Monthly Archives: May 2013

From Darkness To Light

Johnny closed his eyes and did nothing but listen to June talk. He was tempted to confess his attention wasn’t completely focused on her story but it was on her voice and that was sometimes the most critical thing.

She wouldn’t appreciate hearing that, it was the type of thing that would get him in trouble. But he knew that she would get it. He knew that she would appreciate that he was lost in his world but that he wasn’t so far gone as to not be concerned with hers.

That was because he had always been good at figuring out her mood from her voice. He understood her in ways that no one else ever had.

For a long time she had rolled her eyes any time he had mentioned it. That was because she knew that men would say things that they thought women liked to hear. She had figured it was just some ridiculous line he used because he thought it would make her amenable to his advances.

But when she tested him he proved he was right.

Of course she never told him that she was doing it. It was one thing to be honest and another thing to let him know something that he would never let her live down. He would tease her incessantly and for the rest of her life she would have to listen to it.


Johnny smiled again.

That moment could have been the story from a million years ago. That could have been from the days when June and he talked about what to name their children and laughed about how the other couples would hate them. Not because they were bad people but because they knew 20, 30, 50 years into their marriage they would be as in love as in the beginning. They would be the senior citizens who didn’t understand the sexless marriage because it never happened to them.

It would be something they couldn’t quite understand and yet one day they would.

They would figure it out because it would happen to them except with other people. It would come after the monstrous fights that destroyed things between them. It would come after they thought they had lost it all and had gone their separate ways.


Except something had happened. After things had fallen apart and they had gone their separate ways and had learned that it could happen to them, well somehow they had reconnected. After they had looked at the ashes of marriages to others they had started talking.

Unsought and unseen it had snuck up on them…again.

An accidental meeting at a party and a short conversation had led to an agreement to meet for coffee.

It felt comfortable from the start but they had restrained themselves, cautious about running in too soon, no rebounding with or for each other.

June had told him she didn’t have it in her to be more than friends. She had said she wanted a simple life, told him that she wasn’t playing hard to get. It wasn’t a game, it was what she wanted.

He said ok and then she told him again that if she had to fight him off it would make her angry. He smiled and told her she was beautiful and said that he wanted to sleep with her but wouldn’t. Then he laughed, said he knew that threw her off guard.

“Don’t play games with me Johnny, I don’t like it.”

“I am not playing a game. You won’t admit most of what you really think or want here. You are living in a closet with a curtain pulled tightly across your eyes.”

She narrowed her eyes and the playful tone left her voice.

“What the hell does that mean.”

Johnny smiled again, “you hate when I do that.”

“Then why would you intentionally do it.”

“Because I am the best got damn lover you have ever had. I am your best friend and you trust me more deeply and intimately than any other man and you are scared. So I can take you any time I want. I can have you when I want. All I have to do is give you time to open your eyes or pin you against the refrigerator like good old Uncle Zelig once did.”

And then before she could answer he laughed and started talking again.

“See. I just made it harder for me too. I just pissed you off a little bit so that you would take a step back. Maybe you aren’t the only who is scared, or maybe you are. Fact is there is no rush. Sometimes I believe in meant to be and I am convinced this is one of those things. It will work or it won’t and if it is meant to be it doesn’t matter what I say now does it.”

“I don’t know if you are a fool or an arrogant asshole but I can promise you that you won’t see me naked any time soon. Sometimes the smart thing to do is to keep your mouth shut.”

“Yeah, you are right but that is not how I operate. It is not very romantic, but I think you are fucking beautiful and that when you take your head out of your ass you’ll realize that not everyone gets this. I don’t know what it is, but it is special and  it brought back a smile I had lost. Whatever happens or doesn’t happen, I crossed back from the darkness into light.”

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Mother Nature’s Show

“And when October goes
The same old dream appears
And you are in my arms
To share the happy years

I turn my head away
To hide the helpless tears
Oh, how I hate
To see October go”

When October Goes- Barry Manilow

“Went down the highway
Broke the limit, we hit the town
Went through to Texas, yeah Texas
And we had some fun
We met some girls
Some dancers who gave a good time
Broke all the rules, played all the fools
Yeah, yeah, they, they, they blew our minds”


“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I am not going to sleep with you. We are friends now, it is just not going to happen.”

The text made him laugh, for more than one reason. She was talking to herself more than she was talking to him. She was trying to build a case of plausible deniability so that if things crossed that line she would have somewhere to fall back upon. It was a way to protect herself.

And he was laughing because he couldn’t help smirking while he read it and he knew that his smirk was more likely to kill his chances than anything else. She wouldn’t appreciate the smile and would think he was making fun of her and that would be problematic because this was something she was extra sensitive about.

The damn woman forgot, didn’t care, understand or believe they were in an energy relationship. Hell, half the time he rolled his eyes at it but it didn’t mean that he couldn’t feel the charges that went both directions.

She could say the words a million times and he would never believe them to be true or false because he didn’t know for certain which way the dice would roll. They could come up snake eyes or lucky number seven and he wouldn’t be surprised.

What is Love

Once upon a time she had said he was the love of her life and had promised that nothing could sever that connection. Once she had offered all she had, body and soul to him, but shit happens.

Or maybe it is more accurate to describe them as both having been caught in a shit storm of massive proportions. Harsh words and misunderstandings piled up and they went their separate ways.

But before things had been completely shattered he had told her if she wanted space he would give it to her, he would wait. She refused to ask.

For a long while he had been furious with her for not trusting him to wait, for not believing that he loved her deeply enough to try. Eventually he saw things differently and he figured she refused because she thought it would be selfish.

Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t.

He decided to say fuck it to love, didn’t see the point. Didn’t believe in the old ‘love the one you are with’ bit and went about his business. Periodically he would come across women who showed interest in him but he never bothered to do anything about it. Was too much of a hassle to get to know someone and he wasn’t interested in telling them a damn thing about himself.

If love was dead he had no need for conversation of that sort. Of course his attitude tended to capture the attention of people who thought he was trying to be the bad boy which just made him shake his head some more.

Why do girls like assholes.

Lightning Strikes

He looked up at the Texas sky and watched as Mother Nature put on her big show. Streaks of lightning flashed across the sky but there wasn’t any thunder accompanying it, at least none that he could hear.

Maybe it was because he was wearing headphones or maybe it was just too damn far away.

Didn’t matter much to him, either way he enjoyed watching the bolts streak from place to place, thought about grabbing his camera to snap a few shots. Some of these would look phenomenal on the wall.

Instead of going back in he leaned back across a car and just watched the show. It was too bad she wasn’t there with him.  She would have enjoyed watching and talking with him.

They never ran out of things to talk about but they never had uncomfortable silences either. She loved that he understood her in ways that others didn’t, loved that she felt comfortable talking to him about anything.

And that was why he didn’t know what would happen.

She could talk about being friends all she wanted but when you have that kind of connection you don’t notice your are naked until you are committed.

The Plan

They had plans to see each other soon. He had a basic idea of what they would do and was looking forward to spending time with her again. He guessed that she was probably expecting him to make some sort of pass at her. If he trusted his instinct like Old Ralphie Emerson suggested he could just go for it.

Or he could make a point to stand at least six feet away from her and not say more than a couple of words. The thought made him laugh again. It was sort of silly and juvenile thing to do, but he liked teasing her and liked keeping her off balance.

It reminded him of a time some years ago where he told her that they couldn’t have sex because it would ruin his mojo for the game. She had been dumbfounded by his refusal.

At first she thought he was kidding and then she wondered if it was her.

He would have kept things going but he didn’t want her to think that he wasn’t attracted because he was.

There really was no telling what would happen when they saw each other. He wasn’t planning on anything happened because that was the safest bet but he wouldn’t be surprised either because the girl who says she loves you just might do anything.

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The Joy Of Finding Your Best Friend Again

The telephone rings and Johnny smiles, d0esn’t have to look at the caller ID because he knows it is June. Knows it is her because the bells are ringing and that is enough.

He debates about whether to tell her what he is thinking, thinks about how much he can share without scaring her off. She is cautious with him, but probably no more than he with her.

They have their reasons and they are good ones. They are smart, reasonable, logical and rational which is also why they are meaningless and virtually useless.

Decades after they first met and a thousand years since they split apart their reunion has been almost everything they could hope for. It has been so easy and such a seamless transition it feels like no time has passed and they are filled with joy.

Hearts dance and eyes smile and somewhere in the ether their souls sing their song and dance with reckless abandon.

But heads fight with heart and they retain small bits and pieces of themselves. They try to keep from running headlong into it. It feels safe. It is warm and inviting and they know the castle they once shared isn’t filled with cobwebs and dust.

The staff has always known that one day the king and queen would return. They never doubted because they retained a perspective that Johnny and June could never have. They could see that this was the kind of relationship that had more depth than others.

It wasn’t built solely upon sex and lust. It wasn’t built upon what they could get from the other but from what they could to each other.

Once upon a time they had fought about who was allowed to satisfy the other first. The had fought about it for the most unselfish of reasons. They had fought about who could do a better job of taking care of the other.

Maybe the key element was they liked each other. Maybe it was because they could communicate like no one else could, at least together.

Johnny took great pride in knowing that June would let him carry her because she wouldn’t do that with anyone else. He worked hard to make sure she knew that she had always been more than just a girl to him. He gave to her because he had to, it was just a feeling that he followed.


Johnny took a hard look in the mirror and grimaced. He didn’t feel as old as he looked. He didn’t expect to see the face in the mirror that belonged to someone other than him.He didn’t expect to see a body that looked like no one cared about it.

It wasn’t going to help him with June, or maybe it didn’t matter.

If she loved him as deeply and passionately as the bells said she did than it wouldn’t stop anything. It wouldn’t prevent a future or the future. She wasn’t so shallow as to expect perfection, but vanity stung him a bit here and he didn’t like it.

So he flexed him stomach muscles a bit harder and saw the lines that once were there without any help. It wasn’t an optical illusion and that made him feel a little bit better. If he could see the cuts then he could bring them back.

All he had to do was walk the line.


We’re born in this world, darling, with few days and trouble never far behind
Man and woman circle each other in a cage
A cage that’s been handed down the line
Lost and running ’neath a million dead stars
Tonight let’s shed our skins and slip these bars
Happy in each other’s arms
Happy baby, come the dark
Happy in each other’s kiss
I’m happy in a love like this”

Happy- Bruce Springsteen

More time passed and Johnny continued to do his best to just play it cool and let things unfold as they would. There wasn’t a rush and if anything the time apart had helped provide them with countless new stories to tell each other about.

In a couple of days he was scheduled to head off to the doctor for a follow up appointment to his last physical. Overall things had gone pretty well but the doc just wanted to make sure nothing had turned into an issue.

He didn’t expect to get bad news and unless he was told otherwise that was going to be his attitude. Of course a while back he had felt differently, there had been a period of time where he was in severe pain and he wondered why it wasn’t going away.

In between doctor’s visits he had contacted a friend and asked him to promise to contact June if something happened. It was only to be done if he died. It sounded a bit extreme to him but he figured that she would want to know and he didn’t know if she was in contact with any of the old gang.

Everything had checked out and he had been told that stress was the source of his issue so there wasn’t ever a reason for his buddy to reach out and he was glad for that, especially since now it didn’t matter.

They were back in touch.

Every day they checked in with each other and spent time catching up and every day he smiled as he closed his eyes. June might say that men are airheads but sometimes they know things and he was sure of one thing, there is joy in finding your best friend again.

It was probably too soon to ask her about that. Hell, it sounded juvenile to him but the damn bells kept pushing it in his ear. He just felt like they were on the verge of becoming best friends again and that was the kind of gift that is priceless.

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I Hear Music

This ran over here, but I might play with it again.

“Some need gold and some need diamond rings
Or a drug to take away the pain that living brings
A promise of a better world to come
When whatever here is done
I don’t need that sky of blue
All I know’s since I found you, I’m happy when I’m in your arms
Happy, darling, come the dark
Happy when I taste your kiss
I’m happy in a love like this”

Happy- Bruce Springsteen

My seventies girl is tall. She has long graceful legs, jet black hair and delightfully dark eyes. Sometimes when she smiles I think that I hear bells ringing. We are lying in bed listening to music. Her head is on my chest and her hair is splayed across my face. I keep moving it because it makes my nose itch. Every time I do she moves with me so that it tickles my nose again. I don’t have to see her face to feel her smile. She likes to tease me. As  I start to relax and my breathing becomes more rhythmic she takes a finger and traces it along my body.

It is a special kind of tickle that makes me jump. I roar with feigned exasperation and quickly roll on top of her. I pin her arms above her head and start tickling her. Two can play this game.

She squeals with laughter and squirms beneath me. “Ok, ok, ok. You win,’ she cries. We return to our prior position of me on my back and her head on my chest and talk about the future.

“There’s a house upon a distant hill
Where you can hear the laughter of children ring
Guardian angels, they watch from above
Watching over the love that they bring
But at night I feel the darkness near, I awake and I find you near
I’m happy with you in my arms
I’m happy with you in my heart
Happy when I taste your kiss
I’m happy in love like this”

I stare at the ceiling and listen as she describes the house she wants to live in. She loves flowers and tells me that she has Laura Ashley sheets that would be perfect for our bedroom. There will be two stories and multiple bedrooms. The master will be upstairs and while the kids are young so will they. I close my eyes and listen as she talks about how many kids she wants and some of her favorite names. Suddenly there is a pause in the conversation and I know that she expects me to respond to her thoughts.

For a moment I am lost. I have paid a lot of attention to what she is saying but the truth is that while her hand has been rubbing my stomach and chest I have gotten other ideas. The scent of her perfume is strong but not in a bad way and biology is having an impact upon me. Now I am more than lost in her scent. I am trying to remember what she was saying but all I can think of is pheromones. She asks me what I think but at the moment I can’t tell her what my name is. She turns her head to face me and we kiss.

“Honey, you like that,” she asks. I tell her that I love when she kisses me. She makes a face and asks me a question again. I roll onto my side and kiss her. She looks at me, eyelids slightly narrowing. Somewhere in the back of my head I hear a bell clanging and a soft voice whispering “answer.”

I want to answer, I really do but something is messing with my head. I feel fuzzy headed and I try to buy time by saying “I love you.” She knows me well enough to know that it is not a line and she says “I love you too.” There is music. I hear music. I tell her that every time we kiss I hear music. She rolls her eyes at me and says that lines aren’t necessary any more. I say, ‘no, I really hear music.” She doesn’t realize how sexy she is or that I find her intoxicating. I tell her that I can’t believe we found each other. Unsought and unexpected but ever so grateful. We grew up in different worlds and different places but somehow here we are.

It is dark now. All we can see are outlines of our bodies and images of the world that we want to create. We’re uncertain and unsure about many things. Life has a way of getting in the way.

“In a world of doubt and fear
I wake at night and reach to find you near
Lost in a dream, you caught me as I fell
I want more than just a dream to tell”

She is not sure that we can overcome the challenges and I am not sure that we can truly live apart. Words are exchanged, some soft and some harsh. Fear, doubt and insecurity intermix with hope.

We’re born in this world, darling, with few days and trouble never far behind
Man and woman circle each other in a cage
A cage that’s been handed down the line
Lost and running ’neath a million dead stars
Tonight let’s shed our skins and slip these bars
Happy in each other’s arms
Happy baby, come the dark
Happy in each other’s kiss
I’m happy in a love like this”

Later on I’ll be alone and think  about this time, this moment and how these moments are woven together to create a patchwork quilt called life.

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Time Travel

I was reminded of this post today and thought I might try to do something similar.

But somewhere down the road
Our roads are gonna cross again
It doesn’t really matter when
But somewhere down the road
I know that heart of yours will come to see
That you belong with me
Letting go is just another way to say
I’ll always love you so

We had the right love
At the wrong time
Maybe we’ve only just begun
Maybe the best is yet to come”

Somewhere Down The Road- Barry Manilow

You ask why I am silent and wonder why I do nothing but stare at you. I don’t answer because I am not sure what I want to say yet, but I am pleased you aren’t intimidated by the force of my glare.

The intensity is radiating off of me in waves. Moments before I walked into the restaurant a crowd of people saw the look on my face and made space so that I could walk through the middle of the path unencumbered.

Like Moses parting the Red Sea they moved to either side and avoided making eye contact with me. I strode with purpose and intent determined to see you again. The first time in years, unsure and uncertain of how it would go I sat down across from you and took you in.

We were both older. Much had happened in our worlds and I wondered if we would discover that the changes were so great we no longer would have common ground. I wondered if we would be like two lovers who had once been and now were left with nothing to talk about except old times.

That conversation only lasts so long before you stop it. You can laugh once or twice at this and that and then you realize that your memory of something good is all that keeps you from walking out the door towards what is good in your life…now.

Here We Are

That is not how it went with you and I. That is not what happened to us. We talked and talked and the echoes of the future touched the burning embers of the past.

I wondered if you felt the sparks like I did or if you could hear the bells. I looked at your face and saw my girl and my woman. Asked you if you still loved me and saw the look in your eyes when you said you did.

Tried to keep a poker face so you wouldn’t be scared by my reaction because I knew that in your mind that love wasn’t enough for right now.

You weren’t sure about the timing. You weren’t sure about a bunch of things so you were doing your own tap dance. You were doing your thing to be cool.

We Can Be Friends

You said we can be friends and asked me if that was too hard. You said that was all you could give. I told you that you should kiss me and see if you felt something more. I wrapped my fingers in your hair and stuck my nose in your neck.

You kept your face turned, but your breathing wasn’t as even as it had once been. I didn’t have to put my head against your chest to know your heart was starting to pound. Didn’t have to do anything because the bells were going off at a rapid rate and I could hear your thoughts.

I didn’t push you to kiss me after that. I was confident that if I had you would have, but I decided it wasn’t necessary. You know the spark is there and you want to do something but the timing isn’t right for you.

That is ok. There is no rush.

If this is what I think it is then everything will fall into place as it should.

I Know Things

I do know things. I know that if I am right you will be in my arms again and that we’ll take each other back to the kingdom we once lived in together. We’ll walk through verdant green fields and stand upon rocky covered beaches watching the sunset.

This I know because the conversation between us is never ending and the trust grows deeper again. The song our hearts sing are slowly building towards a place where they will sing together again.

And together we will carry each other as we once did but with more appreciation, understanding and insight than before. The pain of the past is receding and we have already begun to heal.

When I see the silent tears slide down your face I will continue to kiss them away and then I will wrap you in my arms, pick you up and carry you because you don’t have to walk alone anymore.


And should timing prevail and I find myself told to stand on the outside than I shall do that because I have come too far to just walk away. Walked through miles of desert to find out if my heart was right or if my head was correct in its assessment.

If friends are what we shall be than that is what we shall be but I am not going to worry about that now.

Not going to worry or wonder because it is a waste of my time and energy.

Going to focus on enjoying the moments and being present. Going to tell you I love you still as I always have and that you don’t have to say it back to me. Going to say that there is real meaning in “I know things” and that sometimes we just have faith in that which we can’t see, touch or feel.

You are beautiful to me because I see the things you hide. You are beautiful to me because you are imperfect as am I. You are beautiful because we carry pieces and parts of each other and will for life.

We made the exchange a thousand years ago and a thousand years from now that won’t have changed. We will still know what others don’t and still share what others can’t.
Sometimes we will have danced in the fire and lived alone and apart but we will have done so knowing someone was always there to walk alongside when we needed them.

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Harder Kimio

Harder Kimio

This is post for The Red Dress Club. This prompt is to write a piece of fiction or non fiction based upon the photo below.

Somewhere out there the song of my heart is dancing to the song that only we hear. Somewhere out there she lives her life and in the quiet of the night remembers moments when she would hold onto my arms, smile and say “Harder Kimio.”
Somewhere out there the song of my heart remembers that vacation we took together and how we stopped time. This is one of the stories that she won’t tell you because she refuses to admit to herself that together we touched the face of god. She won’t talk about the moment on the beach or stolen kisses in an elevator.
She won’t tell you about the moment on the balcony as the sun set over the sea or how we collapsed upon the couch our limbs tangled and our hair tousled.
And perhaps I shouldn’t either. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that we couldn’t tell where one of us ended and the other began. She didn’t have to tell me to take her nor did I have to ask.
We connected and understood. She gave and I received or maybe I gave and she received. Doesn’t matter who did what with what or to whom because what we did, we did together.
The song of my heart is dancing to the song that only we hear. Somewhere out there she dances and her body remembers my touch. Somewhere out there she remembers my hands upon her hips and the rumble of my voice in her ear.
In the secret garden of promises made and promises kept she remembers how we dropped the camera into a sink filled with water. She remembers how we laughed until our sides ached and how we walked her fingers intertwined in mine into that crazy camera shop.
We were short on cash but somehow we scraped enough together to buy that “Kimio” in the picture above. An hour later as we got ready to go to dinner I snapped a picture of her standing in front of the sink in bra and panties.
When she asked me why I did it I told her that I had been possessed by the spirit of Kimio. She laughed, threw her arms around my neck and kissed me.
Sometimes during the quiet of the night when I am embraced by the darkness I return to the garden of promises made and promises kept and look for the song of my heart. Under the moonlit sky I wonder if she still glides when she walks and secretly hope that one day I will feel her hold my arms and whisper “Harder Kimio” again.
This ran here originally.
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Into The Sunshine

Twelve years later two things from Lasik held up, his vision and the sensitivity to light. It was a reasonable exchange in his mind.

The need to wear sunglasses or squint was worth perfect vision. Given the opportunity to do it all over again he would and without hesitation.  It took some balls to let some doc clamp your eyes open so that a laser could slice and reshape them.

People forget that our natural inclination is to close our eyes and or look away from things that are scary or objects that might harm our eyes. The clamp made sure you could do nothing but focus on the light and the sizzle made you wonder if your eyeball was being cooked like an egg or medically treated.

But he had no regrets because the ability to see without corrective lenses was priceless to him.

Unfortunately the lack of regrets didn’t extend into all areas of his life. There were others that weren’t filled with images of pink bunnies and unicorns or sunshine and rainbows.

Other areas in which he tried to use a double dose of snark and sarcasm to mask the frustration he sometimes felt with himself. Missed opportunities couldn’t be disguised as things that just happened.

They were lost because of the choices he made and the circumstances he helped to create. That was how he saw it. He had made some really foolish choices and had gotten burned by them.

For a long while he himself wallow in the pain and sorrow. He stuck his hands in the fire, bit his lip and forced back the screams of pain and rage, punishment was what he thought he deserved and what he sought.

And then one day someone showed up cloaked in sunshine and magic. They helped him see that a black and white world had shades of grey and deep swaths of blue. When they offered their hand he didn’t push it away and sneer about not being a charity case.

He saw it as a hand up and he took it. Stood up tall, looked them in the eye and stared out at the window.

Now the question was whether he was willing to do more than step out into the sunshine. Now the question was would he allow himself to walk in it.

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One Kiss…Revisited

Technically she wasn’t a girl any more and he wasn’t a boy but sometimes she wished they were. She would never tell him that or concede that she had wanted to kiss him as badly as he had wanted to kiss her.

He was a man and he certainly wasn’t going to let it end with just a kiss, nor would he spend any time thinking about the consequences of their actions. He would march headfirst into things and then when they had turned into a mess he would wake up and decide he didn’t have the stomach to deal with it.

And she just wasn’t up for cleaning up another mess.

Now was the time for the simple life. It was what she wanted and what she deserved.

But it wasn’t as cut and dry as she wanted it to be.

Because he was out there and he l0oked good. More importantly he still owned a piece of her heart and probably always would.

It was big enough for her not to just walk away or turn around.

And she knew that he still loved her. Knew that he thought she was still beautiful and that he wanted to carry her heart again.

So she didn’t push him away but didn’t pull him in close either.

A part of her hoped he wasn’t dense enough not to see through her charade. If he had pushed just a little bit harder she would have given in and kissed him. She had given him a huge hint, said that he shouldn’t want to kiss someone who wouldn’t be into it.

But he didn’t push and so they didn’t share the kiss they both wanted. Part of her was relieved and part of her wondered if he would hang around or if she would let him catch her.


There wasn’t much doubt that she was torn about what she wanted. He understood her situation and why she was trying to hard to maintain control.

Nor was there any doubt in his mind that he could have gotten the kiss he wanted. He listened to her talk about why they should be friends and then heard all of the other messages.

When  she said that part of her was turned off he believed her. He didn’t think she was feeling it with anyone else, let alone him. It wasn’t a matter of her not wanting to be with him because of him but because of timing.

Her focus was in other places.

But it was also part of why he wanted to kiss her. It was because his heart and his head said this is part of how you reignite the fire. This is part of how you remind a woman who sees herself as a mother that she is a woman too.

He wanted to be direct about it. He wanted to tell her how beautiful she still was and that it was both mind and body he was attracted to except he knew she wasn’t going to buy into that now. It would sound like a line to her and she would focus on that because it would help maintain the distance.

That was ok. It didn’t have to be rushed.

The other day he had watched her face as he played with her hair and rubbed her back. He had intentionally grabbed her head and watched to see if she frowned or smiled. Her expression stayed neutral but he figured that if she had really been irritated she would have made it known and she hadn’t.

It was entirely possible that his read was wrong, but he didn’t think so.

She wanted to kiss him and she wanted to be kissed but it wasn’t something that was just going to happen.

Once upon a time that kiss was what had lead to the most intense relationship they had ever experienced. She might say she didn’t remember, but she did and that is why she was holding back.

One kiss and nothing would be the same.

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Jack looked in the mirror and thought about his evening.

A short while before he and Ann had shared their first meal and talked about life. He wasn’t quite sure how to describe it and yet it felt strangely perfect.

He intentionally had arrived earlier than she did. His intention had been to sit in the car and watch her walk in. Not because he had nefarious intent or any desire to engage in some sort of voyeuristic interests but because he didn’t know how to feel.

So much time had passed and so much energy had been invested it was hard to figure out whether he should be elated, angry, frustrated or sad. In some ways he was all of these things and in others none of them. When you spend as much time as he had trying to make things happen it was almost a let down to see them come about, or maybe it was just fear that maybe what you had expected and wanted wasn’t what you would get.

About ten minutes before Ann was supposed to arrive he felt a familiar rumble in his stomach and cursed. This call of nature had to be answered before the meal.  It is really hard to be cool and or suave when you are trying not to unleash biological warfare upon your date.

It made him chuckle. He was certain she remembered his dysfunctional digestive system and that she would be sympathetic, but it wasn’t the way he wanted to start things off.

“No Ann, the band isn’t playing When The Saints Go Marching In, that is just my stomach.”

He laughed again and remembered how she had responded to a more intimate situation and explained that his quick response was a compliment. “Trust me, girls love knowing that our men are so turned on by us.”

Back then it had all worked out and he had been ok because she had made sure to convince him, but this was a different time and things were very different.

He hadn’t ever been to the restaurant before and didn’t know if it had separate restrooms or if there was a unisex that everyone shared. He decided it was better to play it safe than sorry and hustled over to the market down the way.

It made more sense and if Mother Nature decided to punish him it would be easier to make up an excuse for why he was late or worse yet wasn’t going to show. If things went badly he wouldn’t have to walk out of the restaurant and push by her.

Yet at the same time he wasn’t even sure he would stay for the whole meal.

It had been a long day at the office and he was already exhausted when he arrived. He knew himself well enough to recognize that the wrong word from her would set him off and he unleash a torrent of four letter words and abuse at her, none of which she necessarily deserved.

But after all this time it didn’t make sense not to see her and see what happened. After years of trying to re-establish communication it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity.

So he went and sure enough midway through his moment she texted him to say she was there.  Timing is everything and the funny in a “we’re not smiling ” kind of way thing was that bad timing was really what had forced them to end things years before.

“I am here too, give me two minutes and I’ll be there”

He pushed send, finished his business, washed his hands and took a quick look at himself in the mirror.

Time had taken its toll upon him and he didn’t like what he saw. There was no doubt in his mind that he was being hard on himself, but we often are our own worst critics.

Moments later he opened the door of the restaurant and watched as Ann stood up and walked over.

He took a step towards her but she didn’t move to hug or kiss him so he stepped to the side and told the hostess they needed a table for two.

Ann was still tall and thin. She looked good.

Once upon a time he would have grabbed her hips and whispered something in her air or playfully smacked her butt but he did neither. It seemed entirely appropriate not to yet a bit weird to be so…formal.


Ann ordered a Margarita but he chose water.

This wasn’t the time to let alcohol loosen his lips. He wanted to be in complete control. If he said anything she didn’t like it wasn’t going to be blamed on anything, he was going to own it.

It took a while for his nerves to settle so he let her carry the conversation and tried to give brief but informative answers which is to say he tried to give details without saying anything.

Truth was it wasn’t really all that different from how he approached most conversations. He kept a lot close to the vest but Ann had always been good at getting him to share more and he had this sense that she still could.

Three hours later they walked out of the restaurant with smiles on their faces.

Ann had given him instructions about how they were only friends and if that was too hard for him to do she understood. He had laughed at that and told her it sounded like she was trying to convince herself.

When they reached her car she turned and hugged him goodbye. He intentionally stuck his nose in her neck and inhaled.

She gave him a moment and then gently pushed him away.

He smiled at her and said, “you really stink.”

She smiled back and said no and then he grabbed her again and smelled deeply, “yeah, you do.”

In return he got a quick eye roll and was told she had to leave. He said goodbye and watched as she got in the car.

He was going to let her go and then impulse took over.

A quick knock on the passenger side window and the door was unlocked.

She apologized for the mess and watched as he sat down.

“Ann, do you love me?”

The pause before her answer felt endless, “Yes, I do.”

“Then say it. Tell me.”

“I told you at dinner.”

“No, you did not. Say the words. It is different than saying you do. Say the damn words.”

“Jack, I love you.”

“Good, I love you too.”

He got out of the car and watched as Ann drove away.


It was one of those moments that he would always remember.

He didn’t take it to mean that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year they would take another shot at being who they could have been because life doesn’t always work that way.

Sometimes heroes fail and sometimes they fall.

Sometimes they are billionaire playboys who can’t close the deal with those they love and spend their free time hiding in their cave or wearing a cape while chasing bad guys.

Sometimes Ilsa tells Rick she still loves them and instead of taking her back he puts her on a plane with Victor Laslo because he has things to do she can’t be a part of.

But sometimes lightning strikes twice. Sometimes the future remains unwritten and that fickle bitch fate plucks upon the threads of the future and decides to play with the lives of a few.


Four hours later they settled down to sleep in separate beds and thought about the evening. Both of them asking silent questions that for the time being would remain unanswered.

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Almost 1:30, too tired to write a full story, too big an idea not to try to salvage some of it.

Heart and head were having a conversation when heart told head:

“I proved I wasn’t crazy. I told you I knew what I was talking about and that we should follow my plan.”

Head laughed at heart.

“You are a fool to place all of your eggs in one basket. All you proved was that someone had similar feelings. There was no suggestion or reason to believe they would act upon them. You are setting yourself up for failure.”

Heart snorted.

“Head, if we followed your lead we would never benefit from the rewards of risk taking. I don’t have to wait to hear your response because you will focus on the failures and forget about the successes we have had. Sometimes you have faith that you can figure out what comes. You can’t see love but you know it exists.”

“Heart, if you park the car in the garage and roll up all the windows you won’t see the gas that will kill you either. Lack of sight does not mean lack of risk or consequence. You have been broken more than once and the last time you were destroyed.”

“Head, my dear friend all of that is true except each time I came back wiser and stronger. Sometimes you take the risk for the big reward. Sometimes you accept there are things you know that you cannot prove except by taking a chance. The world was not flat and Columbus survived.”

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