An Encounter,


What can I say about last night? I can say that it will never happen
again. I can say that it was cruelly short. I can say that the feel of her
against me will stay with me ’til I breathe my last. I can not say that I
know her name.
I had been moping on a stool at the bar. The din ebbed and flowed in
my ears. I was alone. Self-pitying. Almost oblivious. But I heard her.
Thank goodness, I heard her. I don’t know how long she had been sitting
next to me. Her head was in her left hand and she was crying quietly. Her
red-gold hair bounced and shimmered each time she stifled a sob. I wanted
not to say a word.
“Can I help you?”
I motioned the ‘keep over.
“Double Korbel–warm–in a snifter for her. Beer for me.”
She looked at me then, her green eyes rimmed red with crying. Her
pert nose poked a bit to the left and the gloss on her thin lips could
have adorned a fire truck. Such a beautiful mess.
“You shouldn’t have done that. You’re very kind.”
“My pleasure.”
“Thank you.”
“What could be bothering someone as beautiful as you?”
She rolled her eyes and buried her forehead in the crook of her right
“You’ve misunderstood me. I envy you. Something hurt you and you
don’t care what anyone thinks about how you look or how you sound. I’ll
bet the opposite sex is the last thing on your mind right now. I’m in the
same boat as you but I can’t cry. I wish I could but I just can’t”
She sniffed and wiped her nose on the back of her hand. The bartender
set down our drinks and let us be.
“Tell me,” she said.
I drew in all the air I could hold and blew it across the bar through
puffed cheeks. I began. I don’t need to tell you the story. You have your
own variation if you’ve ever really loved somebody. You probably know
mine. She listened. I can’t tell you when she clasped my hand or when she
put her head on my shoulder. That was how we were sitting when I finished.
“God! Don’t you hate it when people you don’t even know start boring
you with the intimate details of their lives, uh, um–I just realized I
don’t know your name. Mine’s…”
She put her hand over my mouth. She wasn’t crying now. She gave me
her brandy and began to talk. Her story was mine. Except that she was
going back home tonight. Home to another coast. Another life. I kissed her
cheek when she finished.
“Where’s your car,” I asked.
“Around the corner.”
“Let’s go.”
She took my arm. We ambled through the doors together like old
friends. She had parked in a side lot under a venerable old maple tree.
The bilious glow of a sodium-vapor lamp was our only light. The night was
clear, starry and cold.
I kissed her again. Lightly. Our lips barely touched. I pressed them
against her cheek and her neck. She pulled me to her and tasted my lips.
She darted her tongue over them. She ran it against my teeth. Our
breathing had been quiet; almost reverent. We were breathing hard, now,
through our noses. Our bodies fought the cold with slow, sinewy friction.
We knew all we had to know. We were together. We needed each other.
She searched under my overcoat until she found what she was looking
for. She pulled down the zipper, reached inside and held me. She moaned
through pursed lips and backed against the maple. I opened the front of
her thick wool coat and unbuttoned her blouse. I kissed the lush plain of
her chest below her neck. I slid my hand beneath her underwire and kneaded
the firm roughness of her nipple.
I felt a thin, cool hand on my wrist. She pulled. She pushed. We
raised the hem of her skirt. I felt heat and moisture. I tugged what felt
like silk aside and felt something silkier still. Down. There. I held her
on the tip of my finger. She began to move; slowly at first. Her grip
became tighter. She pulled me slowly in time to her own rapture. We were
electrified. We were without free will. We spoke with our eyes. A long,
smoldering conversation with her on the tip of my finger and me in the
palm of her hand.
It was the sight of her with her head back that brought me off. She
drew air threw her nose and hurled it through clenched teeth. She shook.
She clasped the back of my neck and pulled me closer to her with a low,
feral snarl. I shuddered in her hand. She quivered in mine.
We leaned against each other. Little orgasmic remnants bounced back
and forth between us as we stood there shivering in the orange-yellow
light. I kissed her again and held her for awhile.
“You don’t know how much I wish things were different.”
“I know, honey. I know.”
“Couldn’t we try to reach each other? Wouldn’t you like to know my
“I always want you with me. I always want to feel about you as I do
right now. You’re kind and gentle. You’re handsome. I want to imagine how
you taste. I want to imagine you on top of me. I want to imagine you
inside me…”
” This way, I’ll always love you.”
I watched her go. It’s funny. As I lie here trying to sleep, all I
can do is wonder how I can get her off my mind.

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