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  • As they made their way into the little port town of Cheticamp, Hank felt a most powerful sense of déjà vous. He got a very warm feeling inside, and as the driver let them out in front of the quaint, two story dwelling right on the main road that ran along the harbor, he was smiling, happier than Dave had seen him since Boot Camp, two years before. (Hank had been that freak who actually liked Boot Camp).

    They strolled into the front entrance of the Youth Hostel, with all their gear, where they were met by a pretty brunette, a bright looking 18-something, who looked nothing like Hank had pictured Gretchen to look like in his daydream vision. "Hi, guys! I'm Heidi. What can I do for you?"

    "We'll need 2 beds for tonight, Heidi. Is there room at the Inn?", inquired Hank. He was a little disappointed that Gretchen wasn't there – he’d really been looking forward to meeting her. So strange. He knew nothing about her, beyond a passing comment by a complete stranger. But, something had really fired his imagination about her. Must have been that song. Oh well, she's not here. I guess it was just my imagination, once again, running away with me. (Hank had way too many songs in his head)!

    "Hmmm, I think there are a couple of open beds in the front room upstairs. I'll have to check with the proprietor, Gretchen, though, to make sure they're not already promised to someone else. She's out right now, but should be back in an hour or so. You could stow your packs here, if you’d like, and go get something to eat, if you’re hungry. You guys look hungry.” She was sweet as could be. Dave was obviously really digging her. Hank was happy to hear that he'd get to meet Gretchen, after all.

    “Do you know any good places to eat around here?”, Dave asked Heidi.

    "There's a place right at the end of this street that has burgers, fish and lobster - they're good, and best of all, they’re cheap!" she smiled.

    "That sounds like our place, Heidi!" Hank said.
  • Dave asked if she'd eaten yet. "Oh, I'd really love to join you guys, but I promised Gretchen I'd watch things here ‘til she got back. But thanks!"

    "Can we bring you something back?" Dave asked. Hank pulled him aside, and said, “Hey, buddy – why don’t you stay here while I go grab us all something and bring it back. That way, you can hang out here and get to know Heidi a little better. I think she likes you – I can see that you’re into her. How about it?” Dave blushed, but said, “Yeah, sure – that’d be cool, Hank. Thanks, man.”

    Dave was again surprised by Hank’s concern for him – he hadn’t seen a lot of that on this trip. Not that he minded. He liked Hank, and knew he’d been through some crazy times at the training program, and got his head all messed up with whatever the hell went on in that house he was living in. Dave didn’t even want to know the details of that mess. He just knew his buddy had needed a hand, and he helped him out. It was just nice to see him being decent back, for a change. He figured that maybe Hank was finally coming around, and getting back to the good guy he always knew he was.

    Hank said to the girl, “Look, it’s not that I don’t trust you, but - Dave is going to stay here to watch our stuff, while I go pick us up some dinner at that joint down the street. Is it o.k. if we eat it back here? I’d be happy to get something for you, as well – treat’s on me.” She smiled and said, “That’d be awesome!” He winked at Dave, took their orders, and made his way along the waterfront road to the little restaurant, if you could call it that. It looked more like a little snack bar.

    He looked up at the big board above the window where you placed your order, and couldn’t believe what he saw, halfway down the list of food served there: “Lobster Tail - $1.75 (1), $3.00 (2)”! He ordered ten tails to go, for all of $15.00, figuring between the three of them, they’d have no problem polishing off ten tails. He was really hungry, and he loved lobster. Whatever the others couldn’t finish, he’d polish off.
  • By the time he got back with two big sacks full of fresh cooked lobster tails, corn on the cob, little tubs of drawn butter (not that you really needed that – those tails were so fresh, and so tasty, they just slid down your throat in a an explosion of seafood taste), Dave and the girl, Heidi, were clearly getting to know each other. Hank was really happy to see his friend hitting it off with a girl. He thought it must be hard for him, because if he couldn’t understand half of what Dave said, how could the girls? But, she seemed to be taking in every word and loving every minute with him - good!

    Just as they were setting it all up in the little kitchenette off the main front room, Gretchen showed up. She looked exactly as Hank had imagined she would – right down to what she was wearing. She had a smile that lit up the place with a soft, warm glow. She was a little older than them, probably 22 or 23, very intelligent and mature looking, but also quite attractive, of medium height, very straight, long blonde hair, and nicely built in every way. She seemed to have the whole package.

    Hank detected a slight sadness in her eyes, that would flicker away as soon as she looked directly at you. The moment he looked into those eyes, he felt like he’d known her for a long time, as she gave him a knowing smile.

    “We have plenty of lobster – will you join us?” Hank offered. Gretchen shrugged her shoulders and laughed, “Sure – why not? I haven’t had lobster since….lunch! But, you can never have too much lobster!” She sat down across from Hank. Dave and Heidi were already off in their own little world at the other end of the table, gazing deep into each other’s eyes and holding hands under the table. “That didn’t take long”, Hank thought.
  • Like Hank, Gretchen didn’t seem to be big on small talk. She liked to get right down to meaningful dialogue. She looked at Hank and asked, “So, when did you get your heart broken?” Hank nearly fell off his chair. “What is she, some kind of psychic?”, he wondered to himself.

    “Is it that obvious?”, he asked.

    “No, no, just a vibe I picked up from you. But, I have this sense that, although there was a recent heartbreak, it wasn’t nearly as deep as an older one you’ve been nursing for a long time.”

    This time, he nearly clutched at the table, because he really thought he was going to fall off his chair. Who the hell was this girl? As soon as she said it, he knew what she was talking about. He hadn't thought about Megan in a really long time, but that's exactly who she was talking about. He never really had gotten over her.

    "Are you a psychic?", Hank asked back.

    "No, nothing like that. I'm a healer. I've felt your spirit coming all day. This is no coincidence. You're here for a reason. I don't like to waste time, so let's get down to it."

    It nearly took Hank's breath away. He'd never met anyone like this Gretchen. She had just, literally blown his mind!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Do you always trust your first initial feeling?
    Special knowledge, holds true bears believing
    I turned around and the water was closing all around
    Like a glove, like the love that had finally, finally found me

    Then I knew in the crystalline knowledge of you
    Drove me through the mountains
    Through the crystal like a clear water fountain
    Drove me like a magnet, to the sea, to the sea
    To the sea, yeah"

    By Stevie Nicks, from "Crystal"
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