Story by Bill Arsenault
They got up early, having awoken even earlier. After breakfast in their room, they put on their swimsuits. They took towels and went down to the pool. They also each took a novel, even though they both knew they probably would not do any reading. They picked two pool lounge chairs (almost no one else was in the pool area yet) and propped the chair backs up. They laid their towels down on the chairs and sat down in the warm, direct sun. He sat on her left, as always. Sitting on her right would seem very backwards, even uncomfortable, after all this time. They talked for a long time, and even when there were no words, the conversation continued.
A while later, just before 10:00, they were both watching as the young couple came into the pool area. The young couple looked around and picked two lounge chairs directly across the pool from them. The young couple helped each other place their towels on the upright chairs and then the young woman sat down. The young man sat on her right, after having moved his chair so that only a small space remained between the two chairs.
They watched the young couple, and almost immediately said, “I’ll bet they’re newlyweds.” They continued to watch, even study, and discuss the young couple. The young couple talked and laughed animatedly for quite a while. The young couple appeared to immensely enjoy the warmth of the direct sun, of the conversation, and of each other. After a lengthy time, both the young man and the young woman leaned back and closed their eyes.
They continued to secretly study the young couple. Every once in a while, the young couple (still with their eyes closed) would quietly, and at the same time, move their inner arms — he, his left, and she, her right – until their hands met in the small space between their chairs. The young couple’s hands would touch. Their fingers would smoothly interlace. Their interlaced hands would squeeze. The young man and young woman would both smile slightly. Sometimes, the young couple (still with eyes closed) would turn their heads — he, to his left, and she, to her right — and then, at the same instant, slowly, almost sleepily, would open their eyes, and smile. These and other similar things happened many times, closely and privately monitored from directly across the pool. Each time, the young couple would talk and laugh some more before leaning back and closing their eyes again. They intently watched all these things that the young couple did. It was almost like watching a succession of very private, almost spiritual moments, even though no one else in the pool area had even noticed the young couple, and certainly, no one else seemed to be studying them.
“The young couple must be very much in love. They’re enjoying each other so totally and so completely.”
“Yes, I think so, too. I still think they must be newlyweds. They look so young.”
Time passed very quickly. After a while, it was almost noon, time for them to go. They had been in the sun long enough. They both knew that, and both started to get ready, without even talking about it. They would go back to their room, change clothes, and go out to lunch.
“I know what we should do! Let’s just stop before we go back up to our room and ask them if they ‘are’ newlyweds.”
“Yes, it will satisfy our curiosity, although I’m quite sure that they are.”
They gathered their things, checked around their chairs for anything missed, and walked around to the other side of the glassy surfaced pool. As they stopped at the feet of the young couple, the young couple opened their eyes and held hands.
“We were just curious, and hope you don’t mind our asking. Are you two newlyweds?”
“Yes. In fact, we’re here on our honeymoon,” one of the young couple said.
“Oh, really! So are we!”
Surprised, one of the young couple asked, “When did you get married?”
“Oh, 1965,” they both said together.
“Wow! Did you have to delay your honeymoon for all this time?”
“Oh, no. We started it immediately after the wedding.”
The young couple looked at each other, a bit puzzled at first. And then the young man and the young woman both smiled, and squeezed their held hands.
The young couple understood — a little bit now, more completely much later.