Thanks to you all. I finally decided to delete the last sentence altogether. So it reads thus:

“Thank you.” He leaned forward and touched her hand, so glad she was here, and a vivid memory came to his mind. From a time before everything, before the straps and belt buckles, before it all fell apart.

The memory was of them as very small children, running into the sea, laughing.

***

It didn't win the contest I entered it in intially, but that's life. I entered it BEFORE I deleted the last sentence. Now it has that change at the end, and a major change at the start.

So it still has legs in the competition world! Hopefully.....

Debbi