The rains came and forced Rich and Yuri into the protection and comfort of the cabin. Rich prepared a meal. They ate slowly.
“Yuri,” Rich said, “what was your wife’s name?”
“It does not matter,” Yuri paused. “Tatyana.”
“It is a beautiful name,” Rich said.
“Thanks for asking,” Yuri paused and struggled to speak and finally said, “If I tell you about her will you promise never to forget her?”
“As long as I live,” Rich said.
“You see the sadness of death is that the world soon forgets you existed and some lives should never be forgotten, because they are full of truth and virtue. They don’t aspire to anything, but to love and be loved. All I have is her memory, not even a picture or memento.”
Yuri spoke for an hour, at times a tear rolled from his moist red eyes. One might think of it as painful, but for Yuri, it was cathartic—a balm for his soul.
“I hope to love like that someday,” Rich said.
“You will not,” Yuri said. “Love is as individual and different as a fingerprint. What about you my friend, you must have a love.”
“There is one I think about,” Rich said. “She became pregnant.”
“So you are a father?” Yuri said.
“No the child belongs to another man,” Rich said.
“My friend, how painful,” Yuri said.
“She was never mine,” Rich said. “It is not a love based on romance, in many ways it is deeper and beyond romance. Does that make sense to you?”
“Yes,” Yuri said, “it makes perfect sense.”
“I would marry her for nothing more than to establish her honor,” Rich said. “She was decent, honest, and innocent. Her smile is in every sunset, her hair in every breeze, and her eyes in every starlit night.”
Rich grabbed the bottle of whiskey from a drawer. He poured a small amount into two tin cups.
Two men bared their souls that evening. The Odyssey sailed into the darkness.