Chapter Six: The Concert
Jennifer was waiting for me when I got of the plane in . Somehow, our easy familiarity over the phone broke down to a nervous shyness. Instead of the passionate embrace I had imagined, we each said hello, full of unknown possibilities, as we tentatively hugged each other.
I grabbed my bags, and trying for some strange reason to act as macho as I could, carried them to the car. What is this? I thought to myself. Some sort of cave man mentality showing through? Beat my chest and say, “Me Tarzan?” Why am I acting like a love-sick puppy fawning at some beautiful model? This isn’t the first time I’ve met a beautiful woman.
I yearned to hold her hand. Wrap my arm around her waist and say, “This is my woman and I am her man.” But hesitation prevailed and I walked beside her making small talk. I dumped my luggage in her trunk and climbed into her car. There was something intimate about sitting in her car, together, with her.
Our plan was to go to the museum that afternoon, then drive to her town a couple of hours away, and watch the symphony that her company was sponsoring the next couple of days. I had some business to also attend to during the day, and we could each go about a somewhat normal routine. The evenings we would be meeting at the symphony and arranged to sit together, while making it look like a coincidence, with her boss and cohorts also there.
Her fiancé was in , far away, but close enough. I couldn’t believe that I was meeting an engaged woman and courting her to be my own.
We drove from the airport to the art museum. isn’t known for its culture, but it has a wonderful . We wandered around for a while, looking at the paintings and sculpture. It wasn’t a real busy day, leaving us alone in a large room for a bit. I looked around, then wrapped my arm around her waste and pulled her close to me and kissed her. Deeply. Passionately. She returned the affection.
We came up for air and she pulled away. My mind racing, I walked away and stood staring at a rather innocuous painting. It could have been the most famous painting in the world, for all the attention I paid it. I just wanted something to look at for a few minutes to steady my head.
Jennifer walked over to me. “Like you’re really interested in that painting,” she laughed. I turned to her and smiled. We both knew that we weren’t interested in the art any longer. We continued to tour the galleries, keeping decorum in place. It was the strangest feeling—usually when I kiss a girl for the first time it’s exciting and delicious and scary and promising and uncertain and hopeful, all rolled into one. With Jennifer it was like, well, normal, like we’d done it a thousand times before. Oh, it was beautiful and passionate all right, but it didn’t feel new, if you know what I mean. And I wanted to kiss her again. And again. And again.
We had an enjoyable ride from the airport. We swapped CDs back and forth, playing selections of our favorite music. Never the whole CD, just selected songs, back and forth, the ones that had special meaning for us or touched our soul.
She drove fast, like I did. Most women drive too slow, or don’t pay much attention to their driving. She drove with “brio,” with enthusiasm and enjoyment for the experience. Luckily she had an automatic, and we held hands nearly the entire journey, except for when we were changing music, of course.
Once again, I was struck by how it didn’t feel new and exciting, but rather how it felt more like normal. Like when you’ve been with someone for years and years, and you fit together like hand and glove, because you know each other’s movements so well. But this was the first time I kissed her, and the first time I held her hand, I told myself. Why does it feel like we’ve been together for years?
I picked up the rental car later that afternoon and we went to dinner. Driving back, I was struck by how it felt with her next to me. It felt like we’d been happily married for fifty years. It felt like she was always there by my side.
These feelings were a complete surprise to me. How could someone feel like your lifelong partner, who you’ve only just kissed a couple of hours before? How could driving down a country road in with a beautiful stranger feel like something you’ve done all of your life? She was struck by it too. We talked about it many times after that day. It took a long time to realize the truth.
The next couple of days are a blur in my memory. I remember spending several nights at the concerts with her, each night with her looking more beautiful than the night before. The first night, when she first walked in, took my breath away. She was beautiful, radiant! A long black dress, her long brown hair tied up on her head in a way that I never can figure out, but looks beautiful all the same, her green eyes sparkling with mischief. She was there for me. It took my breath away, and put it back with an exclamation point. She was so beautiful, and at least for the next three days, she was mine.
I think we made love that night, but I can never be sure. When I look back down the years, what I remember is her passion and her fire, the warmth I felt whenever she was around, how my soul was completely filled by her smile. I remember the little things, like her saying “Hello” with that throaty chuckle of hers, the sparkle in her eyes, her long brown hair cascading down in waves, the curve of her hips, the line of her ankles.
What I remember most is how she felt such a part of me. Her just being there made my life complete.
Did we make love? We must have, but I cannot remember. When we were together, time and space stood still. Holding her hand filled me with such wonder and strength. Kissing her made my world spin round, filled with wild passion and emotions so deep that I lost conscious awareness of my surroundings. We must have made love. I loved her too much that it seems inevitable. Yet I cannot remember. All I remember is the passion and emotion, the deep love that flowed back and forth between us without bounds.
I can tell you more of the music, how it stirred by soul. I can tell you about sitting with her in the restaurant and sharing a beer. I can tell you about sitting with her in the car like she was mine for all eternity.
Maybe we didn’t make love. Does it matter? We loved each other with all of our heart and soul—a love that transcended the material world. We loved each other not because of our bodies, but because of something deep inside of us, something greater than the material, grander than a physical form. It felt like I’d loved her forever.
Perhaps I had.