As the special newscast came to an end Darren reached out and turned the radio off. They had turned off Interstate 40 a little over an hour before and were on Route 64 listening in silence to the radio as they drove. Occasionally Sarah reached over and squeezed Darren’s hand on the steering wheel, but mostly they just sat and stared straight ahead. At last he broke the silence.
“This is where we began. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in world right now.”
She nodded slowly and stared straight ahead.
They reached the closest point they could drive to on the south rim of the canyon and Darren stopped the car. Turning to Sarah he smiled and touched her shoulder.
“I will always love you, you know that don’t you?”
She turned to him and smiled.
“Yes, I do. And I will love you throughout eternity.”
It was getting near sunset and the cliffs cast long shadows, the faces turning a deep bright red in the late afternoon sun. They sat a while longer in silence and then Darren reached for the cooler in the back seat and got out the bottle of champagne they had bought in the last town they had passed. He got out of the car and opened the bottle while she got out the strawberries and the champagne flutes and placed them on the hood of the car.
He poured them each a glass and they enjoyed a lingering kiss before each biting into a strawberry and sipping their champagne. He pulled her in close as they leaned against the front of the car and enjoyed the feel of the cool breeze on their faces, sipping their drinks and savouring the red, ripe berries.
“The last ten years of my life have been more than I could ever have wished for. I’m the luckiest man in the world to have found you,” he whispered in her ear.
She buried her face in his shoulder for a moment and sighed, then kissed him again.
“And I am the luckiest woman in the world. You’ve made my life complete, and I regret absolutely nothing. I want you to know that.”
He took her in his arms and held her tight for several minutes, neither of them wanting to let go. At last she released him, glancing at his wrist.
“How much longer?”
“Maybe ten minutes.”
Together they walked to the edge of the cliff as the sun began to set. The last rays of the sun burst through a gap in the clouds, lighting up the evening sky with radient majesty. They stood in silent awe at the beauty spread out before them, trying to be completely in the moment.
Several minutes later they heard a muffled boom and looked to the west as an enormous column of smoke rose rapidly into the sky, culminating in a mushroom cloud of impossible dimensions.
They fell together and kissed one last time, their fingers entwining, and stepped off the cliff without a word.