Mari looked out over the suspended balcony known as Point Sublime. As ever, the view was breath-taking, the deep canyon of the Gorges du Verdon with its winding river surrounded by the towering limestone peaks and plateaus. “This is our special place” she said, and she hugged Tom closer to her chest. As the October breeze gently ruffled her hair, she thought back to the Spring.

The consultant had spoken softly. “We’ve had the results back. I am afraid it’s bad news, the tumour is inoperable, and your condition is terminal.” The shocked silence was interrupted by the question the doctor must have heard so many times as Tom asked how long he had left.

That night, as they lay in bed, Tom had whispered in her ear, “we still have four or five months and the whole summer. Let’s go to Provence.”

They stayed at a small cottage in Luberon. Each morning they rose with the early summer sun and journeyed in the French landscape, revelling in the beauty and symphony of colours. The bright yellow of the sunflowers with their nodding heads and smiling brown faces and the lavender fields. Those swathes of purple and blue flowers sending their sweet perfume into their welcoming noses. All thoughts of Tom’s death were subsumed in this swirl of life and later they watched the golden hour before sunset as the purple shades blended with the summer sky’s pastel shades of pink and orange. This was their haven, the place where Tom had proposed 15 years earlier and where they had spent their honeymoon. At 35 he was too young to die, but they had their summer of love in the glorious countryside.

They had driven to the Verdon Gorge to their place. “It is time to go home,” Tom had said with a melancholic smile, “but this is the spot, Mari.”

Mari reached down, pulling open the casket. She released Tom’s ashes to the Provence wind, the smoke-like tendrils floating down to the Gorge below. At that moment she felt the quickening, their child and Tom’s legacy moving within her.

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    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 months ago

    Oh, Julian, this is such an emotional read. I could cry for your protagonists. I’m glad that they had their summer of love, but the end of the story is heartbreaking—more so because it’s a situation that so many people go through every single day. A very poignant tale.

    Sandra OReilly
    Sandra OReilly(@sandra-oreilly)
    2 months ago

    This made me cry Julian it was told in such a touching way. You feel for both of them. The emotions really come through, their initial shock, then the beautiful summer ending with the pain of his loss but also hope with new life. Well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 months ago

    Julian, I can’t hold my tears from falling. What a heartbreaking tale. Very well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Julian
    2 months ago

    Nicely done.  💟 

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Julian
    24 days ago

    Congratulations on your win, Julian.

    2 months ago

    This is a beautiful story, Julian, told with sensitivity and compassion. The description of the French countryside is breathtaking. I look forward to more of your stories!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    2 months ago

    A lovely description of a last summer. So glad there is hope and life in the final sentence.

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 months ago

    Although portraying the sad realities of life, what comes through most strongly in your story, Julian, is the love your characters have for each other. And the reveal of a new life, although bittersweet, leaves us with a hopeful ending. Beautifully written.

    Last edited 2 months ago by Linda Rock
    susan grant
    susan grant(@susan-grant)
    2 months ago

    Julian, you made me almost cry, lovely story.

    Katerina Bizirtsaki
    Katerina Bizirtsaki(@katerina-bizirtsaki)
    2 months ago

    The emotions this piece evokes are enough to make you choke up. However, behind the clear sadness echoed in your story lays an inspiring message that life goes on. Nicely done!

    Greene M Wills
    Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
    2 months ago

    An amazingly poignant story, Julian! The joy of summer in their favourite place and the desperate wish to make more memories blend together just wonderfully. One can almost taste the time running away, the fear of a separation that will never end. The last sentence speaks of joy and new beginnings, of hope and a future. I enjoyed it so much! 😊

    Susan Giles
    Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
    2 months ago

    Such a beautiful, sad story. Tom was with us the entire story; we were able to feel and share in their love. The description of their stay in Luberon was so appealing, it was a haven. The last line only reinforces their love. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    Deborah Goulding
    Deborah Goulding(@deborah-goulding)
    2 months ago

    What a lovely, romantic, tender and serene setting you’ve captured in your story. I love how this couple focused on living, recreating new memories and a new life. Toms impending death could not overshadow their love affair.

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    1 month ago

    Julian, this is a lovely, touching story with a bitter-sweet ending. It drew my attention from the first line and right up to the end I was still hoping that somehow Tom was going to survive, but then instead there was his legacy… A beautiful ending and a great story!

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