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Book: Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robin Jones Gunn
Jonathan was having the last dig by saying through the long-dead poet that he was done with her and glad it was over. She had read between the lines that if they should ever meet again, he would act as if there had never been any love between them. The deepest sting of his letter had come when he said he considered her his best friend.
    That was the day Shelly cut her memories in half and stored them deep in the treasure chest of her heart. The love she had for Jonathan, the innocent, pure, and true first love, went on the bottom of the trunk. It was as if she had pressed it down as flat as she could and loaded the rest of the trunk with the carefree childhood memories of growing up with Jonathan, the memories that carried no remorse. Then, when it became painful to look even at those, Shelly closed the lid and tucked the treasure box far away from her everyday life.
    Now she realized that everything had changed when she came home to Seattle less than a week ago. That first day in her room, all the light memories on top had floated out the minute she opened that invisible trunk. Now, only days later, she finally allowed herself to free the very bottom layer. And in her examination of those painful love remembrances came the urge to read the letter for the second time in five years.
    From this reading came new understanding. “Now if thou wouldst; when all have given him over; From death to life thou might’st him yet recover,” she read again aloud.
    Was he trying to say it still wasn’t too late? Folding the letter and letting it drop to her lap, Shelly looked up at the ceiling and whispered, “Is it possible, God? Was I too stubborn or too hurt to see this before?”
    The silent, painted clouds didn’t answer.
    “Is Meredith right? Have I pushed people away from me? Has my urge for independence blinded me to others?”
    The possibility was too sharply painful for her. She repelled it. All that entered her heart was the clear and life-giving thought that perhaps somewhere Jonathan still waited for her.
    It was a fanciful thought, she knew, one that she kept to herself during the next week and a half while she moved into the Tulip Cottage. Right after moving in, she flew two days and stayed over in Denver to sleep between flights. It seemed a subtle torture to be so near Boulder, where Jonathan had lived when he wrote the letter, but not to have the time to drive there. Not that she knew what she would do if she did go there. See the university Jonathan attended? Maybe. Or drive by the address from the letter and picture what window he had looked out of as he wrote to her.
    There was always the slightest chance that Jonathan still lived in Boulder. On a whim, Shelly scanned the Denver phone book in her hotel room. No Jonathan Renfield was listed. She called information for Boulder. It had no Renfields listed. Jonathan could be anywhere. He could be in Seattle, for all she knew. The only way to track him down would be to find his parents in the Bahamas and give them a call.
    Shelly thought about asking her mom if she had the Renfields’ address on her Christmas list. But Mom would want to know why Shelly asked. Mom wouldn’t come right out and quiz Shelly, but Shelly knew the looks and that those looks would torture her for many months.
    Those same looks had tortured her the first time her parents visited her in Pasadena. Shelly had explained very little to them about why she had turned down Jonathan’s proposal. She said she didn’t feel ready to get married, and since she and Jonathan were so close, it had to be an all-or-nothing relationship.There wasn’t room for a casual friendship. Her parents seemed satisfied with her explanation.
    If she brought up Jonathan now, they would definitely want more information. As much as her dad loved Jonathan, he would probably want to help her locate him and push them together again.
    Shelly wasn’t ready for that. She wasn’t sure what she was ready for, but whatever it

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