Tuesday, August 17, 2004

PART 33 - Feels Like The First Time

Nope, not Foreigner this time. Something much sweeter.

One of the finest female vocalists ever, in my opinion.

Roberta Flack
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the empty skies, my love

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt your heart so close to mine
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And would last till the end of time

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After a few false starts, I was finally ready to step out into the world as a young, single woman. The spell was finally broken, and I had no delusions about my former life or my former husband. I had said my goodbyes to that life and was ready to move on.

My job was going really well, I was making some good friends at work, and I was spending less and less time watching Bob Ross and more and more time taking care of me. For those first few months, my weekends were usually spent decompressing, soaking in hot baths, and reading. It seemed like that was just what I needed to completely rejuvinate myself from the previous several years. I felt better, slept better, and looked better than I had in quite a while. My binging subsided, and the weight I had carried began to fall away. I found a good stylist and manicurist, and I started treating myself with a little kindness. I began to enjoy my "alone" time and the fear and depression that had plagued me seemed to lift and evaporate away.

I seemed to have endless energy, and more often than not, I worked 50-60 hour weeks. The engineering firm was large and growing larger, and we were continually winning huge federal and commercial contracts. It was exciting, and the company was alive with young energetic professional people that loved their work. I could see a long future there, and I gladly gave my all, as did everyone else that worked with me.

My department consisted of all young, childless women. All but one of us was single, and she was headed for divorce, so we had quite the little sorority going. We were all writers of some sort - some of us had teaching degrees, some had adminstrative backgrounds, but we all worked together like a well-oiled machine. It was great fun to take on projects, even if the hours were long. We really enjoyed each other's company.

It wasn't long before I started feeling good enough to want to go out on the weekends. I had never in my adult life had the freedom to go out to adult establishments, and even though I was 26 at that time, I felt giddy at the thought of being able to get dressed up and hit the town with my friends. I had enough disposable income at that time to treat myself to some pretty things to wear, and looking at myself in the mirror, it was hard to recognize myself. I was used to seeing a very reserved, downtrodden reflection, and the woman that was smiling back at me was one that I didn't really recognize, but that I liked immensely.

Since I lived quite a bit north of Atlanta, I wasn't terribly comfortable with the thought of heading into downtown to seek out nightspots. That was too big a step for me, but I did consider going to a nightclub near my apartment that I had driven by many, many times. It was called Nashville Sound, and it was a HUGE place. There were rumors of shootings and rough trade there, but that really didnt' deter me. I guess after living among rough trade, I thought I would feel right at home there. I mentioned the place to my friends a few times, and they all looked at me like I was nuts. "No WAY are you going there alone - we'll never see you again!" With that, we planned a night out to the redneck bar.

That night, approaching the place, I was stunned at just how huge this bar was. It was bathed in neon, and surrounded by rows and rows of pickup trucks. We all giggled as we opened the door and entered. We paid a small cover and entered the bar proper, and what a sight it was!

The place was nearly pitch dark, except for the stage and the illuminated bars, all 4 of them. When my eyes adjusted, I saw that there was a massive dance floor in front of the stage. There was a live band that was really good from what I initially heard, and waitresses dressed like cowgirls wore holsters and halter tops and carried trays of shots. The place was CRAWLING with men. We all looked at each other and grinned.

The floor was filled with people line dancing and two stepping. I had never line danced or two stepped, but I badly wanted to try. I figured I had enough rhythm to pick it up, and after a couple of nearly toxic Crown and Cokes, I ventured out onto the floor.

It was a blast! There was a never-ending parade of men to dance with, and a couple of very nice guys gave me a couple of quick two step lessons, and before I knew it, I danced the entire night away. I had never, ever had so much fun in all my life.

Meanwhile, my friends were sitting at the table, a little less thrilled with the place than I was. "Let's go to Waffle House, I'm hungry!" one of the girls whined. I took another swig of my drink and told them, "You all go right ahead, I am having TOO MUCH fun to leave!"

That night started a weekly Saturday night habit for me. I loved Nashville Sound. I loved the vibe of the place, I loved the cool darkness, I loved the hundreds of neon signs that dotted the far walls of the place, I loved the honkey tonk white trash reputation, I loved the security of it - they always had LOTS of security there to walk you out to your car and watch over the place. It was a strange feeling indeed to be able to enjoy male company without looking over my shoulder or feeling guilty. It took awhile to get used to, but pretty soon, I had a circle of male and female friends that I hung out with pretty regularly there, and I delighted in dancing and having a drink or two and catching up with all of my new friends.

The holidays of 91 rolled by without much fuss . . . I was surprised that I wasn't down or depressed, but I wasn't. Between the Christmas parties and evenings out, I didn't have any time to reflect, and I was happy as a clam.

After the holiday rush, I noticed that I began to feel a little . . . lonely. I loved my friends, and I enjoyed my work and loved my life, but I was beginning to think more and more about how nice it would be to have someone. My friends had been busy with family and significant others over the holidays, and initially, I chalked up the feelings to not seeing my friends as much. That theory kind of lost its validity when, even after Valentine's Day, the thoughts began to pop into my head with more frequency.

It was just around this time that I met a very interesting man named Don.

I initially saw him sitting at the bar when I was ordering a drink. I glanced his way and caught his eye for a second and I remember thinking that he was handsome, but I forgot about it just as quickly as I left to return to my table and my friends. Throughout the night, I saw him in different areas (remember, this bar was about the size of a football field, so it was no easy task to run into someone more than once or twice unless you were really trying) and each time, I would glance at him and then just as quickly glance away when he caught me. I was still painfully shy, and looking away from a direct look from anyone was a knee jerk reaction.

At one point later into the night, around 11 or so, I was walking around the edge of the bar to avoid crowds and get to the ladies' room. As I passed him, he stood from his seat and held his hand out to me. "I've been trying to catch you all evening, you don't stay still long enough. Would you like to dance?" he asked me, a smile creeping around his lips, his eyes glittering with amusement. I was taken aback and nervous and said without thinking "YES! right after I go to the bathroom," and he chuckled with laughter and told me he would be waiting.

In the bathroom, I nervously checked my hair and makeup in the mirror. What would I say to him? I had butterflies in my stomach, and the comfortable little buzz I had was replaced with sweaty palms and cold panic. Trying to look as calm as possible, I stepped back out into the bar and approached his table. By this time, the slower song was over and a faster, livelier one was playing. "Let's get a drink and wait this one out," he said, standing and gently taking my hand to lead me to the bar. It was a sweet gesture, and I could feel my face reddening. Why did I have to feel so childish?!?!

We took two seats at the back corner of the bar, out of the crowd, but from that vantage point, you could survey the entire place. It was a little quieter there, and we began to talk a little. As we were introducing ourselves, I tried to focus on what he was saying, but I was just mesmerized by him. He wasn't very tall, maybe 5'9, and he was quite a heavy, sturdy, strong-looking man (which I have always loved). He had coal black hair that was a little bit long, but not quite to his shoulders. His moustache and goatee were also jet black, and he had deep dimples that popped every time he smiled. But his eyes captivated me - those green glittering mischevious eyes. He had a very calm demeanor about him, and he had a low, low voice that was incredibly sexy. To me, he just exuded sex appeal, and he was so understated that I was completely comfortable with him from the beginning.

Its hard to really quantify what it was about him that captivated me, but believe me, I was completely smitten. We spent a few hours together there at the bar and shared a few sweet lips only kisses. He kept contact with me, either holding my hand or placing his hand gently at the small of my back as we sat side by side, and his affection was just incredibly natural. As the evening wore on, I began to tire, and I layed my head on his chest as we stood facing each other, and as we swayed slowly, just us in that corner, he held me gently and sweetly, caressing my back. It felt as if we had always been together.

He was a teetotaler, and I had been drinking. Not much, but I had had 3 or 4 drinks during the course of the night. He asked me if he could drive me home, and not knowing or caring how I would get my car, I agreed (maybe I WAS a little drunker than I thought I was.) Later, at the door of my apartment, he held me close, and kissed me sweetly on the forehead, wishing me a good evening. It was hard to believe that the words were coming out of MY mouth, but I asked him to come in and stay with me. His kind look never left his face, and with a smile, he said, "Whatever you want, baby." Baby. He called me baby. I felt myself blushing again.

Standing in the living room of my apartment, still holding each other and sharing kisses, I had no idea how to say what I wanted to say. It was too hard, and I couldn't bring myself to say the words. I looked at him and hoped that he would be able to tell how much I wanted to be with him. I wasn't nervous, I wasn't scared . . . I was feeling desire for him. It was a new sensation, one that I wasn't sure how to handle, exactly. For as long as I could remember, I had shut off any thoughts of other men, and any thoughts of desire for my own husband, for that matter. The stirrings I was feeling were warm and exciting and scary, all at the same time. His gentle manner calmed me, and I just wanted to be closer to him. Much closer.

Finally, he rescued me. "Do you want to be with me?" he asked, almost in a whisper. Not able to speak, I silently nodded my head yes. Kissing me gently, he looked into my eyes, "Are you sure?" Smiling, I nodded yes again, and with that, he led me to my bedroom. I had a fleeting thought that this bed had been my marital bed, and I had to consciously remind myself that I was no longer obligated to remain faithful to a dead marriage. Those thoughts faded quickly as we began to make love.

As he slowly undressed me, I struggled to reciprocate. He smiled and gently urged me, "Relax, this is all for you . . ." as he began to gently remove the last of my clothing and caress my body. Laying back, I covered my face with my arm. I couldn't bear the intimacy of him seeing my naked body. I felt ashamed and thought that my imperfections were so glaringly obvious. When he stopped and laid beside me, gently moving my arm away and meeting my gaze, he asked me if I was alright, and I smiled and said that I was just a little uncomfortable being that exposed. "Why? you are beautiful . . ." he whispered, as he lightly caressed my tummy and gently cupped one breast, then the other. I could feel the tears pooling up in my eyes, I was overwhelmed with emotion as he softly kissed my lips. Trailing downward, he kissed me lower and lower, grazing my tummy as he gently parted my knees . . .

My heart was pounding. I struggled to accept the affection and pleasure that he was lavishing on me. It was a completely new experience for me, being pleased by a lover. His hands were warm and gentle, and when his lips and tongue made contact with the most tender parts of me, my body experienced never-before known pleasures. This man, this wonderful, kind, sensual man had awakened my body and had given me more pleasure than I had ever experienced in my life. When my passionate cries subsided, he laid beside me, gently kissing my chest, my neck, caressing my face as I silently weeped with joy.

Seeing his smile through tear-filled eyes, I whispered the only thing I could think of . . . "thank you." His smile faded as his eyebrow raised into a curious look. "Haven't you ever . . .?" he asked.

"No. Never." I answered simply.

"But I thought you were married, married for years . . ." he trailed off. His eyes began to show recognition, and he said, "Damn, you are the first divorced virgin I have ever met!" We both giggled, and I covered his face with kisses while he held me. Rolling over, he was then on top of me, his face more serious. "Please let me make love to you . . ." he whispered, and I smiled as I ran my hand through his hair, straining to meet his lips with mine. Our kisses grew deeper as our bodies responded to each other, and when he paused to enter me, my body tensed with the anticipation of the pain and dryness that had comprised every one of my sexual experiences. Seeing and feeling my reaction, he stopped. "This will never be the way we make love," he said to me, "you will never experience any pain at my hand. I promise," and with that, he began to gently fondle me, his touch sending waves of pleasure through me.

When we did join together, it only heightened the pleasure he had created for me. I surrendered to the pleasure and as we both grew closer to our ecstacy, our cries of pleasure echoed each other. In a starshower of pleasure, we climaxed together, another first for me.

Eyes closed, completely fulfilled, I was vaguely aware of his arms cradling me as I slipped into peaceful sleep.

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