Her eyes half closed, she flings her blonde tresses – twists her entire body like a cat waking up from a snooze. ‘I’m so tired. Let me sleep just a little more,’ she says and climbs right back into bed and curls up like an escargot. Pulling up the blanket, bottom of which is squeezed between her legs.

‘Let me sleep just a little more, pretty please!’ She repeats herself and gives me a poor little girl look.

‘I’m sorry Nicole. Come on. Get up. Pompeo will be waiting for you on the beach promptly at eight. All ready to roll. ‘ I sit down at the edge of her bed and prod her more.  She slowly and seductively uncoils herself, sits up and leans slightly towards me and gives me a hurt look. Her cloudy green eyes darted into mine like a double arrowed bow pulled by multiple cupids hovering up above our heads. She seems lost in deep thoughts for a moment and then twirls her torso in the most languid slow motion.

‘I was wondering what would it feel like to make love to you?’ The sentence comes out seamlessly – in a drawl, like a streamer unfurling in a slow billowing motion . And even before I have time to process what she said, her lips are precariously close to mine – fluttering.  Our eyes blend together. And I am pulled on the bed. Or was it me who nudged her down? Doesn’t really matter. Just a small detail. And I am on top of her. Squeezed underneath me, and our lips locked, cradling in my arm is Nicole. Beautiful, beautiful Nicole. And then as suddenly I untangle myself and jump out of bed with; ‘come on Nicole. Get up and get ready!’ She gives me a hateful look. I give her my hand, look into her eyes. ‘Please Nicole!’ I plead.  She lowers her gaze and as she climbs down the bed, looking hurt, I hear her subdued grouse: ‘you’re so cruel!’

Was I thinking of Carolyn back home? Yes. Is that why I peeled myself away before she could find out what it would feel like to make love to me? Or me finding out how sweet would it feel to have made love to her? No.

There were other reasons. The guilt I would feel and the lies I may someday tell. But trickier yet, in my position as the leader of the project, I just couldn’t afford to get involved with one of the twelve girls of the team. It would change the complete logistics and the attitude not only that of   Nicole, but of every girl. And Nicole would suddenly  feel and behave like the queen bee. That was very apparent that very evening. Normally aloof, that night during the dinner, she makes it a point to sit next to me, if not exactly snuggling up, but with a bit more familiarity than up until then.

Let’s  pause here for a sec to consider: What if? Most probably the answer would be: Nothing. I knew that both Nicole and Ans had boyfriends back home. Both of them Europeans; probably had kinds of relationships in which they could include a bit of frolicking in their narration, get a chuckle or two at having seduced a Playboy editor. None of us would have followed up or tried to keep in touch and would be cordial if and when we ran into each other.  Never uttering a word about our little secrets. And for me, had Carolyn asked me, I probably would have told her. Or not. Because at the early stages of our relationship, we had brushed upon the subject and she had said: I would rather not know.

But in nutshell, these liaisons happen only in the moment. Like delicious little bonbons and the bright little rainbows floating off a bubble wand, or the dazzling bouquet of light rays sprouting out of the sparkler. But soon, the bubbles burst, the blinding rays of the sparkler die and the sweetness of the bonbons dissolve on your tongue. So do those short sweet moments fade into the past and then they are gone. Puff!

© Haresh Shah 2013

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

Next Friday, May 24, 2013

BEAUTY AND THE BREASTS

What is this with women and their breasts? And why are we so obsessed with them? Help, Herr Dr. Freud. Because all I feel qualified to contribute is to report on the state of affairs vis-à-vis, you know?

 

 

 

 

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