As they sat watching the sun dipping into the blue-green water of the gulf, they sighed. It wasn’t the vacation they had planned, that was for sure. They’d spent the past two years planning an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa. Their chosen destination was Kenya, where they would have spent eight days on a safari, two nights at the Giraffe Manor, and one final night at a luxury hotel in Nairobi. It was their dream vacation. And then all hell broke loose, and the dream vacation slipped away.
She refused to whine and complain about how unfair this was. Many people had lost their lives from the virus that had changed the world in ways we may never recover from. So, she felt a bit selfish for being so disappointed over a missed the opportunity to have giraffes stick their heads through windows and eat off their plates.
And then there’s the fact that they live on the beach. A beautiful beach, with sugar-white sand, on a chain of islands close to the mainland in the Gulf of Mexico. What most people only experience during vacation was a way of life for them. So, there would be no whining and complaining. They were healthy and lucky, and that was that.
Still, it made her more than a little sad to box up and send back the clothes that they had purchased for the safari. Oh, sure, they could have held onto the pants and long-sleeved shirts that converted to shorts and short-sleeved tops, but who knew if they’d ever reschedule the trip to Nairobi? But she kept the hiking shoes and the backpack and tucked them away in her closet. A girl could dream, couldn’t she?
But for now, it was enough to sit next to the man who had been her best friend, lover, and husband for her entire adult life and then some. They sipped homemade iced-tea lemonade spiked with vodka, with real slices of lemon floating alongside the ice, from their his and hers Yeti cups that the kids had bought them for Christmas. And they relaxed as they watched the sky turn a gorgeous shade of red tinged with orange, while the big yellow ball of fire seemed to sink into the water like a clam burrowing into the sand.
He reached over to kiss her and laughed as a dragonfly darted around their heads and blocked the kiss. “I think he’s jealous!” he said as he shooed away the formidable looking flying creature and brushed his lips against hers. “Well, that’s too bad because you’re all mine!”
She smiled and said, “And happy to be yours. Always!”
They stood up and walked, hand in hand, over to the other side of the pier where the stakes marked off a turtle nest. Loggerhead babies would be here soon if Mother Nature was kind this year. So, maybe their vacation didn’t include flying anywhere this year. But this beach, their home together, was the sweetest destination ever.