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Here's an excerpt:(This portion from the first story “Vietnam War”)
Seating herself on the front stoop, Adele leaned back between his knees and balanced the photo album in her lap, Stephen's breath blowing gently on her neck.
The photo album opened with a crackle. “This is John and I.” Her finger pointed to a photo of a cute little girl in a plaid dress seated in a red wagon, bouncy curls framing her face. A dark-headed boy tugged the handle.
Who was this? A brother? He inhaled the faint scent of her perfume.
“John and I grew up together.” Adele paused, her voice hesitant. She flipped the page.
Not a brother.
A rock formed in Stephen’s gut. The next two photos must have been taken in high school. Adele and John wore formal attire. Prom? Or Homecoming? On the shoulder of her dress was pinned a huge orchid corsage, and John’s arm wrapped around her shoulders.
In the other photo, they lay in a field of grass looking skyward. Adele held a flower between her fingers and John … Stephen swallowed. John looked across at her with such tenderness, such … love.
Who had taken that photo? A friend?
Her voice cracked. “When we turned eighteen, we married. It was almost expected.”
Married. He started, stunned, and his heartbeat pounded loudly in his ears. Why didn’t I think of that?
“I’m sorry. I just couldn’t tell you. It is still painful. You see, He went to Vietnam and never came home. He is missing.” Her finger stroked along the edge of the page, slowly tracing the curve of his jaw.
Stephen watched spellbound. Her hand pressed flat against John’s chest as if grasping for what wasn’t there, and she trembled.
He gulped. Here was her love for another man. Her husband.
How could this be?
With a sigh, she again turned the page. In this photo, she wore a long, white gown. Her face shone radiant, and John clutched her waist, his face buried in her neck.
Shaking, Stephen moved his gaze to the opposite page where a photograph of two hands displayed shiny gold bands atop a bed of creamy lace.
“I love him,” she said.
His heart sagged.
“I will always love him. I love him like the protector, the best friend, he is. He is so wise, so strong.”
Is. Stephen’s blood swished in his ears.
It all made sense now - her hesitation, her discomfort at the mention of Vietnam, her inability to talk. Here was Adele’s devotion and longing.
His blood ran cold. I love his wife. I kissed his wife.
Once again, she flipped the page, and Stephen flinched. What is it? What do I see?
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.