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For Bernie, my love

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Serena Campbell sat at the small writing desk quietly. She had situated her work space next to the window facing west looking out over the sea. The brisk morning chill in Cornwall causing her to keep the window closed. The only sound in the room was the steady ticking of the old wall clock.

She allowed herself to focus on the calming rhythm, aligning her inhalations and exhaling. She closed her eyes and envisioned the motion of the waves falling into the same pace. Serena wasn’t sure how long she paused in this moment nor did she care. She smiled as she felt a peace that had been missing, missing for much too long, settle into her soul.

When Serena opened her eyes, she chuckled gently to herself, a wistful shake of her head. She dabbed an errant tear but she wasn’t sad, only overcome by the peace. She looked at the screen of her laptop, ready to type her last offering but stopped. ‘Not just yet”, she thought.

Serena stood and stretched through the stiffness that had set in during her writing session. She took the last drink of the tepid breakfast tea as she headed towards the kitchen and rinsed the cup, setting it in the cupboard.

After, she sat and laced up the gently worn hiking boots she had been wearing rather frequently since taking refuge in Cornwall. Serena had never been known as an avid hiker let alone a person who would even want to hike. But she had come to love it. Having pulled on her mac and wooly scarf she set out on the craggy path toward the sea.

 

The rocky pathway had initially been daunting but the twice daily hikes to the sea were now routine. Only a gale force wind could prevent the excursions.

Serena reached the end of the path as the sandy beach sprawled out towards the water. She inhaled the weight of the sea air. It was a cleansing balm that seeped deep within. She slowly exhaled. She scanned the whole of the shore and headed south when she spotted the blonde head.

As Serena approached the blonde, she took off her scarf and wrapped it around her neck. “Are you warm enough?” She kissed the tip of her nose.

Bernie crinkled her eyes. “Hmmm. Better now.” Serena leaned on the rock next to her. They watched the ebb of the waves both entranced and enjoying the calm.

Serena turned to her partner, snuggled in a bit. “I wish you would’ve waited for me. I worry about you making it down here alone.”

“I know”, Bernie nodded slowly, “but my leg is getting there. Less pain- “

Serena snorted slightly and gave the blonde a raised brow.

Bernie gave in a bit. “Okay. Slightly less. But still... The walking stick is working better than that clunky cane.”

The brunette took Bernie’s hand and slotted their fingers. “I’m not losing you again. And definitely not to a tumble down that hill of all things.” Serena kissed her hand. “Wait for me next time.”

Bernie pulled Serena close, cupped her cheek, and kissed her, lingering and gentle. She pulled back slightly and rested their foreheads together.

“Alright.” She understood the depth of the moment and the concern attached. Neither of them would survive another loss. Bernie leaned in to kiss Serena again, this time conveying everything she could not put into words. When their lips parted, they remained entwined, holding the moment longer.

Serena finally pulled away, sniffled a bit. “Still.”

Bernie shook her head wistfully, a small eye roll followed. Serena offered her arm and took Bernie’s walking stick. They began the trek to the house. “You know,” Bernie started, “I came down here by myself so you could finish your book. I thought you might to want to have time to yourself.”

“I think I’ve had enough time to myself,” Serena replied. “What I want… what I need, needed… was you. Always.”

The blonde nodded and leaned heavier into Serena as they continued in comfortable silence.

 

As they made it to the top of the path, they paused for a breath and the view. “Even after all this time, I’ll never get over this view,” Serena said.

Bernie scanned the coastline. “I’ve only been here a month or so but I don’t think I ever want to leave.”

Serena smiled and pulled the blonde into a hug. “That’s good. Very good.” She pecked her on the cheek. “I need to go in and type the final bit. Come with me, then we’ll have tea.”

Just inside the door the pair peeled away their macs and heavy boots. Serena made a pot of coffee while Bernie took care of her pain medication and exchanged her walking stick for the clunky cane. When both were set, Serena opened her laptop and scrolled.

Bernie pulled a chair beside her, hovered near her shoulder. “I thought you just had the last bit to do. Why are you at the beginning?”

Serena shushed her as she completed her book. “For Bernie, my love -- believe always”. She looked over at Bernie and smiled. “There. All done.”

Bernie leaned over and kissed Serena sweetly. “Always.”