He was in no hurry. On a beautiful day such as this, every moment was one to cherish. The breeze was rustling through the palms ever so gently as the white willow wisps of clouds painted ghostly shadows on the gently rolling hills.
It had been a long time, lifetimes to Paul since he strolled through the narrow cobblestone streets of this tiny seaside fishing village. The villagers were just now beginning to start their day. The women could be heard in the houses trying to stir their families into action. Most of the men were already out to sea, hoping for a good catch to bring to market.
Paul left the road, taking his time strolling out towards the hillside that overlooked the azure waters. He stopped on the hilltop to enjoy the ocean breeze in his face and the gulls frolicking overhead that instilled a feeling of great inner peace and oneness with creation within him. He had forgotten how good it was to relax and not take the world so personally. After all, I’m just a traveler at a rest stop, not the conqueror of empires.
The laughter of the children playing on the beach that spread out below him snapped Paul from his revelry. What greater joy could be found than in a child’s laughter. And then he saw her. From this distance, it was hard to tell if she was one of the children. Round and round she raced with the kids, laughing and splashing in the surf that caressed the white sand beach. “I do believe this merits investigation,” he said to himself. Without further hesitation, he ripped off his shoes and ran down to the beach.
Paul was stunned. She was drop-dead gorgeous. She had a timeless beauty that would have been stunning in any century. Her long blonde hair and soft pastel dress lent an air of radiance about her. As she approached him her large green eyes and marvelously sculptured lips broke into an irresistible smile that could melt the polar ice cap. The web was already cast, and Paul was the contented victim.
“Hi, there. A beautiful day is it not?” said a voice that could make angels jealous. While Paul tried to find his voice all he could do is shake his head in the affirmative and grin stupidly. “Would you like to play tag with us? Oh, I’m sorry, let me introduce myself. I’m Keeri, and you are?”
“P-Paul,” he managed to stutter over a still handicapped tongue.
Keeri had a questioning look in her eyes, thinking to herself that Paul must be new around here for she could not remember seeing him before. And she would most definitely remember that event. As she studied him more closely she came to the conclusion he was attractive, h-m-m, extremely attractive, she thought. He stood about six inches taller than her, she being five foot nine. His body was, well, perfect. He had deep-set blue eyes that exuded a penetrating strength but a sense of serenity at the same time. His chin was strong with a sexy cleft, his nose slightly bigger than ideal, and his brown hair looked as if it hadn’t been cut for some time. But it was his smile and lips that caught her attention as she found herself wanting to kiss them a few thousand times at this very moment.
“Sure”, said Paul. I’d love to play with you, and, uh, the kids.”
As they played and laughed and shared their love of children their admiration for each other grew. Their glances grew longer until they could no longer keep their eyes from one another. No longer did they hear the water lapping on the shore or the gulls screeching overhead. They became a world unto themselves, living for the moment, afraid to ask questions better left unanswered.
Never had either of them felt such a powerful connection before. It was as if there was no beginning or end to this crazy love, it was simply waiting for fulfillment.
Keeri took Paul to one of her favorite secluded spots along the shore. With the sound of the water breaking on the shore, they spent what was left of the morning making love and making friends. Keeri then suggested they grab a morsel of food and some homemade wine.
As they wound their way through the mostly deserted, narrow village streets Kari asked, “Where are you from Paul?”
Paul stifled a laugh and replied, “Well to tell you the truth I’ve never lived in one place long enough to call home. If I had to pick one I guess it would be Chicago.”
“How about family, friends, or maybe a wife?” laughed Keeri with a mischievous gleam in her eye.
“No family alive. A few friends scattered all over the globe. Negative on the wife.”
“Sorry about your family. I never did catch your last name.”
“Winter, what’s yours?”
“Have you lived here all your life?” asked Paul.
“Since I was three. We moved from Minnesota. My parents have been dead for some time now. My older brother and sister got me through my teen years. And, they have the scars to prove it. My sister married and followed her husband to St. John’s and my brother John went back to the States. It gets lonely sometimes but there are always stray sailors coming ashore to entertain me” joked Keeri. “Here’s the place I call home.”
It was a small but quaint bungalow with colorful red bricks that matched the cobblestone road that led to it. “Come on in and take a load off,” said Keeri. Paul had other ideas and swept her into his arms and carried her through the small living area into the bedroom. Several hours later as Keeri was throwing some dinner together she asked Paul, “Have you been on the island long?”
“Just got in yesterday,” was Paul’s brief customary reply.
“What do you do that requires so much traveling?” she asked.
“I’m a writer.”
“I didn’t know writers traveled so much. I know, you’re a travel writer, right?”
Trying hard to suppress a laugh Paul said, “No-oo. I was a news journalist for many years. It was a very exciting job at first, but it became limiting in the sense that the media considers all the negative aspects of life as news. It was becoming harder and harder for me to smile and laugh. So I quit, bought a sailboat, and set out looking for fairy tales to write.”
Keeri just sat staring into his deep blue eyes which reflected a certain ageless quality while trying to figure out just what she was getting herself into. “You’re a strange man Paul Winter. I’ve known you for less than a day and I love you like I’ve known you for lifetimes. I feel like a giddy school girl.”
Paul’s typical blunt response, “Hey, let’s eat and head out to catch the sunset with some of that wicked wine of yours.”
“Sounds good to me.”
They both ate in silence, consumed with the notion that something very special was happening. Paul had never known love such as this could exist for him. God, she’s beautiful. She is so alive. I’m the firewood and she’s the match.
On the other side of the table for two Keeri was bubbling over with wonder over this whole crazy affair. Nothing like this had ever remotely entered her mind. Never had she met a man with such quiet strength and at the same time such an easy laugh. He had a contagious laugh that was irresistible. And the eyes, so mysterious, as if there were so many secrets he could share if only…
“Dinner was awesome. What fish was that?”
“Mahi Mahi, with coconut rice and my homemade mango salsa,” smiled a proud Keeri while she twirled like a schoolgirl.
“Wow! That was so amazing. She can cook too!’ exclaimed Paul with a laugh. “Come on. We’re going to miss that sunset. Grab the wine and let’s head for hills.”
It was an idyllic evening. A warm tropical breeze toyed with Keeri’s hair, which seemed on fire, reflecting the crimson hues that were painting the sky with reds and oranges. Not to be outdone, the thin, wispy clouds were mirrors reflecting the beautiful colors.
“It’s as if God has painted a picture for us tonight,” said Keeri. They sat there on the hilltop in silence, awed by the spectacle surrounding them.
Paul, lying on his back, began to write something in the air with his finger. Wondering what weird thing he was up to Keeri could not hold back her curiosity. “Now what are doing?”
“I’m writing our initials in the sky,” said a very serious Paul who may have been feeling the effects of the wine.
“A little tipsy Paul?” laughed Keeri.
“No, really, come here and I’ll show you,” stated the still serious Paul. With Keeri lying next to him cheek to cheek Paul pointed to a cloud in the sky and said, “there, you see it? Plain as day, K.S. and P.W.”
“No,” said a suspicious Keeri who was beginning to wonder if she fell for a madman.
“Watch, I’ll trace it for you.” He took Keeri’s hand, pointed her finger, and began to trace their initials. Now it seemed to Keeri, lying there in total wonderment, that their initials were forming in the clouds. “Yes, yes I can see them now!” exclaimed Keeri.
Paul rolled over, giving her a big kiss, looked deeply into her eyes, and said with a snicker in his voice, “Who’s feeling a little tipsy now?” With that he slapped her fanny, leaped up, and began to run down the hill laughing, not forgetting to grab the wine on the way.
Keeri followed screaming, “I’ll get you for that!” When they were both exhausted they fell on the beach laughing in between gasps for air.
When she was finally able to squelch the giggles Keeri asked, “Please take me to your boat. I’d like to see where the famous Paul Winter, spinner of yarns, makes his home.”
They took their time getting to the pier where Paul’s boat was docked. “What’s her name?” she asked as they mounted the deck.
“The Winds of Mer Kailesh.” “Where’s Mer Kailesh?” asked Keeri. Paul responded with a glimmer in his eye, “That’s another fairytale. Come on, I’ll show you around.” After a brief tour and some moonlight skinny-dipping, they sat on the deck finishing the wine while being lulled by the gentle waves caressing the boat.
“Stargazing is lovely for a while, but let’s go to bed,” whispered Keeri seductively. “Yeah, I’m really tired,” laughed Paul.
Keeri rose along with the sun. She had not slept all night thinking about this strange and wonderful man. She found some paper and a pen and began to write.
Never have I known love could reach such heights. My time spent with you was like heaven on earth. It is funny, but I was afraid I would fall in love with you and be crushed when you left. But I’m aglow and blushing with a radiance I’ve never felt before. My love for you will never end — I think you know that. See you when I see you.
PS Write about us. It will make a great fairytale. She walked down the small pier feeling silly, laughing out loud. Besides, I get seasick. And I did see those initials.
Paul’s effort to open his eyes was like a drawbridge struggling to raise its heavy load. For someone who rarely drank alcohol, the wine had certainly taken its toll. “Hello, anybody home?” There was no response. Maybe she went for a swim. He saw the note Keeri left sitting on the deck chair and began to read it. Amazing. I’m sitting here for this great depression to descend upon me, and all I can do is sit here with this silly smile on my face.
Paul dove into the crystal blue waters for a swim, thinking all the while of the love that had blossomed in him. The perfect lady on a perfect day. He dried himself off and picked up the note and read once again. PS Write about us, it will make a great fairytale. “Yes it would,” he said to the seagull gliding overhead, sure it was Jonathan. He picked up his pen and wrote.
When we meet
We shall touch the stars
The little children will laugh at us
And to each we shall teach love
And we’ll float on the soft summer breeze
I’ll carve our initials in the clouds
And in a fleeting moment
That which is not tangible shall succumb
And our love will become inimitable
Will explore the silver moon
And search for the silver man
And we’ll mix the colors on the palette
And paint the world
Then we’ll say our goodbyes
And no regrets will there be
Only happy memories we share
And our initials in the clouds
Dedicated to a Golden Lady with eternal love
Originally published on Medium.com