We continued the walk home. I was starting to drag. I looked down and saw Charly’s hand. I cautiously took hold of it. I was amazed at the feel of it. It seemed to fit into my hand perfectly. She clutched my hand tightly and looked at me. At that moment, there was no blueprint for my emotions to follow.
“If you think you’re going to scare me away with your pain, you’re wrong,” Charly said. She stopped in the middle of the road. “We do the best we can with what we’ve been given, Ben. My needle’s moving on to the next track. I wouldn’t mind singing with somebody for a change.” I brought my hand up to her face. My finger traced her lips. She closed her eyes as I traced her eyelids. I took my finger and went down the slope of her nose, past her lips, over her chin and down her neck. I stopped where her tank top met with the swell at the top of her breasts. I let my finger linger there and her eyes fluttered open. A car honked coming down the road toward us. We moved off to the side.
“How ‘bout breakfast?” Charly asked. It was then I noticed we had both started shaking. I didn’t think it had anything to do with the pain in my legs and thighs. She turned around and started walking backwards. She looked absolutely radiant. Those red satin shorts were starting to make me tremble. I had never asked her how old she was, although I knew there was quite a gap in our ages. I did know this: I was pretty much utterly powerless at this point. As Sara would have said, in the Monopoly game of life, I had advanced to
Pathetic Avenue and bought the biggest hotel on the street.
. . .from the forthcoming novel. . .Dreamers on the Rise