Three Miles

They celebrated there.
Birthdays. Graduations.
Their parent’s 40th Anniversary. 
It’s gone now. The Fish House.
Like everything else on that beach.
Like their dad, who passed 
a few months after they’d
celebrated he and mom’s 50th.

They rode there. 
On Saturday mornings
On the Harley she’d surprised
Him with for his birthday.
Wind blown and laughing
They’d always stop in.
To grab a bite. 
For the friendly welcome. 
It’s gone now too,
Sharon’s Cafe. Another
casualty of that day.

They walked hand-in-hand
on the public pier.
Watching sunsets.
Falling in love.
He proposed there.
On one knee. 
Tears in her eyes. 
She said yes. 
That was ten years ago. 
They’re still going strong,
though the pier,
where it all started,
no longer stands.
Some things remain sturdy
in memory only.

The Forgotten Coast it’s called.
Unmarried by commerce.
Ground Zero they call it now.
The epicenter. 
War zone.

Mexico Beach Strong.
Spray painted on debris.
On remains of buildings.
On upturned sidewalks. 
Three miles of unforgettable coast.
Three miles of unforgettable strength.
Three miles of unforgettable determination.
Three miles.
It seems so much farther now.

© 2019 Jennifer N. Fenwick
Photo by Tony Miller

In the Eye of the Storm: Stories of Survival and Hope from the Florida Panhandle. Coming to Amazon January 24.