He said we should go outside, look at the stars. Corny, yeah, but I said I thought so, too, still wearing my seventeenth century shift and bodice, my chunky black buckled shoes. We took the golf-cart, searching its headlights for the dog-sized deer that never get off the island, genetically stunted harts and does. He was a former Mormon, an earnest, fresh-faced hippy of the new order. He had the hands of a potter.
We met the morning a swallow came down the chimney and flopped around the fire grate while tourists watched, sighing helplessly. Without a thought I gathered the dusty bird into my apron, carried it across the dew, raised my hands and shook it free like ashes in the wind. It dropped low and flew across the water without looking back. I can still feel how sure I was that morning, responding only to the bird’s pleading wings.
We circled the island. The golf cart ran out of juice. The last hundred yards we pushed it along with our feet like skateboarders, laughing in the dark.
He was beautiful. Our words brushed the stars. Each morning after that I raised my head like clockwork and checked for him when the door that he never came through again opened. But the truest longing I’ve kept is that feeling of gratitude to the bird for letting me rescue it, letting me feel its beating heart and offer it to the wind.