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He could hear the ocean, but couldn’t see it. He carefully climbed down the stone face to the hidden beach. He set his pack against rocks and got down to business. The dry cedar kindling crackled to life. He set the grizzled and charred coffee pot on the grill over the flames. The driftwood break dissipated past him into the gray. The lonely moan of the lighthouse fog horn sang through the trees. The coffee pot started popping to life. The solitude of the small cove suited him. Reaching back, he could still feel where the beard had burned hot along his neck. Goddammit, why had he been such a bastard? He just hated fighting, particularly on the morning before he was out on a trip. Worse, it was an argument over nothing. Keys had been misplaced. He had to remind him that if he was more organized, these kinds of just-before-you-needto-be-leaving things wouldn’t happen. Their last words had been dismissive, tired and unhappy. He’d used his anal-retentiveness as a weapon. He imagined a drizzly, car-horn frantic morning back in the city. He glanced at his watch, smiling. A courier was delivering a box of favorite bakery croissants with a single orange rose promptly at 9 a.m. His husband would be at his desk, perfectly pressed, reading the Times with his oldworld glasses. In the last crackly moments of cell coverage before the ferryboat traveled out of range, he’d transcribed the card. “You are the single gentle rain that makes my grasses many shades greener. See you soon, Favorite. Your Muir”