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Ducks

I was kayaking on the lake the other evening when I cut a flock of ducks in two. 

It was a beautiful evening. I had managed to step into the kayak without capsizing it or soaking the cuffs of my jeans. The lake was still and the kayak felt steady in the gentle swells. The shining red prow cut the water like a warm knife through butter. I had been working towards the ducks for some time - they were interesting ducks, black with brown heads and a white band around their necks, and adorned with feathery brown crests across their skulls.

While watching them, I paddled overzealously and shot into the center of the flock of ducks. They didn’t divide evenly - only one duck remained to my right, and the rest hurried off to the left. The kayak slid on between the ducks, but I turned to watch them.

The larger group disappeared into the rocks of a nearby island, while the loner remained, quacking plaintively - it reminded me of the way goats will bleat, bleat, bleat when their keeper walks away from the herd, wailing to attract their friend back to the group. Safety in numbers.

The lone duck looked different without his friends. With the other ducks, he had been a piece of a whole. Now he was a nervous individual, staring at me through one shining eye. 

Quack. Quack. Quack.

The sun from the waves glinted into my eyes. 

The rest of the ducks didn’t seem to notice the loner’s absence. They paddled on serenely towards a smaller island far out in the center of the lake, ignoring the steady quacking of the loner, who paddled after them at a hurried clip. The group didn’t need any one individual, but this individual needed the group.

I turned the kayak around as quietly as I could and glided up behind the loner, trying to encourage him to hurry towards his compatriots, but he ignored my boat and continued steadily towards them at his determined pace, brown crest in disarray from the steady, cool evening breeze. 

The flock continued on obliviously towards the smaller island.

When I returned home and stood out on the porch a few minutes later, I could still hear the loner quacking persistently to the other ducks.

Wait up.

I’m still back here.

I’ll be caught up pretty soon.

I promise.

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My Astral Space

The forest was endless. Not miles, not swallowed-up horizons. Endless.

Where trees ended, trees began. Trees circled round the torus of the sky above. Trees ran far, but trees only met themselves. They just kept going. Onward. Endless. And I flew just above the branches, close enough to taste pine needles. Just above them, I was just as endless as the trees.

I was too light to fall, but far too heavy to reach the green above. I moved in three dimensions, but the world only followed certain lines. There were only certain planes. My path was limited.

Below, things were dark, heavy, and rich with the scent of falling pine needles. Memories. Fears. Shafts of light pierces through the endless shoots and little spears, just enough to reveal so little.

Above, there was only an endless green. Above was meaningless. Irrelevant. It had no context.

That is, until I saw a tower in the distance.

Then flight became movement. Along became forward. Time turned into distance traveled.

The tower, you see, gave me direction. It gave me more meaning than up and down. More than heavy, scented earth and unimaginable skies. I always had wings, but the tower gave me height.

I rushed along the surface, up and up and up. It wasn't smooth, but marked in a language too fast to comprehend with eyes in motion. They told me that I was racing, that I had speed, velocity, acceleration, but they didn't tell me where I was going. Where I'd been. Even where I was.

And at the top of the tower? There was a woman. A woman with red hair, without a face.

She wasn't a woman; women have faces. She wasn't a woman; women have names.

She was a muse. She was a reason. She was a destination.

Women are none of these. She wasn't a woman.

But I still try to find her, even now. Up and up.

She gives wings wind.


Prompt:

An alucinante Anonymous asked you: Write about a dream you once had.

This really is a meditative dream I've had since high school, when I fell in love with the wrong girl and never quite recovered. I just keeping putting other girl's faces on, hoping she 'fits'.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, questions, review requests, or any feedback.

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Service With a Smile

Let me be your bone collector, sir and/or madam.

I'll make you all polished on the inside.

There's no need for compensation, dear, I run this service strictly out of love, more or less.

Not for you, no, naturally, but for the pretty bones you're hiding underneath.

I love the uncomplicated you.

Tell me your best lies; I want to tear them up like wrapping paper, like a paper-thin dress in the very worst of hands. I'll never touch you, but those bones will never stop. No matter how you try.

They're inside you, after all. Don't be ridiculous.

Tell me your worst truths; I want to turn your dirty business bright and wax-smooth on my fingertips. I want to be the soft cloth in your closet. I want to rustle when we're all alone. I want to be the comforting sliver of light shivering in underneath your door. No matter where you hide.

I'm here to hide you, after all. Don't be ridiculous.

There's no need to penetration, dear. I run this service strictly with my hands clean, more or less.

Not for me, no, naturally, but for the pretty bones you're hiding underneath.

I love the uncomplicated you.

Let me be your bone collector, sir and/or madam.

I'll make you all polished on the inside.

 

Prompt: 

An intrusive Anonymous asked you: Skeleton in your closet? Throw me a bone.

I know what you did, but I won't judge you, so long as you don't just me for needing to know. (c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, questions, critiques, critique requests, likes, follows, reblogs, and a little place inside your...heart. Yes.

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Rain

As the yellowed elevator doors crack open on the third floor, I change my mind. Press the “close doors” button, over and over till they have slid wide then back tight again. Push “7.” Close my eyes and wait. I can feel this little capsule I’m in, pushing up, up, up, creak and lurch its arrival announcement. The doors split again; it looks the same, but as I step out there is a sense of the unfamiliar. There are a few extra doors, the tiled hallway angles off in a different direction than it does on my floor, a large watercolor painting of a tree hangs under the right-side window instead of the familiar gold and red carving of birds across from it. Exploring, I turn the corner, step by step up the dark concrete stairs, pick the squat metal door on the left, wonder if it is locked, but why would it be, push. 


Air. The sky is orange here, energy from the city’s faded streetlights caught between droplets of gray mist. The door to the stairs has no handle on the outside, just a keyhole, and I am afraid some mysterious force will slam it shut behind me while I am out breathing, so I keep my fingertips lightly attached to its cold aluminum surface.  But there is an overhang here and I am not under the sky and this rooftop is so perfectly invitingly wide and deserted - I cannot resist it. I find a decaying dark red brick lying on a small stack, set it precariously upright so that its upper edge just reaches the base of the open metal door, and I am free. 

It is nine thirty on a December night, but somehow there is more light than there should be - the concrete rooftop glistens with the week’s drizzle, and the crepuscular light has turned the world into an illusion: too dark for shadows, too light for obscurity. Light enough to see everything except the dimensional corners and details and hard edges of this world. 

I love the rain here. It feels like the sky is falling, precipitating lightly to kiss my mortal skin, remind me of my airy origins. The rain forgives me everything, even coming down here, even abandoning it. Always. On days when even the sky remains imperiously impervious to my upturned face, the rain always breathes me back, melts my searingly solid flesh into its benevolent immateriality. 

Rooftops are a magical place. If you've forgotten how to dream, they are all you need to remember. Especially on a rainy night. Desolate, abandoned, you have the world to yourself: the rain is all yours to catch in hands that are always too small to hold our wide earth, and the stout jungled mountains rise taller than even the skyscrapers.  Your whole world spreads out like a drawing before you, below you, around you: an eagle’s eye diorama of your reality feature film, moving through existence in real time. 

I cannot help but think of Jeffrey, how he said he would combine himself with the sky for me, though they are two separate and holy entities and that could never happen. How he said we should lay one day, staring at it, and talk. Like in those romantic movies, but this is not about romanticism. This is about truth. 

This concrete rooftop would be perfect. Irreality, world reduced to a moving diorama, gasping chasms between the skyscrapers, and the sky and the wet rain falling, falling, falling. 



There is faint clink. The brick has toppled; the squat metal door is swinging unstuck. I am not supposed to be up here. I hurry down to call the elevator, then pace back into the unlit stairwell, step down, down, down, down, down through the dark, spiraling staircase as the world pulls me slowly back into its vortex. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3. Here is my turnoff. Exit the stairs, verify the gold and red carved birds, welcome back to your reality. 

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dreams...

    I want a place with real shutters. I want a house with a wrap around porch and stairs leading up to the welcoming door of our home. I want a wide yard of lush green grass bordered with the brilliancy of crape myrtles. I want to watch the sun fade into the horizon, lining the clouds in gold and painting the sky in shades of pink, a symphony of colors all from the porch swing. I want chickens and goats, and rows and rows of vegetables. I want a roaring fireplace in the winter, where we can sit and warm up our hands from the bitter cold.

     I want toys littered everywhere, and children running up and down the hallways. I want a tree in the backyard, with great deep roots, with a tire swing hanging from one of it's thick branches. I want my ashes to be buried there upon my death, a place of mourning and remembrance for my family within their own backyard.

     I want a world away from the world. I want to live daily by the work of my hands, harvesting fruit from trees, watering the garden, and picking up eggs from the chickens. I want to do laundry and dishes, and vacuum cookie crumbs trailing from the kitchen floor. I want to hear the laughter of children and wipe the tears of children. I want to clean off the smears of their sticky handprints from the walls.

     But most of all, I want to be near God. I want to glorify Him in everything thing I do. Being a homemaker, and producing our needs from the very land He created. I want to teach my children and raise them close to me. I want to hear His voice in the silence of breaking dawn and in the noise of little ones wrecking havoc. I want to walk hand in hand with Him as I guide the hands of my little ones. I want to be close to Him, in every way, in every place. To never leave Him, Him to never leave me. 

     There's a beauty in all of this. Simplicity. Contentment. Most of all love. But is it even possible? To tear away from the news, to leave behind facebook and the internet. To forget the world's desires, and hold onto the Lord's. To no longer lust after things that'll sooner rust and fade and rip… but to chase the one thing that is everlasting.

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Confessions

Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door - Emily Dickinson

 

I don't remember ever doing something distinctly rewarding or remarkable, like winning an award or a contest. I don't remember standing out for anything in particular or having any sort of noteworthy talent. I don't remember being an attractive or grateful child. I don't remember ever thanking my friends for being my friends. I don't remember my brother ever doing anything that wouldn't help him succeed later in life. I don't remember saying sorry for the things I should feel sorry for. I don't remember when I became so dependent on companionship. I don't quite remember how I let everyone I loved most in my life leave it without saying goodbye. I don't remember when or why I started to prefer complete and utter solitude over the option of human company. I don't remember the last time I tried to really love someone or let someone love me because I'm too embarrassed to show them who I am. I don't remember asking for forgiveness but I remember receiving it. I don't remember ever liking who I was or the choices I made. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to cease my existence. I don't remember a time when I didn't put myself before others or a time when I was less selfish. I don't remember making the best of my high school years and I don't remember a time when I was not disappointed in myself. 

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After the Tower Comes the Star

Stars can explain art to us.

I mean, think about it. In a thousand years, even at the staggering speed of light, we will never touch the star that twinkles in our eyes. That second star on the right? It's out of reach. We're out of time. That star may well be dead and gone, a champagne supernova or super-massive black hole well past its prime.

So what do we do? We reach out our hands, We grope and grasp at time-lapsed illusions.

Stars would burn us down to less than dust, but we still strive to dance with them. Stars lie far beyond any world we'll ever touch, but we still adorn ourselves in diamonds and feel beautiful. We wish on stars that will never hear our voices. We navigate by stars who do not know our journeys. We strive and innovate to reach the stars that promise nothing more than our own.

Amateur astronomers make terrible investors. Stars are just not practical.

Even so... Without a star? We'd not only have frozen, we'd have never even lived. Stars in the distance give us light. One gives us life. They give us our imaginary answers and a shining moon.

It's only natural to bring them down to earth with us.

Stars, after all, represent hope.

Prompt: a celestial Anonymous 

Anonymous asked you: Write about the stars

Can you see the stars from there, anonymous? Even if you can't, they're up there. Keep going...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Send me prompts, questions, or review requests!

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Chasing Dragons

The storm has cast the world grayscale.
She makes sure all the lights are out as she leaves for work.
Some believe that because I have not risen with the dawn and set off to bury my head in the obligation of an occupation I am therefor not working.
If only such a simple way of finding contentment lay in the hours of Nine to Five for me. My hours operate whenever my mind is functioning. There is no end to my day, no start a weekend, no break in a holiday.
I do not need to go to an office or department store or garage to work.She knows that as soon as she leaves me alone in the house, I bury myself in work; imagination flowing unbound.
This is the reason I prefer the grayscale morn:
It dulls the real world; fading it darker that the worlds of my own.
I am left free and unencumbered by the ever present distractions reality bears.
Instead, I see only the dormant husk of a room. What bleak light there is radiates from the sun, filtered through veils of clouds; and my laptop, waiting for to pull the projections of these unseen worlds through my fingers to satiate the insatiable, ravenous appetite of it’s keyboard.

 

And herein lies the sad truth for writers:
In the end, all your hours and days and months and years of work, all our characters and stories and plots and themes we create, every financial hardship and personal burden struggled through, will only in the end result in a pile of paper and some dried ink.
And that fact only resolves us to dive further down the rabbit hole, and ensure that the next pile of paper and dried ink will be even better.


Such a fact should encourage all writers to stand and admit their addictions.


“Hello, my name is Daniel, and I am writing a novel.”

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Promises To Keep And Miles To Go Before I Speak, or, Update (27/7/13)

Silence has always bothered me. Not silence in conversation so much, as sometime there is nothing to say; but silence in writing.

 

I have always felt awkward when I haven't written anything in a while. I get that same feeling like when someone hurls an insult at you and you can't think of a witty reply until hours later and you say "That's what I should have said!"

That's how I feel when I'm silent in my writing.

And I'm going to be be silent for a while to come unfortunately. Or, more correctly, silent in this big Happy-Land known as the internet.

 

But just because I am silent here does not mean I am silent everywhere. I am taking some time away from my short stories as I have a novel to complete. I've been working on it for about two years now and I believe it's time to see it done. I'm hoping to have it complete before the year's end (or, at least in some form that's akin to a readable and, dare I say, enjoyable novel).

 

That being said, I do feel as though I have maybe one or two short stories left to tell before I take this internet vow of silence. I promise nothing, only that if I do write them, you can find them here and that they will be worth the read.

 

I'll still be around though, like an evicted tenant who has nowhere else to go, rifling through your bins and scanning your blogs for something to keep me warm.

 

I will still be writing for www.fbiradio.com in case your needing a fix of my amazingly brilliant humour (aka testicle and fart jokes) and once I'm done with the novel, I plan on sharing a chapter or two with you all here.

After all, if it wasn't for the internet, I would never have found the courage to find my writing voice, something which, while you may not find it online, you'll definitely be hearing from again. Soon hopefully than later.

 

And so, I leave you with the sound of silence.

 

Talk soon,
Daniel. 

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Neighborly Interest - Part 1

She leaves her house every morning and takes a cursory glance across the yard to the house next door.    It’s not close, mind you, but close enough to see him.  He always sits on the porch sipping his coffee, watching the birds fly.  He’s a thinker, she can already tell.  Thinking to herself, she’d love to know what goes on in that head of his, she bends to grab the paper from the bushes.  The paperboy always seems to miss the doorstep but at least this time it was IN the bush and ten feet in front of it in the lawn.

He waves at her as she looks up, of course in his direction, and she raises her hand to acknowledge it.  She’d love to sit and talk to him but how do you make something like that happen? Part of living out here where there is just… nothing but nature is that there is solitude.  She thought that was what she wanted.  Needed.   However, the more she wondered about him the less she wanted solitude.  Truth be told, she had almost marched right over and disrupted his coffee time a couple times but couldn’t find the nerve to be so brazen.  She was positive she wasn’t his type.  She had too much weight hanging around and having twins had done unmentionable things to her abdomen.  Instinctively she threw an arm over her belly as the thought entered her mind.  He was filled out in all the right places and seemed so comfortable in his own skin.  She could see it in the way he moved around the yard in the evenings some times.  No. She’d just keep daydreaming about a tall, broad stranger.  Wondering what could be and hoping maybe he was curious too.

Moving back into the house, she pushed the door shut behind her.  The click of the lock dropped a sense of loneliness onto her shoulders.  There was something about this house that needed a crowd.  She couldn’t put her finger on it but there was a pervasive sense of emptiness either emanating from her soul or from this house.  Something told her it was her.

Shaking herself lose from her sullen thoughts, she set to work on her morning routine.  She was supposed to be writing a novel and the publisher had gracefully pushed back the deadline but that wasn’t likely to happen again so she had try to get control of her mind.  She stripped down out of her pajamas, an old t-shirt and some knit shorts.  She bent to retrieve her clothes from the floor and upon standing noticed her reflection in the mirror.  Her eyes showed the abject weariness of a woman long alone and insecure.  Her body long since lost it’s shape to the pressures of carrying twins.  The reminder bringing a rush of emptiness.  She was sure she’d never recover from the loss of the babies.  First one, then the other. Her marriage had ended not long after, neither of them able to cope with the pain.  Sliding her fingers over the scar running down her abdomen she almost let the memories creep back in but quickly slammed the door.  Not today.  She couldn’t feel this today.

Tossing her dirty clothes in the hamper she headed for the shower.  The faucet squeaked as she turned on the hot water.  Making a mental note to fix that she turned on the cold and adjusted for the perfect temperature.  She needed the consistent pounding of the water against her skin.  Something to wash away the tension she could feel creeping into her neck. 

Scrubbing vigorously over her whole body like she was washing away the memories, the tension began to subside.  The ritual was one she was familiar with.  It didn’t really work perfectly but the repetitive nature of it helped her calm down.  Scalp, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, back, tummy, bottom, thighs, calves, shins, feet.  The same every time.  Turning the squeaky faucets once more the water stopped and her wet feet made contact with the soft bath rug.  She wiggled her toes a bit, contemplative, trying to decide where to start with her story.  She just couldn’t get her head around writing but the publisher wouldn’t be put off any longer, she had to get started.  She towel dried her hair, letting the curls spring to life and went to work on her teeth while her body air dried.  With all the scrubbing in the shower, she didn’t want to further irritate her skin with a rough towel.  Slathering a cool lotion over her parched skin felt heavenly and warmed her mood.

She stepped into her soft panties and very worn denim capris.  Not sure how they were even still holding together.  A delicate bra and thin white v-neck tshirt completed the ensemble.  She was simple.  Never too much fuss, what was the point?  Out here, she expected no company.  There never was any to speak of, at least not impromptu company.  The only company she ever had were long planned visits from family and college friends. 

Pouring herself a glass of tea in the kitchen she heard footsteps outside.  Who on earth…  Her hand flew to her wet hair as a knock sounded on the door.  “Oh God…” she choked.  Slowly she made her way to the door.  Her heart pounding out an urgent rhythm as if it was spurring her on.  When she reached the door she peaked out the peephole and gasped. Holy hell, it was him.  She shook out her hair as best she could and took a deep breath.  This was it.  Pulling open the door he turned to face her and a smile broke out across his face.  She couldn’t stop the smile stretching across her face in echo. 

“Hi there, I’m ah..Paul.  I live next door?”  He seemed nervous.  Maybe he’s just shy.

“I’m Annie, it’s nice to finally meet you.  I’ve almost come by a few times and just haven’t.”  She couldn’t’ think of another word to say.  She was so floored by his presence.

“I wish you had, it would have saved me this awkward meet and greet.”  He laughed, an easy laugh.  One she wanted to hear again, and again.

“Don’t be silly, I’d much rather you suffer.”  Giggling she waved him in.  “Can I bring you some tea?” 

“Sure, sounds great.  Thanks.”  He glanced around nervously and she was a bit embarrassed by her lack of decorator skills.

“Sorry the house is so bare.  I’m still figuring out where to put things.  Decorating really isn’t my forte, I’m much more comfortable outside.’” 

“Mine either. My ex-wife used to do all that and honestly, I don’t know where to begin.”  Her eyebrows raised with the mention of the ex-wife.  She wondered what had prompted a sane woman to leave such a decidedly handsome man but you never know how people truly are until you get to know them.  Still….she must be nuts.

“Yeah, my ex-husband used to complain about how I did everything so I suppose I’m a little gun shy." She winced, “Sorry, that was probably a bit more than you needed to know.”  She wasn’t used to talking about her divorce and wasn’t sure what exactly prompted something so personal.  The utterance caused her to blush.

“Not at all, as a matter of fact I’m glad to know there’s an ex and not a current.”  He smiled a half smile that made her gut twist.  Sweet Jesus, she needed to get a grip.

“Right, so, your tea!  I’ll be right back.”  She practically ran from the room, desperate to get away.  His presence was so all consuming and it made her nervous.  She needed to chill, and fast. 

He watched her leave the room, practically at full speed and wondered if he’d crossed a line.  Trying and failing to keep his eyes above her waist, he groaned inwardly.  She was curvy, and adorable.  Her hips swung mercilessly even at that nervous speed.  The curl to her hair, the blush to her cheek, those wide eyes blue and stormy.  He was smitten.  The question was how to gain her trust because he could already tell it was going to be difficult.  She was wound tighter than a turkey the day before Thanksgiving, as his grandfather used to say.  He had an idea, playing it out was going to take time and he had nothing but time.

She emerged from the kitchen carrying a pitcher and two glasses on a tray.  Smiling at him, she tried to look calm but the humor in his expression was evidence enough that he was on to her.

“Shall we take these out back?  I usually spend the morning on the deck.  Sometimes you can catch the deer roaming by.”  There, that seemed a casual enough way to say “Please don’t leave.”

“I’d love to.  Catching the deer out for their morning graze is one of my favorite things.”  Why did she feel like he was toying with her.

“Oh really?  And what other things do you enjoy in the morning?”  Where the hell did that come from!  She raised an eyebrow at him and he chuckled.

“You really want to know?”  He was baiting her and she knew it.

“Absolutely.”  Who is this flirt and where was her sanity?

“I have this neighbor lady, she comes out every morning in her pajamas to get the paper.  The rub is seeing how much I have to pay the paper boy to throw the paper short of the porch so I can watch her pick it up from the yard.  Most of the time he’s successful but this morning he threw too hard and it landed in the bushes.”  He grinned a huge grin at the look on her face.  The shock dropping her jaw as a bright red blush spread across her cheeks.

“You’re joking!”  She was completely flustered and quickly losing her head.  He was watching her.  On purpose.  Surely there was a punch line.  Oh please God, don’t let him be laughing at her expense.

“I’m not.  It’s a horrible thing and I probably should be ashamed of myself but it’s a bright spot in my morning and I’d hate to give it up.”  He looked a bit sorry and she couldn’t quite stifle a giggle.

“That might be the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.  That or you’re crazy.”  Although she was leaning toward sweet. 

“Let’s go with sweet, I like that.  Just not my tea.  I didn’t even think to ask, is this sweetened?”  Good grief, she’d been that close to sweetening the whole pitcher.  Wordlessly thanking heaven for not doing it she shook her head.

“No, I don’t drink mine sweet but I almost sweetened it because generally people around here drink their tea like syrup.”  They laughed together, a warm encompassing laughter that she hadn’t experienced in too long.

“No, I like my women sweet and my tea bitter.”  He chuckled and she smiled as she tried desperately to swallow her tea. 

She feigned irritation, “This tea is NOT bitter!  Of all the rude, ungrateful…”

He laughed from deep in his chest. “I didn’t say I liked it, either.”

Now it was her turn to laugh. He’s quick. “Ok, good point, well made.”

“Listen, I was wondering if you might like to take a walk.  I know you like to watch the deer and they seem to frequent a creek on the far side of my acreage this time of day.  I know it’s a bit hopeful for me to presume you’d spend the remainder of your morning with me but I’d really enjoy your company.”  He fiddled with his glass nervously and she couldn’t help but smile at him.  Her eyes flashing a bright blue in the sudden sunlight that poured across the deck as the clouds broke.

“I’d love to.” I was all she could squeak out.  As hard as she tried to think of something amazingly witty to say in this moment her mind went blank at the boyish grin that spread across his unshaven face.  Man, did she love scruff.

“Perfect.  Shall we?”  He stood and held out his hand expectantly.  She took it relishing the warmth of his fingers on her palm.  She was sorry when he let go. It had been a while since she’d experienced such gallantry. 

They walked easily together, their gait perfectly matched and a rhythm established quickly.  He talked warmly about his garden and how he’d landscaped.  The outbuildings he’d built shortly after he’d moved here, with the intention of spending more time with his children.  As it was he had them every other weekend, sadly a standard time allotment for divorced fathers and the pain that etched across his face at the mention of it pinched her heart a little.  Poor man.  He obviously missed them very much.

She found herself sharing personal things with him that she hadn’t spoken of to anyone.  The stillbirth of her babies. How responsible she felt. The wretched pain of her divorce when neither of them could deal with the grief. He squeezed her hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm.  It was a simple gesture that spoke volumes to her lonely heart.  The pessimist in her assumed he must have an agenda but her heart ached for this person to be real.  She couldn’t take another disappointment.

They had been walking in silence, each perfectly comfortable with the other’s company, for the past several minutes when he paused.  She stopped up short and looked at him and then followed his line of vision.  A doe and her fawn were just ahead munching the sweet grass in a stand of large maple trees.  It was a sight and as long as the wind continued to blow into their faces they would be able to observe this pair, each lost in their own thoughts.  Sliding his fingers over hers against his upper arm, he snuck a peek at her and found her looking at him.  Their silent gaze spoke more than either intended but couldn’t be silenced.

He slid her hand off of his arm and into his right hand, lacing their fingers together as he stepped behind her and took her left hand into his.  His chest against her back he wrapped his arms around her.  A bit forward for just meeting someone, yes, but something in her eyes told him it would be welcomed.  He tucked his nose into her hair as her heart hammered in her chest. Her hands were shaking as she tried to relax into him.  Her body trembled, defying her. 

Pressing his lips close to her ear, he whispered, “Don’t think too much, just relax and let it happen.  I feel it. I think you feel it too.  I want to hold you, smell you, enjoy you.  Please let me.”

Her body stilled and slumped against his chest. An instant sense of sweet calm rushed over her body. The back of her head nestled into his neck as she listened to his heart pound in her ear.  He smelled of soap and she inhaled deeply to gather his scent into her memory.  She never wanted to forget this moment.  The deer, the sound of the creek, the softness of the grass under her feet, and this man holding her.  She felt safe. She hadn’t felt safe in years.

The doe lifted her head and spotted them.  The wind had changed direction and given them away.  She walked off to the east unhurriedly and the fawn followed.  They were both sorry the moment was over.  Taking her left hand in his right he spun her gently around to face him.  They stood that way for what felt like an eternity.  Eyes locked, neither able to look away.  His hands gliding up and down her arms slowly as if he was at war from within.  Finally his hands slid over her shoulders and up her neck, thumbs stroking her cheeks as his fingers slid into her hair.  She was breathless, expectant, terrified.  His eyes roved over her face, drinking her in, relishing this moment with only the chirp of the birds to interrupt it.  He leaned in as her eyes began to close and brushed his nose against hers, a tender sentiment that worked it’s way right into the depths of her heart.  Softly their lips touched, sweetly, gently.  Her hands slid up his back as his lips pulled at first her bottom lip, and then her top. His arm slid around her shoulders as his other hand slid completely into the curls at the back of her head.  She barely stifled a whimper against his strong lips. A sound that wordlessly begged him to continue.  His tongue slid between her soft lips as they parted in invitation.  Her head guided by his practiced hand to the side as their tongues danced together.  Such sumptuous, rich, feeling was welcomed by both of them as their bodies seemed to meld perfectly together.  He was so tempted to lay her in this grass and show her all the pleasures a woman’s body could experience.  The earnest nature of it shocked him and enthralled his senses.  He slowly withdrew his tongue and reverently brushed his lips back and forth against hers as his raging hormones calmed. 

She was trembling in his hands, a sincerity that endeared her to him.  He didn’t want to rush this.  He wanted to treasure this moment and make it the first of many.  He could satiate himself with her sweet and gentle disposition until the time was right.  He kissed her nose and leaned his forehead against hers.

“Annie, I don’t want to rush this.  Don’t think I don’t want to make incredible sweet love to you right here in this field because I really do.  I just want to do this right.  We could have something beautiful together and I don’t want to mess it up.  Am I making sense?”  He gazed into her eyes, hopeful that she’d not run.

“Yes.”  It was breathless.  All the response she could muster.

“Good.  Thank you.  Thank you for being exactly what I’d hoped all those mornings.  Thank you for being open to coming here with me.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect beginning.”

“Me either”, She smiled up at him as his lips pressed against hers for a second taste of her.