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A Pearl from Paradise
Dedicated to My husband, Walter
Submitted by Shirley
"Happy Valentine's Day, Nathan." Lucy glanced at the furrowed, still-handsome face of the man seated in the car beside her.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Lucy." Nathan's eyes kept to the road. "Do you remember where you were six months ago?"
Lucy laughed. "I was on a tour bus in Honolulu on the first day of my dream trip. Hawaiian Paradise it was called. I took a seat beside you. We introduced ourselves. You were pretty grumpy and kept insisting the tour should be called Paradise Lost."
Nathan grimaced. "I was there under protest. My kids bought me that tour. They told me it would bring me out of the deep blue funk I'd fallen into after my wife died."
Lucy smiled. "I had saved to buy that trip after retirement. I was ready to relax and let the warmth of Hawaii wash over me." Her eyes swept the snow-crusted Minneapolis streets. "Were they right?"
"They?...Oh, you mean my kids. Yes, they were right."
"What's your favorite memory of Hawaii? Lucy raised her index finger. "Don't tell me. Let me guess."
"You'll never guess."
"We visited the same places during the six days of the trip. I'm sure I can guess."
"I'll bet you can't." Nathan's eyes twinkled. "Winner chooses where we eat dinner tonight."
"You're on. Let me think...you were in the Navy for 20 years. Your favorite was visiting the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor."
"That was a powerful experience, but you'll have to guess again."
"Walks along the beach in the evenings?"
"You mean seeing the balmy breeze ruffle your curls. Hearing the waves lapping the beach. Talking for hours under the silent stars…High on the list. Try again."
"The luau with the grass-skirted girls doing the hula. One of them spent most of the dance looking at you."
He grinned. "Guess again."
"Lazy drives along the coast?"
"Nice." Nathan ran one hand through his silver mane. "Give up?"
"Yes. Tell me."
"Shopping! We only shopped for about an hour one day. I looked at jewelry and nearly bought a pink pearl ring in one of the shops, but I don't remember you doing any shopping. Why was shopping your favorite?"
Nathan pulled into the parking lot of The Lamplighter Restaurant and parked. He reached into his pocket, drew out a small box, and opened it. A pink pearl mounted on a gold circle glowed softly in the dim light.
Nathan took out the ring, turned toward Lucy, and said, "Will you marry me?"
Lucy looked at Nathan with eyes brimming with love. She held out her left hand.