Forward Together At Dusk
By Graham L. Wilson
Originally drafted on October 12, 2010.
Edited on December 28, 2011.
Went over and re-formatted on August 19, 2012 (the first of my LibreOffice go-overs).
Note: this was inspired by a girl I knew and rather liked, but sadly it never have worked out like this. Ah well, I will have to consider this an alternative ending...
Addendum: yes, this is all more ego stroking and fantasizing. Well, I had to do something in my isolation to feel like a real human being.
Copyright (c) 2010-2012 Graham Wilson.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at this link: see my profile page!
Walking through residential Edmonton is not exactly my idea of a pleasant evening, at least under normal circumstances - but I suppose just about anything depends on the company you keep. I glanced to my side and found that present company was no longer beside me, so I turned my head and, in the corner of my eye, located my missing companion. Juanita walked up again, a little breathless, and crouched beside me catching her breath.
"You're fast..." she panted. I looked at her for a moment as she breathed in and out. I had no doubt in my mind that she was an attractive girl, not the prettiest in the world of course, but her visage always awakened a sense of pleasure through my visual cortex. The orange glow of evening sun shone on her slit-like black plastic encased glasses, hiding for a moment the dark but friendly stare of brown eyes. Recovering from her exertion, she stood up and slid her arm under mine, partly a gesture of affection but no doubt more to do with keeping me anchored at her slower steady pace. I let out a breath myself, and started to continue walking down some rather chipped pavement. A cold wind blew suddenly from the west, wrapping and bending its flow through the buildings, fences and other local urban 'fauna.' I felt a faint vibration on my right arm from Juanita's slight shiver.
"You alright?" I asked, turning my head to face her. She looked up to meet my gaze.
"Jaja" she replied, in Latino phrase, with a little smile; a few stray follicles of dark brown hair blowing onto her glasses. She removed them with a wave of her hand, and again we proceeded down the pathway. Apart from a simple gentleman's response, my inquiry as to her warmth had more to do with a slight twinge of guilt I had for why she might be feeling the cold. Juanita broke off from our arm-lock for a second and I again got a decent glance of her in profile. She may have been short, but what height she had surrounded a pleasant shapely figure. Not slender, not obese - just right.
My eyes gazed from the top of her head down to her legs, taking in the full view of her in her black dress; including a guilty glance at her free and fine legs. She had worn that for me in an attempt to wipe out my, largely female, isolation; I had expressed to her that, despite my opinions on the practicality of the garment, I still found it appealing to see a girl in one. Thus she was wearing one for me now, though I get the feeling that the occasion of our meeting might have inspired her to put it on anyway. Still, not necessarily the best to take a brisk autumn walk in. My part of the deal had been to wear a tie, as though I felt ties to be pointlessly in the way, she found it somewhat "catchy" to see a man in one. A lack of ties available, however, had stopped me from reciprocating in this instance. "Up there!" she exclaimed, seemingly having found what she had been looking for.
"What is it?" I asked, approaching her.
"Squirrel" she said, pointing. "Up there!" she repeated, and, after a brief bit of searching myself, I came upon it. The small brown rodent ran about collecting nuts for the coming winter, utterly uncaring about the attention we were giving it. At least in its eyes, we were harmless.
"Hmm" I replied, "anything special?" Juanita turned towards me.
"Not really, just a nice thing to see" she replied, sliding her arm back into mine. Again we walked and, perhaps upon a different time, I might just well have been tired of walking, but with such company I felt I would happily walk to and fro each continent with her. In many ways it was a far more pleasant environment than of her place and the distractions of her family. Juanita had seemed somewhat uneasy when presenting me to her them, perhaps scared on that one little issue again causing friction. Out here however, she was free to act with me as she would want. Juanita tugged at my arm and I found myself turning right as we approached a deserted stretch of grass and a few trees, plus a bench. "Let's sit down for a minute" she said, leading me towards the seat.
"Probably a good idea" I replied, with trademark vagueness. She sat down besides me, before I reclined slightly and she curled up to rest her head on my chest. We were basically alone out here, so neither of us felt there to be a problem with getting close. I looked down at the clump of soft brown hair below my chin and reached out my left hand for hers. We stayed still a few moments, resting our bodies and giving some time for our minds to regroup their neurons.
"Beautiful evening" Juanita mused quietly. I looked around and saw that she had something of a point, as the last rays of light did seem rather appealing as they brightened up the paths through the structures surrounding us - for an urban environment, it was 'beautiful.' I grunted an affirmation and shifted slightly. "Enjoying your evening?" she asked, moving her head to lie on my right shoulder.
"If I hadn't thought I'd enjoy it I would not have come out this far" I replied. Juanita chuckled.
"You have to get off the farm sometimes you know" she said, still chuckling.
"Well, since you think that way, you might as well feel proud to be the catalyst for my movement."
"You still haven't answered my question" she stated, "are you enjoying yourself?" I figured the best response would be to give her a quick peck on the top of her head. Despite giving what seemed pretty much like a lead on, she reacted rather sharply to it and snapped her head back. Blushing, she replied. "I see you are."
"Do you doubt yourself as company?" I asked rhetorically. Before answering, she decided to return my show of affection by kissing the hand I was clutching her's in; I strengthened my grip on it even harder.
"Yes" she replied, breaking my rhetoric, "I don't want to lose you the way I lost my last boyfriend."
"The one who ignored your feelings?" I replied, "The one who flirted with other girls?"
"I still felt that it was in some ways my fault for losing him" she replied, "that I didn't do enough."
"You were attentive and he was far from it, he didn't deserve you" I replied tersely.
"Do you feel that I deserve you?" she asked.
"No, I feel you deserve better but for now I'll do my best." Juanita chuckled again.
"He never talked to me like that" she noted, "I don't deserve you."
"Well, we could see it that we are both ill-suited, and that I'm lumped with lovely you and you are stuck with dim lil' me, or we could simply see it as we are as well suited to one another as we should expect" I replied, and Juanita blushed a little deeper.
"I wish I could speak like that" she replied.
"You speak just fine."
"Can't take a compliment can you?"
"Do I need too?"
"It would help."
"Sorry." There was a brief silence, before Juanita broke the 'tension' by laughing. Still chortling, she wrapped her arms around me and pulled in. "What's this for?" I asked comfortably, feeling a slight change in blood pressure around my lower torso.
"For being you" she replied, "thanks for being with me tonight." I was silent for a moment, considering her in quiet revelry. Juanita understood that I did appreciate her statement though, and before long she started singing quietly to herself in Spanish. I listened to her for a second before trying to translate, getting a major word wrong and having her erupt again with laughter. I decided to do something sudden and romantic, not feeling entirely in the mood to stick with the current persona of 'clown.' I stretched my arms out around her and lifted her towards me, before kissing her passionately on the lips. When we released she seemed a bit shook off; the best we had done before then was the occasional friendly peck. I looked into her crimson face for a second.
"Too much?" I asked. She shook her head softly and pulled herself up.
"A bit sudden is all..." she said, feeling the heat on her cheeks, "still, you're a good kisser."
"Am I indeed?"
"Yes, firm and caring."
"Well, its just to represent how I feel about you." Juanita smiled weakly at me.
"I've never had anyone do this for me before" she said again.
"Some people don't know how to appreciate what they've got, and I've got you."
"All so many sweet nothings" she smiled back, her tanned Latin complexion still tightly stained red.
"Have some other conversation in mind?"
"We usually do."
"I can't usually actually see you smile when I compliment you, so I'm prone to do so more often like this."
"Ah, so it is all about you is it?"
"If you want to think of it as your effort for me rather then vice versa go ahead." Juanita shook her head, a little exasperated.
"One track mind" she muttered, and then kissed me again. We held the embrace this time, and kissed each other softly but firmly. I strengthened my grip around her, and I felt her arms coil deeper around my back. She closed her eyes, but neither of us wished to end our current merging. We shifted around a little, and, with her now supported better by the back of the bench, I sat my free hand onto her waist. Just then, we broke off again and proceeded to give each other a second deep meaningful stare, both of us smiling ridiculously. We shifted some more, and my other arm was free, so I lifted it up and felt the small dark birthmark on her chin affectionately. She smiled even wider than before.
"I can't think of anything to say" she stated sweetly.
"How about just 'I love you?'" I replied. She chuckled again.
"Okay, I love you" she said.
"I love you too" I replied, and moved myself closer to her again. Both of us closed our eyes, deciding that neither of us would be the ones to break up this new embrace. I moved my free arm down onto her warm tan knee, and tried to just let my mind go free and concentrate on enjoying myself, rather than obsessively considering anything - even the girl I now had my lips conjoined to. Suddenly, she recoiled sharply and suddenly, and I realized what I had done whilst not paying attention to what I was doing. First I had slid my arm down her leg and felt her lovely thighs, but then both of my hands had moved upwards, in both cases a little too far: my hand had started to go up her dress and my other had moved a bit too far up her side. I looked at her from across the bench not knowing what she was going to say. Finally, I broke the tension through direct questioning.
"What's wrong" I asked.
"You know I can't let you touch me there" she replied, forlornly.
"I'm a Christian girl, I have standards I have to apply" she explained, and I let out a small and probably unwise groan, that old chestnut again... Juanita took a breath in before going into her next statement. "Look, I know you don't believe in any of that, and you've explained to me quite clearly how you think it all to be somewhat irrational, but I have to live by those standards for my family's sake at very least." I sat back and looked at her as she delivered her speech. "I understand that you might want to touch me there, but I am afraid I can't let you, even if in some ways I want to be touched like that myself." My stare remained a level but not unfriendly one, levelled exactly to meet hers. "Well?" she asked, in some ways seeming to wish for absolution.
"My hands just slipped" I said, "that was all. I wasn't trying to grope you or anything." Silence. More silence, then laughter, torrents of it.
"Oh, I'm so sorry" she breathed, "I thought you were trying to... you know..."
"Yeah, I know." She straightened up and rubbed her eyes.
"You would want to though, wouldn't you?" she asked suddenly, serious again.
"Of course I'd like to touch you like that" I replied, personally a bit tired of the euphemism, but not about to complain, "but of course I wouldn't try and force myself onto you." Juanita frowned.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to accuse you, it is just I have to be careful..." she said, but I cut her off.
"What about you?"
"You said in some ways you'd like to be touched like that, but at the same time would you want to touch me?" Juanita remained silent for a few seconds, and blushed again before replying.
"Um... yes, I would. You're not a bad looking guy. But, as I said, I can't just do something because part of me wants to."
"Whatever you want darling" I said, "whatever you want."
"What is your opinion on all of that then?" she asked, "Do you think it is right?"
"Yes, as long as both parties are happy with it and are able to consent, which both of us could, it would be moral" I said, "that doesn't mean it would necessarily be wise."
"To go too far, especially without protection..."
"You mean go that far!" she shrieked, embarrassed.
"For the sake of argument, yes. Though a couple simple touches, no, no real problem with it as long as consent is involved."
"It must be a very interesting world where you can think things out like that" she replied, "makes things easier that way somewhat."
"I feel that we all do it, it is just only some of us admit that it is going on." Juanita sighed.
"I'm sorry I overreacted and ruined our evening..." As she began, I came up and wrapped myself around her again.
"No fear, sweetheart" I said, "no fear." She smiled again.
"I can't imagine why you are always so patient with me."
"You're my light" I replied, "I would have thought you realized that by now."
"But why me?"
"You were the only one who would and one of only a few I ever found who could."
"What exactly was so bad that you needed a light for?" she asked.
"I spent the better part of eight years basically just staying on that farm" I began, "eight years without any applicable female company, I never got to hold someone's hand or even really talk to a girl in all that time. You try going through puberty like that."
"That is why you said you were lonely?"
"My isolation is in part what helped make me, instead of pursuing friendships or, indeed, later romances, I focused on building myself up physically and intellectually, and I am in many ways happy to have had the chance to do so without distractions" I elaborated, "but that is not to say that it was always easy. Partly due to my own self, for all I wanted to, I couldn't even leave the farm - I couldn't drive and I wouldn't have a vehicle anyway, and perish the thought of asking someone to drive me away to try and meet people: the best option given the somewhat annoying attitudes of my older family was to feign complete and absolute hormonal independence. There were times when, not distracted, I would almost feel like I was trapped here and cut off entirely from the outside world. The Internet was not much help, do you know how much applicable female companionship that could be found there? Basically nada, and most of the home-school's social network offered nothing much. I tried my best, and met some people, and then suddenly I had all of that cut off. Then, in what was admittedly a last ditch effort, I wrote to you and now here we are. You are my light."
"That certainly seems more romantic then us just getting together on a whim" she said, "for someone with such a sense of humour, you do tend to try and live profound. You can't just have casual friends, you need comrades, you don't just have brothers, you have a 'brotherhood', you can't just have a casual girlfriend, you need a lover" Juanita noted.
"As I've said before, I consider this life to be it and so I try and live it in respect to that. I need a life mission and I need to appreciate and comprehend what I am doing, if I simply spent my time drifting what on Earth would have been the point?" I said.
"I'm glad you had a place for me in your own mythology" she said, "that I could be part of your life."
"No one is happier about all of this than me" I said, "though I hope you don't just see me as a causal boyfriend."
"Perish the thought" Juanita said, chuckling, "its not every day you get to go out with a modern day prophet." Silence once again enveloped us, not only did we not talk to each other, we also seemed to care more to relax and ponder on what we had already said. I decided I would respond to Juanita's previous action by whispering out a song of my own, in a low calm steady tone.
"You can't find him" I began, "the way is dim, you feel like giving up. You ache for her, rest assured, it's never to late for love. You say you're tired, how I hate to you hear you use that word, every time it hurts..."
"What?" Juanita asked.
"'Never Too Late For Love', Warren Zevon, The Envoy, 1982." I replied, rather encyclopaedic.
"I thought you didn't care for love songs" she replied, smiling.
"Depends on the song" I replied, "there needs to be something behind it, besides lines from that one work in many contexts."
"You really are an odd person sometimes" she replied. I smiled at her and again we were silent again, but then after another glance, I sat up to address her.
"Juanita, I am going to lean down and kiss you again, and I am not going to touch you or do anything that would make you ashamed, I'm just going to quietly and peacefully show you how much I care for you" I proclaimed, Juanita nodded up at me with wide eyes, and I proceeded to do as I had intoned. There would be nothing on Earth that would tear us apart this time...
"Oh, get off each other!" a voice yelled out. We broke off, and I turned sharply to see the elderly gentleman in question who was raising protest.
"Some kind of a problem, sir?" I intoned sarcastically.
"Young people today don't know when to quit" the man said, and turned to go. I, however, was not ready to let him do so.
"You're telling me it was somehow different in your day?" I began, "Don't kid yourself, old man, its basically always been this way. Would you prefer a world where everyone was indifferent to each other? Is that what you want? Now let me tell you, the subject of limits was what we were just discussing with each other and we know damn well what is a good idea and what isn't. You can go about and vilify us if you wish, but you were probably a lot less responsible when you were in this position." The protester stood there, not turning around, surprised to have received such a sharp, but well phrased, reply. He in the end just decided to ignore it, and walked off.
"What were you doing?" Juanita asked, somewhat shocked, somewhat amused.
"Just trying to make a point, I don't feel the slightest shame for loving you nor for showing it" I stated, "and I certainly don't want to hear any more silly little statements about youth jumped up on hormones with no self-control. We aren't all like that, are we?"
"Just as well though, we probably should be heading back home" Juanita considered, getting to her feet.
"Whatever you say" I relented, and walked back up to her. I put my hand on her shoulder and turned to face in front of her. "Just one more time, I love you" I said to her, causing her to blush yet again, before we embraced one last time before heading off together.