It could be argued that I had fallen so fast because it had been a very long time since I had been with a man in any romantic way. It could be argued that I had just forgotten how good it felt to be embraced and how sensual it was to be kissed gently, with tongues engaged in just the right way, which for me meant not choking thrusts but instead, a kind of teasing, light exploration, coupled with a bit of nibbling. If anyone wanted to argue those things, they were welcome to their words and their opinions, but I knew differently.
Since my husband’s death, I’d had plenty of opportunity to be with men, both literally and in the biblical sense. I’d never been desperate. I’d always been willing to wait for the right man. As for kissing, I could count on one hand the number of men in my life who had been so compatible. All the waiting had been worth it, but my response to this man had not simply been triggered by a long drought, it had been triggered by the man himself.
He texted me just after 7:00 the next morning, reporting that he had awakened dreaming of me. During the flurry of messages back and forth, he said that he had liked it when I showed him that my butcher block was custom made for me to fit my diminutive size. “You are such a big presence that I just don’t think of you as shorter,” he said. “Plus, you know how to make use of steps.”
I doubted I had ever used that transition from the living room’s brick floor to the dining room’s wooden one to better advantage than I had the previous night, and he said he had never thought about having favorite steps, but if he did, those would definitely be his favorite. We were doing a little early morning tango around the fact that we had both been captivated by our mythic clinch the previous night.
He said that he had been a bit nervous as he walked up to my door that night, but the second I opened the door and smiled at him, the nervousness had evaporated. Of course, he looked so adorable walking up to my door, I couldn’t help but smile.
He confessed to being enamored of me, and I admitted that I was crushing on him.
We texted about the weather, the way he made coffee, and the fact that he was in boxers and I was in bed reading and watching the news in my cowgirl pajamas. He mentioned that he would be doing more work on the trail that day. This texting went on for an hour, like morning conversation over coffee, easy and intimate. Except that it was also like being on a sled with him, taking a wild ride down a hill and feeling a little breathless by the time we reached the bottom.
Later in the day, I texted that I had just realized he’d answered the boxers versus briefs question that morning without my even having to ask. I admitted that I was blushing while writing the text. He asked which I preferred, and I assured him that I preferred boxers. “But I’m still blushing,” I said, “or maybe just overheated.”
Clearly, I was becoming as unfiltered as him.
“You must have been thinking of me if you came up with that revelation,” he said. He added that he liked to think of me blushing and being overheated; he found it cute.
Derek was reawakening some things in me that I had nearly forgotten, and I told him so. It was an understatement, but I did not want to elaborate. I got back an emoji that suggested he was thinking sweet thoughts in response. He said he liked the fact that we had seen one another every day since we’d met. Of course, that had only been a couple of days.
Apart from my reference to my reawakening, anyone who might have stumbled on those text exchanges could easily have assumed that they were between two randy teenagers. Was I aging backwards like the Merlin of Arthurian legend? If so, I had raced backwards at an alarming speed.
That evening, we connected again. Even though it was a bit early to fall asleep, I was fading fast and told him so.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, baby,” he texted.
He had never before referred to me in that way. Did that trigger alarm about how quickly things were moving? Did I find the term just a little too intimate considering that we had known one another for less than a week? Was I suspicious? Did I think it ingenuous? No. It seemed just another example of his unfiltered texting, and I didn’t doubt that he had used the word genuinely and spontaneously. If some other man had called me baby, I might have felt differently, but coming from him, I thought I had never been referred to in a more charming way.
The previous week, I had been a woman on a dating site, just hoping to find a man I liked with whom I could feel at least a little chemistry. Now, a week later, I felt as if I had been given a small bit of paradise by the gods when I had only requested a simple plot of good earth to call my own.
How long could this go on and what in the world would happen next?
Note: The name Derek is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.
Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall