"A small short story about everlasting love"
Diamond Cab 2346 crossed the 14th Street bridge toward the airport. The window was open. Just her luck, a cab with no air conditioning. A steamy, soft, hot haze blew like damp morning dew. Not cooling, just there, covering her face, wrinkling her suit.
Getting out of town, a four-day work weekend. Slipping from a simmering city to the mountains just west of Denver. An intense work schedule, but she arranged additional days just for herself. The hotel featured a spa, so time was reserved after the meetings to indulge herself. Four days of marketing plans, and corporate games followed by a little self appreciation.
The plane touched down in Denver, the shuttle was waiting to take her up the mountain to her hotel.
“Any objection to another passenger?” the driver asks.
After the long flight she just wants to get to her destination and shakes her head no.
“Thanks I appreciate the share.”
She looks up into a pair of intense green eyes that make her smooth her yellow linen suit and think about the condition of her lipstick after six hours on a plane. He looks at her. Hair in disarray, her suit reflecting time spent in an airplane seat, and asks if he can start his assignment with a picture of her.
“Oh….! I am a mess! Please, another time.”
He raises the Nikon and clicks off two quick candid shots.
“You look amazing to me”
They fall into easy conversation.
“Thanks for the share and the photos.”
He grabs his bags and is gone quickly. She checks into a business-friendly room and settles in for a work weekend.
Charts, trends and meetings take her mind and time for the next four days. He rises early, searching the hotel grounds for the right pictures to draw tourists. They never pass each other. If they do recall their meeting, the memory has faded behind a schedule of separate missions.
The morning of the fifth day, her private retreat begins. The morning of the fifth day he finds a peaceful grove of red and gold flowers growing easily beside a trickle of a river. That afternoon she enjoys a manicure and pedicure choosing a hypnotic color of red called Hello Gorgeous. That afternoon he looks at the photos from the grove, pulled in again by the vibrant hue of the flowers.
The next morning she decides on a walk, finding the way to the red and gold field. He takes more than 200 photos but the grove is by far the most beautifully balanced so he opts for one last look.
The sun has grown high, bright and warm in the late morning sky. She sits on a smooth rock, her palms pressing down beside her hips, her chin reaching up to the light of the sun. If she could keep this moment in time forever she would. The lens of his camera catches her. Everything in perfect symmetry. The colors of skin, sky and earth in smooth harmony. Her head turns slightly to the left and he is looking right into her eyes. It is as if he has found her naked. She crosses her hand over her breast and fingers a slim silver chain with a single drop of turquoise falling from it.
“You seem to always be snapping me at my worst”
He smiles partly with his mouth, mostly with his eyes.
“It’s a beautiful picture, may I show it to you?”
Over dinner he shows her the picture. They spend the evening enjoying each other’s company. They begin to know each other; they begin to feel comfortable together. She studies the photo in the grove, by far her favorite place of the last few days.
There is music; he asks if she will dance with him.
“He is going to touch me, what shall that feel like?” She asks herself
His fingers; long, slender, light around her waist and on her bare arm. She fits to him, and he to her. Caught in each other's arms, the music lasts just long enough.
A kiss, natural as if they had kissed many times before. So far to travel to find such a kiss. To her, his lips feel smooth. To him it is entirely right. His hands glide easily over her shoulders meeting hot skin on her back.
Her body doesn’t want to leave this moment. Is it possible to stay there? Her head in his chest, her nose committing his scent to her memory? Together they record the scene forever. Walking back to the hotel, their bodies so near. Their steps match perfectly.
The elevator ride is filled with a silent question. They reach her floor first and the doors slide open. She steps from the car, sliding her hand from the cradle of his arm. They say nothing. The door softly closes between them and she turns to catch the last of those green eyes.
Why didn’t she just ask him to come with her. Why didn’t he ask her the same question. He is leaving in the morning, her flight is not until two. She decides to check out late. Meeting him in the lobby would be awkward to say the least.
Finalizing her charges the luggage is taken for her by the bellman and loaded into the shuttle.
“Miss, there is a package here for you”
Quizzically, she takes the small brown paper bag and rolls the top open. An exquisite turquoise and silver box, inside, softly melting petals of red and gold flowers. She wonders if she will ever see him again. Lifting the box to her nose she prays that she will.
The silver box finds a place on a small bookshelf among art books and a crystal vase. Undisturbed, dusted faithfully once a week. Never opened.
Hot summers will always fade. Turning into crisp autumns and stiff cold winters. There is no bargaining with the seasons. No exchanges, and never does a season reveal itself before its time. An exact perfect serendipitous moment. No one can predict the day the grass turns green, or the instant the first drop of rain falls in a storm.
She has kissed since that kiss and made love since that kiss. All those kisses were insignificant beside a silver box filled with those melted petals that had desiccated into a fragrant memory.
On the maple shelf behind his desk in a small black lacquer frame there was the image of a woman. Relaxed and taking the sun surrounded by a profusion of hot red and yellow flowers. Rarely did he ponder the image anymore. He has taken many photographs since that day. There have been many women with whom he has danced, but the feel of her skin and her smell remain with him
“I shouldn’t have to call you! You are one who chose this place….get up!!!! We have to be starting this seminar in 20 minutes.“
“Oh……I’m sorry this bed is so comfortable!”
“You and your hotel beds. You travel way too much, you need to settle yourself!”
“I know, I know… Ok, I’ll be down on time, thanks for the wake up.”
Rolling over in the sumptuous bed she reflects on her first visit to this hotel and a silver turquoise box, moved many times over the years. She willed herself out of bed and into a hot shower. Minutes later she was taking the elevator down to the lobby.
It was as elegant and refined as she had remembered it.
She walked quickly to the desk to find her meeting room.
“Take that last doorway. You will pass the double doors leading to the spa, then take a left. The meeting rooms are all on that hallway.”
Smoothing the lines of her yellow linen suit she walked to the doorway and the short distance to the doors leading to the spa. The hall was painted a cooling mint green with ivory crown molding that trimed the ceiling. Columns on either side of the spa door held tall red ginger blossoms in white marble urns. A gold frame hung on the wall directly across from the door.
Her head turned to take in the contents of the frame. It was a photo of a woman, her back to the camera her face tilted up to the sun surrounded by gold and red flowers. Alone, captured in a moment; still yet vibrant. Relaxed, her hands, palms down on a smooth rock upon which she sat.
“Sir, it’s so good to see you. You never miss a spring. We have your favorite room. Will you be needing anything?”
“No thanks, William, it’s good to see you again.”
“Thank you sir. They’ve hung your photo by the spa as you requested do you want to see it?”
“That way, sir.“ He points. “Right through that doorway. You see where that lady in the yellow is standing? Right there.”