“I want you to see something.” I followed behind, Daniel’s long legs forcing me into keep-up mode. It was something I hated but was used to; short people are always working harder to stay in the race.
I’d been happy to see him in the morning. He’d greeted Min as though the night before hadn’t happened. “What’s happening ladies?”
“Are you okay?” Min cut a slice of melon and held it out to him.
“It’s a beautiful morning and the sun isn’t too high yet. And I believe Miss Kate has promised to promenade with me.”
“Somebody didn’t get enough sleep,” I said peering at him over my coffee cup.
“Plenty of sleep ma’am. Now get on some good shoes, the rocks are rocky out there.”
So I did as he asked and followed Daniel upward, high toward the top of the island.
Daniel stepped onto the rocks easily; his climb effortless while I labored for balance and for reach. “Need a hand there short stuff?”
“You should be nicer to your elders,” I huffed, but I also took his proffered hand. My hand fit inside like a child’s hand in her father’s. He grasped firmly and pulled me up.
“You’re not that old,” he said as I leveled next to him.
“At least ten years older than you.”
“What do you think I am? Twelve?” He yanked on my hand and I stumbled a step closer to him.
“More like fifteen, you are in your teens aren’t you?”
“Made it all the way past puberty.” His smile burned out and his face transformed to sudden seriousness. “I’m twenty-nine Kate, I’m not a kid.”
“Neither am I and I’m thirty six. So almost ten years older.”
“Seven years might have meant something when I was fifteen but not now. And right now I want to kiss you.”
“That’s nice.” I felt tongue tied which was new for me.
“Nice?” His eyebrow went up. “Nice isn’t what I was expecting.”
“If I tried somersaults of joy I’d probably fall off this rock.”
“You know you like me Kate.”
“Now you sound fourteen.”
“So can I kiss you?”
“Is that why you brought me up here?”
His smile flashed like sudden sunshine. “No, I wanted to show you that.” His hand swept out and I took a step forward. We were high above the harbor where a fishing boat was bobbing on the calm water, the ferry was far in the distance and a sailboat was tied far at the end.
“I’ve seen the harbor before.”
“The sailboat, that’s mine.”
I squinted in the sun. “From up here it looks like a toy.”
“A thirty-six foot toy. I can sleep six in it and it sailed here all the way from California.”
“Should I ask how a Montana boy sails a California boat to a Greek island?”
“You answer my question first.”
It took me a moment to realize what he was saying. “I didn’t come here for more complications Dan. I came here to live simpler.”
“Good. Then we’ll make it a simple kiss.”
I opened my mouth to protest but then I didn’t. He kept his word and it was a simple kiss, a brush of his generous lips against mine. A touch of pressure and then release. A promise that there was more if I wanted it.
Daniel dropped down from the rock back to the path and extended his hand to help me down.
Damn him completely, I followed his smile all the way back down to the village.
Of course he made me think about him.
I came home in the afternoon and Min was gone. I wasn’t surprised, with the night she’d had I expected her to be cooing at doves or maybe even throwing rocks at males passers-by. I wasn’t concerned; I think Min was proving to herself that she could take care of herself. She didn’t need me to be her Mama.
I went to bed. The house was stuffy in the afternoons and oftentimes we lay outside on an old mattress and talked and snoozed through the heat. This day I undressed and lay on my bed, my eyes closed and my body still remembering a simple kiss.
I wasn’t young anymore with tight skin or erect breasts. There was sag everywhere and I could poke myself with my finger and feel the sponginess of my skin.
Daniel was still young and tight. He could laugh at our age difference but would he laugh when he saw the cottage cheese thighs or droopy breasts? What would he say when I lay on my back and my breasts fall into my armpits?
I closed my eyes and thought of how long it had been since I’d moved against a man. How long since someone had looked at me with want and made me burn with the same.
I touched myself more intimately and when I orgasmed, it was Daniel’s name silent on my lips.