Think I’ll post a little character study I did this week. Let me know how you like it.
Like the Scent of Honeysuckle
The scent of honeysuckle was so heavy he tasted it on his lips and imagined it was visible to the eye. The thud of a distant cataract almost overpowered the gentle murmur of the creek. Tranquility on the fringe of tumult. Most people would be drawn to the waterfall – and that’s all it was, water dropping from two stone tiers – but he preferred this shaded glade ringed by evergreens on the northern slope of the mountain. She preferred it, too; a like-mindedness that first drew him to her. He glanced at his wrist, forgetting momentarily he never wore a watch when he met her. The Rolex put too much of a demand on his time. He squinted up through gently nodding pine boughs and judged her late. But she often was. She paid little attention to time.
They’d met by accident mere weeks ago at this very spot, which was likely why it was so dear to him. She wore such an ethereal, otherworldly quality he almost believed he had dreamed their encounter. He could have convinced himself of that had he not chanced upon her dining with friends at the country club. Elfin grin turned to enchantress smile. Wild, dark hair coiffed into a tight French roll. Honey brown breasts – lightly dappled with freckles – encased in a severe white blouse.
They’d come together again in this sylvan glen the following weekend, pretending it was chance. Other meetings followed, sometimes in the city, but mostly in the glorious majesty of the mountain that rang with the endless music of the rushing brook.
Sometimes he mentally shook himself. Why was he so taken with this woodland nymph? In truth, he’d had more beautiful women, but none had infected his soul so thoroughly. He was impatient to be with her, yet anytime they embraced, he fretted over her impending departure. She bore the odd first name of Wallace … Wally. Like that haughty American duchess who brought an English king to ground. Was that what this was? A brash interloper invading his sedate, settled, rarified world? She’d intruded on his thoughts to the point he’d thrown aside his responsibilities in order to be with her. At this very moment, some princeling was in his boardroom making decisions in his name.
He sighed, admitting at last how thoroughly she’d unhinged him. No matter, she lifted the weight of his years and restored him to callow youth. Nothing was important except her soft mouth, careless caress, and sweet essence.
Once he’d mounted the heights of hot-blooded passion and came crashing down on the other side, he’d been astounded her continued presence had been as precious as ever. He’d never experienced that with other women. Once the conquest was made, they were on the way out of his life. Maybe not immediately, but soon thereafter. Yet with her, he felt “conquested.” He grimaced. That ridiculous non word precisely described his feelings.
Completely at ease, he sat amid fallen pine needles and stretched his legs in front of him like a teenager. A smile touched his lips as he recalled a Pickles cartoon wherein the old man’s grandson had referred to leaves as “tree poop.” He wouldn’t have discovered the joy of reading the strips had she not been so delighted by them.
He grew drowsy listening to jays and sparrows and a robin or two play in the trees, occasionally dropping briefly to the ground to snatch a seed or insect. He woke with a start as something tickled the back of his hand. He grinned. She was teasing him. But when he opened his eyes a fuzzy caterpillar made his way across the flesh of his left hand and inched down onto the forest floor. She wasn’t here.
He sat up. The shadows had lengthened. The mountain air held a chill. She’d been delayed. Not even Wally was this late, not without a reason. Any moment now, she’d show up, breathlessly spouting apologies and begging forgiveness. He’d be stern until he saw a shadow in her eyes and then he’d embrace her and say it was all right. He’d tell her he loved her for the first time. Well, not the first time. That had been in the flush of sexual release. But he’d make her understand he meant it this time. Then he’d surprise her with his grandmother’s diamond and sapphire ring presently locked in the glove box of his Caddy in the parking lot below.
He stood and paced. Had she been in an accident? The road was winding but not difficult. And she didn’t have far to come, just from a little village no more than five miles to the west. Should he go searching for her? But if he went down the mountain one way, she might come from the other direction. And he’d miss her. He couldn’t miss her. Not today.
The first flush of anger took him by surprise. He never waited on anyone. They waited on him. He should drive straight to the city and see what damage had been done by his minions while he’d played hooky. Let her call him for a change. He’d be cool at first, but he’d allow her pleadings to crack his famous “shell” and allow her back into his life. She needed to become a little less independent, so maybe this was a good thing.
Still, he didn’t turn toward the trail that would take him to the car. He dawdled. He delayed. He fought his imagination until he realized something. The smell of honeysuckle no longer hung in the air. And then he knew.
He’d been played for the old fool he was.
Thanks for granting me a few minutes of you time. Hope it was worth it.
Next week: I’ll surprise all of us … including me.
New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.