The beach was deserted and lonely, the sand cold and damp. Even the waves looked frigid as they broke across the dark, hard packed sand. The skies were slate grey with low clouds scudding across the horizon and my footprints were the only ones in the sand; solitary dents trailing behind me as I trudged along. The winter wind was brisk, tearing at my clothing, seeking for any gaps between my coat and my body so it could whisk away what little warmth was trapped inside. I leaned forward a bit, struggling to keep moving down the beach while the wind kept pushing me backwards. The day seemed to fit my mood; cold and bitter; my three dogs didn't seem to care one bit however. My dogs were off exploring through the driftwood, searching for anything brought in by the last high tide, happy to be out and free.
I stopped and stared across the bay. The blustery weather had whipped up the waves so they were covered with white caps, which then crashed onto the beach, sending up long rushing tentacles of water. I remembered the last time I walked this portion of the beach. The weather was a lot different that day. The day was hot and the breeze warm, soft and gentle and the waves only patted gently onto the shore.
She was with me that day. We'd held hands as we walked down the beach; so much in love, or at least I thought so. She was my first, not the woman I gave my virginity to, but rather she was the first one who really captured my heart and soul. All my life I've been shy, some even call me a nerd, and she was so totally different from me. She was my wild child and I adored her difference.
She left me at the end of last summer. We'd met for dinner at one of our favorite spots and over dinner she told me she needed to move on. She told me she still cared for me, but not in the same ways I cared about her. She asked me not to call her anymore and if things changed for her, she would call me. When she finished with her little speech, she stood and before I could even stand, she left the restaurant and my life. It still hurt me more than I cared to think about and to help deal with it; here I was, walking the cold and lonely beach trying to forget.
The rain started to fall harder than before; all day it had been sprinkling but now the rain poured from of the skies. The dogs didn't seem to care and neither did I. I couldn't tel1 if there were tears or raindrops on my cheeks. Mentally I kept going over everything I'd done or said when we were together. What had I done wrong? What had I done? We seemed so happy for the few months we were together and then without any warning, that dinner and I was left with a broken heart.
I continued to walk, rain and tears streaming down my face. I paid no attention to where I headed; I just trudged down the breach; my hands pushed deep into my pockets, staring down at the sand. Finally, as I staggered down the beach still pushing against the wind and rain, it dawned on me there was another set of footprints in the sand in front of me. I stopped and looked down in disbelief. Who would be out on a day like this? What other fool was on this isolated beach? I looked up and far ahead, I saw a small figure moving, head down against the wind forging ahead just as I was.
As if I'd made some unheard communication with the dogs, they all looked up at the same time and noticed the figure far ahead. I hollered at them to stop, but they paid me no heed and took off running towards the person. A new person to explore, perhaps even a new person who would pet them and give them the attention they felt they always deserved.
The wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to try to run; I wanted to catch up; I really didn't want the dogs to bother anybody. The dogs are very friendly, but there are those who don't care for animals and I try to respect that. I will admit, I don't understand their feelings, but I still respect those feelings and I try to keep my dogs corralled and away from them. As the dogs gambled around the person ahead, the figure stopped, and then stooped over to pet the three dogs dancing around their feet. By the time I caught up to the four of them, the person had lifted their head and was looking for the dogs' owner.
When I approached, the person stood and I started to apologize. "I am so sorry my dogs bothered you. Please forgive. I know I should have them on a leash and all..." my voice trailed off as I realized the figure who had been kneeling before me was a woman. A striking woman from what I could tell, but it was difficult to know for sure with her cheeks red from the cold and bundled up in a large parka. I thought she might be older than me, but that was also difficult to discern. I noticed her face was wet but I didn't know if the moisture on her face was rain or tears. I thought she looked like she'd been crying, but due to the weather, any guess was challenging. She held up her hand to stop my babbling, "Stop! I adore dogs. In addition, yours are really good looking. I have always had a weakness for Cocker Spaniels and the color of that one," she pointed at the darker chocolate brown female, "is very unique. I don't think I have ever seen one that color."
I introduced her to my brood and she stooped and petted them once more. As she petted them, she looked up at me and I felt somewhat intimidated by her beauty. Looking down into her face, I thought about my fateful dinner when I had felt no female would ever look desirable again; even though I felt she was older than I was, this woman was so attractive I could feel my resolve starting to weaken. As usual, I reverted to my old nerd self and asked, "Pardon my asking, but what are you doing out here on a day like this?"
She smiled up at me slightly, "I could ask you the same question."
"Well, I was walking my dogs, and," I paused.
"And what," she spoke up, staring up at me for a few moments, "looking at your face, I think there's more. What's wrong?"
This woman was blunt and to the point and her question tore away any reserve I had. I couldn't believe it but the tears began to stream down my face once more. I thought I had my emotions better under control and I quickly turned my back to her out of embarrassment, not wanting her to see me cry. She stood up and I felt her tugging at my sleeve. When I turned to look back at her, she comforted me, "Hey! Hey, it's OK. I'm sorry. I didn't wish to pry." There was a long pause as she examined my face. Finally she said, "If you want, you can talk to me. I listen very well."
I could only shake my head; my feelings were just too close to the surface to try to speak. She seemed to look at me for another moment as if she was trying to make up her mind about something. She then turned around and started to walk back the way we had both just come. I stood there watching her walk away, not really knowing what to do. Finally, she stopped and turned, "Come on - let me buy you a cup of coffee."
I hurried to catch up, we trudged along in silence, the dogs running ahead, and then charging back to see what was taking so long. Finally, we reached a series of low dunes and she walked around the end of one. Behind the dunes were half a dozen very attractive cabins nestled securely. Two of the cabins were more than one story tall and one of those cabins had smoke curling out of the chimney.
She opened the back door of the cabin with the smoke coming out of the stack and we stepped into an extra large laundry room, which looked like it also doubled as a mudroom, complete with the largest 2-basin sink I'd ever seen. Across the back wall were stars leading to the upper levels of the cabin. She slipped off her parka and hung it up on a hook. She motioned for me to do the same and then she leaned down and picked up one of the dogs, went to the sink, turned on the water and checked to see the temperature. Once she was satisfied, she started to rinse off each paw, making sure to get as much sand as she could from between their paws After all three were washed off, she handed me a towel and picked up another towel. Smiling at me, she told me, "Dry the dog's paws and their tummies."
I took the male, buff colored dog, 'Latte' while she took 'Mocha', the female, and we started to wipe them down. When we were done with the two of them, we both worked on Samantha's paws and tummy. Once we had them all cleaned up they ran around the room shaking and fluffing up their coats.
She turned to me with a smile and asked, "Ready to go upstairs?"
I felt like an idiot, as all I could do was stand there and stare. This woman was incredibly good-looking. It was my first opportunity to look at her without her hat and parka and I was stunned. As I said, all of my life I've been very shy and this woman, I could see, was way out of my league. Back in school, she would have been a fantasy; the girl I wanted but knew would never give me the time of day.
I have never cared for red headed woman, but this time I felt I could make an exception. Her hair was long with a deep rich chestnut color. She had high cheekbones and her eyes were like the green grass under a shady summer tree. I was mesmerized by the depth of her green eyes. As I continued to stare at her, she turned a little red and asked me what was wrong. I quickly apologized and motioned for her to lead up the stairs.
.... There is more of this story ...