The husband and wife were married fifty seven years ago this very day. The first 5 years had been total bliss. The love was real and there was never a doubt in either ones mind that their love would last forever. They met life together as it placed challenges before them. They were able to talk, to discuss and to come to an agreement on issues that would have caused a rift between other couples. They had their first child towards the end of the first five years and the child had pulled them even closer together, something they did not think was possible to do.
The second five years of the marriage saw two more children join the family making them five. As responsibilities began to grow and the children began to acquire a social life in the form of sports and dance and other such activities, the husband and wife found themselves spending less time together. Where there use to be no space between them a chasm was slowly eroding away. They found themselves having to divide up who would see which child's activity when the schedules clashed. They began to realize that the time spent together was slowly becoming less and less. They held on to their intimacy but only by a thread as the challenges of raising the children began to replace the challenges of the marriage. Each of them began to accept the fact that less time together was going to be the norm for awhile. They were still able to share events that had happened at the end of each day and that was keeping them within talking distance and keeping the marriage together.
The final and last child arrived early in the next ten years. The children were growing up quickly and it was difficult to keep up with the challenges of the older ones along with the different challenges that the younger ones brought. During this time the oldest began to drive and time that use to be reserved for the husband and wife to relax together was turned into time that the husband or wife would worry about where the eldest was and if he was safe. The younger three children kept the husband and wife running in different directions as the responsibility of raising them continued. Decisions concerning the children as well as the family at large began to be made without consultation of one or the other. Many times this led to a friction between the husband and the wife that had never been there before. The budget of the family began to tighten as the husband and the wife continued to fulfill the requirements of raising the children.The children continued to grow older and the necessities changed. As the second decade of marriage came to a close, the husband and wife found that the communication they once cherished so dearly had slowly slipped to an occasional evening when they could catch up with each others lives. The time spent quietly alone together had slowly been whittled down to almost nothing.
The third decade completed the migration from being inseparable to never seeing each other. The children were racing through high school and heading off to college. This required money and so the wife had taken a job full time to help the children fulfill their individual dreams. The third child was not going to college, preferring instead to spend his days with friends who supplied him with drugs and alcohol. While the husband and wife were proud of the other three children and their accomplishments, the third child took up the majority of their time. Time after time they found themselves trying to keep this child out of trouble, out of the police station and out of court and jail. When the first child began a marriage himself, the husband and wife found themselves tracking down the third child instead of rejoicing at the first child's wedding. The only time the husband and wife had to discuss and talk were times spent on what to do with the third child. Meanwhile the second child graduated from college as the last child began. The wife continued to work to help build something for retirement but she soon found herself hiding away a portion of her money in another account just for herself, just in case it would be needed. As the third decade came to a close, both the husband and the wife were thinking about going their separate ways, but neither one told the other.
Grandchildren began to join the family as the fourth decade began. The two oldest children had graduated college and found themselves mates and entered into marriages of their own. The third child had finally broke his addictions and was in the business of helping others with their addictions. The fourth child was in the process of finishing college and had no plans to marry. He had stated strongly that he wanted to spend some time on his own and experience life in a different way then marriage. The husband and wife could count on at least one grandchild a year for the first five years of the fourth decade. They were so proud of each of the four children and they tried to let each of them know that they were. The wife eventually quit her job and slipped into an early retirement as the husband continued his life's work. The wife began to enjoy her time alone and her freedom as she spent each day the way she wanted to spend it. A lot of her time was spent with the grandchildren of course, but she had also made new friends while working and enjoyed spending time out with them. Most of these times with her friends were during the day but occasionally she spent time with them during the evening hours leaving the husband at home alone. The husband did not have as much time to spend with the grandchildren as the wife had so the grandchildren were not as close to him. He began to feel left out and alone much of the time.
As the fourth decade came to a close, the husband retired and so was home most of the time. The husband and wife slowly came to the realization that they didn't know each other very well and that there was very little substance in the marriage to hold it together. They finally began to talk about going it alone, each on a separate path.
It was on their fiftieth wedding anniversary that the love that had slowly slipped away blossomed once again. The children had thrown a big party for them that day. Everyone who came told them what an inspiration they were to keep a marriage together for so long. That night, after everyone had left and things had quieted down, the husband and wife sat and talked to each other. They poured their hearts out to each other that night, talking abut past years and how they had drifted apart. They found the friendship that was so crucial over the years. That night they found themselves feeling what they had felt fifty years before and for the first time in a long time they fell asleep in each others arms.
That was seven years ago. Their love had continued to grow until neither knew what they would do without the other. Everything had seemed perfect to the husband. Then one day she left him. Without warning she had just left. He thought over what he could have done to keep her from leaving but he came up with no answers. Now on this cool crisp sunny fall morning, he gazed down at the stone with her name engraved in it. His best friend was gone and he felt more lonely than ever before. He wanted to find another best friend, someone to share the rest of his life with but he wasn't sure if she would approve. He asked the stone what he should do. A breeze came drifting through and lightly touched him on the shoulder. He felt he could hear a faint whisper saying it was okay. He needed a new best friend, a new partner to share days with. He smiled down at the stone and blew it a kiss.
After taking another look at the stone he felt the breeze hit him again. It was as if the breeze was pushing him to go begin his search. He told the stone that no matter if he did find a new best friend or not, the new friend would never replace the wife that he had loved so dearly.
He turned and lookout over the city. The husband took a deep breath and walked over to his car. He then began to drive to the dog shelter where he was sure he would find a new best friend.