Monday, June 18, 2012
The Ride To Nowhere... Something Just For Her
It was one of those rare occasions when I was absolutely minding my own business. At the mid-point of 57-years-old, the sole advantage to minding one’s own business is that others mistake your caution for innate wisdom; when in truth it is simple emotional skepticism acting like a seat belt. The woman had pulled up a bar stool directly in front of mine; bracketed my knees with her own; and kissed me squarely on the mouth. She was in her late forties, nicely built and carefully maintained, with dark hair framing a face that held an incredible smile.
“You probably weren’t expecting that,” she said right into my lips.
I felt the tips of my fingers trace their way to her waist, and I pulled her towards me, turning the kiss which had begun as an opening sentence into a paragraph. Touching my lips with her fingers, she said, “The way you look at me makes me feel like I am the only woman in the world.” I smiled that little boyish half-grin which women find endearing, but which actually says, “You’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
Then she lifted up her shirt, put my hands on her breasts, and said, “How long have you been thinking about these?”
My first response was to say, “Since I was 5-years-old,” but the absolute truth never gets anyone anywhere. The boyish half-grin simply switched from one side to the other, acquiring something of a roguish quality in transit. I never took my eyes off hers, but whispered, “How long have you been thinking about my hands on them?”
It had been a while since I had gotten lost in woman’s face. While I had seen this face hundreds of times, seeing it through a 90-second kiss brought the depth of her eyes, the perfection of her skin, and the fullness of her mouth into a different perspective. I had seen this mouth express guileless smiles and launch lighter-than-air laughter at dozens of parties... And now it was open, pressing against mine, as her tongue ran along the inside of my lips.
Her nipples had gone from zero to rock hard in sixty seconds, and still I couldn’t take my eyes from her face.
“I want you...” she said.
The kiss continued.
“To do something...”
Her lips moved over to my neck
I cradled her face in my hand, then moved her hair behind her ear. A single diamond caught the low light in the room.
“I want you to write something for me... Something that is like nothing else you’ve ever written for a woman before.”
There is nothing like touching a woman with a sensitive part of you that isn’t normally used for touching, like the back of your fingers. I traced the curve of her face to that smile, which then kissed my hand. And I knew that part of me was etching every second of this moment onto the surface of my mind; so I’d get it right when I wrote about it later; so I’d remember it perfectly, when I was old and nothing this good was likely to occur to me ever again.
Nothing like this had happened to me for a while.
The tide was going out on a relationship that I thought would last forever, leaving me on the beach with my pants around my ankles, again. A woman, who I swore would be the last I’d ever hold in my arms, whose kisses would be the last I’d ever savor, whose eyes would be the last heaven to overwhelm me, was now certain that her feelings for me were in tatters, and that there was nothing I could do to restore the magnificent paper dragon that I’d once made come alive in her heart. This was the nicest way anyone ever told me that they had heard all of my stories, all of my jokes, all of my plans, all of my fears, all of my beliefs, and all of my opinions — and now preferred to think of me in the past tense.
Just as this wave of abysmal reality was about to sweep over me, here was another woman, with a personality like the mad careening bubbles in champagne, jumping me out of the clear blue. The electric contact of her lips reading mine at point blank range left me as speechless as it did breathless — despite an accompanying sense that I was planting my feet in the soft hope of romantic quicksand. Nothing satisfies the aching hunger in a man’s soul like the taste of a woman’s lips. I had quite forgotten how long it had been since I had fed, and now someone was feeding on me. The desire for a woman in my life is one of the most compelling drives to surface in the stories I write, the sunsets I describe, the thunderstorms that color my adventures, and the tides that carry my plots out to sea. Yet as strong as this drive is, it is nothing compared to the soul-elevating sensation I derive from having a woman desire me. Out of two marriages and a dozen affairs, it has happened exactly once, that a woman ran me down like a cheetah, and left me with no alternative but a gasping surrender.
And now, just when I was at my lowest point, it appeared to be happening again.
We agreed to meet at a hotel across a nearby state line, far from the chance glance of unwanted eyes, for a couple of hours of mad passion and the kind of laughter that never escapes the pillows. And so it was that I found myself on a red BMW K75, headed for an assignation, the anticipation of which had my hands sweating through my light summer gloves and my breath heating up the inside of my Nolan helmet. There was never a question in my mind that this was trouble... Just as there was never a question in my mind that I needed this like I needed oxygen... Or that a red K75 was one of the original food groups.
It was almost 95 miles to the hotel, a nondescript business property alongside the New Jersey Turnpike. I vowed to think this through — on the ride there — holding my speed to a rational 65 miles-per-hour, as I tried to get my hands around every implication.
“Nothing will ever be the same with this woman again,” I thought. “We’ll never be able to stand in the same room without this very tangible, though invisible connection, between us.” The thought of a connection with her at all set my pulse racing, and I swerved around the car ahead of me, zigging first right than zagging left, as I shot into the middle lane, then returned to my position with the concrete divider about a foot from my left knee. I wondered if that connection would become a gentle smile traded as an invitation to repeat what was about to happen that afternoon, whenever we met by chance or design, or if it would simply be a footnote to the regret of lost hours. And then I looked down to see the speedo needle heading east of the century mark, and realized I couldn’t get to that hotel fast enough.
The whine of the K75 rose and fell as I passed through the toll booths of two states, causing me to wonder what the toll would be for this day’s madness. But the tab was already mounting as there are no free open-mouthed kisses between friends. I arrived at the hotel, claimed my reservation, and sat by the window in the room. The red motorcycle stood like a beacon in the parking lot, a beacon marked by a license plate that bore my last name. This building was getting a facelift, and its facade was covered by scaffolding. How many times do men and women cover their lives with facades of kisses that so poorly hide the imperfections underneath? The room was made of concrete walls, from which pictures of Paris had been hung. I have been to Paris many times. Nowhere in that city is a concrete hotel with pictures of the New Jersey Turnpike on the wall. It was the standard box of a room, in the average box of a chain hotel, devoid of any romance other than that carried in by the guests.
I could hardly wait for her to arrive.
I watched as her car circled the lot, and took a spot next to the bike. My cell phone rang, and I gave her the room number, watching her glance up at the windows on the third floor as she stepped out of the car. I’d filled a couple of glasses with ice and topped them off with vodka and cranberry juice, the original lubricant of passion. There was the usual entertainment center options, and I switched on the stereo, choosing “classic rock” as the background music to drown out the hammering on the scaffold.
She was beautiful in the soft light of a fading afternoon. We had a couple of drinks before we found each others willingness, concealed in a fleeting tinge of guilt. But the passion was unmistakable, and she was as gentle and considerate as she was creative. All I could think of were the “Meatloaf” lyrics that said, “I used her body like a bandage... She used my body like a wound.” Three hours evaporated in each others arms. Our final kisses were exchanged in the muted atmosphere of the music of “Donavon,” in the 1966 rock classic, “Season of The Witch.” And the room had become eerily quiet.
Something had changed.
That something was the utter abandonment of the hammering that had poured in from the scaffold outside. That’s because the ten guys who were out there had given up for the day, preferring to watch the show in our room through the open curtains.
They clapped as she got into her car and as I mounted the motorcycle.
And the story ends there. There was no tangible, though invisible, connection between us. There was no exchange of smiles. And when I asked her about it, puzzled, confused, and a bit hurt, her response was as if I had mentioned a rumor that was distasteful to her.
There are times when I think I must have imagined half of my life. But I promised I’d write her something that I have never written for any other woman. This blog is it.
My late friend Cretin had a great philosophical outlook when it came to these things. He once said, "Somewhere, that woman has stepped into a bar, a restaurant, an airport, or an office, and a bunch of guys are wondering what she looks like naked. You know. Isn't that cool."
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012
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