The summer of 1983 was spent in a rented cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan.
He and I left the city in late May and were planning on staying at the beach until late October. As for what would happen after that, we weren't all together sure.
We had drained our savings account to rent the cottage, quit our jobs and packed out bags. To supplement our lack of income, he crafted sculptures made of tiny bits of skull and bone he found along the beach and sold them Saturdays at the artist fair downtown.
I was writing books for children at the time and because I had trouble sleeping and he liked to get up early, I stayed up most nights working on them and slept in during the day. I'd already had two books published without much success, but I was determined to make the third one a real hit.
My days, or afternoons, as they were, were spent walking. I'd take long strolls along the water, breathing in the fresh air. I'd walk the long, winding country roads, leading me to an old cemetery, full of gravestones from the late 19th century. For hours, I'd walk the lines of crumbling granite, wondering how these men and women with old fashioned names like Ethel and Harold had died and if they had any family left after all of these years. Some plots were extremely well maintained, while others lay in disrepair, quietly sinking into the earth like all of the bodies had been left to do.
We packed our dinners in a wicker basket. He made barbeque chicken, sticky and sweet, and bright yellow egg salad that we'd wash down with a couple bottles of cheap, white wine.
After the meal, we'd drift into sleep, letting the dying sun warm our bodies in the sand. The smell of salt in his hair and his rough hands circling my waist. My gauzy, emerald dress crumpled after so many wears.
We'd wake entangled, after dusk, and with his hand in my hand, we'd walk back to the cottage