First you smile
then you sigh
then you laugh
and then you cry.
are just moves
in the game
Robert King/ JOURNAL
The high whine of rotors wound down. She opened the cock-pit door and stepped out into the heat.
She paused just outside the door in her own private pool of anticipation and desire. Sun-light gilded her smile.
She grasped my forearms and pulled me close, her hot body tight against me.
She looked down, giggled, then mumbled in my ear.
“Ohhh, Mr. Man.”
Her finger nails clawed the hard bulge in my slacks.
“I was thinking.” She drew her tongue along the line of my ear.
“Gee thanks King.” She stood back, hand on hip. “You really sound interested.”
“I’m preoccupied. Come on.”
Arms around each other’s waist we walked toward the house.
The freckles on her neck rippled at the arch of her bare shoulders. A pair of sand brown sandals peeked out under the hem of her crinkled cotton dress.
“Where did you go?” I asked.
“I hopped a plane, met some people, vegged out, slept a lot.”
“Sounds like fun, men?”
She studied my face.
“Is that why you want me? To protect you from your insecurities?”
“No.” I stopped and took off my sun glasses. “I want you to love me.”
“Is love so important?”
The light hurt. I put the glasses back on.
“For somebody like me it’s the rarest thing there is.”
“You’re not going to lose me, King. You’re just not going to have me.”
“Don’t play games, Carolyn.”
“I missed you.” I said.
“Well? Is that all you’re going to do?”
“What do you expect King, that I’m going to throw myself into your arms.”
"What's wrong with that?"
Slowly she drew her hair back from her eyes.
“What do you want from me King? Do you want to own me? Is that what you want. If it is you’re out of luck. I’m already taken.”
I just looked at her.
“God King! Why me?”
“You’ve got it all worked out, don’t you?”
She turned away.
“I...love...you.” I said, as if that was the answer to all problems.
“Oh God King! Love? You? Don’t you understand how complicated this is for me? I don’t want to play the love game. Really I don’t.”
“It’s a little late isn’t it?”
She was silent as we continued to walk.
Finally she asked. “How's the tour going?”
“The same.” I reached out and stripped leaves from a bush as I passed. “Everybody wants a piece of me.”
I opened my hand and scattered them on the path.
“It’s just for a while longer, King. You know that.” She said as she stroked my arm.
“Right.” My mouth twisted in a sneer.
“Oh King, it isn’t that bad.”
“I want you to come with me.”
“I can’t do that.” She backed away. “I have too much work to do. I left at the worst possible time. Dominique and I launch 4 new workshop programs next week. Then there’s the GLORY® PROGRAMMERS CONFERENCE and the signing party for the PSYCHENETICS HANDBOOK SECOND STAGE©. Sunday I have to speak to THE WOMAN’S EMPOWERMENT CONFERENCE. Monday Dominique has an interview with WOMAN MAGAZINE...” She sighed. “I’m really busy King.”
"Blah, blah, blah!" I sneered. “Enough! What about me?”
I grabbed her arm and shook it for emphasis.
“I’m an important guy. I could make you a queen.” I squeezed her forearm until she flinched. “Do you know that? Would you like that, Carolyn? You could be the most famous woman in the world. You’d like that wouldn’t you?”
I released her.
“Stop it King!”
“Why should I?”
“Would you love me if I wasn’t blonde?” she said with a sly smile.
“What kind of a question is that? Are you calling me superficial?”
“It’s just a question.” she said, and gently squeezed my hand.
“Oh bull-shit! Don’t try to change the subject.”
“Why am I so important to you?”
“I don’t have any patience for this game.”
“King! Don’t avoid the question!”
“I’m not avoiding anything.”
“You avoid everything except what you want. Answer me!”
“What do you want me to say.”
“King! Just be honest.”
Silently, I turned to her.
“We have to deal with this, King. What do you want from me?”
Fury raged in her eyes.
“I already told you.”
“you don’t understand Do you?” She slammed the trunk of a tree with her palm.
“No, I don’t.”
“You always want everything right now. I don’t want to use up the time we have all at once. I don’t want to miss any of it. One day it will be over. All we’ll have left will be memories. Every moment we share is precious to me King. It’s a girl thing. The clock’s ticking. Let me enjoy all of it, not just the hot parts. Please?”
“Don’t play with me King.”
“Then don’t torture me.”
“It’s called ‘tough love,' King.”
I put my hands to my temples and pressed hard until my head ached.
“I’ve got such a headache.”
She had no pity.
“To do what?”
“To be patient?”
Tired and drained I stared across the vast park like lawn.
She reached over and ruffled my hair.
Love is like the sun.
My skin and bones dissolve in the light.
Only sprit remains.
Mist rose off the river. Shore slipping waves disturbed the reeds and duck grass along the banks. The long sweep of meadow was dotted with dandelion yellow cushions, lush with emerald grass and brilliant wild flowers. At the top of the long, graceful slope the timeless elegance of the ancient stone country house supplied a setting out of fiction for the day.
RIVER WALK was another token in our exponentially escalating real estate game. Currently, it was where Carolyn lived.
“Watch out King, the dogs just pooped. Don’t step in it.”
Far below, Carolyn’s lion bodied twin mastiffs, Rags and Frodo, crushed through the grass, sniffed among the button flowers and the narcissus at the waters edge and peed on every bush. When they finally noticed us they havoced through the reeds with ungainly, playful bounds as they ran to greet us.
“What’s the matter? You seem disconnected today.”
“No more so than usual.”
I wanted to change the subject.
“Do you plan to keep it to yourself?”
“Do you love me or don’t you love me. That’s what’s on my mind Carolyn.”
“Oh. That again.”
She drew into herself. Her arms clenched her shoulders. Her shoulders bowed. Her eyes searched the ground. Her lips trembled.
“Please King, we’re lucky we got this chance to be alone. Don’t spoil it.”
“I don’t like waiting. You know that. You don’t tell me anything.”
“Well it’s taking too long.”
“Stop it King! This is the schedule. Take it or leave it.”
“God, you’re such a bitch!”
“Right. And you, my dear,” she patted me on the cheek, “Are such a child.”
“Does that mean you love me?”
“Can’t you think of anything else? It’s such a beautiful day. Let’s have a picnic.”
“Come on King.” She took my hand pulled me down the path. An effervescent friessence of excitement sparkled in her voice. “It’ll be fun.”
She dragged me to one of the weathered teak conversation nooks scattered in intimate groupings along the path. Suddenly she was on the phone.
“I want to have a picnic down by the river. Wait a minute...King, what do you want for desert?”
“Mango ice cream.”
“Mango ice cream?... jeez King can’t you think of anything easy?” She listened a moment. “They have to make it. It will take 1/2 hour.”
“O.K., also a blanket and an umbrella. I’m busy until further notice.”
“I want some drugs.”
“You don’t need any drugs King. We’ve got champagne.”
After we finished eating Carolyn sat on a rock. Her long, golden leg swung on a pivot as we talked about nothing important. Her decisive fingers separated the strands of her hair. Dappled shade blushed her cheeks. The river threaded between the rocks and water grass, gurgling and chuckling. She bent down and immersed her fingers. The current splashed glittering diamonds on her tortoise shell sunglasses. She took off her glasses and twisted her neck to the side with a pout of her cheeks that made her face look absurd. She deflated her cheeks.
“What are you laughing about?” She studied my face. Her eyes and voice were bright with joy.
“Oh nothing, Carolyn.”
The dogs entrapped her as she stood up. Frodo placed his enormous mud smeared platter paws on her shoulders. He stood, head to head with her and stared into her eyes for a long soulful moment then licked her nose with an equally enormous tongue.
“Frodo! Stop it!” He ignored her. Rags captured her from behind. The gigantic mud smeared mastiffs flanked her front and back like fur lined bookends, locked in a foolish embrace. Their huge tongues drooled on her blouse. She struggled free.
“Oh god! Those fools! Look at my clothes!” Carolyn said and laughed. She squeezed my arm. “Look King, look at Frodo.” Frodo, at that moment, looked somewhat deranged. He stared at us intently. His enormous tongue hung beneath his slack lips.
The phone rang.
Her spine stiffened as the transformation to Wonder Woman took place. Suddenly she was all business.
“No! We have to have that program in place in two weeks. No! 2 weeks! Well, if the tapes aren’t done we’ll have to make other arrangements to get them done. No! King is booked then. No! We have to get it right the first time.”
“King, there are problems with the seminar tapes.” Her long fingers cupped the receiver. Opalescent polish glistened on her finger nails.
“The SELF ACTUALIZATION IS EMPOWERMENT SERIES.”
“They might not be done by the series date”
She rolled her eyes.
She uncovered the phone. “Have alternative sources do those tapes. I don’t care what they cost. Charge it to VIDIONICS. If they can’t take care of business they pay.” She hung up.
“Let’s go for a walk.” She pulled me with her up the slope toward the trees. Under the trees she released my hand and turned to me.
“Take off your shoes King.”
"Just take off your shoes!"
She kicked off her shoes. I bent to untie mine, lost my balance, and fell to the grass.
“Are you all right?”
She knelt down next to me. I pulled her to me and lost myself in the taste of her mouth, in the grain of her lips, in the smoky fragrance of her.
“You sneak.” She murmured.
It was late afternoon when we finally brushed dead leaves from our hair and clothes. She gripped my hand and led me out of the woods.
“Oh King, you make me crazy.”
“I’m the one that’s crazy, Carolyn. We were meant to be together. I don’t know why it took me so long to see it. How do you think I feel, to know that and have you refuse me the one thing that’s happened to me that makes sense? How can you stand in the way of destiny?”
“King, that’s not all there is. What you want, right now. Sometimes you have to do what’s right. That isn’t always what you want. That and perseverance are what builds character.”
“I’m enough of a character as it is. I’d rather build a life for us. Even if it is a lot like what I ran away from when I left Iowa.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, house, woman, slippers. Those stupid dogs of yours flopped down on the hearth, drool all over the flagstones, a fire in the fireplace on cold winter nights, the two of us eating popcorn and sipping hot toddy’s. You know. Growing old together.”
Finally, after a long, pensive moment she exclaimed. “Oh God King is your life really a Norman Rockwell painting or are you just putting me on? That would make me love you if nothing else did.”
“You mean that’s all it took?” I shook my head. “I’ll never understand women.”
“Well you should. God knows you’ve had enough of them.”
“Yah, right. Meat.”
“That’s what I thought you said. Why?”
“Because you’re the first person I’ve ever loved. What am I? Forty something and I’ve never loved anybody. Pathetic isn’t it? Oh sure I can talk about it, get people inspired, blah, blah, blah, but Dominique is the only woman I've ever shared anything with.” I stopped and thought back over all the years we had been together. “Even if it was only our loneliness.”
“How can you say that King? I always thought the two of you were one of the great romance stories. You know, the kind that inspire.”
“Conspire is more like it. Dominique is an addiction.”
“Well, I guess I don’t know much about love either, except what I read or see in the movies. I’m a business woman. Like I said before, love gets in the way.”
“When I started on this adventure fantasy of mine I told somebody I was ‘looking for love in a corrupt world.'“ I said. “I suppose in this case, love got in the way of corruption. See, we’re more similar than we realize.”
“So, what are we going to do?”
“How about what I suggested?”
“What?” She stared at me, uncomprehending, and then she laughed. “You mean house, woman, slippers, dogs? I don’t know King, it’s kind of a cliché isn’t it?”
“Well, at least we’re talking about it. That makes me feel a little better.”
I pulled her close and hugged her.