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His flight to Seattle was uneventful. A flight attendant had come down the aisle at one point offering headsets to passengers: Headsetsssss? Headsetsssss? Headsetsssss? Had Kristin been with him, she would have straight-faced replied No thanksssss. He rubbed his wedding ring, missing her already, and found himself momentarily short of breath. He caught the shuttle to Boeing Field for the final leg. In little over an hour, he had moved from airliner to puddle jumper with room for seven.

The flight to Orcas Island felt like a scene from Farley Mowat's wolf book, unnerving in the best possible way. He kept waiting for the pilot to say something like bloody strange or this is it, chum. Brief conversation arose with the lady seated next to him. She had written a book several years ago that did quite well and enabled her and her husband to retire to the island. Her advanced degrees were in educational psychology. She wore a gorgeous tweed jacket and sweat pants and seemed intensely attentive to the moment.

The air on Orcas was crisp and wet. He had phoned Jake’s nearest neighbors, Steve and Lil Gillian, and informed them of his stay. I’ll be in Seattle when you arrive, but Lil can pick you up and drive you to Jake’s. Lil drives a red Toyota pickup. Have a good flight. Almost an hour after landing, Lil Gillian’s pickup slowly rolled into the empty parking lot.

He had given all his travel details to Kristin; she was always interested in details and his trip seemed vague enough as it was. What specifics he could offer would comfort her, she deserved that much. Well, I hope Lil Gillian has an unmistakeable black mustache and smells of buttermilk she teased. For some reason, he hoped Kristin was right.

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