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Love Stories of Hawaii

Timeless Love

Coincidence & Chemistry
Dedicated to Carolyn, my love

Submitted by Anonymous

"Coincidence doesn't exist," Carolyn confessed while we avoided a fat stack of research material. Our classmates had long since left and late-night chemistry-chatter now spun into personal accounts of travel, triumph and tragedy, philosophy and dreamscapes… Carolyn… Carolyn and I laughing, surrounded by books on practice, principle, theory, and love. I'd waited all semester for that moment—and courage still failed me. The following morning I awoke choking on her name, vowing to seize the next chance for a lumpy-throated confession. That chance came ten days later—in Produce, near the passion fruit, where I greeted Carolyn and unfolded myself to her mercy with the subtlest of glances as I shook hands with her fiancée.

Four years later Carolyn was a faint whisper, sibilant poetry lost in the eye of a typhoon. A destitute writer, my girlfriend of three years had just left me for her psychiatrist. Two months later a family reunion shot me to Frankfurt. As I took my seat on the flight I found myself beside an elegant businesswoman, a familiar stranger. Now, on most international flights I have courted sleep like a reluctant lover to pass those ear-popping hours, but on that flight I hardly blinked let alone slept. Carolyn and I entertained each other the entire time, laughing so loud a flight attendant returned to remind us that other passengers were trying to sleep. Once in the terminal I said, "Please give me a call—I mean, if you need anything." She fingered my last business card for a moment, looked up and said, "Well, what are you doing tomorrow night?"

After three doubles she broke open and poured out her tired soul, citing an abusive divorce followed by "you're really sweet but I'm not ready to trust." I was taken aback but managed to truthfully reply, "Carolyn, don't get me wrong, I like you, but I'd be happy just being your friend… that is, if it's okay with you," which it was. Within two year we were lovers, stashing quarters for a dream-life of exotic travel. We married on a cool Sunday in May. I'd never been happier than I was with the utterance of those two words: I do, words that sustained me quite happily until the day Carolyn returned from a doctor's visit with two very different words: ovarian cancer.

"We'll adopt," I said.

"It's spreading," she sobbed. "I don't have much time."

After that we lived and died a thousand times, each day more exhilarant than its parent. We quit our jobs, sold everything, and within a week we were in London, then Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, New Delhi, Shanghai, Kyoto, Melbourne, Guam, Fiji, and finally Hawaii, where she slipped away on a Sunday morning when the silk-rain stopped and a Kaua‘i ‘O‘o sang the most beautiful requiem earth will ever compose.

Last Wednesday I celebrated our seventh anniversary. The test results came back yesterday. It's spreading. I don't have much time. Carolyn, I'm coming.

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