MUKILTEO – A couple walks down the beach in a breeze, seeking a moment of peace.
The glaring sun is going down, the water sparkling. Children smile, sing, run, dance and dip in the cool water. Lovers chat and whisper.
The couple finds the green bench facing the water at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park.
Kenny Vickers and Bonne McArthur of Mill Creek met three years ago. It was after he lost his wife of 25 years to cancer, after she divorced her husband of 25 years.
On the bench, they watch people. They talk about their lives together. They want to marry.
On the bench, a plaque says, “A great lady has passed here. And passed on our beloved hero. Det. Joyce L. Johnson, the best person we’ve known. Her family.”
Billy Johnson met Joyce, a Seattle policewoman, on a Saturday in 1955. True-crime author Ann Rule set them up on a blind date.
At first sight, Joyce, a tall, blue-eyed blond, sent him to heaven. “Just a beautiful star,” Billy says. They married the following Saturday.
They would walk down the beach, picking up branches, seaweed, whatnot.
Joyce died three years ago after 48 years of marriage.
Billy lives alone in their house looking down on the beach. Joyce is everywhere: photos, seaweed baskets, both her dogs.
Billy, 84, doesn’t go to the beach much anymore. He doesn’t walk well.
He’s happy knowing that people relax in each other’s company on Joyce’s bench.
On this Monday evening, Kenny and Bonne watch the sun slip behind the Olympics, the cloudless sky blushed with orange.
They see off the sunset from their favorite bench, stand up and walk away together.
A moment of love, thanks to Joyce’s bench, waiting in twilight.
– Yoshiaki Nohara, Herald Writer