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Dedicated to Amigo
Submitted by J
He was 14, in his grandmother's backyard, playing with a black cocker spaniel. I was sitting on the wooden railing of my dad's fence. I could hear him laughing. He saw me looking at him, and smiled. Then he walked through the gate and introduced himself. We spent the rest of that happy summer vacation becoming friends. We rode bicycles and gathered oranges from the packing sheds nearby. We dreamed about traveling to Europe, Alaska and Hawaii.
At summer's end, Cal and my dad took me to the train station. As I waved goodbye from the window, I knew that our friendship would last forever.
Through the years, we wrote, phoned, visited each other. He always said, "you're my pearl of great price" and I replied, "you're my diamond in the rough". We believed we'd always be together, but fate was to offer us different pathways.
In 1963 I went to the Russian Far East to teach for a year. Cal became a game warden in Alaska. We promised to meet in Hawaii the following summer. But during that year in Russia, I met Sergei. I knew it was dangerous; Sergei was a captain in the Red Army. I wrote to Cal about Sergei. He sent his blessing, wished me happiness, and said he would always love me. He signed his letter "your diamond in the rough".
Sergei didn't return from his mission. I came back home, but didn't contact Cal. I wanted to but couldn't. A friend told me that he had a new love and I felt I shouldn't interfere.
We lost touch. We were happy enough, but something very deep was missing. 30 years after I had returned from teaching in Russia, I received a phone call from Cal. He asked me to meet him in Hawaii. He wasn't married, and neither was I. I knew I had to go, no matter what, so I said yes. We promised nothing except a meeting.
I flew to Honolulu. He had made arrangements for me in a lovely hotel on the beach in Waikiki, in full view of Diamond Head. He'd arrive the following day. I hadn't seen him in 30 years.
I stayed on the beach into the evening, watching the magnificent sunset. The next evening I decided to have dinner in the beautiful dining room of my hotel. The maitre d' seated me at a table underneath a brilliant crystal chandelier. On my first sip of wine I looked up and there, in a navy jacket, was Cal. He smiled, and walked toward me. My heart was on fire. I stood up and we embraced. When I opened my eyes, I saw a million sparkling rainbows, reflections of light from the crystal chandelier above, covering him, covering me. We were precious jewels, together again. My "diamond in the rough" was polished by life, and I was once again his pearl of great price.