The flicker of the lone candle reminds me of your whispers in my ear. We ceaselessly told stories of our childhoods wrapped together under the rustic comfort of the handmade double-wedding ring quilt. I hysterically laughed at your tales of Grandma Bev and her infamous fly-swatter. We wiped each other’s tears when I talked of my mom’s abuse at the hands of my stepfather. I felt your body tremble in anger when you learned that I was date raped as a teenager and I still blame myself. Our voices would become tight with frustration as we discussed our forgotten dreams that were scattered and shattered under the apathetic glares of our spouses. Our bodies would relax with silent sighs as you explored my smooth skin with your fingertips. When you neared my breasts, you offered me a mischievous smile before you changed the direction of your path and teased me with sensual denial. We spent hours lying in that bed, watching the sun travel it’s predestined path across the sky to passionately kiss the moon a good night. We relished the silver glimmer that played upon our faces as the moon kept vigilant watch over our mountain rendezvous.
It was at this roughhewn table that we fed each other our favorite delicacies – olives, Spanish cured ham, spicy pepperonis, a variety of cheeses, Italian bread broken by our hands, and bowls of strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, pineapple, grapes and melon. It was a feast not only for our mouths and stomachs, but a feast for our hungry spirits as I sucked the salty oils from your fingers and you licked the sweet juices from my lips and chin. It was during these moments that our lives became more tightly bound together. We maneuvered in action and conversation as if we had been together for decades. I would smooth the worried wrinkle from your brow as you talked about the upcoming merger at your work. You would twirl a dark tendril of my hair around your finger before gently tucking it behind my ear as I gave you the play by play details of my son’s latest baseball game. The silences were even more comfortable and soothing as our bodies always remained connected with the slightest of touches.
Our daily morning walks down the steep path to the river were accompanied by my camera and your thermos of specially brewed coffee. You would sit on a tree trunk and watch me as I crouched, climbed and precariously balanced on rocky ledges to capture my therapeutic images of Mother Nature at her best. The white tailed deer and preying hawks would quickly capture my attention and I would forget that you were watching me just as intently as I was the wild creatures. The urgency of your hands as they feverishly disrobed me and the ferocity of your need as you bent me over the nearby boulder always took me by surprise. It all seemed so surreal except I always came away with the raw scrapes from the rock upon my breasts and thighs and the delicious ache between my legs as your wild release soaked my jeans.
It was rare that we could make it back to our secluded cabin without me dropping to my knees and devouring my honeyed dew that coated your always hardened shaft. The photo you candidly captured of me with my eyes closed but mouth full of your manhood and my hair wrapped tightly around your hand and wrist is tattered from me constantly fondling that salacious memory. Upon our return to the cabin, we would strip once again and shower together in the lukewarm spray of the rusty shower. The brisk coolness of the drafty cabin would make us move quickly before we wrapped ourselves again under the quilt.
My eyes are now drawn to the dried flowers sitting alongside the single flicker of the candle. That sweet bouquet makes my heart ache as it brings back the moment that I lost you. Our time at the cabin was drawing to a close and I could sense sadness within you. I suggested you take a walk to clear your head as I sat to write a few poems in my journal. You had been gone for almost an hour when I heard your voice just outside our cabin door. Worried that you may have been injured during your trek, I rushed to open the door to find your wife standing between us. Your eyes told me all I needed to know in that heart crushing moment. I saw the despair, the surrendering of your love for me in the brown pools that glistened with tears that would never be shed with me again.
I grabbed my gloves and coat and told you in a whisper, “Please be gone before I return.” You reached your hand out to me but instead of finding me in your embrace, your wife intertwined her hand with yours and coldly stated, “Don’t worry. We will be.” I walked slowly down the path until I knew I could no longer be seen and then I ran without purpose and without thought into the forest, far from any path. My sobs that afternoon were muffled by the thunder approaching with the dark storm from the mountains. Not knowing how much time had passed, I found my way back to the cabin and held my breath as I hoped against hope that your car would still be beside mine. My heart broke for a second time when I truly comprehended that I was indeed alone.
The only thing that greeted me as I entered our haven was this same flickering candle and the small bouquet of forget-me-nots that now crumble under my touch.