Anne stepped inside the House of Dreams, a box of linens in her hands, and let the air of that familiar home fall down upon her like a morning mist. When so much love had been shared in a place, it never went away, always waiting for an open heart to feel it again.
Anne heard scampering footsteps behind her. "Grammy Anne! I got a box too!" Jem and Faith's daughter came running up with a hatbox in her little hands.
"That you do, darling girl." Anne put her own box down and bent to take the burden from Lilly. 'Where has your grandfather got to?"
"He and Daddy are arguing over who should carry the big box of books." Lilly giggled, and Anne closed her eyes at the joy of a child laughing in the precious house of dreams again.
Anne gently tugged on the end of Lilly's pigtail and smiles. "I better make sure they don't come to blows. Why don't you go pick some flowers for the table?"
As Lilly ran off into the garden, Anne turned back to the car to see her son walking toward the house with the heavy box of books in his arms and Gilbert following with a lamp in his hands. Having to take it easy, having his son take over his medical practice, none of it was easy for poor Gilbert, but Anne would not see him work himself into an early grave. Gilbert's heart--so big, so strong, his heart that had sustained her when she thought Walter's death might kill her too--needed rest now.
Jem and Faith were moving into beloved Ingleside, bringing the noise and light of youth back into the house, and Anne and Gilbert were retiring to the House of Dreams, to the small home where they had nurtured their love in the early years of their marriage. Inside these four walls, they could be young again together. In the shadow of the trees they had planted as saplings, they would always have room at their table for the ghosts of old friends and the loving presence of new friends.
Anne stood at the window looking out at the top of the lighthouse where it peeked its head above the trees, and when she felt Gilbert's arm wrap around her waist she relaxed her head against his shoulder. "Oh Gil, I believe a piece of my heart has been living in this house all these years. Can you feel it?"
"Right now, I can believe we'll live here forever, you and I. Until the sea comes to take the birches and the firs and the stones of our doorstep."
If Anne listened very closely, she thought she could hear the brook bubbling through the corner of the garden, carrying the laughter of children with it as every brook did.