An Unexpected Arrival

Ginevra LetterIt happens. The high starts to wear off when you leave the hotel. The chocolates on the pillows turn into wrappers in the dustbin, the rich meals become a decadent memory (and maybe an extra pound on the waistline, truth be told). If the weekend is especially delicious, the high lasts a little longer, but eventually, all good things come to an end. You come home and realize that indeed, after the ecstasy, there really is laundry. A lot of laundry. I soak the stockings, hang up the slips to dry, sew a loose button back on my skirt waistband, take a couple of things to the cleaners. I sort the darks, the lights. I think. A lot. About what we did. A little bit about what might have been different. Mostly about what will happen next.

I was just coming down from that high, just settling back into my daily routine, just getting back to some kind of normal; when it happened.

I was sitting on the sofa reading when I heard the mailman (mailwoman? who knew?) clatter the lid of my box, so I rose up and went to bring in the daily round of bills, sale flyers and junk mail. Thumbing through the stack to sort what I could immediately recycle, I notice a heavy cream-colored envelope. Hmmm… I wonder who’s getting married? Not recognizing the return address, I set everything else on the credenza, and turn it over to open the envelope. It’s not an invitation. It’s a letter. Nice… It’s linen finish laid paper. You don’t see that much for correspondence. A moment of dread fills me. It’s probably from some lawyer. But the envelope isn’t business sized, and the letter is folded in quarters. Like, well, like a letter. I slowly unfold the paper and read the following:

*****

Weston Place
June 17, 20–

Ginevra,

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. It was supposed to be totally about flirting and playing and seducing. I was supposed to be the seducer. I was supposed to be the one in charge of this affair. I was supposed to be Mr. Suave and Mr. Have It All Together and Mr. Sophisticated. I was the one who told you I would lead, take you to places you’ve never been, and ruin you for life. You had no idea what you were getting into. That’s what I knew. That’s what I thought.

And then the seducer got seduced. I found you willing to bare your very soul to me. Without revealing a single bit of flesh, you stripped yourself naked right in front of me. You revealed parts of you that you have never revealed to any of the men who have known you . And I was humbled and intoxicated at the same time. I found myself drawn into your essence long before I ever entered your body. Long before our lips ever met for the first time. Long before our fingertips ever touched.

I have no idea where this is going or how it’s going to play out. I only know that you have touched me in places that have lain dormant for many, many years. I only know that I have fallen for you, Ginevra, in a way I never dreamed possible. I only know that I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter of our story, the next scene of our play, the next page of our novel. I only know that right now, I cannot imagine anything more desirable than having those love-filled eyes of yours looking directly into mine, touching your hand, holding you in my arms, and kissing your lips.

I love you, Ginevra, and cannot wait until we are together again and together for the first time. For it will "Seem like the very first time," when our bodies entwine, our hearts unite, and our souls trade the very breath of life itself.

Steffen

*****

Oh, my… Oh… I sit down. Hard. Knees a little weak. Heart beating a little faster. I reread the letter. It’s real. It’s really real. The faintest, so faint as to be almost imaginary scent of cologne wafts up from the paper. It’s a real letter, and it’s from Steffen, and…and…now what? I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do.

_______________________________

Special Note:
This is the followup to my “First Kiss” story.
This is a letter I actually received. Upon rediscovering it, I realized it would be the perfect “next chapter” in the Ginevra story. I contacted the sender and received his permission to use it in this blog, and, with changes amounting to less than twenty-five characters, I submit it for your pleasure.

Gentlemen readers, you can do this. Ladies, you can hope for it. It’s not impossible to do, It’s not impossible to receive, and well, let’s just say it was effective. Very effective.

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Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

Beautiful“When I saw you, I just thought you were so beautiful.”

My God. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I’m one of the lucky ones, those blessed among women, those who are gifted with attractiveness. But when he told me that, I just went dumb. I had no words. I didn’t know what to say.

Not because I hadn’t heard it before.

But because he meant it.

That kind of sincerity can’t be faked. And when I heard it, I knew it. I can spot flattery a mile away. I’ve got 20/20 vision when it comes to schmoozing. Enough men have tried to pick me up that my feet need never touch the earth again.

But this was real. This was so real.

These are the words that every woman wants to hear. And I was hearing them. And I was crying and laughing all at the same time. That’s a feeling that can’t come from a bottle, be it booze or pills.

That is real. That’s beautiful.

*****5-minute-friday-1

What’s Five Minute Friday?

A blog-prompt project dreamt up by LisaJo Baker, which you can read about here. The basic idea is that you spend five minutes of writing, generally unedited (I correct typos, WAY too OCD not to do that), on a prompt that she provides just after midnight via a tweet, then spread the word, and link up. Interested? Join up. Enjoy a delightful assortment by clicking on the picture to the right.

Today’s Five Minute Friday selection is also here!

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First Kiss

Palmer House Hilton Chicago MainMy heels click smartly on the highly polished floor as I wander the lobby while waiting for you to check us in.

"You really are nervous," a touch of amazement tinges your voice as you take my hand in the elevator and find it’s shaking. No one else is in the elevator, but you don’t kiss me.

"I always tell people that nervousness is a sign you care. That if you didn’t give a rip, you’d never be nervous…" Even my voice is shaking and the words tumble out–too fast.

"Shhhh." You put a finger on my lips. "Enough talking, Princess. Let’s–"

Your words are cut off by the chime of the elevator. As we exit, I feel your hand on my waist as you lead me down the hall to the room.

The bellman will be up with the luggage soon, so I sit on the sofa that faces the TV. Curiosity wins out and I ask, "You started to say something?"

"Oh. Yes. Let’s just go right to the art museum. We have several hours before dinner."

I nod and then the luggage comes and you’re occupied and I rummage in my purse for more lipstick, realizing even as I apply it that it was never intended as a force field and maybe we shouldn’t have come and maybe you’ll think I’m too fat and I sure said some ridiculous things in the car like I tend to do and you’re going to be sorry you brought me here and then there’s dinner and after that we’ll come back here and you’ll want to "unwrap me like a wonderful gift" which sounded so romantic it almost made me cry and gave me butterflies for the entire trip but I think they’ve all flown away because

"Earth to Ginevra…" You snap your fingers in front of me and I startle. "Those heels are very, very sexy, but I think you’ll want flats for the museum." I start to get up, but you put your hands on my shoulders. "No. Stay here. What bag are they in? I’ll bring them."

You find the shoes, bring them, and move the coffee table. "This is the only pair we have in your size ma’am."

I laugh because you really do look like a shoe salesman kneeling there. But you don’t act like one since I’m pretty sure they’re not ever allowed to tickle the client’s ankles. When your hand moves up to my calf the butterflies wake up and it feels like they’ve invited some bumblebees. But then you’re standing and you offer your hand. I stand and you draw me over to the window.

The midday sun filters through the sheer drapes and the sounds of some street musicians drift up; barely audible through the closed windows.

I open my mouth to say something and you stop me. "Age before beauty. Ah! There’s a smile! No; let me finish. I know you’re nervous. It’s very alluring. No; wait. I’m not done. I’m not going to force you to do something you don’t want. That’s just wrong. I’ll lead you, but I won’t force you. Ginevra, princess, hush. Listen to me. We can go very, very, very slow. Scratch that. We *will* go very, very slowly. Exquisitely slowly. If we end up doing nothing but kissing, all night long–that blush makes you even more desirable, you know–I’m fine with that. Whatever the Lady wants. You know that, and you have known that. Now, if I have to, just this once, I’ll go down on one knee and beg. I have been dreaming and fantasizing about your beautiful, kissable lips for weeks. May I, please, kiss you? Even just once?"

Because we’re standing about a foot apart, I shift my weight to step towards you. You stop me again, saying, "I want this to be perfect." I feel your fingers under my chin; tilting my head, and then your lips are on mine and it’s gentle and soft and almost holy. And you kiss me again, and then a third time.

I open my eyes and see your smile. Your eyes are laughing as you whisper, "Would the Lady like some more?"

And all I can say is, "Yes."

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What’s Yours?

Calvin and Hobbs ResolutionsEverybody makes ‘em. Nobody keeps ‘em. Yeah. I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions.

You have to admit, they show good intention. People always mention that they want to lose weight, start exercising, manage their budget better, invest wisely, save more money, become a better parent, the lists go on. And on.

Why, honestly, do we bother? I have never yet met a person who made a New Year’s resolution that they managed to keep. Ever. Past February. (If you have, please comment, because I want to arrange a meeting with you and other world leaders.) Given that, I am starting an entirely new style of resolution, which is based on the principal of reverse psychology. It’s a well-known fact that, since the Garden of Eden, people can’t seem to avoid doing either the very thing someone tells them not to do, or just the opposite of what they are supposed to do.

So, my New Year’s Resolutions are as follows:

  • Utterly trash my home and become an unrepentant hoarder;
  • Become a recluse who shuns human contact, especially with my aging parents and any close friends;
  • Gain as much weight as is humanly possible by never cooking or eating anything healthy, let alone by attempting anything that even resembles exercise;
  • Never keep track of appointments or dates and never, ever return phone calls the same day;
  • Avoid anything that smacks of spirituality or any kind of organized religion;
  • Shamelessly prowl Facebook and Twitter All Day Long;
  • Relentlessly pursue anything that might depress me, most notably by staying in bed all day;
  • Spend my money on whimsical items that have no enduring value whatsoever; and
  • Write as little as possible.

I’ll NEVER tell you how that’s going.

Tickets and Timetables

South Bend Regional Airport

Image by mobilene via Flickr

Never thought I’d be so excited about getting a ticket. But it’s true. I’m going to the commuter train station at the South Bend Airport tomorrow, and they have a ticket vending machine. I guess it’s sort of like an ATM, but instead of cash, it spews out train tickets. Cool.

I’ve never taken the commuter train before, so it’s a bit of an adventure. I used to be a lot more adventuresome, I think, in my younger days. Maybe it’s because I had more money. It seems easy to be worldly and easy-going when you have plenty of cash for extricating yourself quickly from dicey situations. Not that I think riding a commuter train is the least bit dicey—I’m sure it’s perfectly safe. I’m more worried about going from one station to the next in downtown Chicago while being burdened down with luggage. (Just a carry-on, laptop, and purse, but it’s over twenty pounds, which doesn’t make for easy running.) I just hope there’s a ready cab. It’s too cold to be lugging luggage some ten blocks or so.

I’m not nervous about the Amtrak part of the trip; I’ve been riding Amtrak for almost thirty years now, so that’s a breeze. It’s this commuter thing. There’s a lot more trains, and more stops. I would imagine there’s a lot more people. But, on the bright side, it’s only about half the price! Which, of course, leaves me with more money to extricate with.

One nice thing about this commuter train schedule is that I don’t have to leave until almost 1:00 in the afternoon! But the sad part is that I don’t end up arriving in Milwaukee until 4:45… Bummer. I’m used to getting there almost two hours earlier. But I’m also used to boarding at 8:30, so it’s ultimately a big savings in time. I guess I’ll take that.

Maybe it’s just that I can’t wait to get there!

Never a Master

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...

Image via Wikipedia

A learner I will be. Always. (Sounds a little like Yoda, no?)

I’m telling you, no matter what people say about how women are mysterious and hard to figure out, and full of PMS craziness, demanding, emotional minefields, and other nonsense, I think men are just as bad. Maybe worse.

I’ll be the first to admit it: stereotypes make life a lot easier. Men drive me nuts. And not just the kind that are like some strange species of shaved bears with furniture, burping and fist-pumping their way through another football game while they check out Kim Kardashian look-alikes in Hustler magazine. No, I’m also talking about the sensitive, women-respecting kind that listen when you talk and aren’t afraid to cry. The kind who read books, and not just comic books. (Excuse me: Graphic Novels.) Yes, the kind who open the doors for you and help you with your coat while murmuring sweet nothings comprised of equal parts John Keats and Steven Hawking. They are the best in bed (because they let you come first…and last), and out of it. Yes, as the song goes, let’s hear it for the boy!

But they still drive me crazy. No, I’m not getting all “emotional” here. Well, maybe I am. So what!

Okay, this is the year 2011 (for a few days yet), and I’m a modern woman who’s not afraid to take the initiative and call a man. But if you think I’m initiating all the calling, all the texting, and all the emailing, think again. You want me? Prove it. You, Mister Saying-You’re-Interested-In-Me! Yes, you. Can I get a call? Can I get an email? Can I get some text messages? Can I get some attention?

So, I did what I thought would be the right thing. I sent a completely honest message, via both text and email. Not nasty. Just saying that if he had time for this, that, and the other thing, surely he had time to call, etc., etc., Was I pissed? Yes. Was I a bitch? No.

He emailed and called, in approximately 2 minutes and 17 seconds. (Nope, I was not counting. I just made that up. I did…) WIN!

But it really wasn’t a win. No… it was more like a fail… Not quite an epic fail, but a fail. After hearing him and his lovely soothing voice, I felt like a loser. Like a demanding, emotional minefield. How could I ever have thought he wasn’t interested? He. Is. So. Interested. (Fist pump not required.)

I just never learn. But, he did call…so, maybe he learned, too… I don’t know, but I hope I’m learning.

Date a Guy Who Reads

Guy ReadingThis post is a response to A Girl You Should Date

Date a guy who reads. Date a guy who spends his money on books instead of video games, beer, or tickets to sporting events. He has problems with floor space because he has too many books. He doesn’t have end tables, but he does have stacks of books. Date a guy who has a list of books he wants to read, who has had a library card since he was in first grade.

Find a guy who reads. You’ll know that he does because he will always have an unread book with him, maybe in the back seat of his car, or just under his arm. He’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore (and not just the science fiction section, either), the one who quietly smiles when he finds the book he wants. You see the geek sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

He’s the guy reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at his mug, it’s already getting cool, because he’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. He might look astonished, as most guys who read are not likely to be interrupted, since most people don’t know what to do with a reader, especially if it’s a guy, and it’s not Sports Illustrated. Ask him if he likes the book.

Buy him another cup of coffee.
Let him know what you really think of Hemingway. See if he got through the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged. Understand that if he says he understood James Joyce’s Ulysses he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves Gandalf or he would like to be Gandalf.

It’s easy to date a guy who reads. Give him books for his birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give him the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give him Dante, Dickinson, Pound, Plath. Let him know that you understand that words are love. Understand that he knows the difference between books and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his life a little like his favorite book. It will never be your fault if he does.

He has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to him. (He already thinks you do, from the first moment that you seemed interested in him…) If he understands syntax, he will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail him. (He already thinks you will—most women have been disappointed in him already.) Because a guy who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because guys who understand know that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. That while life is more than about rescuing the fair maiden, he’d really like to give it a try. He wants to be your hero. Let him.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. (Which, as a powerful girl who reads, you can admit to doing. It’s cool. You don’t have to like it.)

If you find a guy who reads, keep him close. When you find him up at 2 AM clutching a book to his chest and silently weeping, pull him close and kiss him. Make love. Talk about it. You may lose him for a couple of hours but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

He will propose at a historical re-enactment. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time you’re sick. Over Skype. He may be past comic books (or not), but he still likes the pictures, especially when they’re of you.

You will start to cry, and laugh, all at the same time. You will wonder why your heart never before realized that there’s enough love in it for every single person in the universe. You will write the story of your lives, have kids (and cats) with strange names and even stranger tastes. He will introduce your children to Beatrix Potter and Guy Reading with Babythe Hobbit, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and he will recite Keats under his breath while you adjust his hat and make sure he has his gloves.

Date a guy who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can give you the most colorful life imaginable, and not just things from the Victoria Secret catalog. If you can only give him monotony, and stale hours and gossip about Jersey Shore, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a guy who reads.

Don’t get me started about the guys who write. Don’t go there.

Thank you, Rosemarie Urquico, for your original essay.