A Better Man by William Quincy Belle

A Better Man

Harvey stopped and let go of Molly’s hand, reached up with both hands to hold her head, and leaned in to touch his lips to hers. “I feel positively giddy.” His voice was almost a whisper as he grinned at her.

“You’re so sweet,” Molly said.

He stepped back and took her free hand again. As they dragged their suitcases, he swung their arms between them. “I feel like a sixteen-year-old with his first crush.”

Molly laughed.

He feigned shock. “What? Isn’t that a good description?”

She squeezed his hand. “It has been a wonderful weekend.”

“Wonderful? I think I’d forgotten how good life could be.” Harvey stopped. “With the right person,” he added. He stepped closer to her again, raised her hand, and slipped his arm around her waist. As he led her into a dance step, he hummed a nondescript tune. People walked around them, and a few gave them an amused look.

“Oh, Harvey. You really are giddy. Are you on a happy high?”

“Yes, I’m intoxicated by you.”

“Now, don’t you make a girl feel special!”

He stopped dancing and took a step back. “But you are special, Ms. MacPherson.” He gestured toward her and bowed.

“Why, thank you, kind sir.” She curtsied.

Harvey gently but firmly wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply. The two of them remained locked in an embrace. When they finally broke, they stared into one another’s eyes. Harvey spoke in a hushed tone. “I’m quite taken with you. I feel elated. It’s been so long since I felt this way, I thought I was no longer capable.”

“You’re a good man, Harvey Baxter. Any woman would be pleased to have you.”

“A man doesn’t have such a connection with any woman. I think it’s a rare event.”

“Maybe, but we have to keep trying until we find that connection.”

“I know,” he said. “But …” He looked at her expectantly.

Molly cupped his cheek. “Harvey, I will always cherish our time together. It’s been wonderful. It’s been extraordinary. And you’ve convinced me not to give up, to try one more time to regain what I’ve lost. My husband is a good man, and we too once had what you and I have had this weekend. We both deserve another chance to rediscover that connection.”

“I must let you go.” Harvey resigned himself to the thought. “I hate to let you go, but I must.”

“Yes.” She touched his cheek then fumbled with her purse. “Would you watch my bag? I want to step inside and check my ticket.”

“Sure. I’ll be sitting right over there on that bench.” He took the handles of both suitcases and wheeled them to the seat. Idly looking around, he mulled over everything that had happened in the last forty-eight hours.

###

“Good evening.”

Harvey looked up from his menu at the woman, who stared back expectantly.

“Is this table thirty-five?” she asked.

“Yes, it is.” He stood up and gestured to a card in the center of the table. “We must be early. I’m assuming there will be others.” He held out his hand. “Harvey Baxter.”

“Molly MacPherson.” She firmly shook his hand.

“Would you care to join me?” He stepped around the table and held out the chair.

She half smiled. “Most kind of you.” She sat down and he helped push in the chair.

As he returned to his seat, he said, “Will your husband be joining you?”

“I’m here alone,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Ah. Well, it seems to be a good spot for a weekend rejuvenation. An acquaintance insisted that a change of scenery is a good way to clear out the cobwebs and get a fresh perspective on things, so I thought to come down and try getting away from it all.”

“I see.”

He picked up his menu. “At first blush, it would seem the culinary offerings are top notch. I trust you’ve brought both an appetite and a sense of experimentation.”

“Experimentation?”

“I made note of the French on the menu. Somehow, the mundane appears exotic when rendered in French. That can be a good thing. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the language is limited, so I’m not sure if I’ll end up with what I thought I ordered or with je ne sais quoi.”

“I trust our waiter will illuminate us. I like my trip, but I don’t like my tripe.”

“Intestines, brains, other miscellaneous body parts — I think I’ll stick with beef, thank you very much.”

Molly picked up her menu. They both studied the offerings.

“Good evening.”

They looked up at the man who spoke.

“My name is Carlos. I’ll be your waiter this evening.”

“Hello,” Harvey said. “This is Molly, and I’m Harvey.”

Carlos nodded. “If you have questions when looking over the menu, please call upon me.” After reciting the specials — filet mignon or salmon — the waiter took their wine order for Chardonnay and disappeared.

Harvey considered their options. “Both specials sound appetizing. I suspect we can’t go wrong.”

“The restaurant received a good rating from the tourist agency, and I noted on their website that the chef has something of a name … although, for the life of me, I couldn’t give you the name of one world-renowned chef. My knowledge of cooking is limited, if not nonexistent.”

“But you know your tripe.”

She nodded. “That I do.”

He closed his menu and set it to one side. “I’ll do the filet. No point in delving further.”

“A man of action.”

“Not as dramatic as that — more of a man of habit. I like to experiment once in a while, but I also appreciate the tried and true.” Harvey surveyed the room. “I’ve never been here before. In fact, I’ve never even gone on a weekend getaway. Is it a good way to recharge one’s batteries, so to speak?”

“A change is not an unwelcome thing.”

Carlos returned with two glasses and took their orders. He put his pad away and cleared their menus. “Enjoy.”

Harvey took hold of his glass and raised it. “To a weekend change.”

Molly picked up her glass, reaching it out to meet his.

“I’ve never been here either,” she said, “but it looks like a good place to get away from it all.”

“I hesitated doing this, but maybe it was time for a change. On the flight down here, I was mulling over starting fresh. If I could drop everything — my entire life — go somewhere and start all over again, what would I do?”

“It sounds like an intriguing idea.”

“There’s so much of the world I haven’t seen. There’s so much I haven’t experienced.” Harvey sipped his wine. “I think of that old joke about somebody having written on their tombstone, ‘I wish I had worked more.’”

“Yes. Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”

“How true, how true! So, what, pray tell, is on your bucket list?”

“For this weekend?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t come down here with a specific plan.” She held up her glass. “But wine and food seemed like a good place to start.”

“To hedonism.” He raised his glass. “And to adventure.”

She tipped her glass toward him. “Are you married, Harvey?”

“No, divorced. Yourself?”

“Married.”

“And yet you’re here by yourself.”

She glanced around. “Yes.”

“I apologize. I’m overstepping the bounds.”

She hesitated. “No, it’s all right.”

“Before I came, I studied all the various offerings at the resort. There are several I’ve never tried before, and I’m thinking of taking advantage of this opportunity to cross a few things off my bucket list.”

“Such as?”

“They have a spa. I’d like to try a massage. One of those hot stone things.”

She chuckled. “Really?”

“Why not? I’ve had massages after a sports injury, but I’ve never had a massage for the sake of having a massage. I know some people swear by them, and others insist on them regularly. It supposedly aligns your chakras or something. I don’t understand any of that, but I’ve been told if it feels good, do it. So why not? Don’t we all deserve a little sensuality?”

Molly stared off.

“I’m sorry. I’m babbling.”

“No. You made me think of something.”

“A penny for your thoughts.”

“Sensuality. We all deserve a little sensuality.”

“What? Am I spouting Zen aphorisms and don’t know it?”

She sighed. “It’s been a long time.”

Harvey took a sip of wine and studied her. “You’re giving me clues.”

“About what?”

“A wistful sigh over missed sensuality. Married, yet here alone.” He paused. “You have a lot on your mind.”

Molly gazed at her glass, carefully spinning the stem. “I’m sorry. I’m not being good company.” She smiled. “What else is on your list for this weekend?”

He leaned back in his chair. “A little sun on the beach, a dip in the ocean, and more food and drink. I’m determined to ignore all calories. Since this is all-inclusive, I want to do my best to ensure that the resort regrets throwing everything in for free.”

Carlos delivered their first course: salads.

Harvey raised his glass. “Bon appétit.”

Vous aussi,” she said.

“Oh, very good!”

“Not really. I’m afraid I exhaust my knowledge of the language pretty quickly.”

“What’s the definition of an expert?” He gave her a questioning look.

Molly said nothing.

“Somebody who knows one thing more than the next guy.” He picked up a fork. “I know nothing about French, so you’re now the de facto French expert at this table.”

She started on her salad. “May I ask you a personal question, Harvey?”

“By all means. With an introduction like that, I’m intrigued.”

“How long have you been divorced?”

“Seven years.”

“What happened?”

He tilted his head. “Can total strangers be honest because they have nothing to lose?”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”

“Not at all. It’s not like you’re going to go back to your room and post any of this on Facebook … Are you?”

“No. I …”

He put his wine glass down and pursed his lips. “I had a personal crisis. I was nearly fired from my job, a career I loved. I lost my direction in life, and I lost my mojo as a man. On top of that, I suddenly realized I was old, or at least older, and the future no longer seemed promising. And …” He shrugged. “I began having problems in the bedroom. My wife took all of this personally.”

Molly drank her wine but said nothing.

“Admittedly, I was pretty quiet, too quiet, and never took the time to explain it. I couldn’t. I was frustrated, embarrassed — humiliated, really — and probably depressed. I didn’t want to deal with it and made the mistake of withdrawing from the one person who had a vested interest. I regret that.”

Harvey picked up his glass and took a sip. He stared at Molly over the rim. “That’s more than I intended to say, but what the hey? We’ll never see one another again.” He chuckled. “I guess we can say anything we want. There’s no risk of criticism.”

There was a moment of silence as they stared at one another, then Molly spoke.

“I came down here this weekend to make up my mind about leaving my husband. The status quo can’t continue. Anybody on the outside would observe a happy couple, but I’ve arrived at a point where I can no longer continue. I want a change. I need a change. I demand a change.”

Carlos arrived with the main course and removed the salad plates. “Will there be anything else?”

“No,” Harvey said. “Thank you.”

Carlos picked up the tray and disappeared.

“Once again,” Harvey said, “bon appétit.” He looked at his filet and admired her salmon. “Ooh, that looks good.”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m quite hungry.”

The two of them concentrated on their dinners, not looking at one other.

“For total strangers,” Harvey said, “we’ve ended up with all our cards on the table.” He cut off a small piece of his filet.

“Will you be posting that on Facebook?”

“I’m a gentleman. I don’t tell secrets.”

“Did you love your wife?”

“At the end, my feelings were conflicted. Like you, I needed a change. The status quo was no longer sufficient. I’d lost my will to live, my will to take charge and live my life. I wanted to run away and hide. And for that, I lost my wife.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s odd — I felt I couldn’t talk with her, but I recognized the need to. I proposed several times that we go to couples counseling, but for some inexplicable reason she always refused. I guess she thought nothing prevented us from talking, so who needed a counselor? She interpreted my silence as unwillingness to confide in her. She never understood that I was too humiliated, too depressed to talk without outside help.”

Molly cut into her salmon and took a bite, chewing thoughtfully. “You’re making me think, Harvey.”

“How so?”

“Why has my husband stopped talking to me? Why does he seem distant? Is he bored with me? Has he taken a lover? Or is there something personal going on that he doesn’t want to discuss?”

“We guys …” Harvey shrugged. “A lot of who we are is tied up in ego, I’d say. You may dismiss it as arrogance or self-interest, but from a very early age, we’ve had it pounded into our heads that men must always be strong and never fail. It’s a hard standard to live up to. I’m not allowed to cry.”

She looked up from her plate, surprised. “What?”

“Hey, I didn’t make the rules! I only try to follow them.”

“What are you saying?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Harvey stared at the ceiling for a moment. “Maybe guys are not all that talkative because … well, because we’re supposed to do, not talk. We’re supposed to be men of action and do stuff that leads to success. What’s to talk about?”

“Do you cry, Harvey?”

“I have. I do … sometimes. Life can be overwhelming at times. I don’t always know what to do. I don’t always have the answers. I’m a flawed individual, but I still have to live up to that standard of the perfect man who has all the answers: he earns a good living, and he’s the Rock of Gibraltar for all around him.”

“Are you human or a god?”

“I’m just a guy. I’m nobody special. Just your average man, sometimes attempting the exceptional. But I can tell you this from personal experience: because of my problems at work, I didn’t have a sense of accomplishment. And because I didn’t have a sense of accomplishment, I didn’t have a sense of self-worth. Without that sense of self-worth, I no longer had any confidence.”

She took a sip of wine, emptying the glass.

“Would you like another?” Harvey asked, looking toward the bar.

“That would be good.”

Harvey waved at Carlos and held up two fingers. “Got it. Refills are on the way.” He picked up his glass and drank the remaining wine.

“I can’t remember the last time my husband cried,” Molly said. “I can’t remember the last time we truly talked about anything personal. You’re making me wonder about what else is going on in his life that may have nothing to do with me.”

Harvey smiled.

Molly raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“I was reliving a moment from my divorce.”

“Pardon?”

“The entire situation started because I had an issue. However, my wife — my ex-wife — hijacked the agenda by turning it into her issue. My issue was swept off the table, and all that was left was hers. I had to deal with my own all by myself. My ex-wife never realized that my issue had nothing to do with her.”

“That doesn’t seem very astute.”

“I realized, after the fact, that this situation pushed one of her buttons. She’d been married before, and that had ended, from what I understand, in an acrimonious divorce. I don’t know if everything that happened had more to do with her ex-husband and reliving that nightmare than with me personally. I’ll wonder for the rest of my life what would have happened if we’d gone to couples counseling and talked.”

Harvey picked up his utensils and cut into his steak. “On the other hand, I’ve also wondered if the divorce was the correct solution for the impasse. Maybe even if we’d talked, we would have never arrived at an understanding. Maybe going our separate ways was the best thing for both of us. I’ve heard it said that the right person at one time in your life may be the wrong person at another.” He glanced up to find Molly staring at him. “What?”

Molly shook her head and turned back to her plate. “Oh, nothing. You’re just making me think about a lot of things.”

“Good things? Bad things?”

Carlos arrived with more wine. They waited patiently as he switched glasses then left.

“You mentioned feeling old,” she said.

“Yes.”

“I’m feeling that way. I feel as though life is passing me by.”

“That’s an admission I find contradictory.”

Molly frowned. “Contradictory?”

“I look at you and I see an attractive woman. You carry yourself well, and you have an air of education and intelligence. My first impression is that you’re living a good life.”

“Looks can be deceiving,” Molly said. “I’m ignored. My partner is disconnected from me. I might just as well be alone. There has to be more to life.” Molly sipped her wine. “Is there more to life, Harvey?”

He chewed and gestured with his fork. “I’ve had some wonderful moments in my life, so I know it’s possible. Maybe it isn’t continuous — there’s some mundane thrown in there for contrast — but yes, wonderful is out there if we take the time to seek it out. Yet …” He picked up his glass. “I’d say it’s rare that wonderful walks up to your door and knocks. Not impossible, but rare. We have to go out and search for it.”

“You remind me of Yoda.”

“Yoda?” Harvey feigned shock. “And here I was trying to get you over to the Dark Side.”

“Mr. Baxter, are you trying to seduce me?”

He opened his mouth to say something and stopped, his eyes darting around.

She chuckled. “Oh, Harvey, I’m just teasing. I’m allowed to tease, right?”

“Very good, Molly. You caught me off guard. Perhaps my social skills are a little rusty. My rapier wit isn’t so good at thrust and parry.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Thrust and parry? Is that sexual innuendo?”

He felt a flush cross his face.

She grinned. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.” Molly reached out and put her hand on his. “Forgive me.”

This startled him and his hand jerked. For a prolonged moment, they looked intently at one another. Finally, Harvey removed his hand and glanced away. “How’s your salmon?”

Molly picked up her napkin and wiped the corner of her mouth. “Fine.”

Carlos came up to the table. “How was your dinner?”

“Excellent,” Harvey said.

“If I could make a suggestion?” Carlos looked at each of them in turn with a knowing smile.

“Yes?”

“The twilight on the terrace is nice. There are still traces of the setting sun, and the view of the beach and the ocean is picturesque. If you would like, you could take your dessert and coffee out there. Some tables have opened up.”

“That seems like a good idea.” Harvey looked at Molly. “What do you think?”

“Let’s.”

Harvey was about to step in that direction when Molly took his arm. He looked at her.

“I hope you don’t mind,” she said.

“Not at all.”

As the two of them made their way toward the arch, the sound of music grew louder. They exited the dining room to find themselves on the stone terrace dotted with hanging oil lamps. Off to one side was a dance area where two couples were stepping through a rumba.

“It’s been a long time,” Harvey said, his eyes following the dancers’ steps.

“Oh? You dance?”

“I did some ballroom years ago.”

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Well?”

“I’m rusty.”

“That seems to crop up frequently. I think you need a good oiling.”

“I … ah …” Harvey cleared his throat and led Molly to the dance floor.

“My instructor was a woman,” he said. “As well as teaching me dance, she also expounded on her philosophy about men and women. I hadn’t considered ballroom as a metaphor for relationships, but it would seem there are many similarities between it and the eternal dance of potential partners.”

Harvey took her right hand in his left, placing her other hand on his shoulder. He slid his left arm around her waist and counted off. “A man starts with his left, and the woman starts with the opposite. That is to say, women are always right.” He winked.

“Your instructor was a wise woman.”

“That she was.”

They went through several steps and attempted a turn. Failing, they apologized to each other through their laughter. Harvey explained what he’d remembered about the steps and they tried again. This time, they were successful and got to the end of the song.

Carlos caught Harvey’s attention. They walked over to a table and sat down. Carlos took their dessert order, the day’s special: tiramisu.

Molly sipped on her wine. “Will you remarry, Harvey?”

He shrugged. “It seems theoretical. I would have to meet the right person to consider such a thing.”

“Never say never. But …”

“But?”

“It seemed as if you were trying to give a diplomatic response. I interpreted it as meaning you wouldn’t entertain marriage again.”

“Oh, I would entertain it: a dinner, a dance, or an evening. I’m just not too sure I want it sleeping over.”

She giggled. “What do you mean?”

“Getting married was wonderful. Being married was fun. Going through a divorce sucks — and I mean royally. The emotional, financial, and legal trials and tribulations of disentangling two lives are not for the fainthearted. It’s not something you want to go through twice.”

“Once bitten?”

“Something like that.”

“And what makes you think the next time will end up in failure?”

“After my divorce, I spent time studying the issue. Maybe if I had studied this beforehand, I’d have learned what was necessary to avoid it in the first place. Lesson learned. The statistics are not on my side. A greater percentage of second marriages fail than first ones. But that’s not the real issue.”

“It’s not?”

“No. As I said, this whole mess started when I had my own crisis. It’s taken me time to recover, to heal. And now that I’ve reached my year of retirement, I need to finish working out what the rest of my life will be. I need to concentrate on myself. And in deference to any potential partner, my focus on me would not be good for a we. It wouldn’t be fair to the other person.” Harvey shrugged and sipped his wine. “At some point, I can see sharing something of my life, but I can’t see making a full-time commitment. Of course, I could fall head over heels tomorrow, but I hope I’d be circumspect. I would like to think that the other person, with as much to lose as me, would also be wary of any commitment. An evening, maybe a weekend or a vacation. But as independent people together by choice when they both desire to be.”

“It doesn’t seem all that romantic.”

Harvey half smiled. “Do we get a little more practical about life with age? When you think about finances and health, two of life’s big-ticket items, you tend to be cautious about losing your nest egg.”

Carlos arrived with a tray. “Your dessert. And you have a beautiful evening to go along with it.”

Harvey raised his glass. “To a crisis-free future.”

The two of them took up their forks and tried the tiramisu.

“Oh that’s delicious,” Harvey said.

“And light.” Molly took another mouthful.

The two of them concentrated on their plates for a time.

“Good golly, Miss Molly.” Harvey leaned back in his chair and looked out beyond the terrace railing.

She looked up. “You’re quoting Little Richard?” She followed his gaze and turned in her seat. “What?”

He stood up. “Come here and look.” He stepped onto a walkway leading to the beach. “Somebody is setting off fireworks.”

Molly joined him. “Oh, that looks pretty.”

They leaned on the handrail, watching the exploding points of light. Other people from the terrace stepped out to get a better look, oohing and aahing.

Molly brushed against Harvey’s leg. He froze, staring down the beach. “What a nice part of the evening,” she said and laid her hand on top of his. Startled, he pulled away.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“No. I’m … It’s me.” Harvey cleared his throat. “I’m nervous.”

“Nervous?”

“I haven’t been with a woman in seven years.” He stared into her eyes.

“You’ve been with a man?”

He furrowed his brow for a moment then burst out laughing. “Okay, you got me. That wasn’t exactly what I meant.” He patted her hand.

“Kiss me, Harvey.” Molly stepped closer. “Kiss me now.”

He stopped laughing. He hesitated, then wrapped his arms around her, tilting his head and gently pressing his lips to hers. It took a moment before he realized she’d opened her mouth. He shut his eyes and kissed her deeply. They embraced in a sensual swirl until their kiss slowed and their mouths parted. He opened his eyes and found her gazing at him.

“It’s been so long,” he said. “I didn’t know how I would react.”

“Let’s not think about yesterday. Let’s think about right now, right here. I want to share a moment, Harvey. I want to share a moment with you.”

“I didn’t come prepared for …”

“Well, I did.” Molly took his hand and led him back onto the terrace. They passed their table, walked by the dance area, and strode into the main complex. There was a flash of light followed by the boom of a Roman candle.

###

Harvey lay propped on one elbow. He stared at Molly’s form in the semi-darkness. He reached out his hand, then pulled it back. She took it and placed it on her breast.

“I thought you might be asleep,” Harvey said.

“Not yet. I’m still relishing the afterglow.” Molly let out a sigh of contentment. “For a man who claims to have been out of the game for seven years, you haven’t forgotten your way around town.”

“Ah, it’s like riding a bicycle?”

“Oh, when you pedaled into the home stretch and shifted into fifth gear … ooh la la!” She pulled him to her. “Cuddle with me.”

Harvey wrapped himself around her body, half beside her, half on her. He laid his head on her shoulder.

“I enjoyed that,” Molly said. “I enjoyed you.”

“I was a little apprehensive at first. Maybe scared.”

“I know.”

“You do?”

“You’re not the first man who’s been … well, worried. We all have to relax and have a good time. This isn’t a contest. This is about enjoying one another.”

“You’re a wise woman, Molly. I’m afraid my wife left me pretty much on my own. She wasn’t what I would call participatory when it came to lovemaking. I had to come to the table ready, willing, and able. And if I wasn’t ready, she didn’t voluntarily do anything to assist me. I wonder if she really liked having sex.”

“Oh, Harvey, half the fun is turning your partner on. Pleasure is pleasure, but pleasure is also giving, not just receiving.”

“Not every woman approaches their relationships like you do.” He touched her cheek and turned her head toward his. He brushed his lips over hers. His voice was a whisper. “That was remarkable. You’re remarkable.”

“You’re going to make me blush.” She smiled. “However, I’m greedily using you for my own libidinous ends. I want what I want, and I want my partner to lose control of himself in a fit of unbridled passion.”

“You’re inspirational.”

“I like to inspire. I like to be the muse. And in turn, I want you to inspire me, push me, and lead me to where I want to go. And who knows? Maybe that will be to a few places I’ve never been before.”

“I like it when you talk dirty.”

Molly laughed. “This is it. This is what it’s all about: having fun. Yes — having fun together.” She reached down between his legs. “I like to have fun.”

Harvey kissed her as he ran one hand down her side and caressed a thigh.

###

As per Harvey’s instructions, the knock at the door was quiet. He wrapped a towel around his midriff and crossed the sunlit sitting room. “Just set it on the coffee table.”

The waiter walked in and set the tray down. He turned around, accepted the bill from Harvey, and shut the door after him.

Molly’s voice sounded full of sleep. “Harvey?”

He picked up the tray and entered the bedroom.

“Where did you go?” She rolled over and saw the room service. “Now, aren’t you the sweetheart!”

He stood beside the bed and smiled down at her. “I thought I’d get us a little something.”

“What’s for breakfast?” She reached up and undid his towel, letting it fall to the floor.

Harvey chuckled. “My God, woman, I haven’t felt this alive in a long time.”

“Put the tray down and kiss me.”

He put the tray on the side table and leaned over the bed. They held their kiss for a long time.

Molly blinked. “You have coffee?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, good.” She sat up and arranged the pillows. “Put the tray here between us.”

They sat up in bed, and she leaned against him. He poured out two cups of coffee, toasting her before they took a first sip. He turned and kissed her cheek, once more getting lost in the moment.

“This is nice,” she said.

“Yes, it is. A touch of paradise.” He lifted a covered tray and revealed buttered toast.

“Ooh, I’ll have a slice.”

“Is this how it’s done? I’ve forgotten.”

“It’s been a while for me, but yes, this is how it’s done, and it should be done regularly. Without fail.”

“Of course, this is still our honeymoon. What happens when we wake up, look at each other and say, ‘What? You again?’”

“It doesn’t have to be like that. There can be a process of renewal, of commitment. The day-to-day can get boring, but it’s up to us to stir the pot once in a while.”

“Hmmm, do I understand that?”

“I guess it’s easy to become complacent. And complacency doesn’t sound like a recipe for long-term success.” Molly finished her coffee. “What are your plans for today?”

“Well …” Harvey scratched his head. “There was that visit to the spa for that rock massage.”

“And?”

“Lunch?”

“And?”

“I should take an obligatory swim in the ocean. Just to say I’ve done it.”

“And?”

“I suppose I should read over the resort’s schedule of daily events.”

She rolled her eyes.

“What?”

“Listen, if you think I’m going to let you out of this bed without having sex one more time, you’re dreaming in Technicolor.”

“God, I don’t know if I can.”

“I’ve been known to wake the dead.” Molly got up and pushed the tray aside. “I’ll introduce you to the fluttering butterfly with sliding twist and one-handed dice juggle.”

“My imagination is running wild with that description.”

She grabbed both his ankles and spun him around, leaving his legs dangling off the edge of the bed. Molly leaned over, placed a hand on each of his thighs and gave him a sly smile. “Watch and learn, Grasshopper.”

###

Harvey stood at the window of the terminal and watched Molly cross the tarmac. She showed her boarding ticket to a security agent then walked up the stairs. She stopped at the top and turned back. Holding one hand over her eyes, she scanned the building until she saw him waving. She waved back, blew him a kiss, and disappeared into the plane.

He remained there as the engines started and the pushback tractor moved the plane away from the gate. It taxied out to the runway, waited for clearance, then soared off for its flight home.

Harvey studied the list of departures: his flight boarded in five minutes. He turned back to the window and stared into the sky. Would he ever see Molly again? Then again, was that what was important about this weekend? He had never tried anything after his divorce. It just didn’t seem to be worth it. Too much pain, too much emotional upheaval, too much of too much.

But this? This woman? Could life be that passionate, that intimate, and that much fun? He’d been caught off guard. This past weekend had been an incredible experience. Nothing in life is forever, but thank goodness for those things that are unforgettable!

Harvey rubbed his chin. Would he work things out? Would he get his mojo back? Would he get out there and get back to living his life? Molly had left him with something.

She made him want to be a better man.

END
William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn’t been able to attribute to anyone: “A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem.”

 

 

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