I was walking along the beach with my dog, Lucy. She was having a grand ole time with her nose to the ground, running here and there, chasing gulls and little ghost crabs. I always wondered what she’d do if she ever caught something. I was playing tag with the water as it ran up the sand and tried to wet my shoes.
I’d been walking up the beach for about twenty minutes when I noticed someone sitting on a beach towel up by the dunes. It looked like a girl – the beach was about fifty yards wide at that point so she was pretty far away. Lucy ran over towards the girl with her tail wagging, as usual. I called to her since I didn’t want my dog bothering anyone. As usual, Lucy just ignored me when I called. The girl, who had been sitting there with her knees up to her chin and her arms wrapped around her legs started making a bit of a fuss over Lucy as soon as Lucy ran up to the girl and started licking her face.
I sure hope she likes dogs, I thought, otherwise I’m going to be really embarrassed for not controlling her.
As I got closer I saw the girl was scratching Lucy behind the ear – her favorite spot – and Lucy was in dog heaven. That made me feel a little better about, hopefully, not being yelled at for being an irresponsible pet owner.
Again I called for Lucy to come; again, no response. As I got close to the girl I started into my apology for my dog disturbing the girl.
“I am so sorry that Lucy is bothering you. Here let me just grab her.” I said, and I was stooping down to take hold of her collar when Lucy jumped back away from me and started barking. She bounced around and every time I lunged to try to grab her she’d lurch out of my grasp – Lucy thought we were playing ‘catch Lucy’ – which she always won and I always lost.
“Damn it Lucy, settle down.” I shouted.
The girl laughed a little, but it was an odd laugh, like she didn’t really want to laugh but couldn’t help it. I turned to her and I was about to say again how sorry I was for Lucy’s behavior, when I noticed wetness on the girl’s face. She’d clearly been crying – a lot if the amount of wetness was any indication and I also noticed she was snuffling; another good indicator of someone having a good cry. As a husband (estranged, going through a divorce) and father of three grown daughters, these signs were quite familiar to me.
“Are you OK?” I asked, instead of apologizing again for Lucy.
“Yeah … I’m … I …” She couldn’t finish the sentence before putting her head in her arms and resuming the crying that Lucy must have interrupted.
She cried very hard. Her whole body convulsed and her breathing came in gasps. I stepped over next to her and knelt beside her.
“Listen; is there anything I can do? Are you hurt?” I asked.
She couldn’t answer, but she did do something I hadn’t expected. She put her arms around me and clung desperately to me and continued to cry her guts out. Naturally, I put my arms around the girl and tried to comfort her. What else could I do?
I knew from past experience that she needed to get this cry out of her system before she’d be able to calm down enough to talk.
“That’s OK … it’s alright … you’re going to be OK … just settle down … take it easy …” I did my best to console her even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what was wrong. Had someone died? Was it boyfriend problems? I had no clue.
“Come on … you’ll be alright … I’m here for you… everything is going to be fine.” I said. What else could I say?
“N … n … no … i … i … it’s … n … n … not.” I thought she’d said ‘no it’s not’ but I couldn’t be sure because she was crying so hard that her words came out pretty much as babbling.
“What honey? What’s not going be alright?” I tried to get her to say more, hoping she’d say something that would help me understand what was going on.
Lucy, as dogs are often able to do, sensed something was really wrong and she no longer bounced around and barked. Instead, she curled up in the sand at the foot of a dune and put her head on her paws and looked like she’d go to sleep.
Too bad people couldn’t deal with issues so simply. I thought.
“J … just … ga … ga … go … a … away …” She stammered.
“Honey I can’t leave you like this. I know you don’t know me but I want to help … I don’t know how, but any way I can. OK?” I told her.
“Just … leave … me … alone …” She said. At least it was getting easier to understand her.
“As soon as you calm down and tell me what’s wrong.” I told her. “I’m not leaving you until I know you’re alright.”
I rubbed her back. It was bare except for the strings of a bikini top. I could feel she was calming a bit. She wasn’t being racked with shuddering like she had been moments before. But, she still clung to me for dear life.
“I don’t … don’t want … to … to … live … please go … away … I just … wa …want to … d … die …”
Oh shit! I thought.
“Honey, no … no … don’t say that … nothing is that bad … casino şirketleri ever … don’t even think that … please!” I said, a little frantically. “Just settle down and talk to me honey … just tell me what happened.”
“He … he told me … he said he doesn’t … love me … anymore …” Then she relapsed into another round of hysteria.
I hugged her tighter; as tight as I could without hurting her. I rocked her back and forth and spoke to her in as soft and gentle a voice as I could and I repeated all of my useless assurances, given that I knew nothing except that her boyfriend, or her husband maybe, had dumped on her.
After awhile, she regained some modicum of control.
“Whenever you’re ready honey, whenever you want you can tell me … I’ll listen … I’ll do whatever I can.” I said.
She lifted her head and looked at me. Her eyes were so red that, had I not known better, I would have rushed her to an emergency room for treatment. Her face was soaked with tears, her hair which might have been beautiful, was wet and disheveled and some was stuck to her wet face.
“Thank you.” She mumbled.
“Hey, that’s alright. I’m glad I came along when I did.” I assured her.
I used the shirt tail of my t-shirt to wipe her face as well as I could. The middle of my shirt where she had placed her head was soaked.
“I … I feel better now … I’ll be alright … and thank you again.” She said and took her arms from around me. It was pretty clear to me that I was being dismissed – with gratitude, but dismissed, nonetheless.
“Listen, uh, I can’t just leave you here.” I told her.
“I told you, I’m OK now. I really appreciate that you … ah, well, just held me. But I’m fine now, so you don’t have to stay. Thanks.” She said.
“Can’t do that.”
“Why not?” She said.
“You were making suicide noises a few minutes ago. I can’t just leave you. What happened?” I asked.
“Listen its nothing, it doesn’t concern you … I can deal with it. So just go.” She was getting upset again. Tears were welling up once more.
“Listen do you live around here? Or are you here on vacation, or spring break? Is there someone I can leave you with who can at least keep an eye on you for awhile?” I said.
“We’re here for spring break and … and … Chad … he’s … he …” She started crying again. It didn’t last so long this time. I put my arms around her again and hugged her until she stopped.
“He’s the boyfriend who said it was over, I take it.” I asked. She didn’t speak; she just shook her head ‘yes’.
“OK, where are you two staying?” I asked.
She pointed down the beach.
“Ah, a cottage down that way?” Again, she shook her head to indicate agreement.
“Alright; let’s gather up all your stuff and I’ll walk you down there. OK?” Another nod ‘yes’.
I carried her tote bag which contained her beach towel and suntan lotion and everything else she’d brought with her for her day in the sun. I put my arm around her shoulders for comfort and she put her arm around my waist. I heard her sniffling every so often as we walked. It took about fifteen minutes – we were walking rather slow, and Lucy ran along sniffing out who knows what and still running after birds.
“That one.” She said, as we approached a small beach house.
We went in and I made Lucy wait outside.
“Chad!” She called out. “Chad, where are you!?” She went through each room of the small two bedroom cottage.
She came back to the living room and went over and looked out a window.
“Shit! His car’s gone.” She shouted. “And all his stuff is gone from the bedroom, too.”
But I already knew that, because I’d just finished reading the short note he’d left on the table for her along with three twenty dollar bills. He was driving back to school to be with his new love and he’d left her money for a bus ticket. Exactly why he’d bothered to bring her down to the Gulf for spring break just to dump her, was beyond me.
“He’s gone back to school.” I told her.
“How do you know?” She asked
“He left a note.” I said, holding it out to her.
She read it, and started crying again and collapsed on the dilapidated sofa. It was almost as bad as her hysterical episode on the beach.
“What … am I … ga … going to … dooooo? She eventually said through her tears.
I sat on the edge of the sofa and put my hand on her back and just rubbed it gently.
“How can I … what is … there to live … for … ” She broke down again.
After half an hour, or so, she was lucid again; but she was exhausted, totally spent. I couldn’t leave her there by herself, she was still talking suicide and though I doubted she would act on it, I couldn’t take that chance.
“Listen, you’re coming home with me. Let’s get all you things together. My car is just a few minutes walk from here – you can stay with me until you’re feeling better and then I’ll see about getting you home.” I told her.
“No, I can’t … you don’t even know me … I casino firmaları couldn’t … it’s my problem, I can’t burden someone …”
“Nonsense. I’ve made it my problem too, because I really care about you, and I really want to help, and do you know what the really weird thing is?” I said.
“What?” She said, still sounding incredibly down.
“I don’t even know your name!” I told her.
She laughed a little and I laughed too and then she laughed some more and then we were laughing together.
“It’s Megan.” She said.
“Frank.” I held out my hand. “Pleased to meet you.” She took it and we shook hands.
She held my hand for a long time. I lifted her hand and lowered my head and kissed her hand tenderly.
“I will protect you, m’lady.” I said affecting a fake British accent.
She laughed again. It was so good to hear her laugh, and so sorrowful to watch her weep.
“Come m’lady, let us collect thy belongings and we shall away to my palace.” I said, again with the funny accent.
She giggled again and we started packing her things. She only had a large duffel bag – kind of reminded me of traveling light way back in ancient times when I was her age, and in school.
“I think that’s everything, Frank.” She told me as she stuffed the last item in her duffel.
“Hmmm … you know, you look really cute in that bikini, but its getting dark and it will be chilly soon. Don’t you think you ought to change before we go?” I asked.
She took her bag into a bedroom and came out in a few minutes wearing very short cut-off jeans, a little sleeveless top, and flip flops.
“You look stunning.” I said.
I took the duffel from her and she reached up and threw her arms around me and hugged me. She whispered in my ear.
“Thank you Frank … so much.”
When she let go and we walked out the door, my vision was blurred … can’t imagine why.
Lucy was waiting patiently outside and fell into step with us as we walked to my car. We got to my car and got in, with Lucy in the back seat, and I was pulling out of the parking lot when I heard a big sigh from Megan.
“What’s wrong.” I asked.
“I’m wiped out; drained. I feel like someone has beaten me … for days.” She said.
We didn’t talk much the rest of the way. I only live about twenty minutes from the beach; I thought that she may even have dozed off on the way.
“We’re here.” I announced.
I got out and went around and opened her door for her. I had been right, she was asleep. I released her seat belt and gingerly lifted her out of the passenger seat. She stirred a little and put her arms around my neck. She wasn’t heavy; she was a petite thing, maybe five–four, a hundred pounds at most.
“You don’t have to …” She said sleepily.
“Its alright, I’ve got you and we’re almost inside my palatial estate, m’lady.” I said, and she giggled.
“I’m awake now, you really don’t have to carry me.” She told me.
“Not so, m’lady. I have stolen thee, my princess, from the evil knight and I shall hide thee away in my palace where I intend to ravish thy beautiful body. If I put thee down … thee may escape, then what ever shall I do, m’lady?”
She was really laughing hard and making it difficult for me to get my key and open the door while holding her. Maybe she was right, perhaps I should set her down, I thought. After all, I was quite old enough to be her father and my old bones weren’t what they used to be. As I fumbled for my keys and held her while standing at my front door, she played along with the game.
“Then, unhand me you fiend … or I shall call for the palace guards.” She said, feigning distress by putting the back of her hand on her forehead and tilting her head back in the style of a nineteen twenty-something silent movie actress.
“Ahhh, but m’lady, it’s my palace … all the guards work for me.” I said as I opened the door and carried her across the threshold.
I reached over and flipped on the light. Lucy came running in behind us and just before the door closed.
I carried Megan to the sofa on the other side of the small living room and set her down gently. She still had her arms around my neck and she did not let go; instead, she pulled me closer and kissed me very tenderly. Not on the check, but on the lips.
I was stunned. I didn’t know how to react.
“Wa …what was that for?” I asked.
“Your reward for gallantry, Sir Knight.” She said, and then she giggled again.
I laughed too.
“Listen, are you hungry? I could fix us something …”
“No; I don’t have any appetite at all.” She was sounding glum again, which wasn’t surprising given all she’d been through – dumped by some cur and left to fend for herself far from home.
“Well then, maybe you should try what I always turn to in times of stress or crisis. It’s been getting me through an ugly divorce, thus far.” I said.
“Booze!” I said. “Can I fix you a drink?” She laughed – it was her best laugh güvenilir casino so far since I’d met her. I felt like I was making progress in distracting her from her sorrow.
It was funny, but I felt like I’d known her so long and when I looked at my watch I realized I’d just run into her less than three hours ago.
“Sure. What have you got?” She asked.
“Well, let me check my well stocked bar here.” I went to the kitchen.
My little one bedroom apartment had an open floor plan with the kitchen separated from the living room by just a breakfast bar.
“I can offer you bourbon on the rocks, bourbon over ice, bourbon straight up, or just a glass of bourbon with nothing in it.” I said.
“Oh my, so many choices … I think I’ll have bourbon on the rocks … no, wait … change it to bourbon over ice, please.” She said with a beautiful smile.
I fixed our drinks and carried them in and sat beside Megan on couch. I handed her a glass and held mine up to hers in a toast.
“To my Fairy Princess.” I said, and clinked her glass with mine.
“Hey! Who are you callin’ a fairy, anyway.” She said, trying to sound offended, but she couldn’t hold a straight face and we both laughed some more.
“I know what you’re trying to do … and, well, thanks … I appreciate it.” Megan said seriously.
“What is it I’m trying to do?” I said, playing dumb.
“Take my mind off … stuff. Making me laugh so I wouldn’t dwell on … stuff.”
“Oh good … that’s all you meant.” I said, feigning relief.
“Well, I was afraid you’d caught on to me trying to get you drunk so I get started with the ravishing.” I said with a smile.
Megan drained her glass.
“Whoa … take it easy, that’s a hundred proof stuff there; you’ll be on your ass in no time if you keep chugging them like that.” I warned her.
She held out her glass for a refill. She still had most of her ice, so I got up and brought the bottle over and poured her another.
“Thank you Frank. I’m just trying to get drunk quickly for you, so you can begin ravishing me. I’ve never been ravished before and I’m rather curious to know what its like.” She took healthy swig of her second drink. I sipped mine.
“Really honey, don’t drink that too fast, especially on an empty stomach.” I advised again.
“I like that.” She said.
“When you call me ‘honey’ – it makes me feel, I don’t know … special. Like you really care about me.” She said, sounding a touch maudlin.
“But I do … I really do care very much about you.” I said, quite sincerely.
“How could you? You only met me a couple hours ago.”
“After all we been though together, how could you say that?” I said and chuckled, but there was a serious note to what I said, as well.
She drained her second drink and held out her glass again. Reluctantly, I filled it.
“Well, yes there’s that. But you don’t know anything about me. Shit, you wanted to bring me home with you and you didn’t even know my name.” She argued.
“I could be a real bitch, or a slut, or a thief, or anything … you really don’t know anything about me.”
“You are sooooo right. We really should to get to know one another better. So …please … tell me more about the slut part …”
She grabbed one of the little pillows off the couch and hit me over the head with it; several times.
I grabbed another pillow and we had a brief battle. I won, of course. She said she was the victor, but you really have to consider … oh, never mind.
When we returned to being adults, I noticed how radiant she looked when she smiled and wasn’t thinking of her troubles. So I told her.
“Did you know that you are extraordinarily beautiful when you smile?” I said.
“Oh my … what brought that on?” She asked. I had taken her totally by surprise.
“Ah … its part of the ravishing process; its early stage ravishing, or, as some call it ‘pre-ravishing’.” I confessed.
She was lying back on the sofa with her head resting on the arm of the couch. Her feet were resting on my lap and without shoes, her feet were bare.
“What comes after pre-ravishing?” She asked. She held out an empty glass again.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes … in addition to being a slut, I’m also a lush.” She said. “And it was you’re idea. Remember, the best way to deal with stress?”
I poured her another and tried to skimp a bit since I was concerned she’d had several strong drinks in quick succession.
“A little more please.” She directed as I poured. “So, let’s get back to the ravishing process, I find it fascinating. You were describing what comes after pre-ravishing.”
“Oh yes, ah … well … this …” I said as I started to tickle the bottoms of her feet which were still resting on my lap.
“Oh shit! Stop! Oh no .. please … oh oh oh .., please … you’re horrible! Stop it … stop …” She pleaded.
She squirmed and tried to pull her feet away from me but I held them on my lap with one hand while I tortured her with the other. After a bit, I stopped. With her feet squirming around on my lap, I noticed a stirring in my lap and I was afraid that with her feet still resting there, she might notice, too.