear liquids into her, most especially cider that I had fetched from the market for him. He told me that apples would help cleanse the poison from her. “She is strong, she is fighting for her life with us.” he assured me. For days I watched his gentle touch, and his wisdom fight death. He had made up his mind to save her and nothing would change it. As each day passed, and I cleaned the bed linen and swept the floor and brought him what food he would eat from our kitchen, I realized I loved this man. I was only a girl of 14 and a gentile, he would have no part of me ; I knew the rules of our society. I was meant for a young and promising knight. Someone who would make a name for himself. This Jewish physician was a man of at least 40. Older than my father, and yet I could see nothing but his goodness. And those blue eyes. Finally, on the 9th day of our struggle, my mother awoke. Weak as a kitten, but alive and herself. I flew into his arms and kissed him. My joy must have been contagious because he kissed me back, a deep, sweet, passionate kiss. Suddenly, with no warning I was a woman. And a woman in love at that.

My mother saw what I did, and said in the tiniest of voices “Kathryn, you forget yourself.”

Then I was back in the room with my gentile mother and my Jewish love. No hope, I thought. No hope at all. I am trapped. I can never be Jewish and he is too honourable a man to ever become a Christian. It is over now, mother is well and he will return to Old Jerusalem Street and I will never see him again. My joy at mother's recovery was now overwhelmed by my sense of loss. I ran from the room, not wanting to see him leave my life. In my secret spot in the outbuilding behind the kitchen I cried until my body ached. Mildred found me and thought it was just relief at mother's recovery. I told no one. He would always be my secret.

Our household returns to normal and after a few weeks mother is her old self. One bright morning the sound of horses in the courtyard brings me to the door. It is father. Mother had instructed all of us to say nothing of her illness to father. I understood she was protecting Issac ben Saul with her silence, but the servants all thought it was to protect the stupid cook who had all but killed her with her poisoned mushrooms. Nonetheless, we would all be mute.

As I stood waiting for father to see me, I hear him say, “It won't take long now, the King will order the arrest of the heads of the Jewish families, and then the money will flow in from their secret hiding places. Ransom, ha! He will kill them all of course. Then expel the rest of their blighted nation.“ “And with them go our debts.” “A fresh start for all of us hey Baldric.”

At that father saw me and got down from his horse. “Sweet girl, I do believe you have grown while I have been away.” “I have a gift for you; a crucifix with a piece of the true cross inside.” “Those murderers who took the life of our Lord are going to pay for their sin now.”

I said nothing. I could not tell him of the kind man who had saved the live of his wife, my dear mother. How could he be so wrong? I had always thought my father the wisest man in the world.

For weeks, we all kept our secrets, and then one day a messenger from the King arrived. My father heard the message and then shouted to his attendant “It is time, the King moves on the Jews tonight.” “Get my horse and call out my guard.”

The deeds of the weeks that followed are too horrible to speak of, but the King did hang the heads of 300 Jewish families in the Tower at London. The families of York faired no better as they were rounded up, stripped of their possessions and imprisoned. Each night I cried myself to sleep, “my love, are you safe?” “Protect him Lord, I know he is your servant too.” My prayers seemed to have no answer, as the hatred of the common people was unleashed. With the King's protection they could do as they wished. Finally, to put an end to the unrest the King proclaimed that all Jews had 30 days in which to leave England.

Where would they go? England had been their home since the days of Arthur and his Roundtable. Issac ben Saul was on my mind, and in my heart, and I knew I must find him. I could not be parted from him. But how? Then news came that the King of Poland had invited England's Jews to come to his country and live as free men. I had never heard of this place, but I knew their King must be a good man. I began to make inquiries, where would I find him. I could not go into the Jewish quarter, what was left of it would be far too dangerous now. My mother's cousin was the sheriff of York; I could inquire as if for my mother as to the whereabouts of a certain Jewish physician. I took Mildred with me, and made the request. "Mother would like to thank him for his services to her household before he leaves," I lied with a sweet smile upon my face. I was told he had been arrested early in the uprising and had been held in the dungeon of the castle. Did I want him brought to me? “Yes, please," I whispered. With that a guard was dispatched to find this Issac the physician, and the Sheriff left the room to attend to more pressing business.

My heart beat so fast, I was afraid I would be found out. I told Mildred I was not feeling well and sent her to find fresh water. When the man was brought before me, the guard pushed him to his knees and said, “Kneel you slime in the presence of a Lady.

“Leave us” I commanded. “You may stand outside the door, if I have need of you I will call.” The man left without arguing. The training of a lifetime to take orders from his betters stood me in good stead. I bent and offered my hand. “Sir, I can not let you leave England without telling you of the love I feel for you. Will you take me with you?”

As he stood to face me his eyes sparkle; even this horrid prison could not dim them. “Girl you do not know what you ask? Could I love you and take you from a family who cares for you, into an uncertain exile among strangers? In a land none has ever seen. Could I ask you to forsake your faith, when I cannot offer you mine. My people will never accept you. Could I do these things and speak of love to you?"

Now I felt the tears rising. “Yes, you could ask anything of me if only you would say you love me too.” “I will give up my life if it must be so for just a little time spent in your arms.” “Do not deny me my destiny. Surely God himself has placed this love in my heart.”

Issac lifted my face to his and bent to kiss my mouth. “I feel this thing too little one. Never have I known love before I watched you sleep at your mother's side. This thing you ask is too hard. You must leave now, and never again think of me.”

With those words he walked to the door and turning back to take one last look; it was then that he made love to me with those eyes. I would not be turned away through kindness. I asked the guard to find my mother's cousin. When he returned I asked when Issac Ben Saul would leave York.

He told me ships would take them away in 10 days. My mother's physician would be sent on the first ship. Too dangerous to keep men like him around.

The details of how I managed this are not important, but when he boarded his ship to be sent far from his home, he found me waiting. Dressed as one of his own, at first he did not see me. While the other women lined the deck of the ship watching England fade into the distance, each crying for their losses, while men dressed in black prayed; I found him. I put my tiny hand into his and smiled. I had lost nothing and found everything. I now end all journal entries. I have found him, I have loved him before and I will love him again. It is now time to allow this life to unfold as it is meant to. Sarah is not afraid.

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Chapter Sixteen

Sarah's memories of her lives with David were so powerful she now had the strangest sensation of being his wife. Not his wife in this life, but his wife for eternity. A thing somehow ordained by time. She came to great peace in her life. There would be no further need of struggle against the tides of fate. No need to flirt to create some relationship to pass the hours of this life away. She could now wait. She knew they would have their time together. Why they had been granted the gift of finding each other at all in this life was a mystery. She did not question it. She merely valued it.

The years will pass quickly now. Death held no fear for her. She had come to understand that love was a gift one gives oneself. She did not need him to take her publicly into his life as his lover. She knew that was impossible. What passed between them was all she needed of love. She would always strive to remain his dearest friend, but that would have to be enough for her. He had not visited their past as she had. He did not know the joy they had shared as man and wife. Perhaps, this was a blessing.

Her love was deep and true and strong. It had never occurred to her before that love need not be shared to be beautiful.

They would find each other again. They would love and marry and raise beautiful children together. It wouldn't be in this lifetime, but she was sure it would be in the next. Until then, her love for him would warm her. Her faith in their future would not die. The dream eternal would be her constant companion.


On Sarah's 60th birthday, a friend will take her to see LISA THE GIFTED ADVISOR. That is what the sign above the door will say. Sarah thinks it all rather silly. Her friend says it is the perfect gift for the woman who has everything.

Lisa who truly is gifted takes Sarah's hand. In an instant she feels the love the woman shares with a man far away. Lisa feels his love returned and surrounding Sarah. Then suddenly, she flies forward to see Sarah at the moment of her death. A beautiful old woman, sitting quietly in front of a wood fire. The sound of classical music surrounds her. She lays a book down in her lap. A well worn copy of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. The book is open to “On Love.”

Lisa hears Sarah recite the words. Not really reading, she memorized them years ago.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

These were the last words Sarah Johnstone will ever speak. She will have lived them the entire last half of her life. Lisa sees her breathe her last contented breath. But the vision is not done. Lisa sees a lovely young man, blonde and blue eyed take Sarah's hand. As she stands to greet him, 70 of her 90 years fall away. Once again, a beautiful young woman she melts into the arms of her love. He has waited here beside her for 5 years. His death had been unexpected, he had died at his desk at Lloyd's. People had said, "David was so successful but he should have married, never to have been in love, such a waste." She had not mourned him. She had simply waited for him. Now, the dream was their's.

With tears in her eyes Lisa said, “you are greatly loved. He will come for you.”

Sarah smiled and went on with her life.

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