April Fool’s Day Excerpt. Nassau 1969

Bill Burkett
2 min readApr 2, 2024
Back road, New Providence Island, lee shore. Never got used to driving on the wrong side of the road.

Lovemaking left her in deep tranquil sleep in the tangled bed-covers. But it brought me hard-edged wakefulness, depression just around a lighted corner in my mind.

I pulled on clothes and unfolded our brand-new electric blanket over her. Last electric blanket in stock at the Shirley Street Ironmongery when islanders grabbed every other one in Nassau’s unseasonable weather. I stroked her forehead while warmth spread through the blanket.

“I love you,” she said, little-girl sleepy, half-waking up. She sounded like Shirley Temple when she was sleepy. Little Shirley Temple in a black-and-white Late Show movie, not Shirley Temple the lady politician who came later. Then she was back asleep. The harbor music was going to wait till the midnight hour when its love came tumblin’ down, with steel-band rhythm.

It seemed strange and lucky to have charge of the sleep of this softly breathing creature of so-pale Nordic skin and lustrous dark red hair while the sea wind prowled and distant guitars suffered… She said recently the only reason I married her on the rebound was because she made herself so available as soon as she knew I was alone again.

She knew damn well I married her on my grandmother’s orders, because she didn’t want us “living in sin” in the uptight Georgia town of my birth. She was reluctant with her sixties flower-child distrust of marriage. I missed the musical-bed sixties — she didn’t — but understood her distrust and even shared it.

We compromised and married on April Fool’s Day.

Postscript: thirty years later the divorce-court judge seemed about to cry when he said: “thirty years!” before requiring us each to say the marriage was irretrievably broken. It was. C’est la vie.

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Bill Burkett

Professional writer, Pacific Northwest. 20 Books: “Sleeping Planet” 1964 to “Venus Mons Iliad” 2018–19. Most on Amazon for sale. Il faut d’abord durer.