My son’s shoulders were red and his tank top was drenched with sweat. He smelled bad too and though I didn’t want drive away–not yet–I couldn’t help but think how if I didn’t, his car seat would get sweatier and sweatier and probably never not stink again. Only the very top section of his hair was not plastered to his head and was standing straight up as if he was still running around with the other kids. If you looked close enough, you could almost see little chests sticking out of each of the hairs as if they were proud to be counted among the few who held out to the end of the battle.
“Mommy, what’s funny?”
I didn’t raise my head from the steering wheel where I had just placed it. As for me, I was warm for a different reason and in a different place. My shoulders were red from the sun except for where my spaghetti string tank top had only slightly covered each of them, and now that I was away from the man I could finally allow my face to fully flush and match the hue. But I didn’t want Billy to see and comment. Not expecting nor suppressing the giggle that erupted, I deliberately focused on memorizing every feature of his face, physique, and sense of humor. He was perfect. I did not want to forget him. And yet I forgot to give him my number. Dammit. What was his name again? Steve? Brian? Eric! Eric. His name was Eric. Whew.
I did consider raising my head when I heard a knock on my window followed by “Mommy, the man from the park is knocking on your window.” Shocked and not wanting him to see me in this state, as I raised my head I kept my hands where I had had them at the ten and three and I tensely looked away. There was a second round of knocking and a second round of Billy announcing the knocking. For a moment I wondered how long he would stand there and for a briefer moment I wanted to test him–only partly playing–but I didn’t. Finally, turning my head with no small amount what-I-knew-would-be-an-enticing flash of my shoulder length, cute, jet black hair, I looked up at him, smiled, and attempted to lower the window. I had hoped my skin’s normal color had returned to my face, but as I pressed down on the window button, I was certain my face regained whatever red it had lost, this time due to embarrassment. I had forgotten to even turn on the car. No wonder I was so hot. Poor Billy, I chuckled to myself. I could hear the local news’ coverage already: “Local boy and mom rushed to the hospital earlier today. After recovering from a mild case of heat stroke, the mom admitted she had become absentminded after talking to a nice man for the first time in years and subsequently forgot to turn on the car after getting in it to drive home.”
Luckily, the car started and I had the a/c on and window down in no time.
“Hey-” I began.
“Hey-” he interrupted.
“What’s funny, mommy?”
He didn’t seem like he would start again so I finally said, “Yes-” right as he did begin again with, “So-”
We laughed again.
Billy laughed from the back seat.
We laughed harder because of it and Billy kept laughing.
“Should we ro-sham-beaux to determine the order of speakers?” Eric asked.
“Ro-sham-beaux?” Billy repeated.
“No. I’m sorry. Please, go ahead,” I insisted, looking right through his only lightly tinted, tan designer sun-glass lenses and into his remarkable and piercing dark brown eyes.
He looked back at Billy, waived, and then said, “Before you go, I just thought you might want to see this,” as he handed me his phone.
“Can I see, mommy?”
I almost gave the phone right back to him as the screen did not have whatever I was expecting, which I guess I would have to say was another cute meme like the ones he had already shown me. Only a moment before that awkwardness, I realized what he was doing. He was so considerate. He had given me his phone on the “Add New Contact” page with my name so that I could give him my number without the kiddo knowing. He remembered my name. You better believe I triple checked the number, even going as far as texting myself and checking my phone to see that I got it before handing his phone back to him.
“Funny,” I said finally. Turning to Billy, I said, “Not this time, sport.”
“Well, it was my pleasure. Nice to meet you, Billy. Be good for your mom.”
I then watched as he stepped back a ways and stoically raised his open right hand. I would’ve kept looking at him, but when he coolly smiled and winked, I couldn’t keep a straight face so I pretended to clear the passenger side of my reverse.
…a rare display of perfect white teeth two widening, full lips revealed said friend.
Beginning with her rugged and worn-in desert tan combat boots, continuing up dusty cargo pants that seemed tailored, pausing where a thick belt sloped pertly from her left hip to her right where the pistol’s holster hung several inches below her waistline, tightening with her damp tank top that left no doubt about her taught stomach and full breasts, and ending with her coal black hair that she tied back in a pony tail three days earlier, she was a fighter through and through.
I stepped forward and her shooting arm flinched. Slowing my approach, I kept her in the long shadow that was the result of the setting sun meeting my tall frame. Raising the open palms of my capable hands to the level of my stomach, I signaled that I meant no harm. She let me continue. Two steps remained and finally she began to rotate the pistol to an angle that would cause my intentions great consternation. Still I walked forward. One final breath of harsh, dust-filled wind before the evening’s calm would begin caused us both to turn our heads downwind, eyes closed. Quick to re-open mine, I saw through her sun-glasses that she hadn’t yet opened hers and that when she did they widened as much from fear as from excitement upon the discovery that I had smartly seized the opportunity to close the remaining distance between us. My shadow blanketed her body in its entirety now. I raised my hands further until they were at shoulder height, which was also the level of her eyes. She tried to hold her breath in an effort to prevent her quickening heart rate from revealing itself through a rapidly rising and falling bosom. She failed. Almost imperceptibly, I advanced my hands until my fingertips landed gently upon her sun-glass’s frames. I then slowly pulled the glasses, and a few strands of hair that appeared relieved to be free, forward.
It is. I know it is bad. I know it is bad because I have felt a woman willingly place her hand in mine. I know because I have enjoyed the exponentially arousing feeling of her fingers brushing down the length of my fingers as we interlace them. Because my shoulders have received the full weight of her eyes after she concludes that they can bear her trust. Because I have been allowed to consider each and every subtle quality that define her face and neck. Because my tongue has tasted the deposit and withdrawal of her unfamiliar breath.
I know because I have been caught unaware by the ferocity with which my delight in the delicate dance of our tongues was overcome by an unmistakable wish to devour my prey without obtaining permission or forgiveness.
I know because I have seized her narrow waist and smashed her concealed hips into mine before granting my hands license to hunt for the entry point. Because, ever confident, I have triumphed past that magical barrier which separates exposed from unexposed.
I know because I have lifted her into the air and felt the unrivaled trifecta of her fingertips guiding, her legs surrounding, and her body enveloping as she descends.
Oh yes. I’m convinced. Sex is bad.
Happy Valentine’s Day
It wasn’t for me, of course. I bought it as a gift for the last book reader in the land. For my part, I, Peter, the eldest Deakon brother, hailing from that last great North American municipality Kansas City, so named for the river that decreed its eastern boundary and ferried the native tribes of the same name, always scoffed at such trinkets. Not anymore.
I had only moments before stepped out of my aging helicopter, which had assumed the role of confidant over the last few lonely years, and calmly removed my gold-rimmed sunglasses to look upon the setting sun, perhaps for the last time, through the many layers of slowly falling dust my old friend had kicked up. Rarely did she bestow upon me the gift of being able to stare at the life sustaining star unflinching and without filter. There were no governments anymore, no commanders to frown at me if I didn’t wear my cover when outside, but still I deftly exchanged the aviators for my old blue airman’s hat that I nevertheless kept in my flight suit’s left ankle pocket. Ever scanning the sky for trouble, I only looked down for a moment when I paused to wipe clean with my thumb the polished silver captain’s bars before placing their visibly worn fabric bearer on my head, cocked slightly to the right.
That’s when I saw her, rather felt her, approach. She had come to a stop just outside of arms reach at my five o’clock without my noticing, shame on me. It was when I began a turn to my left that out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of her swelling bosom’s shadow as it accented her figure’s shapely outline upon the hard packed dirt. “A quiet runner,” I thought, impressed, “or maybe I am losing my hearing after all these years.” My torso lagged, hips even more so, behind my rapidly turning head as I began to assess friend or foe. The dusty black Glock in her right hand said foe, a rare display of perfect white teeth two widening, full lips revealed said friend.