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Luskin: A Touching Reunion

08/22/11 7:55AM By Deborah Luskin
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Commentator's Brunch Sampler

(HOST)  Today we begin sampling some of the essays recorded earlier this year at the VPR Commentator Brunch. The theme was, "Picture This" and commentator Deborah Luskin invited the audience to imagine a moment of touching reunion.

(LUSKIN) I'm Deborah Lee Luskin and I just want to assure everyone that even though my husband is not here today, we are still married, despite the events of Labor Day weekend, 2004.

Tim and I picked up the Long Trail where we'd left off the year before, making our way toward Canada on foot. That spring, I'd run a half marathon; I'd never been in such good shape. For the first time in our eighteen years of marriage, I carried the tent; all Tim packed was the food.

As usual, Tim pulled ahead. This isn't just because he has long legs, but also because as soon as I start walking, my mind wanders, leading me right off the trail. The first time he stopped, he was surprised that I was only a few minutes behind him. But he was out of sight when I came to a clearing where a young woman appeared. I continued in the direction she'd come from, until I realized I was headed downhill - and south. I returned to the clearing, picked up the trail, and hurried to catch up.

Meanwhile, Tim had backtracked, looking for me. When he wasn't waiting to point out a breathtaking view in the slanting afternoon light, I hoped he'd gone ahead to cook dinner. But when I arrived at the shelter, no one was there.

I pitched the tent and spent a sleepless night wondering how to tell our children I'd lost their father in the woods. Tim searched for me until dark, and spent an uncomfortable night in the car.

At first light, I retraced my steps and as I crossed a paved road, an old woman appeared.

"Are you lost?" she asked.

"No," I said, "but I can't find my husband."

"He was looking for you yesterday. He called the police from my house." So did I.

A trooper drove me back to the trail-head, where search and rescue volunteers had assembled. Tim was there.

He smiled, his face full of relief and concern. I climbed out of the cruiser. He approached and looked deeply into my eyes. Then he turned to the officer in charge and said, "They're blue!"

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