Bill Burkett
5 min readJun 19, 2024
available Amazon Books

We are the sum of all the moments in our lives — all that is ours is in them: we cannot escape it or conceal it…Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

This is a moment:

Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Chapter 1: Beach anniversary

The year after I turned forty, winter got a late start and didn’t want to quit. Our spring wedding anniversary opened with hail, snow in wet heavy curtains, then torrential rains. Sun-breaks revealed fresh snow on the foothills. Winds were bitter and numbing. My wife and I left the kids with a babysitter and went to the beach in our new Honda Accord to celebrate our anniversary. There was a hellacious storm off the Pacific to enjoy, and the plan was to renew the intimacy missing from our daily grind.

Her bewildering tangle of activities with her extensive family absorbed most of her time when she wasn’t at work. She left for work before dawn, had a physically demanding job, and would usually be asleep within two hours of the kids’ bedtime. My work day began at nine in my bureaucrat’s office fifty miles from home and often lasted ten hours, not counting the commute. She was a lark and I was a night owl. In-law obligations and our work schedules hardened the asymmetry of our biorhythms into damn little time spent together.

A decade before, when two children in quick succession first broke the symmetry of our relationship — there were other stresses too of course — her pediatrician advised her to ditch the kids periodically to take time for us. Since he was an “authority figure,” she got right on it. It redounded to my benefit, so I humored her. Ten years later, our occasional three-day beach weekends were inscribed in her almost-obsessive “to-do” agenda amid all her obligations that had nothing to do with us. To me the weekends had come to symbolize a mournful echo of the way we were when we began. Sometimes, it seemed, the only echo.

The new car was the reward she allowed me for enduring the hundred-mile round-trip commute so she could live close to her family. The Honda was more comfortable than the VW Bug I had driven since the Arab Oil Embargo, always complaining Beetles did not come in size 50 Long. She planned to drive the Bug to work until our son reached driving age, saving wear and tear on my 4X4 pickup for family camping vacations and, incidentally, my hunting seasons. She had a plan for everything.

On these beach trips Chloe left her marriage administrator’s hat at home. She stopped talking about in-law issues, focused on me, and became the woman I had loved not wisely but too well for fifteen years. I reveled in an enormous sense of liberation, and pleasure in her company.

It would have been pretty to believe our happy anniversary presaged resumption of the early closeness in our marriage. That our renewed intimacy would survive return to everyday drudgery and stress. But I was not a complete idiot.

She had granted me the anniversary weekend. My life’s mantra always had been now is all you ever have for sure. I forgot everything but the now. So, evidently, did she. At one point we parked in a scenic turnout to watch the storm, and started fooling around. We hadn’t been out of bed two hours. But, as in our early days, she soon had me unzipped and in her mouth. My evidently indefatigable cock rose to the occasion. I watched thundering ocean waves, peacefully puffed my pipe and lived in the happy moment.

Our windows were fogging up. I glanced at a car parked beside ours. Their windows were fogging too. But I saw a bright blonde head bobbing up and down in the driver’s lap. Younger than me, he was in a trance. I wondered if fellatio ever made me that oblivious when I was his age.

But his blonde had situational awareness. She raised up slightly and looked over. Our eyes met. She grinned lasciviously, and released her grip long enough to flash a thumbs-up. Then went back to her ministrations. Erotic proof we weren’t the only ones inspired by the stormy ocean.

Our motel room was perched on a high bluff above big spotlights trained on the night surf raging below. A cozy restaurant nearby had the same view, and a nice wine list. But none from the vineyard of a former Eastern Washington farm-implement salesman to whom the previous liquor-board chairman introduced me at a wine tasting. A colorful rural guy with a charming Texas wife, his vintages were taking prestigious medals against French wines.

When Washington wines were subsequently banned from a Paris competition, our new Japanese board member supported my PR proposal the liquor board host a tasting of our own — in Paris. The majority decreed that was a little high-flown for a state agency though the new guy, with a background in Pacific Rim commerce, liked it. Despite job stress, some parts of being a liquor bureaucrat were educational and even fun.

The restaurant owner promised to add the combine-salesman’s line to his cellar. Chloe said I sounded urbane discussing obscure wines and vintage years. After dinner we kissed in the car. When the fingers of my left hand found her under her special dinner-date dress, she was already wet. She gasped:“Oh, how did you know I wanted you to do that?” Clung to my neck. I pleasured her to her peak repeatedly, making up for many drab nights gone, stockpiling against the return to dreary everyday.

When she could take no more I drove the short distance to our room. I was so worked up I banged an ugly dent in the door of our new car against a post. Had an instant wrench of fear, expecting a typical marital-administrator’s rebuke. Didn’t happen.

“Forget it,” she groaned. “Come inside. Hurry!”

My peculiar brain noted the unconscious double entendre. I kept the thought to myself. But complied with alacrity. Doubly. The pounding of the surf had nothing on us that night.

A very sweet anniversary against which my chronic depression could not stand. I wished it could last forever. But what good thing ever does?

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.