Ellen stood on the bridge while Nathaniel photographed her from the shore.
“Don’t spoil my memories!”
He did not know how he could spoil her memories, but Nathaniel took multiple shots and made sure the photos looked good. He saw her smile. That let him know she was glad he was taking those pictures. For her part Ellen saw no future that did not include Nathaniel.
Today her face is wrinkled. While she was still able to walk her family decided to take her to her childhood home which seemingly random turbulences over the decades tossed her far away from. She asked to see that old stone bridge. They found the bridge. It was still there in spite of the changes, some challenging, some like windfalls of blessing, that would make almost everything else unrecognizable to her.
As they walked over the bridge, Ellen stopped to the best of her remembrance where she stood when Nathaniel took those photographs. She wondered what happened to him. Why did she lose him that summer?
Ellen thought of her family, husband, middle-aged children and grandchildren starting to have infants to care for. Some of them were with her on the bridge worrying she might fall and guarding her from the edge. She may have another year to share with them. As she breathed the air and watched the water move below she felt an overwhelming gratitude for all of it. The parts of her life she got right soothed those she wished she did differently. She looked toward the shore where Nathaniel stood long ago and smiled at him once again.