By A.H. Watson

There is a slough behind the house, a protrusion of the main lake that separates my small yard and deck from the grass bank some twenty-five feet across the water. Yet to reach that spot some thirty-yards away, it is necessary to drive about a mile around the end of the lake. This will bring one to the corner of the street containing the homes only yards away from my deck. Behind these homes and border of woods is the long, grassy bank of the thin pond extension.

Each night she came, her husband by her side, walking two beautiful leashed Setters. Her husband, tall, handsome, his gray sideburns gave him the look of State Judge. But, as well, the look that could conquer a tribe of Watusi - a safari jacket, a Weatherby 375, and he would be the Stewart Granger of our golfing community.

I shan't give you his Christian name, as his wife Willow became quite close and very dear to my heart.

When was it? Let me close my eyes for a moment?.

Now I remember.

It was the night of the Golf Club's fall dance. My wife was busy avoiding me and verbally knitting with the other women. Many men, other than myself, surrounded Willow's husband. He was busily shooting lions on the Veldt or tigers on Wall Street - who knows?

Words flowed so incessantly from the head of our own Adonis that few even tried to structure complete sentences from the mass of verbiage. My last memory of him that night was one of his doing that "narcissistic chin thing" some men do while looking in a mirror. Men, that is, who have some highly overblown picture of themselves ? or are rampantly swish. Hell, I once saw a poofer making that little tweppy move himself?. while trying to see his image in a dull marble wall.

Willow? She stood alone on the flagstone veranda overlooking the lake.

Moving into my smooth gear, I asked the bartender to fix another drink of, "what the tall brunette was having."

Looking at me, with that funny look one gets when they have spinach caught between their teeth, the pimply-faced kid responded, "Oh, you mean Miz. Willow the Judge's wife. I wish my mom looked that hot!"

At that point - standing there with a teenager with more moves than my whole checkerboard - I felt as I were emotionally donned in a propeller beanie and carrying a colorful sand pail. My only response to the acne scared waif had been a stammered.."Yo? your?your mother?"

Before describing my first encounter with Willow, allow me to suggest a few points many men, as well as women, for various reasons never notice. The most erotic, enticing, the greatest heartfelt love comes ? and can only come ? from a small portion of the female population; women around thirty-five to fifty years of age. Think about it and be honest in your own mind.

At that age women are the most beautiful - they no longer demand some emotional payment for participation ? they know what they enjoy, and expect the man to perform to expectations. There is little ambiguity, no mixed signals ? and most of all both parties can laugh when it is not the "absolute best sex either ever had"?..even between the two.

Stepping onto the patio with the two drinks, I felt confident with my new opening line having dropped my old favorite?"Hi there, what's your sign? I'm a Pisces."

Holding out her fresh drink - with my most seductive smile I asked Willow, "Are you as lonely as I am tonight?"

"Evidently not." Smiling as she accepted the drink. "Well if it isn't my lover from across the bay."

"I have thought often about putting out a green dock light wondering if you might call me Daisy when we finally met."

"But I was afraid?. No!?Not that my husband would catch on ? but that you wouldn't!"

"Afraid that you would be just another dense male creature with nothing but your pecker leading you around like some blind oatmeal muffin."

"Me? Think of you as a sex object? Never!"

"Standing on my deck each evening, I see you as a Greek Goddess rising from the mist at the distance of the pond. Walking, in white, slowly toward me - great hunting hounds and faithful manservant by your side.""You know buster, if poor Gatsby had your gift of bull and could change mules in the middle of the stream such as you just did - hell ? Daisy would have been a quick lay."

"Ahhhhh?. errr?.should humm - may I read something into that last remark?"

"How about dropping by the next time "Stewart" goes on one of his seven day turkey hunts. Is that plain enough?"

"But how will I know which house is yours?" Henry managed in a voice a couple of octaves higher than hers.

"Well if that's your normal voice you won't ever know. On our street, however, you could hit about any house and do the woman a favor."

"I'll put a small green light over the side door ? silly. No sense sharing you with all those other sex starved women on 'Virgin's Row'."

"So your husband is named Stewart? Funny that he is nam?"

"Sugar ?his name is Abraham, but he acts like that English wuss in the African movie. Never stops talking ? like the world was held together by his unfinished sentences."

"So you call him Stewart just to ride his butt?" Henry smiled.

"Well, it is the only ride his butt is capable of giving ? and it mostly works. He will go in the den and pout for a while or oil a gun or something. Useless as tits on a boar hog he is. Mother told me and told me, but goddamn, he looked so pretty in the box."

"Oops, Here comes Stewart. Get away before he drowns you in words. Come by soon. I want you all to myself."

"But?but, how will I find you?" Henry swallowed.

"Silly, I told you. I'll leave a light out for you."

Six months later:

The next six months brought peace, not experienced since his youth, to Henry's soul. Alone with Willow in his dreams, or bed, the sex had become secondary to the thoughts of her. Conversations carried long into the night. They gave meaning to the travails of daylight.

Henry lived for those days he could keep her in his mind, could feast on her smile ? her clever view of life. These thoughts interrupted by phone, or his wife's demands, left him noticeably irritable to all nearby.

Two weeks before his life had changed dimensions, Henry noticed that Willow walked alone with the Setters. It was next day before, while at the club for lunch, he heard that Willow's husband Stewart had passed away.

Lion or Watusi?? Henry never asked the means. He hurried home dreaming a new future as he drove.

Drink in hand, wearing his $120 blue striped Egyptian cotton shirt, Henry arrived early to his place on the deck. Would he nod - perhaps throw in a small wave as well?

But before he could come to such a momentous decision, from behind him came the low snarl to which he had become almost oblivious.

"So you were going to stand there like the Captain on the Titanic, waiting for her to sashay by with those mutts? You are SO foolish, Henry. You realize this morning at SAM"s you stood looking at a damn rubber dingy for what ?thirty minutes?" Then with a harsh laugh,

"You were going to buy it and paddle across to see her? Wish you had, that would be a real laugh."

Henry stood for a moment neither turning to look or speak to Leigh. Then as the dogs and Willow came close he turned, brushed by his wife, and grabbed the dog and its leash.

Having tossed the poodle on the front seat, Henry backed from the garage barely missing the still moving door. Once across the dam Henry pulled up near the corner of Willow's street - a spot back from the point where she would appear from the woods.

Looking directly at him, Willow approached. She was wearing shorts much like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders wore as all men between 15 and 60 in the television audience were mentally raping them. A sheer halter below her face accented a thin line of perspiration along her upper lip. Two damp curls loosened from the hoard hung limply in front of her ear.

I could have cried at her beauty.

"Well, you finally came," she said as she smiled.

"That night at the club you stayed rooted just inside the ballroom but never came out. You just stood holding those two drinks 'til the ice melted. We could have danced slowly in the moonlight. Time is insidious, lover, it passes us by used or noted - or forever lost."

"One whole year you have stayed rooted to that damn deck. Was it finally the shorts? I really didn't want to use my secret weapon."

Then giggling, "I wanted you to love me for my mind! Not come running because of these old things!" (holding her shorts out with one finger and twirling back and forth to a silent tune)

Rising on my small high horse? "Where do you get the idea I was hurrying to see you?"

"Well, if you normally leave your car running when you get out, and if you still haven't noticed your poodle peeing on your sock while you stand there?then forgive me, I am wrong."

"Why don't we take this to my house? We can always scratch the dogs ears while having coffee?.. or we could give the dogs the coffee and I could scratch your ear."

(As they moved up the street you could faintly hear?)

"Did I tell you what a nice looking shirt that is - and how well it looks on you?"

2008 A.H. Watson, all rights reserved.

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