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Description : Awaken
March 3

Even from thousands of miles away, I can feel my husband. I feel his thoughts brushing against my skin, the beating of his heart in rhythm with mine. I feel him in the world, a powerful, unyielding presence who will forever be my source of safety and warmth. And because of that, the distance between us doesn’t seem quite so vast, and my aloneness not quite so alone.

Mirror Lake is beginning to wake from the hibernation of winter. Colorful, adhesive tulips, butterflies, and robins plaster the windows of the shops lining Avalon Street. The frozen surface of the lake is starting to crack, ice floes melting under the increasingly warm sun. Piles of snow still cap the surrounding mountains and line the streets of town, but the promise of spring clings to the air.

I put a coat on over my jeans and T-shirt and pull my long brown hair into a ponytail before heading outside. I stop at a coffeehouse to get two takeout coffees, then walk to Emerald Street and the Happy Booker bookstore. Big signs in the windows read Going Out of Business Sale.

I push open the door, deflecting a pang of regret. I’d offered to try and help my friend Allie Lyons save her bookstore by applying for a small business loan, but my loan application was denied, and we couldn’t bring in enough revenue to afford the raised rent on the building.

“Wee to… oh, hi, Liv.” Allie straightens from a pile of books and pushes a tumble of red curls off her forehead. Twenty-seven years old and possessing an undaunted, boundless energy, Allie hasn’t let the loss of her business get her down.

“Morning, Allie.” I indicate that one of the coffees is for her and place the tray on the front counter. “What can I do?”

“I haven’t gotten to the children’s section...