Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
Three years earlier, on a warm November morning in 1999, Adrienne Willis had returned to the Inn and at first glance had thought it unchanged, as if the small Inn were impervious to sun and sand and salted mist. The porch had been freshly painted, and shiny black shutters sandwiched rectangular white-curtained windows on both floors like offset piano keys. The cedar siding was the color of dusty snow. On either side of the building, sea oats waved a greeting, and sand formed a curving dune that changed imper-ceptibly with each passing day as individual grains shifted from one spot to the next.
With the sun hovering among the clouds, the air had a luminescent quality, as though particles of light were suspended in the haze, and for a moment Adrienne felt sheâ€™d traveled back in time. But looking closer, she gradually began to notice changes that cosmetic work couldnâ€™t hide: decay at the corners of the windows, lines of rust along the roof, water stains near the gutters.
The Inn seemed to be winding down, and though she knew there was nothing she could do to change it, Adrienne remembered closing her eyes, as if to magically blink it back to what it had once been.
Now, standing in the kitchen of her own home a few months into her sixtieth year, Adrienne hung up the phone after speaking with her daughter. She sat at the table, reflecting on that last visit to the Inn, remembering the long weekend sheâ€™d once spent there. Despite all that had happened in the years that had passed since then, Adrienne still held tight to the belief that love was the essence of a full and wonderful life.
Outside, rain was falling. Listening to the gentle tapping against the glass, she was thankful for its steady sense of familiarity. Remembering those days always aroused a mixture of emotions in herâ€”something akin to, but not quite, nostalgia. Nostalgia was often romanticized; with these memories, there was no reason to make them any more romantic than they already were. Nor did she share these memories with others. They were hers, and over the years, sheâ€™d come to view them as a sort of museum exhibit, one in which she was both the curator and the only patron. And in an odd way, Adrienne had come to believe that sheâ€™d learned more in those five days than she had in all the years before or after.
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