Pete Able

A Premature Romance

I stopped, took a breath and jumped into the deep end of the pool. The water was lukewarm, like a bath that had been run and forgotten about. Reflections of moonlight glittered on the water’s surface. The night, the house, the car in the driveway, everything was familiar. Everything aside from the woman.

The woman was unique even from other women I had known and thought unique before. Over dinner it had come out that she illustrated children’s books, owned an antique shop and had lived for two years in Peru. Also, she had grown up on a dairy farm and knew all the different chores. She boasted she could run such a farm singlehandedly. Not literally of course. It was understood she would need both her hands.

Now she swam over to where I was treading water. I was beginning to breath in quick, gasping breaths but made an effort not to show it. She came smiling. Though she wore no lipstick her lips were almost unnaturally red and her teeth perfectly white, making her smile resemble a diamond set in rubies. Had she done commercials for Aquafresh, the result would have sold millions on the product.

We looked at each other close up. Her eyelashes were longer and darker above her left eye. I preferred the right, which was naked and honest. She noticed, I’m guessing, how my clear blue eyes gave her a feeling of calm and clarity. We reached out and touched fingertips. The kiss came and we slipped under, finishing it off below the reflected moonlight. When we came up for air she reached down into my trunks. I immediately spilled at least a twin’s worth of baby batter into the water.

***

Sitting poolside, we were reclining in Adirondack chairs. The night air was cool and we had our towels draped over our shoulders. Her name was Andrea. It seemed to me that I had once known a girl of the same name, but I couldn’t recall from where. It wasn’t unlikely that in all my forty years I had come across another “Andrea.” It wasn’t like a “Marisole” or a “Zariah” or something.

“The moon is big,” Andrea said. Her tone was intimate. It sounded as if she were confiding in me some beautiful secret from her childhood.

I looked at the moon and found it was indeed “big.” It was low too. It hung just above the roof of the large hotel on the other side of town.

“The moon is low,” I said, trying to maintain the intimate tone of her comment a moment before. It was my turn to confide in her.

“What else is it?” Andrea asked. She spoke to me as if we were already familiar partners. I was somewhat remiss that I could think of nothing else to comment on. Her question hung in the air like the moon itself.

“It’s made of cheese,” I said finally with false solemnity.

She rose slowly but purposefully, came over to my chair, and straddled me. As soon as her rump landed in my lap, I immediately splooged a few more skeets into my already skeet-spoiled bathing suit.

“Aw,” she said. She kissed me on the forehead and traced my jawline with her fingertips and said, “I love your dimpled chin.”

***

I offered and Andrea agreed to stay the night. We made popcorn and watched a movie. It was one of those old “creature features” that you wind up just cracking jokes about and laughing at all the way through. The monster from this one was basically a miniature Godzilla that lived in the woods of Tennessee, and a wannabe Elvis-type was in town to investigate. Whenever the creature made a sudden appearance Andrea would simulate fear and curl up against me on the couch in mock horror. For my part I’d put my arm around her and say soothing things as if to calm her. It was a funny schtick for awhile.

Towards the end of the movie we were both a little drowsy and tipsy from wine, and I was nodding off somewhat. At one point I woke up to feel Andrea undoing the drawstring of my sweatpants. The credits were rolling on the TV that hung on the wall, and yet the plot continued to thicken. The female lead freed the one-eyed monster. And just as she was about to give it a little kiss to break the curse of the 3-month dry spell, it spat right up her nose.

***

In the morning I heard it when Andrea quietly pushed her feet onto the hardwood floor. I could hear her footfall as she made her way to the bathroom. I wanted to get another glimpse of her naked body as she came back to bed but at the same time I didn’t want to wake up just yet. A peak at the clock told me it was 6:56. It felt like it was at least an hour too early to wake up. When I heard the toilet flush I pulled the blanket up past my eyes.

Andrea quietly and deftly got in bed and sidled up alongside me. Her body was cold but I resisted my instinct to roll away. Her arm stretched over my shoulder and slowly rubbed my chest. Then her hand moved down over my abdomen and I came to see what she had in mind. It was the best sort of wakeup call. It was probably the only sort I won’t hit the snooze button on. Just before it was about to begin, it was all over. My polyester sheets were a mess with a puddle of more of my bonkjuice.

***

There was no going back to bed now. It was 6:58 and it was too late to pretend I was asleep. Andrea went to the kitchen. She made no comment about my little problem. She hadn’t the night before either. I was surprised at how much I liked her. She seemed genuinely kind and generous.

In the kitchen she seemed to know where I kept everything. She was thirty-eight so I guessed she had been in a hundred similar kitchens before. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Silverware was in the drawer, glasses were in the cabinet and the trashcan was under the sink. My design scheme wasn’t a Rubik’s Cube.

As she went about her work she wore her bottoms but graciously left her top off. It felt like a small gift she was giving me. I watched her intently through the open French doors as if she were some kind of wildlife. She came back into the bedroom smiling at me with her Aquafresh smile.

“I need a shirt,” she said. “The bacon grease is jumping out at my chest.”

I pointed to a drawer. I was not yet ready to be jovial or verbose and said only, “There.” She opened the drawer, picked a shirt out and pulled it on. It was a gray Polo shirt. It was one of my nicer shirts but it didn’t matter. I could afford more.

The savory smells coming from the kitchen were not an ordinary occurrence. Rarely did I do anything more than boil a pot of water. Andrea had eggs, bacon and French toast cooking all at once. She danced to and fro in front of the stove with a spatula like a Motown singer up on stage. My Polo shirt hung well below her ass but her smooth, tan legs were on display. More and more Andrea was proving her complete perfection. I took a moment to marvel at my luck at having met her. With a view of her shapely legs and pretty feet, I reached down and fondled my joystick, immediately adding to the gobs of wang sputum in my bed.

***

The breakfast Andrea prepared was delicious and bountiful, and gave us the energy for the early afternoon hike we took. I had taken another woman up the same hill before but every time she had opened her mouth it was to whine about the pain in her feet or the sweat that was forming on her brow. Andrea uttered not a word of complaint. She even seemed to be in better shape and more enthusiastic than I was. When we reached the summit we stopped and looked down on our sprawling town. I was wheezing but she was perfectly fine.

“I bet you take all your girlfriends up here,” Andrea said with a grin.

“Yeah but none of them handled it half as well as you.”

“It’s such a clear sky today. There are no clouds at all. It’s really terrific.”

“Yeah but where’s the moon?”

“It’s so low that only people in China can see it.”

I thought about this for a moment. I’d never had a good grasp about how the Earth spun and how the moon revolved. She was joking of course.

“Have you ever been?” she asked.

“To China? No, I haven’t. Have you?”

“No, but I desperately want to go. China is at the top of my list. I want to get lost in the throngs of people, hearing no one speaking any English at all. And I’ll go to the Forbidden City to take pictures. There is tons of stuff to see. I have it all mapped out in my mind.” She seemed halfway gone just talking about it.

On the hike back down the sandy path she went on to describe the whole fantasy trip to me. China had never appealed to me before but she made it sound great. I would have gladly accompanied her there that very day if plane tickets and time off were somehow magically produced. I found this was yet another side of her to be smitten with. She was an adventurer. This spoke to the quiet voice in me that wanted to do and see exciting things.

After we got back to my place we made love in the shower. Or, that is to say, she began to wash my Borat and I made a romance explosion, leaving her fingers all sticky. As before she didn’t seem to mind at all, patting me on the bottom as if I had just sunk a free throw.

***

After two days I called Andrea. The call went straight to voicemail. “Hello, you’ve reached Andrea’s voicemail. Please leave a brief message. Ciao.” Her tone was casual yet professional—perfect for what was called for. Right down to the smallest detail I hadn’t yet found a single thing I didn’t like about her. I was beginning to get excited about a relationship with a shelf life.

I noted the time (2:47pm) and began to wait for Andrea to return my call. She seemed the type of person to return calls quickly but I tried not to be impatient. I sorted my mail, I checked the chemicals in the pool, I scrubbed the tub, I sorted the junk drawer—anything to keep me distracted.

She called at 4:02pm. I answered the phone by the end of the first ring.

“Ciao,” I said.

“What are we doing tonight?”

Straight and to the point—always refreshing. As we discussed our plans I heard in her voice all the things I would hope to hear in a woman I was seeing. There was fondness, there was sincerity, there was eagerness, there was joviality, there was camaraderie, and, of course, there was sex.

“What are you wearing?” I asked.

She laughed but then she told me. Slowly. I knew it was unlikely she was actually wearing a black negligee with garters and everything, but I still made with the gentlemen’s relish in my Levi’s.

***

Andrea and I went to a sushi restaurant that was owned and operated by Chinese immigrants. I had never been before but Andrea assured me it was good. The host said the Japanese words for greeting but then carried on in broken English. Later, when I heard the staff talking amongst themselves by the restroom, they were speaking another language entirely. Evidently it was a trilingual workplace. A golden framed portrait of Bruce Lee hung on the wall.

Andrea ate her sushi dry with no soy sauce or wasabi. She deftly moved her chopsticks from plate to mouth as if she had been using them all her life. I was much less capable. More than once I dropped my morsel just before reaching my open mouth. Andrea chuckled and gave me some pointers. After awhile we discussed our plans for dessert.

“Shall we go to your place or mine?”

Again, Andrea was very direct. I hoped she would keep it up.

“Which would you prefer?”

“Yours,” she said readily. “I feel like another moonlit dip in the pool.”

“Okay, let’s do that.”

“Lucky for you I forgot my suit.”

***

We started up in the pool, groped our way into the bedroom and dropped down on the mattress still dripping wet. She was high energy and, once I made an adjustment, it was very welcome. We were just like a couple of rabbits. She was nimble and attentive and I was more stimulated than I’d ever been. After we got our suits off I, of course, fizzled out in seconds, losing my hot brogurt deposit on her stomach just as I was about to bury the weasel.

“I’m sorry that keeps happening,” I said.

“I don’t mind,” Andrea said, sighing and rolling onto her side. “I don’t even really like sex. Or at least, it’s not that important. I like the idea of it much more than the act itself.”

What she said sort of made me think. I propped myself up on my elbow and looked at her. I guess I’d never really considered the idea of sex before. The more I thought about it, the more I found that I actually agreed with her. Sex wasn’t that important. Even for people without my little problem, it was all over so quickly.

This was a startling realization. I wondered why it’d never occurred to me before.

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