Two evenings later, I paid her a visit to her apartment. As I walked in I could hear the slow jazz that she was listening to and then even before I knew it, my body was swaying with the music. Coleen grabbed my bag, took my hat off, then she placed my hand on her waist as she held my face then gently wrapped her hands around my neck. When the music stopped she embraced me. “Where have you been?”
“From my dad’s home. Did I take too long to get here?”
“Indeed, you took your time walking towards here, didn’t you?” she asked in a very sad tone but a smile was peeking from her lips.
“So what if I did? We’ll get to see through the evening tonight, so I didn’t bother rushing here.”
“You know, I’ve thought a lot about the evening you took me back here after our special tour around the CN tower.”
“What about it?”
“I went to bed thinking of you. I closed my eyes and you’re everything that I see, I opened them and you’re still there. I was in trance ever since then and I couldn’t believe that you’re actually here, under my roof.”
She stopped talking, looked at my face, ran her fingers to my chest, and just said, “I want to kiss you.”
I was more surprised this time than when she went along with my prurient mocking when we were at the bistro. Even though I kissed her and she gave me an indirect kiss, it made me feel we had never done it before. She turned off the radio, moved closer to me, and kissed me lightly on the lips, it’s almost diffidently, even though the music is gone I kept hearing it inside my head, making our current state more romantic for me.
“Next time, don’t tell me that you want to kiss me, just go for it, I like it that way.”
“Noted. Just hold me much longer, please. I love being wrapped with someone’s embrace, especially when it’s your hands who are holding me. I like the texture of your sweater, the smell of your cologne and a faint scent that could only have been your body’s.”
Then I held her tighter then whispered to her the words of the song that was playing a while ago when I first entered her home:
Fotografei você na minha Rolleyflex
Revelou-se a sua enorme ingratidão
Só não poderá falar assim do meu amor
Este é o maior que você pode encontrar, viu?
She loved this, she said, and asked me to repeat the words, so I did. She pointed at the sofa for me to sit and said that she’ll bring me something to drink. So I sat down and suddenly I felt cold, so I stood up again whilst waiting for her to come back from the kitchen. When she finally returned, she sat at the sofa, inviting me to sit beside her. She handed me a glass of margarita, then she noticed that I’m feeling uncomfortable. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Yes, just cold.” She then closed the windows, turned her heater on and approached me from behind and started massaging my shoulders.
“Perhaps it’s not cold you’re feeling, I think you are just tense. Better?”
“More,” I said. Then embarrassingly I admitted: “I’m quite nervous.”
“Because of me?”
I shook my head, knowing she’d understand I meant whatever it is that's making me feel this way, never mind it, just don't stop.
After staying for a few minutes like that, she sat at the other end of the sofa, clinked our glasses, uttered our toast, then took our first sip. She offered me the bowl of nuts, watched me take some, then placed it back at the coffee table with helping herself to any. I took a second sip and told her that I was still cold. “Could I have a cup of coffee instead?” Coffee at this hour, she questioned, then offered me tea instead. On her way to the kitchen she touched my forehead and the side of my neck, almost reminding me of my mother’s touch and Tyler’s warmth. Within minutes, she was back holding the cup of tea that I requested. “Much better.”
Seconds later, she once again stood up, and put on some music. We sat there for several minutes, talking mostly about old lovers. Hers had been an engineer who she eventually found out was married to another woman. “Yours?” she asked. “And I’m not referring to your deceased spouse.” I told her that I never got involved with someone else after Tyler passed away, until I found her. I explained that I had given up all hopes and that my world was shattered but then she came, fixed me. I think that we were so lucky to have found each other. Her face was filled with uneasiness and I could feel how her thoughts were filled with doubt.
“You’re worried, aren’t you? That you’ll be the first one who I will love after falling for someone so deep. You’re thinking that this might not work because somehow I’m still bound to him.”
She smiled, trying to hide her embarrassment. “You can’t blame me. I mean, not long ago I asked you if you still love him and you answered in an instant, yes. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked in the first place.”
“Tyler’s in my past now, Coleen. But you know how hard and how deep I feel for him, how much I loved him. He’ll always have a place inside my heart and nothing will ever change that. But despite that, just as I said, he’s my past, and you are my present, I loved him but I love you. We should focus more about what’s happening now, right?”
She smiled wistfully then once again, she surprised me, “Let’s lie down.” She showed me to the bedroom. I was about to take my sweater off, but “Don’t” she said, “let me do it.” I wanted to be naked before her but I couldn’t find the words to tell her that. So I let her. We sat at the very end of her bed, there and then she kissed my lips again. I held her face as I looked at her passionately then I tucked her hair behind her ear, she’s more lovely when nothing’s obstructing her face. I kissed her neck and she began soughing softly. When I was about to lay her down she whispered, “I’d love to take a shower first.” Then I told her that I’d like to go inside the bathroom with her, she looked at me with totally baffled eyes as we stood up, and stepped into the bathroom.
I couldn’t believe the quantity of bottles that were placed on the black stainless shelf right under her shower. I took my pants off then when I was done, I slowly moved closer to her, licked her nape, then I undressed her leisurely. In just a second we were naked and I was hard when we kissed for the third time.
“Close your eyes and entrust me your body,” she said. “I’ll make you happy.” I didn’t have any idea what she was up to, but I obeyed her and did what she asked me to do without questioning it. She grabbed something, a bottle perhaps. When she opened it, I instantly recognized the smell of the bath gel, it smelled of sublime lavender, which reminded me of Tyler, his scent, because it’s the same one he used back then when he stayed at our house after travelling with both of our parents. She began putting the gel on her palm, I heard it as she squeezed the bottle to let it flow to her hand. She rubbed my body and I flinched a little bit because I was a bit conscious and her long fingers tickled the hell out of me as it ran across me. “Don’t open your eyes,” she cautioned me as she coated my face with a foaming bath. Right after she withdrew her hands from my cheeks she kissed me on the mouth abruptly. I cheated on her, I opened my eyes and saw her whole body. I pushed her on the wall then she opened the shower inadvertently, it’s like getting drizzled with rain. “Do anything you want. You make me happy anyway.” She whispered. I tightened my grip from her hand, slowly moving it upward against the wall then I kissed her neck while my other hand was making its way down to her vulva. I teased her by tickling her delicately and by the time my fingers passed between her legs, she let out a soft moan, I knew exactly that she’s aroused by what I’m doing. My fingers caressed her thighs before they even united with her insides. I moved my finger in and out slowly at a steady motion, swiping back and forth along her perineum, then I slid it in for about 2 inches then I made the come-here motion to hit her spot then she simultaneously bit my ear causing me to be more aroused than I am now. “I want it inside me,” she said in a faint tone, I almost didn’t hear it. She then caressed the shaft of my manhood and teased me back by gently running her nails to my meatus. She guided me and we became one. I began thrusting into her slowly, then faster, deeper and harder with each thrust. It felt so good. Suddenly the world drowned and sank beneath our feet, leaving only me, her and the water that is running through the shower. Right before I completely lost myself and reached the climax, I pulled it out. “Feeling better?” I asked. Then she looked at me and smiled, “Much better” she replied.
She handed me a four folded towel. Dried myself with it then I helped her step out slowly out of the glass door, she didn’t let me get dressed and pulled me to the bed immediately. We laid down and held each other tight. I love the fact that we are both naked and we’re staring at each other’s bodies, I could sense that we are no longer unsteady and off-balance after what we just did. I feel like I’m being pulled out of myself as though I’ve been a prisoner whose jailer happened to be no other than me, myself and I. She gave me herself as if she knew me for a very long time, she trusted me so I would never betray her. We stayed in each other’s embrace, with only sheets covering our body, then I kissed her once more, on her forehead, and said goodnight. She said it as well. It was just a matter of minutes before we fell asleep. It was a night that couldn’t be shared with anyone else.
The next morning we left together. I told her that I was heading back home to get changed and then head to Buca Osteria, where I’d meet my dad for the lunch I scheduled with him yesterday. I went into detail by telling her everything that I was planning to get done by this day. I don’t know why I provided her so much information. She listened, she watched me as I talked endlessly and stood there, by my side, watched as I rode a cab away.
Hours later, I headed to the restaurant where I’m supposed to meet dad. On my way there I couldn’t get off my mind what happened last night. I loved how she paid attention to every detail to everything, from the moment we danced to the way she let her body collide with mine, told me how she liked my scent, my pleasure, and always so tactful and kind with somebody’s body that is almost twice her size. Even the way she’d rubbed my chest with the bath gel she used, asking for trust, and suddenly kissing me like a hungry woman who craved for me for a long time. When I entered the restaurant, I immediately spotted my dad at the very end of it. I sat beside him. “Ooh... someone got laid last night.” He said, almost laughing.
“What? How could you possibly know that?”
“Come on! You reek of somebody else’s smell. And you looked tired so I assumed you’ve done some exercise last night before heading to bed.”
“Can we not talk about that. And why do you care if I got laid last night, I’m 23 now. You can mind your own business. Besides, I’m not a child anymore, dad.” I told him harshly but we both laughed at the end of the deep sigh I let out after speaking.
“So what’s his name?”
I looked at him then I grinned a little bit, running my finger at the top of the straw that was on my drink, giving him clue that that someone wasn’t a he, but rather a she. He got it in an instant. “My bad. What is her name?”
“Coleen. I met her at school.”
“Don’t dive too much with the details. I’d rather hear your story from her, you’re a bad storyteller after all.”
He only mentioned to me that he’ll be gone for a week, he’ll be spending Christmas in Italy and asked if I wanted to come but he answered his own question even before I got the chance to talk back. After eating we both stood up and hugged each other. “Be safe there, dad. Don’t forget to call.” He nodded then we both went our separate ways.
After that I spent the whole day in a mild daze, can’t wait to finally see Coleen again, feel her eyes as she stares at me. I went back home and all I could ever think of was the dinner we had at the bistro near CN tower. It made me crave for her. Would she be as corybantic and wild as she was last night if I had paid her a visit later? I stayed up late, didn’t have dinner, I really wanted to see her. Before midnight struck the clock, I called her and told that I won’t be able to see her tomorrow morning, even in the afternoon because I am obliged to attend a meeting together with principal Sparks. But, on the contrary, I told her that she doesn’t have to miss me again for the whole day because I had made a reservation at Giulietta and that I’ll see her there by eight.
Tomorrow evening came. I waited for her inside. I wore the best button-up shirt that I could find in my closet, hoped that it was well pressed, and, when I checked, I found it was. I thought about putting on a tie but decided against it.
She caught my eyes the moment she stepped inside the resto. She looks fabulous, and quite astonishing. She’s really killing the simple fashion trend nowadays. A cropped white tee paired with a skirt, carrying a small bag in her arm, that’s everything she has on, yet she didn’t fail to get other men’s attention as she walked towards me.
We hugged. And then, unable to control myself, I asked, “Not sick of me yet?”
“Not yet. And I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of you.”
I smiled then a moment of silence as we unfold our napkins and then I couldn’t hold back: “You’re wonderful.” Then as soon as I smiled after I told her that, she flipped her hair. “Gorgeous, aren’t I?”
When I was about to call the waiter’s attention, it hit me, “I’m not at all hungry. What should I get you?”
“Now you’re more wonderful,” she said. “because I’m not hungry either. I wasn’t planning on telling you. Let’s just go home. Perhaps you prefer a single malt?”
“Single malt it is then. And perhaps you could add to the bill a room service, a massage, my back kinda feels sore.”
I turned to the head waiter: “Apologies to the chef, but we’ve changed our minds. Es tut mir leid.”
When we reached her home we literally ditched the idea of single malt and jumped straight ahead to the massaging part. We took our clothes off and let them on the floor.
After breakfast the next day, she said that she’ll go for a drive heading north and that I was welcome to join her. “We could come back tomorrow if you want to.” I could tell she was a bit uneasy so I said, “Where will we go?” it was my way of saying, No matter how long we stay there, it doesn't matter, of course I'll come with you.
“I have a home about an hour away from here. I just suddenly felt like coming back there. I also wanted to show you some things that could only be found at that house.”
“Visit all the places you want, I’ll never stop following you. It’s just a shame because I couldn’t fulfill my promise to you, that next time I will be the one who will take you someplace where we could enjoy ourselves.”
“You’ll have your turn.”
When we finally reached her supposed home she said, “I grew up here,” then she grabbed my hand as we walked towards it. “It’s old, big and there’s no time that this house will never get cold. Even the benches are old, the garden is old, everything that you could see here is old. It’s a home that’s like a flower. Once was beautiful but now slowly withering. She showed me around, then walked me to the large parlor. We didn’t exactly stroll around but every step I took on the ageless wooden floor, I got to feel her, her past started feeling my heart, I couldn’t tell if I was happy or it was burdening me. “I’ll always remember,” said Coleen, “how it used to get lonely when December comes. They always leave me here behind. I always want to spend Christmas here but they’re different. They always want to go somewhere else and I never came with them.” Why, I asked, and she just gave me a wistful smile as an answer to my question.
The house was large and probably had been broken down with disrepair. Weeds grew immensely over the walls but it’s still precious to her and the reason behind it is yet to be told.
As we were walking down the hallway she grabbed my hand. “I regret something,” a crack on her voice was heard and it echoed in my ear. “that my dad didn’t live long enough to meet you. And my mom, she couldn’t care less about me. I didn’t take you here to show you things, but rather to let you have a peek from what my life was.”
“Do you miss him?”
“I’m not sure. But still, I wanted him to meet you. Maybe then he’ll finally trust me, and perhaps he would say you made a lot of bad decisions in your life, Coleen. But at least you made something right by being with this young boy beside you.”
“You think he’ll approve of our relationship?”
“Not think. Know.”
She didn’t let go of my hand then she led me to a path that is almost too narrow for me to fit in. At the end of that corridor, she looked up then opened a very old wooden door, leading to their attic. Once we climbed up she opened a box. “I kept most of my father’s things here. Suits, shirts, pants, neckties and even his old golf clubs.” She moved to the other end of the room then once again opened something up. “Here’s the things that my grandma left me. She was also the one who left me this house. She asked me to take care of it and that’s why I never wanted to leave back then. My grandma was more like a mother to me, more than my real mom could ever be.” A tear rolled down her face, I wanted to comfort her but I don’t know how. I couldn’t even lift my hand to wipe her face. She stood up then offered me her hand, helping me to get on my feet. Again, she didn’t relinquish her grasp on my hand, she actually held it even tighter. She led me to her old room and asked me to sit-down on the bed. “I’m happy that you came here with me. I never needed to hold anything back to you and that makes me the most lucky person in this world. I believe that fate brought us together. Truth to be told, I’ve been careful, tried my best not to fall for you, but little did I know, I already did, even before I had the idea to take caution.”
She was telling me beautiful words but it scared me, that after everything she’s saying, there will be a consequence to follow. “Perhaps it was all in the cards, to meet you and to be with you.”
I looked at her while taking my jacket off.
“Are you cold?” I asked.
“A bit,” she said. Just by looking at her I could tell that she was feeling apprehensive about me. I wrapped around her my jacket then she kissed me. When our lips departed she said, “You get cold when you’re tensed while on the other hand, I get cold when I feel sad.”
“Why aren’t you happy?”
“I don’t want this to end.”
“It wouldn’t, right?”
“I don’t know, Jack. It doesn’t feel right. You are the only card I almost cheated of in this lifetime. You don’t belong to me, you will never be. I love you so much, but...”
I cut her off, “I’m not following. What do you mean?”
“Someone loved you for what felt like an eternity while I dreamt about you, about us, and it was nice, everything we have is perfect, but no one could ever live inside a dream, Jack. You said that you loved him and I’m the one that you now love but I believe that your desire for him is much stronger for mine and I now think that there's really one person for you,” she smiled wistfully, I couldn’t say anything.
“Tyler. Perhaps it’s still him and I think that he’s probably the only person who deserves you. Or perhaps the timing was everything that is wicked and maybe, we were right for each other, perhaps we'll meet again if that's true. But now I’m choosing to let you go because if I don't, I’ll end up living under the shadow of your past lover.”
“What are you saying? I don’t understand.”
“I know you know what I’m talking about. The night after I gave myself to you for the second time; you uttered his name while you were asleep and holding my body in your embrace, it’s as if love had never vanished between the two of you. It was like he was the one who’s laying beside you and you’ve totally forgotten about me. You never put your feelings for him to bed. You love him a little bit too much and that is your fault that you should never have to apologize for. I’m constantly torn between loving you or letting you go. I want to keep you because you’re the only good thing that god gave me but part of me wants to surrender you before something happens again that’ll make me hate you.”
“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t look her in the eye. “But I want you to know that I wish you happiness and what I’ve felt for you, what we had, and everything that we shared was real. The rest...” I shook my head meaning that the rest didn’t matter.
“December,” she said, “something that I despise the most but now loved more than any other month, week, day or may it be a season. It was all bitter before, at least now it's better because of you.”
Every now and then I look up at the sky every 5:15pm, get to talk to Tyler, reminisce about the moments I spent with him. And sometimes I visit the bistro where Coleen took me, trying to make amends to what I made her feel. Over the succeeding years I’ve finished college and came to be known as an oncologist. Ever since then, all the people that I know, especially dad, always address me as “Dr. St. George” unfailingly every time they call for my attention. After I took and passed my licensing exam, I applied to various hospitals and a lot has accepted my application, probably because of the high standard that my resume is offering them. Then afterwards I worked for years, spent less and saved up just enough to finally get back to Cambridge and spend some time with the twins, Addison and Leone. How I missed them both. I got to see them again and fulfilled the promise I swore that I’ll find a way to get back to them no matter what. This time, I’d get to be with them for as long as I want. Aside from my dad, they are my family now.
This is how this story will end, it wasn’t supposed to be this way, but it is what it is. In life we don’t always get to choose what we want and what we’ll have, it sometimes chooses us, it’s as if they are the one who seizes us, things beyond our limits, moments perhaps. Somewhere between Northern and Southern Ontario, I found the love of my life, they both came in pairs. And I somehow managed to lose them both. One for good, and the other, who knows? Up until this moment, I still don’t know how things will turn out for me, better be good, I hope. So this was my story, some of you might’ve heard something similar to it, that it wasn’t special in any way and I agree with them. But I think what makes my story better than any others is that I got to know what it feels like to love insanely and to be loved the same way I did. Nothing could ever compare to that.