Whenever I saw him in the school yard my heart flattered like the wings of a butterfly. He was three grades ahead of me. Girls on one side of the yard, boys at the other end. We shot glances at each other but very very seldom talked. Summer vacations he spend on his bike touring Germany and Switzerland and was gone until 'back to school'. He never roamed the streets like many other boys - always studying hard to remain first in class. He never came to the movies. I occasionally saw him at church. The year he came back from climbing the Swiss Alps and handed me an Edelweiss, I was in heaven.
We meet at the river's swimming area which was known as the public pool. Yes, we have a wooden shack which is used as changing room. It's walls are riddled with peeping holes. We do not want to be seen talking to each other- my dad does not allow it - so we stretch out on the grass instead of the blanket and pull the blanket over us. How sweet when faces are so close to each other that cheeks and noses touch and eyelashes enlace for a blink blink dance - the butterfly kiss.
He leaves his bike at the edge of the road and walks me home on a hot afternoon. I know that mom is at work and dad is either at the Cafe or walking the streets to check if I am up to any mischief. I offer to show him my room. My walls are covered with pictures of film stars. He looks and asks to see my breasts. I lift up my shirt and pull it back down in the same move. His first look at female anatomy. He became a medical doctor. No butterfly kiss, nothing.
I had been up on the mountain to decorate the chapel dedicated to Ste.Mary with bouquets of lilac. As I come down the path I hear this strange unfamiliar noise which I have never heard before and can not identify. I reach the country road, turn the corner and see him standing at the edge of a steep deep hill holding on to his bike and shouting "your father went down here in his car". I did not even look down there. I started screaming and ran off in the opposite direction to lean against the wall of the vicar's residence, wailing as loud as I could until the Vicar came out. Dad survived.
I am 18. He is away at university but happens to be attending the same event as I in our home town. He walks me home. We talk and kiss.
I move away. I marry. I come to Canada and 60+ years later I find a letter from him in my mailbox (2009).
He married a doctor - they are retired - they travel all over the world - he came to a class reunion in his home town and was given my address.
These are the pictures he enclosed with the letter I received today.
Tenerife - climbing Teide. He him = Edmund