My dear, dear George,
It was ages before I mustered the courage to write this letter. I stared a long time at the page, wondering what I could say to you, but realized nothing would satisfy the feelings inside me.

The old man looked up from his crumpled paper and stared out over the sea. It was brisk on the oceanside cliffs, but not uncomfortable. The sun had just begun to dip behind the waves, and a cascade of Italian colors splashed across the sky.
He sighed, folded the page, and placed it back into the pocket of his trousers. He’d read the words a thousand times. He had them memorized now.

Do you recall, perhaps, our 30th anniversary? When you stood in the gondola, but toppled over into the water? I still giggle when I think of you, dripping wet in the Venetian moonlight!

The old man smiled and closed his eyes. His mind wandered back, memories fluttering like photographs behind his eyelids.
The last weeks without her had been unbeaable. He missed her. Everything about her. The way she’d fiddled with her curls when she drove through the countryside, and the chime of her spoon when she stirred his morningtime tea. ‘Two sugars, no more, my dear,’ but he needn’t have told her.
She always knew.

There’s too much I could write. Too many moments. wish I could scribble them all, my love, but I’m tired. Even now, it is difficult, and my hand shakes when I press into the parchment. But I need to tell you something.

The old man couldn’t go on living like this. He looked down at the waters far below him, where rocks jutted up from churning waves. He’d dreaded this moment, when he’d bid farewell. He wondered if he were strong enough. But the pain.

I kept your poem. The one from our wedding. You scrawled it on a napkin after the reception. Do you recall? I saved it. It’s in a small box in my jewelry drawer. I’d read it on lonely days when you were away, or late after we’d argued. It reminded me, always, of how much I love you.

A tear crept from his cheek and toppled to the dirt. He remembered it well.

Where the sunset meets the sea,
My life, my love, is all for thee,
And by your side, I’ll always be,
Where the sunset meets the sea.

I’m sorry about all this. I know, it’s silly to say. You’d tell me to hush, though I have little choice in the matter now. The nurses have come to change my dressings.

The old man took a breath. It was time.
He opened his eyes and stepped to the edge of the cliff. Pebbles showered down to the waves. Carefully, he removed a small leather satchel that hung on a cord at his waist. He raised it high, flung the contents in a wide arc before him.

Her ashes spread quickly, billowing golden clouds, and for a second, he thought they took the form of an angel, but it was only a trick of the dying light.

Please, scatter me on the cliffs of La Spezia. You know where. Then move on, and live and happiness. I know you’d wish the same were we switched.

The old man pulled the letter again from his pocket and held it aloft. He didn’t need it. He had the words memorized. But, the feel of the paper sent warmth through his arm. He squinted to read the final words.

I’ve written something of my own. I’ll jot it quickly below. I hope you like it.
Goodbye now, George.

For the first time since her death, he spoke the words aloud, letting his voice resonate forth from La Spezia with her ashes, far over the glistening ocean sprawl.

Where the sunset meets the sea,
My life, my love, who always loved me,

Don’t despair, I’ll wait for thee,
Where the sunset meets the sea.