Pam Maguire Norton drew her knees up under her chin and wrapped her arms around them. A smile flitted over her face. The sunlight was warm, broken into dancing spots by the branches of the spreading old live oak behind her. The sand under the huge beach towel was firm against her bottom. A delightful soft breeze came off the ocean in front of her.
Everything was perfect. The camping gear was stacked to the side by the old fire pit. They would set it up later. Right now all she wanted to do was watch her oldest friend Kim bubble over with laughter as she frolicked ankle deep in the surf.
God, how had they let so much time pass? It seemed such a short time ago that they had been college roommates, as close as any two young women could ever be. They had been friends, confidants and lovers. They had embraced college life in the 60's with determination to cram all the fun and experiences they could into those short years. Then had come graduation. Visits, first so frequent, had dwindled as they had each got caught up in their separate lives. As the years went by, contact was reduced to phone calls, then letters and finally the occasional greeting card.
Then last year they had both determined that enough time had passed. The phone calls picked up again. Finally they had decided that they had to get together again. A flight down to the Southern US and they had headed for one of Pam's favorite vacation get-aways, one of the unspoiled islands off the coast. A lifetime ago they had discussed just the two of them doing this during their last spring break together. Finances and family commitments had prevented it. Now they were making up for it.
Kim McCall Keagan spun around happily. The sun was so much warmer than her native Canada. As much as she loved home, it was wonderful to be able to bake in the sunshine here. She kicked water about, her legs still firm and slender, matching the rest of her body.
"You know, we were just up the coast from here not five years ago?"
"Really? You and George?"
"Me and George," confirmed Kim. After graduation, with Pam going out into the world and working, an unexpected grant had allowed Kim to continue her education at the graduate level. At that other school she attended she was surprised, and then pleased, to find George Keagan, the Chess Club Vice-President she had met and occasionally dated before. She was VERY pleased to discover that George had begun working out and now combined an athlete's body while retaining his keen mind. They had dated all through their grad school attendance. Their acceptance of positions with the same Canadian corporation had sealed what they had yet to have put into words. Six months after starting their jobs they had gotten married.
"Gee, I wish Martin and I had been in the country," Pam replied. A smile tugged at her mouth. Pam had become a traveling saleswoman, covering the Southeast US for the novelty company she had gone to work for. She had enjoyed the work and planned to stay with it as long as she could.
Plans had changed quickly, as they often do. Swinging through Georgia on a trip, she had stopped by to visit an old friend who was employed as a civilian worker at an Army post. The friend was delighted to see her show up. Not only was it nice to talk over old times, but she just happened to need someone to double-date with her and her boyfriend and her boyfriend's pal to go to a show in Atlanta that evening.
Pam had at first tried to decline the invitation. She had all the dates she could handle. On an average night she could walk into the restaurant or club of whatever hotel she was staying at and get a half-dozen invitations from fellow travelers. Not that she thought of herself as any sex-magnet babe, but after all, there were 50 men traveling for each single woman. She was careful and choosy, avoiding both married men and the ones who expected instant sex as a reward for a meal which, after all, she could put on her own expense account. Twice in those years she had met another woman who had the same interests that she and Kim had shared that now was a lifetime ago.
Off and on over the years she had wondered about that attraction. The longer she had been away from college and out of the road, the more the interest in other girls seemed to fade. By the time she broke down and accepted the invitation to go out with that young Army NCO she had not been with another female in a year and really wasn't thinking about it anymore.
Sergeant Martin Norton had proved to be a quiet dark-haired guy. Slender with swimmer's type muscles he was reserved, but with a smile that came out occasionally and transformed him. Several years younger than her, at times she felt she was so much older than him, and then again, would feel so much younger than a 20 year old who had already served a tour as an infantryman in Southeast Asia.
Regardless of age, experience or anything else, a month later a quiet civil ceremony united the two in marriage. They were to remarry a few months later, formally, in a church. Friends and family of both of them were surprised, even stunned at the speed. A few gave dark hints that such a union would never last. Over thirty years and four children later they were still together.
More splashing and a sudden shower of sea water brought her abruptly back to the present.
"Kim!" She sputtered.
Her former roommate laughed with glee and ran back to the surf, tossing aside the plastic container she had used to douse Pam. "Come on," she called back over her shoulder. "Stop sitting in the shade and get out here." She pirouetted ankle deep in the surf.
Pam plunged after her and for a few wild minutes they chased each other back and forth, splashing through the Atlantic rollers combing the white sand. They waded out farther and swam together. Then, holding hands, they raced back up the beach and fell to the blankets laid out under the dappled shade of that old moss-hung tree.
"Oh that was fun." Kim stretched out of the brightly colored beach blanket and wiggled, closing her eyes.
"Yes it was," replied Pam. She waited until the other woman was comfortably settled. She reached into the open cooler, plucked a bottle of water from the ice and poured it over her friend. "That was even more fun," she flung over her shoulder as she sprang back to her feet and started running down the beach. Her foot slipped after no more than fifteen steps and the former cheerleader brought her down with a flying tackle. The two women rolled together in the sand, wrestling until they finally collapsed in laughter.
"You SNEAK!" Kim was able to gasp.
"I couldn't help it. Truce?"
"Look at us!" The dark-haired woman moaned as she sat up, contemplating the sand that clung to them from their hair down to their toes.
"Let's rinse off and no more funny business."
They splashed into the sea again, wading out until they could duck into the water. Returning to their blankets, they sat down again. This time the water pulled from the cooler was drunk, the two women touching bottles to seal their truce.
"God, how long ago was it when you did that to me the first time?" Kim asked.
"What, poured water over you?"
"Sort of. I was thinking of the morning in that hotel when you turned the shower on me, and it was all cold water."
"Oh God," Pam smiled. "I had about forgotten that. That was the weekend you first met George."
"I liked him from the start, but I never thought back in those days I'd marry him. Even after that first night together." Kim sat up and wrapped her arms around her knees. "You know, for a long time after that, I sort of regretted that night."
"Well, not that I met George. Its just, well, you know, we were pretty wild back then. When George and I first started dating seriously I used to wonder if he thought I was some kind of slut for what we did that very first night."
Pam snorted. "Bull. We were wild but no more so than any pair of guys were back then. But I know," she looked out at the sea, "Guys who slept around as much as we did were studs. Girls weren't. And aren't. I forgot who it was that called us sluts. I think it was just jealousy."
"George told me the same thing. He reminded me that his stock among the males at school shot up tremendously after the word of that night got back to campus. He also told me," Kim stopped for a moment with a wistful, happy look on her face. "He told me he never thought of me as anything but wonderful, and that he had loved me since that first night."
"We really did luck into a pair of winners."
"Yes we did."
"Still a couple of hotties, even with a little mileage on them. Of course so are we."
Kim leaned back on her hands, stretched her legs out and got a wicked smile on her face. "Have I told you what I did to George the first part of this summer?"
Pam rolled on her side, wiggling her hip bone against the sand under the blanket. "what did you do, you wicked hussy?"
"Trollop, if you please," replied Kim with mock seriousness. "Peggy what's-her-name called me that. As I recall, YOU were the 'hussy'."
"Regardless of titles, what DID you do to that lovely husband of yours?"
"We were sitting out on the back deck one afternoon. I know you don't think so, but it can grow quite warm up in Canada on a June day. We were having a couple of drinks and stretched out on the recliners. We were both wearing just shorts and loose tops and no shoes.
.... There is more of this story ...