As he sat on the edge of his bed, before turning out the bedside lamp for the night, Bill thought about the funny little twists of fate, and how things in life always seem to happen with your best interests laid out. Today had been very much one of those days. A day that, for months, seemed would never happen.
You see, there was this girl. Bill smiled to himself as he thought of that. Doesn’t it always seem to be about a girl? However, Bill had dated some… post-divorce, as he liked to categorize this segment of his life, but no one girl had really held his interest for any period of time. Recently, Bill had become comfortable with the notion he would likely spend the rest of his life as a bachelor. He had actually come to think he could like the freedom to come and go as he wished, or maybe it’s just what he told himself to get by.
Anyway….there was this girl. Like a lot of transplanted singles Bill’s age, he had dabbled with online dating sites. Mostly, he’d just found them scary! I mean, it didn’t take long to see why most of these people were single! Issues! They all had issues! Not that Bill was totally free of his own. But, by comparison, he thought he’d made it to this point of life relatively free of excess baggage and claims. The thing was, over some four months, since first contacting this girl, today was only the second time he’d actually been out with her. The economy had been especially tough on Bill’s career, post-divorce. Add to that, a fierce independence, which was the direct product of several years of being basically a self-employed entrepreneur.
Of all the girls living within a 20 mile radius, Bill mused at how and why he was still texting and messaging this particular girl who lives 60 miles away. He had repeatedly told himself, and her, that the distance was too great to even consider dating. But yet, they still talked. Similar interests seemed to keep them talking, but money was really tight. The price of gasoline… as well as most everything else….had spiraled out of control, to the point dating was virtually un-affordable for Bill. But today, they had both felt caged up, and had decided to meet at a point of equal distance between each other. No real plan. There was a quiet little park. A lake, a few scattered benches, and a walkway that wandered along the lake shore and through the shaded flower gardens. This was the setting for what Bill and Karen would each look back on as a day to remember.
A morning shower had passed, leaving the flowers looking especially vibrant. Their fragrance was intoxicating, and the green plants were left just a bit greener by the rain…or was it just the way Bill would remember it? The air was cool and fresh when they arrived and as they stepped from their cars. Any reservation Bill might have had about meeting today was put aside with Karen’s easy smile and the electricity that ran from his fingertips to his toes, as they lightly brushed cheeks with a modest greeting hug. Although he wasn’t sure if Karen noticed, but he was, from that moment, lost for the day. She had him under that hypnotic spell only a woman of interest can unknowingly cast over a man smitten. It’s at times like these, that it’s apparent man is very much the weaker sex.
Karen was light and breezy, and Bill floated along beside her, after creating the illusion he was in control of the afternoon’s agenda. Her smile was framed by an irresistible pair of cute little dimples, and accented by her auburn hair, that Bill could only imagine his fingers running through. Talk came surprisingly free and easy between them. Recent outings have generally found Bill searching for things to talk about. But Karen was different. He easily forgot about the distance, and any other reasons he had used to convince himself to not risk getting involved with this lady. Today was a day they had each decided they had needed. Work had been draining, and an afternoon of leisure, with un-pressured company…the company of the opposite sex…seemed to be the prescribed antidote.
Knowing Karen shared an enjoyment in wine and fruit, Bill had packed a basket, complete with a red and white checkered tablecloth to spread out on the ground under a tree, which overlooked the lake. The tree was on a hillside Bill decided would be quiet, while allowing for a perfect spot to watch the sun drop over the horizon. The afternoon passed quickly, as the two shared stories and laughter, which likely would have been lost on others. They just seemed to clique.
As the sun lowered, it’s light illuminated the sparkle Bill had already noticed in Karen’s eyes. Seeing it was a bit bright for her comfort, Bill reached out to gently touch her cheek, turning it so the sun would not be uncomfortable to her. Taking the cue, Karen leaned into Bill’s touch, and he pulled her against his chest. If he hadn’t already known, the soft sweet fragrance of Karen’s hair only served to attest to the fact that Bill was lost for the day. He couldn’t help but plant one soft kiss on the top of her head, as he buried his nose in her hair, addicted to the feel of its texture against his skin, as well as the way she welcomed his face being there.
Talk soon wasn’t the focus, and Bill was no longer even sure what had been said most of the afternoon. His arm instinctively dropped to Karen’s waist, and he drew her closer to him. There they continued without any further words, silently holding each other in the late afternoon sun….although neither of them really “saw” it.
After a time, Karen got up and walked the few feet to an old rock fence where the hillside overlooked the lake. Bill admired how the sun made her hair shine, as he watched her from his place by the basket. Without speaking, he rose and walked over to Karen from behind her, and slipped his arms around her waist. Somehow, he knew her thoughts were of that distance he had often begrudged, which so limited the chances of them spending any real time together. But, he wasn’t going to let that come between them today. After all, they had chosen to spend this afternoon together. They had chosen each other’s company as a diversion from there busy schedules.
Bill turned Karen to face him, and he again drew her body against his. Her warmth and soft skin was a reminder of what he had missed for some time, and he chose to hold her close. No words need be spoken. Their bodies did the talking for them. Karen looked up at Bill, feeling the same contentment. Having watched Karen’s lips form words all afternoon, he now gently touched them for the first time with his fingertips. As her lips slightly parted, he ever so lightly traced their curve, as she offered no resistance. His forefinger slowly followed her lower lip, as it became chin, and then, lifted her face softly until their eyes met. Bill saw, in Karen’s eyes, an endearing warmth, and they were dark, as if in a darkened room. A breeze just then caused a tendril to fall in her face. Taking it as the romance gods’ way of telling him now was the moment, he gently brushed it from her face. As he did, his fingers softly caressed her cheek, causing her to smile. He playfully poked the resulting dimple. But quickly, they each made it obvious “playful” wasn’t what they were thinking. Bill’s fingertips slowly traced every inch of Karen’s face. He paid special attention to her eyebrows, as well as her hairline across her forehead. He slowly and softly traced it to her temples, and then behind her left earlobe. His other hand rose, and slipped through her auburn hair until it found the nape of her neck. Looking deeply in her eyes, his hands cupped he face.
The soft warmth had become hot, and Bill drew his face close to Karen’s. His lips grazed against her forehead, then teased her eyebrows, before they brushed against her cheek. Slowly, and seductively, Bill’s lips breezed across her ear and then discovered her neck. The first taste of Karen’s neck was from an ever so soft flick of his tongue. His breath quickened just a bit, as her taste reached his senses. Again their eyes locked on each other’s. At this moment they each knew where their lips wanted to be. Bill’s first taste of Karen’s lips was from a soft, gently lingering kiss…as if cupping her lower lip between his, until he let it slip free. Her eyes again met his, as he held her face between his hands. The next couple hours were something that Bill would rewind, and play again and again in his mind over time. First kisses, when they kindle sparks, are never forgotten.
As the light went out, and Bill’s bedroom turned to darkness, his lips still felt Karen’s presence. Her fragrance lingered, and he fell to peaceful sleep and doubtlessly dreams of the day, with its waves of kisses and caresses. Memories of the looks between the two split through the darkness, and caressed the contented man to his sleep.