The Far Shore

We’d agreed to stay at Brian’s family cottage until the lake froze over. This far north, that gave us just under six months—late October, mid-November at the longest. It was his suggestion, and if I couldn’t agree, what grounds did I have for argument? We had relied on my income—gone now with so much else—and here he was offering up a place to stay.

I hadn’t wanted to leave the Netherlands; returning to the States felt like compounding defeat, but Brian insisted. “When the hospitals are overrun in Amsterdam, do you think they’re going to save the Americans?” he said.

When the plane landed in Miami, the only direct flight we could get, we stayed in a hotel downtown for a month until the hospitals there filled up and the views of the bay and boats bobbing in the blue no longer sparkled with promise from our perch behind the thick glass windows. My trust in a temporary exile from international life began to reveal its incredible foolishness. To speak of time became so alarming, we did it only in sentence fragments, tail ends of which slipped sideways away from me: “We could go . . . ,” “What about just for . . . ,” “By August . . .”

Then we rented a car and drove north to Minnesota.

People on couch
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