William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here (http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here (https://twitter.com/wqbelle). (Credit photo: (Wikipedia article, the picture itself))
A Better Man by William Quincy Belle
Harvey stopped and let go of Molly’s hand. She turned and stared at him. He reached up with both hands to hold her head and leaned in to touch his lips to hers. “I feel positively giddy.” His voice was almost a whisper as he grinned at her.
“You’re so sweet.”
He stepped back and took her free hand again. As they dragged their suitcases, he swung their arms between them in an exaggerated manner. “I feel like a sixteen year old with his first crush.”
He feigned shock. “What? Isn’t that a good description?”
She squeezed his hand. “It has been a wonderful weekend.”
“Wonderful? I think I’d forgotten how good life could be.” He stopped walking. “With the right person.” He moved toward her, held her right hand up and slipped his arm around her waist. As he led her into a dance step, he hummed a nondescript tune. People walked around and a few gave them an amused look.
“Oh Harvey. You really are giddy. Are you on a happy high?”
“Yes, I’m intoxicated with you.”
“Now don’t you make a girl feel special.”
He stopped dancing and took a step back. “But you are special, Ms. MacPherson.” He gestured toward her.
“Why thank you, kind sir.” She curtsied.
He gently but firmly wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply. The two of them remained locked in an embrace for a long time. When they finally broke, they stared in one another’s eyes. He spoke softly. “I’m quite taken with you. I feel elated. It’s been so long since I felt this way; I thought I was no longer capable.”
“You’re a good man, Harvey Baxter. Any woman would be pleased to have you.”
“A man doesn’t have such a connection with any woman. I think it’s a rare event.”
“Maybe. But we have to keep trying until we find that connection.”
“I know,” he said, “but...” His voice trailed off as he looked at her expectantly.
She reached up and cupped his cheek. “Harvey, I will always cherish our time together. It has been wonderful. It’s been extraordinary. And you’ve convinced me not to give up, to try one more time to regain what I’ve lost. My husband is a good man and we too once had what you and I have had this weekend. We both deserve another chance to rediscover that connection.”
“I must let you go.” He sighed. “I hate to let you go, but I must.”
“Yes.” She fumbled with her purse. “Would you watch my bag? I want to step inside and check my ticket.”
“Sure. I’ll be sitting right over there on that bench.” He took the handles of both suitcases and wheeled them together. When he got to the bench, he arranged both suitcases to one side and sat down on the end. Idly looking around, he mulled over everything that had happened in the last forty-eight hours.
He looked up from the menu at the woman.
“Is this table thirty-five?”
“Yes it is.” He stood up and gestured to a card in the center of table showing the number. “We must be early. I’m assuming there will be others.” He held out his hand. “Harvey Baxter.”
“Molly MacPherson.” She firmly shook his hand.
“Would you care to join me?” He stepped around the table and held out the chair opposite him.
She nodded. “Most kind of you.” She sat down and he helped push the chair in.
As he returned to his seat, he said, “Will your husband be joining you?”
“I’m here alone.”
“Ah. It seems to be a good spot for a weekend rejuvenation. An acquaintance insisted a change of scenery was a good way to clear out the cobwebs and get a fresh perspective on things, so I thought to come down and try getting away from it all.”
He picked up his menu. “At first blush, it would seem the culinary offerings are top notch. I trust you’ve brought both an appetite and a sense of experimentation.”
“I made note of the French on the menu. Somehow, the mundane appears exotic when rendered in French and that can be a good thing. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the language is limited so I’m not sure if I’ll end up with what I thought I ordered or with je ne sais quoi.”
“I trust our waiter will illuminate us. I like my trip but I don’t like my tripe.”
“Intestines, brains, other miscellaneous body parts; I think I’ll stick with beef, thank you very much.”
She picked up her menu. They both studied the offerings.
They looked up at the man.
“My name is Carlos. I’ll be your waiter this evening.”
“Hello,” Harvey said. “This is Molly and I’m Harvey.”
Carlos nodded. “If you have questions when looking over the menu, please call upon me. Tonight’s specials are as follows. Filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce, fresh Asparagus, and Twice Baked Stuffed Potato. And our seafood dish is Caribbean spiced Tsar-cut salmon with mixed vegetables and rice. You have a choice of salad with either dish: Caesar or Cranberry Spinach.” Carlos took out a pen and notepad. “Could I interest you folks in an aperitif?”
Harvey looked at Molly. “Anything strike your fancy?”
“I wouldn’t mind wine.”
“White? Chardonnay, perhaps?”
“That would be lovely.”
“Carlos, two glasses of Chardonnay.”
He made a note on his pad. “Coming right up.”
Harvey looked at the menu. “Either one of the specials sounds appetizing. I suspect we can’t go wrong.”
“The restaurant received a good rating by the tourist agency and I noted on their website the chef has something of a name for himself. Although, for the life of me, I couldn’t give you the name of one world-renowned chef. My knowledge about cooking is limited if not non-existent.”
“But you know your tripe.”
She nodded. “That I do.”
He closed his menu and set it to one side. “I’ll do the filet. No point in delving further.”
“A man of action.”
“Not as dramatic as that. More of a man of habit. I like to experiment once in a while, but I also appreciate the tried and true.” He surveyed the room. “I’ve never been here before. In fact, I’ve never gone on a weekend getaway. Is it a good way to recharge one’s batteries, so to speak?”
“A change is not an unwelcomed thing,” she said.
Carlos returned to the table carrying a tray with two glasses. “Two Chardonnays.” He set the glasses down, tucked the tray under an arm, and got out his pad. “May I take your order?”
Harvey gestured to Molly.
“I’ll have the salmon and the spinach salad.”
“I’ll do the filet and Caesar.”
Carlos made notes. “How do you like it?”
“Very good, sir.” Carlos put his pad away and picked up the menus holding them with the tray. “Enjoy.” He walked away.
Harvey took hold of his glass and raised it. “To a weekend change.”
She picked up her glass. He extended his over the table. She clinked with him.
“I’ve never been here either,” she said. “But it looks like a good place to get away from it all.”
“I hesitated doing this, but maybe it was time for a change. On the flight down here, I was mulling over starting fresh. If I could drop everything, my entire life, and go somewhere and start all over again, what would I do?”
“It sounds like an intriguing idea.”
“There’s so much of the world I haven’t seen. There’s so much I haven’t experienced.” He sipped his wine. “I think of that old joke about somebody having written on their tombstone, ‘I wish I had worked more.’”
“Yes. Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
“How true, how true. So, what, pray tell, is on your bucket list?”
“For this weekend?”
“I don’t know. I hadn’t come down here with a specific plan.” She held up her glass. “But wine and food seemed like a good place to start.”
“To hedonism.” He held up his glass. “And to adventure.”
She tipped her glass toward him. “Are you married, Harvey?”
“No, divorced. Yourself?”
“And yet, you are here by yourself.”
She glanced around. “Yes.”
“I apologize. I’m overstepping the bounds.”
She hesitated. “No, it’s all right.”
“Before I came, I studied all the various offerings at the resort. There are several things I have never tried before, and I’m thinking of taking advantage of this opportunity to cross a few things off my list.”
“They have a spa. I’d like to try a massage. One of those hot stone things.”
She chuckled. “Really?”
“Why not? I’ve had therapy due to a sports injury, which involved partial massages, but I’ve never had a massage for the sake of having a massage. I know that some people swear by them and some insist on having one regularly. It supposedly aligns your chakras or something. I don’t understand any of that, but I have been told if it feels good, do it. So, why not? Don’t we all deserve a little sensuality?”
She stared off.
“I’m sorry. I’m babbling.”
“No. You made me think of something.”
“A penny for your thoughts.”
“Sensuality. We all deserve a little sensuality.”
“What? Am I spouting Zen aphorisms and don’t know it?”
She sighed. “It’s been a long time.”
He took a sip of wine and studied her. “You’re giving me clues.”
“A wistful sigh over missed sensuality. Married, yet here alone.” He paused. “You have a lot on your mind.”
She looked down at her glass. She carefully spun the stem in one hand and looked up. “I’m sorry. I’m not being good company.” She smiled. “What else is on your list for this weekend?”
He leaned back in his chair. “A little sun on the beach, a dip in the ocean, and more food and drink. I’m determined to ignore all calorie counts. Since this is all-inclusive, I want to do my best to ensure the resort regrets throwing everything in free.”
Carlos arrived with another tray. He set a plate in front of Molly and said, “Cranberry Spinach,” then did the same for Harvey adding, “Caesar.”
He raised his glass. “Bon appétit.”
“Vous aussi,” she said.
“Oh, very good.”
“Not really. I’m afraid I exhaust my knowledge of the language pretty quickly.”
“What’s the definition of an expert?” He gave her a questioning look.
She said nothing.
“Somebody who knows one thing more than the next guy.” He picked up a fork. “I know nothing about French, so you’re now the de facto French expert at this table.”
She started on her salad. “May I ask you a personal question, Harvey?”
“By all means. With an introduction like that, I’m intrigued.”
“How long have you been divorced?”
He tilted his head. “Can total strangers be honest because they have nothing to lose?”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-“
“Not at all. It’s not like you’re going to go back to your room and post any of this on Facebook. Are you?”
He put his wine glass down and pursed his lips. “I had a personal crisis. I was nearly fired from my career job. I lost my direction in life and I lost my mojo as a man. On top of it, I suddenly realized I was old or at least older and the future no longer seemed promising. And...” He shrugged. “I began having problems in the bedroom. My wife took all of this personally.”
She sipped her wine.
“Admittedly, I was pretty quiet, too quiet, and never took the time to explain any of this. I couldn’t. I was frustrated, embarrassed, actually more humiliated, and probably depressed. I didn’t want to deal with any of it and made the mistake of withdrawing from the one person who had a vested interest in me. I regret that.”
He picked up his glass and took a sip. He stared at Molly over the rim and set the glass down. “That’s more than I intended to say, but what the hey? We’ll never see one another again.” He chuckled. “I guess we can say anything we want. There’s no risk of criticism.”
There was a moment of silence. They stared at one another.
“I came down here this weekend, Harvey, to make up my mind about leaving my husband. The status quo can’t continue. Anybody on the outside would observe that the status quo seems okay, but I’ve arrived at a point where I can no longer continue with it. I want a change. I need a change. I demand a change.”
Carlos arrived with a tray and set it down on a side table. He removed the salad plates and replaced them with their dinner orders. “Will there be anything else?”
“No,” Harvey said. “Thank you.”
Carlos picked up the tray and disappeared.
“Once again, bon appétit.” He looked at his filet then leaned forward to look at the salmon. “Ooo, that looks good.”
“Yes,” she said, “I’m hungry.”
The two of them ate.
“As total strangers, we have ended up with all our cards on the table.” He cut off a small piece of his filet.
“Will you be posting that on Facebook?”
“I’m a gentleman. I don’t tell secrets.”
“Did you love your wife?”
“At the end, my feelings were conflicted. Like you, I needed a change. The status quo was no longer sufficient. I had lost my will to live, my will to take charge and live my life. I wanted to run away and hide and for that, I lost my wife.”
“It’s odd. I felt I couldn’t talk with my wife. But I recognized the need to. I proposed several times we go to couples counseling, but for some inexplicable reason, she always refused. I guess she thought there was nothing preventing us from talking, so who needs a counselor? She interpreted my silence as an unwillingness on my part to talk to her. She never understood I was too humiliated, too depressed to talk without outside help.”
Molly cut into her salmon and took a bite. She looked off to one side. “You’re making me think, Harvey.”
“Why has my husband stopped talking to me? Why does he seem distant? Is he bored with me? Has he taken a lover? Or is there something personal going on that he doesn’t want to discuss?”
He shrugged. “A lot of who we guys are is tied up in ego, I’d say. You may dismiss it as arrogance or self-interest, but from a very early age, we’ve had in pounded into our heads that men must always be strong and never fail. It’s a hard standard to live up to. I’m not allowed to cry.”
She looked up from her plate. “What?”
“Hey, I didn’t make the rules; I only try to follow them.”
“What are you saying?”
“Oh I don’t know.” He stared at the ceiling for a moment. “Maybe guys are not all that communicative because... well, because we’re supposed to do, not talk. We’re supposed to be men of action and do stuff that leads to success. What’s to talk about?”
“Do you cry, Harvey?”
“I have. I do. Sometimes. Life can be overwhelming once in a while. I don’t always know what to do. I don’t always have the answers. I’m a flawed individual, but I still have to live up to that standard of the perfect man. He has the answers; he earns a living, and he’s the Rock of Gibraltar for all those around him.”
“Are you human or a god?”
“I’m just a guy. I’m nobody special. Just your average man, sometimes attempting the exceptional. But I can tell you this from personal experience. Because of my problems at work, I didn’t have a sense of accomplishment. Because I didn’t have a sense of accomplishment, I didn’t have a sense of self-worth. And without that sense of self-worth, I no longer had any confidence.”
She took a sip of wine and tipped her glass up.
“Would you like another?” He looked toward the bar.
“That would be good.”
He waved at Carlos and held up two fingers. “Got it. Refills are on the way.” He picked up his glass and examined it. He drank the remaining wine.
“I can’t remember the last time my husband cried. I can’t remember the last time we truly talked about anything personal. You’re making me wonder about what else is going on in his life that may have nothing to do with me.”
“What?” She raised an eyebrow.
“I was reliving a moment from my divorce.”
“The entire situation started because I had an issue. However, my wife, my ex-wife, hijacked the agenda by turning it into her issue. My issue was swept off the table and all that was left was hers. I had to deal with my own issue all by myself. My ex-wife never realized my issue had nothing to do with her.”
“That doesn’t seem very astute.”
“I realized after the fact that this situation pushed one of her buttons. She had been married before and that ended, from what I understand, in an acrimonious divorce. I don’t know if everything that happened had more to do with her ex-husband and reliving that nightmare than with me personally. I’ll wonder for the rest of my life what would have happened if we had gone to couples counseling and talked.”
He picked up his utensils and cut into his steak. “On the other hand, I’ve also wondered if the divorce was the correct solution for the impasse. Maybe if we had talked, we would have never arrived at an understanding. Maybe going our separate ways was the best thing for both of us. I’ve heard it said the right person at one time in your life may be the wrong person at another time in your life.” He glanced up to find her staring at him. “What?”
She shook her head and turned back to her plate. “Oh nothing. You’re just making me think about a lot of things.”
“Good things? Bad things?”
Carlos arrived with another tray. He set a new glass of wine by Molly’s plate and removed the empty glass. He did the same for Harvey and said, “Anything else?”
“That’s fine, Carlos,” he said.
“Enjoy.” Carlos walked back to the bar.
“You mentioned feeling old,” she said.
“I’m feeling that way. I feel as though life is passing me by.”
“That is an admission I find contradictory.”
She frowned. “Contradictory?”
“I look at you and I see an attractive woman. You carry yourself well and you have an air of education and intelligence. My first impression is that you’re living a good life.”
“I said that the status quo looks okay, but let’s not forget that looks can be deceiving. I’m ignored. My partner is disconnected from me. I might just as well be alone. It’s an unsatisfactory situation and it’s not rewarding. There has to be more to life than this.” Molly sipped her wine. “Is there more to life, Harvey?”
He chewed and gestured with his fork. “I’ve had some wonderful moments in my life. So, I know it’s possible. Maybe it isn’t continuous - there’s some mundane thrown in there for contrast – but yes, wonderful is out there if we take the time to seek it out. But...” He picked up his glass. “I’d say it’s rare that wonderful walks up to your door and knocks. Not impossible, but rare. We have to go out and search for it.”
“You remind me of Yoda.”
“Yoda?” He feigned shock. “And here I was trying to get you over to the Dark Side.”
“Mr. Baxter, are you trying to seduce me?”
He opened his mouth to say something and stopped. His eyes darted around.
She chuckled. “Oh Harvey, I’m just teasing. I’m allowed to tease, right?”
“Very good, Molly. You caught me off guard. Perhaps my social skills are a little rusty. My rapier wit isn’t so good at thrust and parry.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Thrust and parry? Is that a sexual innuendo?”
He felt a flush cross his face.
She grinned. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.” She reached out and touched his hand. “Forgive me.”
This startled him and his hand jerked. For a prolonged moment he looked at her and she looked back at him. Finally, he removed his hand and glanced away. “How’s your salmon?”
She picked up her napkin and wiped the corner of her mouth. “Fine.”
Carlos came up to the table. “How were your dinners?”
“Excellent,” Harvey said.
“If I could make a suggestion?”
“The twilight on the terrace is nice. There are still traces of sun in the sky and the view of the beach and the ocean is picturesque. If you would like, you could take your dessert and coffee out there. Some tables have opened up.”
“That seems like a good idea.” He looked at her. “What do you think?”
He stood up and came around to hold her chair.
“Thank you.” She stood up holding her purse.
“Just head through the archway on the far side of the bar.” Carlos pointed.
He was about to step in that direction when she took his arm. He looked at her.
“I hope you don’t mind,” she said.
“Not at all.”
As two of them made their way toward the arch, the sound of music grew louder. They exited the dining room to find themselves on the terrace. Off to one side, there was a dance area and two couples were stepping through a rhumba.
“It’s been a long time,” he said.
“Oh? You dance?”
“I did some ballroom years ago.”
She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Well...?”
“That seems to crop up frequently. I think you need a good oiling.”
“I... ah...” He cleared his throat and led her to the dance floor.
“My instructor was a woman. As well as teaching me dance, she also expounded on her philosophy about men and women. I hadn’t considered ballroom as a metaphor for relationships, but it would seem there are many similarities between that and the eternal dance of potential partners.”
He took her right hand in his left then placed her left on his shoulder. He slid his left arm around her waist and counted off. “A man starts with his left and the woman starts with the opposite. That is to say, women are always right.”
“Your instructor was a wise woman.”
“That she was.”
They went through several steps and attempted a turn. They failed and apologized to each other chuckling. He explained what he remembered and they tried again. This time they were successful and got to the end of the song.
Carlos caught Harvey’s attention. They walked over to a table and sat down. Carlos held Molly’s chair.
“I’ve brought over your wine glasses and left you with two menus so you can peruse our desserts. I would recommend the tiramisu. Can I get you coffee or tea?”
“Do you have herbal teas?” Molly said.
“Yes. Anything specific?”
“One of the favorites. For you sir?”
“I’ll do the same and I’ll follow your suggestion.”
“Two chamomiles and two tiramisus.” Carlos picked up the menus and disappeared.
She sipped on her wine. “Will you remarry, Harvey?”
He shrugged. “It seems theoretical. I would have to meet the right person to consider such a thing.”
“Never say never. But...”
“It seemed as if you were trying to give a diplomatic response. I interpreted it as meaning you wouldn’t entertain marriage again.”
“Oh, I would entertain it: a dinner, a dance, or an evening. I’m just not too sure I want it sleeping over.”
She giggled. “What do you mean?”
“Getting married was wonderful. Being married was fun. Going through a divorce sucks. And I mean royally. The emotional, financial, and legal trials and tribulations of disentangling two lives are not for the faint-hearted. It’s not something you want to go through twice.”
“Something like that.”
“And what makes you think the next time will end up in failure?”
“After my divorce, I spent time studying the issue. Maybe if I had done such study before my divorce, I would have learned what was necessary to avoid it in the first place. Lesson learned.
“The statistics are not on my side. A greater percentage of second marriages fail than first ones. But that’s not the real issue.”
“No. As I said, this whole mess started when I had my own crisis. It’s taken time to recover from the crisis. It’s taken time to heal from the divorce. And now that I have reached my year of retirement, I must finish working out what the rest of my life will be. I need to concentrate on me. And in deference to any potential partner, my focus on me would not be good for a we. It wouldn’t be fair to the next person.
“At some point, I can see sharing something of my life, but I can’t see making a full-time commitment. Of course, I could fall head over heels tomorrow, but I hope I’ll be circumspect. I would like to think that the other person, with as much to lose as me, would also be wary of any commitment. An evening, maybe a weekend or a vacation, but as two independent people together by choice when they want.”
“It doesn’t seem all that romantic.”
He half-smiled. “Do we get a little more practical about life with age? When you think about finances and health, two of the biggest ticket items of life, you tend to be cautious about losing your nest egg.”
Carlos arrived with a tray. “Dessert and tea. And you have a beautiful evening to go along with it.”
He raised his glass to her. “To a crisis free future.”
The two of them took up their forks and tried a piece of their dessert.
“Oh that’s delicious,” he said.
“And light.” She took another mouthful.
The two them concentrated on their plates.
“Good golly Miss Molly.” He leaned in his chair over the railing at the edge of the terrace.
She looked up. “You’re quoting Little Richard?” She noticed him and turned in her seat. “What?”
He stood up. “Come here and look.” He stepped off the terrace onto a walkway going to the beach. “Down the beach somebody is setting off fireworks.”
She joined him. “Oh that looks pretty.”
They leaned on the railing of walkway watching the exploding points of light. Other people from the terrace stepped out to get a better look. There were audible ooo’s and ah’s.
She brushed against him. He froze staring down the beach. “What a nice part of the evening,” she said. She laid her hand on top of his. Startled, he pulled his hand away.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“No. I’m... It’s me.” He cleared his throat. “I’m nervous.”
“I haven’t been with a woman in seven years.” He stared into her eyes.
“You’ve been with a man?”
He furrowed his brow for a moment and burst out laughing. “Okay, you got me. That wasn’t exactly what I meant.” He patted her hand.
“Kiss me, Harvey.” She stepped closer. “Kiss me now.”
He stopped laughing. He hesitated then wrapped his arms around her, tilted his head and gently pressed his lips to hers. It took a moment before he realized she had opened her mouth. He shut his eyes and kissed her. They embraced sensually until their kiss slowed and their mouths parted. He opened his eyes and found her gazing at him.
“It’s been so long,” he said, “I didn’t know how I would react.”
She reached up and cupped his cheek. “Let’s not think about yesterday. Let’s think about right now, right here. I want to share a moment, Harvey. I want to share a moment with you.”
“I didn’t come prepared for...”
“Well, I did.” She took his hand and led him back onto the terrace. They passed their table. They went by the dance area and strode into the resort. There was a flash of light followed by the boom of a roman candle.
Harvey lay propped up on one elbow. He stared at her form in the semi-darkness. He reached out his hand then pulled it back. She took it and placed it on her breast.
“I thought you might be asleep.”
“Not yet. I’m still relishing this nice afterglow.” She let out a sigh of contentment. “For a man who claims to have been out of the game for seven years, you haven’t forgotten your way around town.”
“Ah, it’s like riding a bicycle?”
“Oh, when you pedaled into the home stretch and shifted into fifth gear... Ooo la la.” She pulled him to her. “Cuddle with me.”
He wrapped himself around her body, half beside her, half on her. He laid his head on her shoulder.
“I enjoyed that,” she said. “I enjoyed you.”
“I was a little apprehensive... at first... maybe scared.”
“You’re not the first man who’s been... well, worried. We all have to relax and have a good time. This isn’t a contest. This is about enjoying one another.”
“You seem to be wise beyond your years, Molly. I’m afraid my wife left me pretty much on my own. She wasn’t what I would call participatory when it came to lovemaking. I had to come to the table ready, willing, and able. And if I wasn’t ready, she didn’t voluntarily do anything to assist me. I wonder if she really liked having sex with me.”
“Oh Harvey, half the fun is turning on your partner. Pleasure is pleasure, but pleasure is also giving not receiving.”
“Not every women approaches their relationships as you do.” He reached up, cupped her cheek, and turned her head towards his. He brushed his lips over hers. His voice was a whisper. “That was remarkable. You’re remarkable.”
“You’re going to make me blush.” She smiled. “However I’m greedily using you for my own libidinous ends. I want what I want and I want my partner to lose control of himself in a fit of unbridled passion.”
“I like to inspire. I like to be the muse. And in turn, I want you to inspire me, push me, and lead me to where I want to go. And who knows? Maybe to a few places I’ve never been before.”
“I like it when you talk dirty.”
She laughed. “This is it. This is what it’s all about: having fun. Yes, having fun together.” She reached down between his legs. “I like to have fun.”
He kissed her as he ran one hand down her side and caressed a thigh.
As per his instructions, the knock at the door was quiet. He wrapped a towel around his mid-section then walked across the sunlit sitting room and opened the door. “Just set it on the coffee table.”
The waiter walked in and set the tray down. He turned around, accepted the bill from Harvey, and walked out shutting the door.
A voice came from the bedroom. “Harvey?”
He picked up the tray and walked into the bedroom.
“Where did you go?” She rolled over. “Now, aren’t you the sweetheart.”
He stood beside the bed and smiled down at her. “I thought to get us a little something.”
“What’s for breakfast?” She reached up and undid the towel. It fell to the floor.
He chuckled. “My God, woman, I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.”
“Put the tray down and kiss me.”
He put the tray on the side table then leaned over the bed. They held their kiss for a long time.
She blinked. “You have coffee?”
“Oh good.” She sat up and arranged the pillows. “Put the tray here between us.”
They sat up in bed. She leaned against him. He poured out two cups of coffee. They clinked cups then sipped. He turned and kissed her cheek. She turned and they kissed.
“This is nice,” she said.
“Yes it is. A touch of paradise.” He lifted a covering tray and revealed buttered toast.
“Ooo, I’ll have a slice of that.”
“Is this how’s it done? I’ve forgotten.”
“It’s been a while for me, but yes, this is how it’s done and it should be done regularly. Without fail.”
“Of course, this is still our honeymoon. What happens when we wake up, look at each other and say, ‘What? You again?’”
“It doesn’t have to be like that. There can be a process of renewal, of commitment. The day to day stuff can get boring, but it’s up to us to stir the pot once in a while.”
“Hmmm, do I understand that?”
“I guess it’s easy to become complacent. And complacency doesn’t sound like a recipe for long-term success.” She finished her coffee. “What are your plans for today?”
“Well...” He scratched his head. “There was that visit to the spa for that rock massage.”
“I should take an obligatory swim in the ocean. Just to say I’ve done it.”
“I suppose I should read over the resort’s schedule of daily events.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Listen, if you think I’m going to let you out of this bed without having sex one more time, you’re dreaming in Technicolor.”
“God, I don’t know if I can...”
“I’ve been known to wake the dead.” She got up and set the tray aside. “I’ll introduce you to the fluttering butterfly with sliding twist and one handed dice juggle.”
“My imagination is running wild with that description.”
She grabbed both his ankles and spun him around leaving his legs dangling off the edge of the bed. She leaned over, placed a hand on each of his thighs and gave him a sly smile. “Watch and learn, grasshopper.”
Harvey stood at the window of the terminal and watched Molly cross the tarmac to the boarding steps. She showed her ticket to a security agent then walked up the stairs. She stopped at the top and turned back. Holding one hand over her eyes, she scanned the building until she saw him waving at her. She waved back, blew him a kiss and disappeared into the plane.
He stood at the window and watched the boarding steps taken away and the hatch closed. He remained as the engines started and the pushback tractor moved the plane away from the gate. It taxied out to the runway, waited for clearance, and then soared off into the sky for its flight home.
He studied the list of departures and saw that his flight boarded in five minutes. He turned back to the window and stared into the sky. Would he ever see Molly again? Then again, was that what was important about this weekend? He had never planned anything after his divorce. It just didn’t seem to be worth it. Too much pain, too much emotional upheaval, too much of too much.
But this? This woman? This weekend? Could life be that passionate, that intimate, and that much fun? He was caught off guard. This had been an incredible experience. Nothing in life is forever, but thank goodness for those things which are unforgettable.
Harvey rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Would he work things out? Would he get his mojo back? Would he get out there and get back to living his life? He realized that Molly had left him with something. She made him want to be a better man.
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