“Check out this song that I put on our playlist. It is so beautiful”, she said.
She emphasized for him to “listen for the repeating phrase towards the end. It is how I feel about us. It is how I feel — about you”.
So, he listened.
He recalls that day well. Sitting outside alone by the pool in the middle of the heat from a Texas summer day, when the words lept from a Bluetooth speaker somehow magically connected to an iPhone. Remembering hearing her feelings through Alexi Murdoch’s words, when she spoke to his heart, by way of Alexi as the proxy.
The words said, “in your love, my salvation lies in your love, my salvation lies in your love, my salvation lies in your love”, over and over and over.
As the months have passed, this little piece to the bigger story of their love became like a signature.
A writer of passion, dozens and dozens of new pieces appeared for months and months, as a testament to his love for her, always tagged with “orange sky forever”, so that she knew — that although thousands of people would read this – she was the only one he was writing it for. So she could know, she was with him, in his mind, as every word was found in his mind and given to her as a gift.
He recently wrote, “So, my Dear Orange Sky, nothing has changed since that August day, other than, well, just one thing…”
You see, I write this on the day we broke up.
I heard your voice just mere hours ago crumbling and crackling like mine was, as we forced ourselves to say goodbye, afraid to hang up, prolonging the inevitable involuntary division that neither of us wanted and are terrified now that we have to face.
You see, to the reader following along, they are wondering — why would two people, who are madly in love with each other, in the deepest and most profound way that they ever will be so blessed to experience. Well, why the hell would those two lucky people part ways?
To which I would say, “Have you ever read Bridges of Madison County?”
“It is a beautiful love story”, she said. “You should read it”, so I did. But I never really was very fond of the ending. I didn’t see the fight for true love the way I wanted to see it, so it always never quite sat well with me.
So as I wrote “My Francesca”, I wrote it to my Francesca. Along with hundreds of other things and likely many more to come, because it’s not that I can’t shake you — it’s that I don’t want to.
And as I write this, the “he” is the first sequence is that of me, the Robert Kincaid, from the book. Now destined to take my landscape photos alone, searching within myself to find the answer to the question: will my ashes be tossed over the proverbial Bridge in Madison County, Iowa? Or are there orange skies that await in the Hawkeye State, that we will one day watch rising and setting, together?
Finding this kind of love is an anomaly in life, even amongst the truest of loves. And although our story is not as I would have written it, I cannot help to be grateful that I read it, while holding onto the idea that this is just the first chapter. It is Princess Bride meets Shakespeare meets the Bridges of Madison County kind of love; when you find it, you hang on, in any small way you can.
There is no substitute for this in life and carrying on in its absence I suspect is soul-crushing, forever changed to a different person. I liken it to the parents in the home of Will Wheaton in Stand By Me, aimlessly walking through life like zombies, never quite getting over the loss of their beloved son, Denny Lachance.
This my greatest fear; that the heart, so full of passion that it stands out above the rest and I hardly even have to try. It beats for you, my love, but without you, I wonder if it is dead. But I suppose that is just me feeling sad for myself, or something.
This kind of love changes a person, forever. When you find it, I believe every effort to replace it is a futile attempt to get back what you had, all to end up in bitter disappointment, until the bitter runs out, and you just stop caring anymore. You become, Mr. and Mrs. Lachance.
So with a heavy heart, I will try and channel my inner Gordie, staying alive in the face of devastation. I will channel, my inner Robert, though I was never as strong as him.
So I, Robert, say I Love You, Francesa. I hope we will write a different ending.
An ending, where we watch the orange skies rise and set in Iowa.