Watching the sunrise from the cabin together had become their favorite pastime. Kaiden and Stacy Davis had moved into this cabin to spend their last few years together since their children were grown. She still seemed to carry that flame of youth despite the fact that they were in their fifties. Kaiden watched as she moved around the living room of their cabin, dusting and cleaning here and there. They had been together for thirty-five years, having first met in high school. Of course, she had hated him back then.
He pulled her to a stop and pointed out the large window of their home to the rising sun. Stacy’s eyes sparkled with mirth as she gazed at him before she looked out of the window as well and relaxed in his arms. This had become their every day. As his arms tightened around her waist, he sighed softly, happiness and love filling his heart. No matter how much time passed, he loved her more today than yesterday, and that would probably increase tomorrow. Kaiden felt her shifting in his arms, as though she were impatient before her eyes turned up to him.
“Come on, Kaiden,” Stacy said, coming to a stop in front of him, hands on her hips. “The kids will be here soon and you still haven’t taken the trash out.”
“Right, right,” Kaiden replied, pulling away and placing a kiss on her cheek. “I know. I’ll get right on that.”
Their love had been one that had taken them years to grow. For months after they met, he did his best to gain her attention, since she only focused on school. Grabbing the trash bags, he made ready to empty the garbage, before he paused again. What was it that had won her over? Kaiden had been stubborn in his pursuit of her, though at first, it was just a game. A dare, his friends gave him to win over the studious young lady who dared reject every guy that had come before. Shaking his head, he would need to ask her later.
Kaiden himself could remember what she had done to win him over. Back then, his mother had become ill with cancer and it resulted in many stays at the hospital with no real hope. When Stacy found out about it, she offered not only her condolences but often came by the hospital to read his mother's favorite books to her. His mother had loved it and in her final days, smiled and laughed more than the situation would normally allow. As he threw the garbage into the outside can for pickup, he looked up at the sky which was beginning to brighten with the coming day.
“Breakfast is ready, Kaiden!” Stacy’s voice carried across the yard. “We can gaze at the sunrise tomorrow.”
Peaceful days like these seemed endless for him. Walking into the dining room of their home, he sat across from his beloved and stared at her beautiful features. Aging had been kind to her, and while her long flowing blonde locks turned gray, she never seemed to lose that luster that entranced all who saw her. Even her skin was mostly flawless, but she had the lines along her cheeks that indicated she smiled a lot. After five children, she still held on to the same figure she had before they were married. Interlocking their fingers on the table, Kaiden smiled.
“You are so beautiful, Stacy.” He said, lifting her hand to press his lips to the back of it. “I love seeing your smile the most in the mornings.”
“You always know just what to say.” Stacy countered; her eyes soft as she smiled back. “Come on now, let's eat before the kids get here.”
“What made you finally fall for me?” Kaiden asked the question that had been running through his mind all morning. “I know what made me fall for you.”
“Haha, wouldn’t you like to know?” She smirked, before turning her attention to the table. “Maybe I’ll tell you one day.”
Several years later, he smiled as she brought him some piping hot stew and a cup of coffee. Now, she often read to him, stories similar to the ones he overheard her reading to his mother back when they were teens. The more she read, the more she got into the story, her expressions, and body language painting a vivid picture of the story she read. Kaiden loved to see her smile, to see her laugh until she cried. The best part of his day was when she would come to read to him. His old eyes had become so tired of trying to, so she did for him.
As she continued the story, he could not help but admire her slender fingers as they turned the page or the way her eyes lit up when a particular passage caught her interest. Kaiden laughed at the jokes in the story, trying his best to ignore his protesting body. With a concerned glance, she locked eyes with him before placing a bookmark in the book and closing it. Standing she pressed her lips to his forehead causing a chuckle to part his lips. His Stacy loved to worry far too much about him, he thought as her lips lingered for a moment.
“Won’t you get some rest, Kaiden?” She asked softly, her smile belying her concern. “There is always another beautiful sunrise to watch tomorrow.”
“You’re right,” Kaiden replied, smiling brightly, his wrinkled face crinkling as he did so. “I love you.”
“And I, you,” Stacy said, gripping his hand on the bed. “I’ll be back shortly. I need to check the lights.”
That night, they wrapped their arms around each other and dozed off, happy as could be. The next morning brought the chirping of birds and the wonderful smell of the forest to their noses. More years would fly by just like this, happy and peaceful. Their five kids would often come to visit, with more grandchildren, but time seemed to stand still for the happy elderly couple. This was their own little slice of paradise. They celebrated fifty years of time spent together when Kaiden finally felt his age begin to catch up to him.
“Stacy, what are you doing today?” Kaiden asked as he sat up in the bed. “The sunrise today was as beautiful as always.”
“Today, I am just sitting here with you, love,” Stacy replied with a bright smile on her features as she planted the open book on her lap to keep her place. “The house is clean, the kids are away with the grandchildren, so there are no plans, but to enjoy the peace of being with you.”
“Won’t you tell me now,” He continued, eyes narrowing happily. “What was it that made you finally fall for me?”
“Haha, I’ll tell you someday.” She laughed in her usual way, making his smile broaden. “Just know that it is a long story.”
If only she had. Stacy frowned as she looked down at the grave marker before her, her eyes full of tears. She should have told him then what made her fall so hard for the playboy from her high school. While she spent every day, back in high school, reading to his mother, his mother in turn would regale her with tales of a younger, kinder Kaiden. Kaiden, the man who now had every ounce of love left within her, lay buried at her feet. That night, she walks out of the home they had shared to look up at the beautiful moon.
This same moon had watched over them for the past fifty years, but now it was just her. Alone, without his calming presence to keep her happy, to keep her smiling. The pain she was in surpassed the physical, delving deep into an emotional and mental strain. All she wanted was to be at his side, that had been her dream since she found out who he really was. Even as they had aged, side by side, she wanted to know more, to understand him inside and out, just as he had wanted the same thing.
The thought of going into that cabin, up to their shared bedroom, to no longer feel his warmth next to her, stopped her from leaving the lakeside. For fifty years, they had been together, side by side, against all odds, but now, no more. The water in the lake rippled as tears continued to pour down her wrinkled face. Would she see him again one day? Why did it feel as though it were too soon? But this was life, this was how things went. Stacy’s hollow, teary eyes gazed at the reflection of the moon on the lake near their home.