It was getting late. Donna had worked hard and was weary. As much as she'd
hoped to finish her poetry book that day, she knew it would have to wait until morning.
How painful it had been to put some of those memories of Michael down on paper.
Donna sighed as she wiped a stray tear from her eye. She neatly piled the hundred and
fifty-something pages of her poetry book on Michael's desk. I've got to stop thinking of
this desk as Michael's, she told herself. He's never going to come. It's time I accept that
fact and get on with my life.
Again Donna wiped tear droplets from her cheeks with the back of her hand. She call-
ed for Hobo. It was time for his last walk of the day.
As they wandered around the dark, empty streets, Donna spoke to her dog. "It's funny,
Hobo, but I just can't seem to push thoughts of Michael away tonight. It's almost as if I feel
his presence. I've just got to get past this. If I want to survive, I have no choice but to forget
him, no matter how much I still love him."
Hobo whined, as if he understood.
Donna had to chuckle as she thought of the weight she had recently gained, and her
salt-and-pepper hair. "Want to bet that Michael would probably take one look at me and
run the other way? He's probably stayed as lithe and handsome as ever." She sighed. "Come
on, Hobo. It's time for us to go to bed."
Michael wondered why he was suddenly filled with such a sense of urgency. I guess
it's just that I've missed Donna for so very long, he decided. Maybe I'm just overly excited
about finally seeing her. I would have gone sooner, but I didn't want to put Adam or Dawn
on the spot by asking where their mother was. Nervous, he spoke to the empty car.
"Please, God, let her still love me. It's far past time I try to make things right. That is . . .
if she'll still have me."
Michael could never have imagined what he was to find that Valentine's Day.
Donna was totally absorbed in the poem she was reading. She even failed to notice the
noise of her word processor as it printed out the final draft of Elusive Love and Moonbeams.
When the last poem was released from the word processor, she shut it off. Leaning back
with the final thirty pages of her manuscript in her hands, she began to read. She reread her
last poem, aloud this time:
"Tonight I closely
watched the sky, discovering
Her car was there . . .
The dog was barking . . .
She just had to be home . . .
Michael walked around to the beach side of Donna's house.
Leaning back in her chair, Donna drank in the silence of the room. She wanted to read
her book one last time before showing it to her kids and Julie.
Suddenly, she felt as if a giant tractor and trailer had fallen upon her chest. Her left
arm went numb. The papers she'd so lovingly held fell from her hands. The last word she
whispered to her empty house was "Michael."
Michael stood on Donna's deck and peered in through the French doors. Hobo was
barking at something . . . It was Donna. She was lying crumpled on the floor. Michael quick-
ly broke a windowpane and unlocked the door from the inside. Frantic, he entered the un-
Oh, God, no . . . I can't be too late.
Reneta awoke with a start. She glanced at the clock above the television and couldn't
believe her eyes. Tiptoeing up the stairs, she peeked into her bedroom, hoping . . .
"That bastard," she said aloud. "I can't believe he didn't come home or at least call. Why
did he have to leave on a business trip on Valentine's Day? Does he have some woman hidden
away that I can't find?" Stop it, her inner voice responded. You've followed him and crept
behind closed doors, trying to catch him on the phone, and yet never did you discover that
man doing anything wrong. You even hid, watching his office and car, without success. Let
it go and get some rest. The poor man is probably working his ass off trying to keep you
in the manner to which you have become accustomed.
"If he ever leaves me, I'll . . ." she murmured. I know, I know. Now hush and get some
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