I was depressed. It took a while for me to admit it, but I finally did. My life wasn't turning out quite the way I'd wanted. It certainly wasn't what I'd dreamed about as a child.
Work was going okay. I was trying to keep my personal life out of it and trying to get things done as I should, but the quality of my work was slipping. I just couldn't get my mind on it as much as was required.
You see, a few months back, I'd learned that my girlfriend was cheating on me. I knew she had guy friends, but didn't believe that she'd really go to so far as to have sex with one of them. It hurt so bad to find that out. I couldn't think straight. I went through all the standard thoughts about what I could have done differently that might have prevented her cheating on me. I'd been working on the changes she'd been requesting in my behavior.
But, you know, there wasn't really anything I could have done. She was selfish. She lied to me and went out to have some fun on the side ... just because she wanted to do it. She wasn't thinking about me or how it would affect me. She wasn't even thinking about our son and how it could affect him. She was only concentrating on her own selfish desires.
Apparently, nice guys really do finish last.
When Matt invited me to his condo on the East Coast, I refused. I was too caught up in how my life had dropped into the sewer to be able to imagine a trip like that. I couldn't get out of my head enough to even think of enjoying myself. He'd been promising me great weather, low cost, beautiful women ... a great time. I told him my canned excuses for everything these days: work kept me too busy, I had to take care of my kids, home responsibilities, etc. It was all a load of crap, and we both knew it.
Lucky for me, Matt is a true friend. He kept at me until I finally agreed to go. I owe him a lot for that. It's not every day that someone in your life will help you wade through your mental mess and will lift you out of the morass you've created for yourself into a world of utter bliss.
Matt's parents owned a condo on the beach and let us stay there for the week. I'd never been to the Atlantic Coast of the US, so was a little excited to try something new. I'd wanted to see more of the country and this trip gave me the opportunity to do some of that.
We arrived at the condo on Saturday. The weather was decent ... slight overcast, light breeze, mild temperatures. It was a perfect day for getting settled. After Matt showed me the condo and described the surrounding area for me, he told me he wanted to rest up for the weekend so he went in to take a nap. I took the opportunity to wander down to the beach and see what there was to see. I had my camera with me and started taking shots of the things that caught my eye.
Being lost in my viewfinder, I didn't see her until I practically bumped into her. She was just standing there on the beach, watching the waves. I started to apologize for my lack of care in watching where I was going when I saw the deep sadness in her beautiful, brown eyes.
"Are you okay?" I asked, knowing that she wasn't but using the age-old opener.
"Yeah, I'm all right," her mouth said, her eyes disagreeing wholeheartedly.
Knowing that another offer to open up wasn't going to be accepted, I tried another tack. I knew that if I could just get her talking, she'd be able to open up and let the pain out. Being an engineer didn't help me understand that one bit, but being an enthusiast of psychology does help me in situations such as these.
"I'm John," I said, extending my hand. People can't seem to not shake your hand if it's offered with sincere feeling.
Taking my hand in hers, she said, "I'm Paula."
I took the feelings I had inside, the feelings I feel when I see someone I know and like, and I let those feelings build. I knew that if I did it right, she'd sense the right feelings from me and would be more open to sharing her thoughts. Turning to look out at the waves, I asked, "what do you see when you look at the waves? What feelings do they evoke in you?"
Surprised, she glanced at me, then back out at the waves, "I see power and intensity. There is so much in the wave that is held back, so much that it could do, yet it only releases as much as it needs to in order to relieve the pressure and fall back to the sea. They make it easier for me to understand my own feelings, help me control myself in times of turmoil."
That sounded like an opening to me.
"I see what you mean. When I feel turmoil, I like to release that in constructive ways," I said as I held up my camera. "I like to channel that energy into avenues that are creative ... constructive. Would you like to try my method?"
I don't often loan my camera out, except to people I trust, so it felt strange to hand my camera to this total stranger. There was something about her, though, that pulled at me. To my pleasure, she held my camera like it were a precious object, seemingly understanding the trust I'd placed in her. Putting the viewfinder to her eye, she focused on a tern that had been lazing on the breeze over the waves and shot a few frames.
Women are beautiful in my eyes. I love their curves, the way their bodies move, the way they react to stimuli, the tenderness they have. Unfortunately, that is often my downfall. Women don't seem to like being enjoyed as much as I enjoy them.
With my camera to her eye, Paula took on another persona. I could see minute changes in her stance and could see the tension leaving her shoulders as she focused her energies into the shots. I couldn't help but wonder if the same changes happened to my body as I channeled my energy that way.
I looked at the rest of her and was very pleased with what I saw. Though not large, her breasts appeared rather well-shaped. Her body curved very nicely, her hips widened just the way I like. She was about 5' 4", with dark brown, almost black hair.
After shooting a few more shots with the camera, she looked at me and started to hand the camera back. I could see that the deep sadness that had been in her eyes had changed. She had taken the edge off the pain and was able to focus a bit more clearly on the here and now.
"Thank you," she said, "that was just what I needed. I needed a little distraction."
We talked a bit more about the area. She'd been there for a week, but had been coming there every summer since she was a teenager. This was like her second home. She knew Matt a little, though knew his parents more. I didn't press her on what had made her sad, just felt happy that I could help in some way, that I could give her a listening ear. That nice guy syndrome was taking over again.
Finally, we said our good-byes and I wandered back to the condo. Matt had just risen from his nap and was famished so we went into town to get a bite to eat.
While in town, Matt mentioned wanting to have a little party that night, to give me a true welcome to the beach. I wasn't sure I was ready for a party, but he insisted and said it wouldn't be too big. He just likes to have a little get-together down on the beach every time he shows up in town. We bought some food and drinks, and then headed back to the condo. It was starting to get dark and Matt wanted to get things started soon. He made a few phone calls then we loaded up the cooler and started out to the beach. We stopped at the woodshed near the back of the house to get some wood for the fire. They had a neat, little sleigh that we covered with wood then I pulled along the sand to the fire pit.
We built a fire and sat back with a drink to relax. Not long after that, I could hear people approaching. As they arrived, Matt would introduce me to each of them. Before long, we had a nice, little group of people snacking and drinking around the fire.
To my surprise, our last two arrivals included Paula. She smiled warmly at me as Matt "introduced" us. Her friend was a pretty blonde named Monica. She was about Paula's height, but was skinnier. She had straight hair and big, brown eyes. Her skin seemed to have a nice bronze sheen to it. They sat next to me and I served them some snacks and handed them drinks.
The party was a lot of fun. Matt's friends and their friends were all a pleasure to be around. Before long, I'd forgotten that I was still sad from my home life and was caught up in the fun. We told stories and jokes, laughing until our sides hurt. Someone produced a guitar and we all sang along together. As the night wore on, it got cooler and, luckily, someone had run back to their condo to get blankets. We passed them around and snuggled in for more together time.
I felt a hand reach over and grab mine under the blanket. It felt so soft and warm, so wonderful. I looked up into Paula's beautiful eyes and she smiled at me and then squeezed my hand. My heart skipped a beat at the happiness she projected my way with that look.
She leaned over towards me and whispered, "thank you for this afternoon. I really did need someone to distract me."
"It was my pleasure," I whispered back. "You looked like you could use a release from whatever had you bound."
The smile she had on her face then sent my mind reeling. It had a bit of mischief in it and a promise of something more than I could imagine as she said, "Mmmm ... bound sounds good."
Her hand left mine and started to caress my thigh. My mind stopped working at that point. I could hardly form a sentence and must have looked rather shell-shocked. She laughed and whispered, "You look like you just lost all control of your mental facilities."
"Uh huh," was all I could seem to get out.
She laughed again and went back to holding my hand. "Maybe that's best saved for later, then."
My mind shot through a million different possibilities in the next few minutes. What in the world did this exotic woman have in mind? Where was this going? We just met! What about... ? I suddenly couldn't remember my girlfriend's name back home.
After another half hour, or so, the party started to break up. I was reluctant to let go of Paula's hand, but knew that I'd need to if I was going to let her head home.
Matt walked over and told me that he was going to head over to Stacey's place. She'd been flirting with him since she arrived so I knew that Matt was up for some good times tonight. I figured I'd just get to bed and see him whenever he decided to come back to the condo.
I was turning back to Paula to wish her a goodnight, when she leaned forward and kissed me. My mind went blank and my world narrowed down to just her lips on mine. They felt so soft, so tender, but held a promise of incredible passion. I don't know how long we stood there kissing, but it didn't matter. Everything felt so right.
When the kiss did end, Paula looked at me and asked, "Do you mind if Monica and I swing by your place for a nightcap?"
"Of course," I stammered, "I mean, no, I don't mind."
We walked up to the condo, me in the middle of the two girls. Paula grabbed my hand as we walked. Surprisingly, Monica grabbed my other hand.