When they were halfway to Burlington, the rain stopped, and the drenched landscape below glowed bright green and gold in the sunshine. Anne had only been in the city once before, on her honeymoon, although she didn't share that with Thomas.
The university town had several trendy restaurants, but thinking Anne would prefer a slightly more casual place, Thomas led her through an alley, into the stone-paved courtyard of an old stable and up to the second floor. The high-ceilinged room, flooded with sunshine, delighted Anne.
"What a lovely spot, Thomas."
"The kitchen is excellent too. They were doing Asian fusion here long before it became popular. Now the chef is moving back to more traditional American, but lighter than is usual.”
"Again, ahead of the curve, I think."
Thomas and Anne talked on and on, lingering until Thomas said, "You're going back to Canada soon, I imagine?"
"I'd like to see you again. Sometimes I'm in Toronto on business. Perhaps we meet there?"
"I'd love to. I have a small condominium on the waterfront. My husband and I used it for city vacations."
"How long has it been since your husband died?"
"And how are you?"
"Much better. The first year was hard, but I think I’m okay now. The grief sits much further down nowadays, and I moved on with my life. I loved him very much, Thomas."
Anne looked across the table into Thomas' eyes.
"As I loved my wife, but you do have to live again. Are you going back to work?"
"I don't think so. At least, not what I was doing. I may do some locums. Filling in for vacationing pediatricians," she said in reply to his quizzical look.
"I found work was engrossing and distracting. That helped," Thomas said.
"I was too distracted for my work. My practice involved emotionally upset children and I had difficulty maintaining my equilibrium."
"I understand. I'll be in Toronto next week."
"I'll give you my numbers," Anne said as she pulled out a business card and scribbled on the back. "I think we should be going, Thomas. It's almost three."
Thomas kissed her at Catherine's door. The first kiss since Michael had died. Later, when telling Catherine about her day, she could say she felt delighted about the kiss. "No guilt, either. I’m so happy about that. I can get on with my life now."
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