Part One by Julie Kusma
Don’t think it strange I’ve left you this letter, but the first two days without you were terrible. I understand. Our lives are busy, and we usually play phone tag when we try to reach each other. I’m sure I would miss you if I had a signal and tried to call. I wanted to celebrate with you.
I do, however, appreciate you leaving word in town. Mrs. Buckley was more than happy to inform me you would not be joining me. She went on to ask a million questions like how we knew each other and why we purchased the old Strangler place. I, of course, divulged nothing, not that there’s anything to tell. I just don’t like the third-degree treatment of some old busybody. I know, I know, I can hear you now. We purposely chose a small town. Quaint. Friendly. What we both were searching for, and you’re right, Pierre is the perfect place.
Part Two by Jill Yoder
Are we ever going to come together in the same place? It seems as though life is playing ping-pong with us. Anyhow, even though you had to cancel your trip to Pierre this time, I decided to keep my scheduled vacation and explore our “home away from home.” I figure I’ll fill you in on my stay. I’m going to write something every day while I’m here—you know, the most exciting things.
You’ll never guess what happened to me as I drove my rental car from the airport to our fabulous cottage. Yep. I got a flat tire. Can you believe that? I wasn’t far from town, and someone stopped to help me change the tire. His name was Nick—sexy Nick, as I’ve now dubbed him. Oh, and his last name is Buckley. Sexy Nick is Mrs. Buckley’s nephew—talk about a small town.
Part Three by Julie Kusma
I apologize I couldn’t meet you last month. Mark took ill so quickly; I was afraid to leave him alone. My girls, of course, were too busy with their own families to be bothered with their parents. They’ll be sorry one day they didn’t spend every moment with us life offered them. Not anything new, is it? At least my dog is always happy to see me.
I am pleased you found my changes to our cottage agreeable. I find your decorative touches lovely as well. I can’t, however, believe you got a flat tire your first time here. Nor can I imagine, after three months, why we haven’t managed to show up at the same time. I do understand that life gets in the way occasionally, and some might say we’re incredibly unlucky were it not for your tidbit of titillating news. I don’t suppose you minded having all the privacy afforded in my absence, especially if you cajoled “Sexy Nick” into stopping by to help with some chores.
Part Four by Jill Yoder
I almost canceled my trip to Pierre after you phoned me to say you couldn’t make the trip. I ultimately opted to make my way to our cottage anyway and decided to stay two weeks this time. It’s hard to believe our bad luck—never able to meet up at our quaint home at the same time.
I stopped by to visit Gladys before making my way to our sweet “get-a-way.” She was thoughtful enough to store the swing in her shed until we arrived. Can you guess who she offered to help install it? Yes, yes—her nephew, “Sexy Nick.” I can see you laughing and celebrating right now. Your hint about the box being heavy did the trick. Gladys agreed to deliver the porch swing the next day at my convenience.
Part Five by Julie Kusma
I know you expected to find me at our cottage, and instead, you find a letter postmarked Seattle. I have no words to explain my absence other than my heart is broken. I simply can’t drag myself out of bed, let alone make myself board a plane.
Life just got beyond real for me. Mark’s health turned for the worse. I realize I always acted like I didn’t care, but the thought of losing him has sent me into a downward spiral. You remember when I met him in high school. For Christ’s sake, I’ve known him longer than I knew either of my parents. Everyone thought we were the perfect pair, and I’ll tell you our marriage hasn’t been easy, not by a longshot, but I can’t lose him. I can’t.