Winning Without Victory
a political and romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 3 of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 59
Chapter 5 - Our Seashore Paradise.

      After we dried off in the sunshine by walking around, the priest invited us to his house for a cup of coffee. "By the way, my name is Ross, Ross Jacobson," he said.

      So we introduced ourselves at long last and shook hands.

      Ross told us on the way that he and Heather lived in a log cabin built on a ridge at the far side of the bay, the bay that we evidently shared. He said that his place was about a half-hour's walk distant. He pointed to it.

      The house could barely be seen. He had to describe its location before we could see it. It seemed well hidden at the far end of the ridge, right at the entrance point of our bay. He told us that his place was overlooking both the ocean and the bay, with also a wide western exposure. He said that he could oversee everything from his balcony as if the world lay at his feet.

      As I expected the trail to his house started way past the end of the beach, cutting through low vegetation, gently leading up to a rocky tree-covered ledge. That's how I would have built the trail, and it was well built.

      When we got to the cabin, WOW! I was impressed. The place was huge. What looked like a cabin from the beach was a log house two stories high. On the side facing the ocean it featured an enormous porch. And behind the house Ross showed us another porch with a Jacuzzi.

      "The place isn't easily seen from the shore," Ross explained, "it blends in with the landscape when you look at it from a distance." He had vines growing right up to the roof, covering the entire front wall facing the beach.

      Both Ross and Heather showed us around. Heather sometimes spoke of the house as if it were her own place too. "We really love it here," she said at one point. Of course her enthusiasm was justified. It was a delightful place, indeed. That she was living there with Ross became obvious when Ross asked me to join him in his office. On the way he showed me the bedroom of the house that was adjoined to a corner room that was evidently his office. Both rooms were facing east towards the ocean. In fact, we had to walk partly through the bedroom to get to the office part. As expected Heather's distinct feminine touch was prominently evident throughout the bedroom. The walls appeared to have been newly decorated. Color coordinated curtains graced the windows with patterns of wildflowers and an almost matching bed spread. The bed was angled slightly north, facing the window, exactly the way we had once rearranged a bed in a hotel room to make it possible for us to see the first light of the day from our pillows without getting up.

      No doubt, 'Heather is happy here,' I thought. I was glad for her. There was a small vase of flowers on the dresser at the far wall of the room. I noticed her comb beside the vase, a unique comb with a silver edge that broadened and became its handle. I remembered her using it every morning. Getting her hair just right seemed important, as important as choosing the right blouse to wear for the kind of day it would be. The last thing that I noticed before entering Ross' domain, was Heather's straw hat hanging on the wall to the right of the dresser, a large hat with a wide rim that we had bought together in Vegas during our days of fun, happiness, and excitement, when we had 'escaped' from Key West.

      Ross explained in his office, without giving any details, that he was stationed at this place on some kind of Coast Guard duty. The explanation seemed to justify some of the equipment that I saw, including a rather large telescope covered with a black velvet dust-cloth. He explained that the surveillance work was far too boring for a sane man, so that he spent his time there mostly doing scientific research, something to keep his mind sharp and on edge. He showed me some of it, something that Steve might have been able to identify, but not I.

      After my visit to the office was concluded, he invited us all to join him for a drink on the porch. He offered a bottle of wine. Heather had offered lemon-aid. Heather's offer won out.

      The early evening passed quickly that way, in light conversation, and rather pleasantly in pleasant company. We had a broad view from Ross' high-perched 'castle' by the sea. The perimeter of the seaside porch had been made of glass held in place with a rather wide aluminum bar, wide enough for a few pots of flowers to be placed on it near the house.

     The sea lay calm below us, blue and sparkling, reflecting the setting sun. Together with the lemon aid, a batch of cookies had been served. Only a few of them now remained. As I reached for the last one I noticed that the northern horizon had become dark. I needed to stand up to reach for the cookie plate. Still, the dark on the horizon seemed far away. I took another look briefly and soon forgot about it. It was far too pleasant to be thinking about what lay far in the distance. I felt at peace. I felt happy seeing Heather again, and more so to see her so wonderfully happy herself in her New World. I felt joyous for her; joyous to see her smiles again; and joyous also over the realization that we had actually become neighbors. It seemed like a fairytale was unfolding.

      Our conversation in the bright evening sunshine reflected this mood. Nobody spoke about the stock market crisis or the possibility for a nuclear war, or anything else connected with politics. We barely noticed that the dark clouds on the horizon had grown larger and had turned into storm clouds. A massive front was now coming down from the North. But who cared? The dark front was still a good distance away.

      Eventually the focus of the conversation shifted onto what to do for dinner. Ross looked at the storm clouds and then at his watch. "Let me invite you to stay for dinner," he said, "otherwise you might get caught up in the storm that's coming in. It seems to be coming down faster than has been forecast."

      Heather agreed with him and insisted that we stay. By then the dark front stood close enough to cast its shadow on the sea. It had made the sea appear dark and gray all of a sudden, just as the storm front itself was blending gray into gray without a horizon.

      "We rarely have visitors coming," Heather added to her invitation.

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