Feed The Fires

Standing face to face
Feeling the heat of the moment
Clothes falling away
Mouths locked in passion
Tongues dancing a private samba
The power of unleashing desires

We’re not teens anymore
No need for games
No room for self consciousness
Two bodies and two minds
Bent on giving and receiving
Focused on sensation
Creating dizzying moments

My hands reading your skin
Like an explorer in new territory
Mapping and noting your reactions
My mouth close behind them
Wetting you with my interests
Pressing you into me
Tasting your treasures

You respond in kind
Making me submit to your
lusty intentions
I’m left to writhe under you
As you command my body to attention
Your efforts rewarded firmly

Drops of dew forming
And you, my hummingbird
But also my flower
Our private garden of
the passions
We indulge completely
Inhibitions long gone
Soaked in the sweat of
pure golden ecstasy

The Sphere

Tonight’s date was kind of a bust I guess. Mulling it over, as I cleaned up the dishes and emptied wine glasses, it seemed like another ‘first and last’ situation. I mean, she was pleasant enough, and plenty good looking enough too…so, what was it? Chemistry I suppose, maybe it really does just comes down to chemistry after all. She was pretty boring, come to think of it. Stories about her cat, her mother, her successful ex-husband, it was all so boring.


Well, that, and the fact that she didn’t get any of my jokes too. No quicker way to go from ‘Hot to Not’ in my book than to have me explain each one of my jokes or puns. Does she ever watch the news? Ever read the paper? I’m thinking that she doesn’t. I bet if I’d brought up something about that ‘The Bachelor’ show, she’d have had plenty to say.


Okay, what am I doing? That was mean spirited of me. It’s just the disappointment of another potential romance gone by the wayside. I’m a better person than that, and I do apologize for those negative thoughts. I think that being over 50 and single again makes me feel like the sand in a giant hourglass is pouring past, and I don’t have a lot of time left to find someone. Meh, I know that’s not true either, and I’m not sure what’s really behind this flair for the melodramatic tonight.


I know that I’m a good guy, and I don’t lose sight of that. I’m not perfect by any means, but good-natured, funny, kind, open hearted, creative and considerate to everyone. What’s not to love, right?

Well, okay, there are a couple things, but nothing major. Just like anyone, no different.


Yet, sometimes I do get this feeling that’s hard to explain. It’s like ‘time is running out’; but maybe more accurately ‘something’s coming, and I’d better be ready’. Although I have no idea how you get ‘ready’ for something you aren’t sure is really coming – and don’t have any clue to what it is.


So, I just live my life, same as you do. Get up every morning, do the three S’s, get myself to work on time, half-ass my way through my workday, and head home to relax and do it all again the next day.


Kitchen is cleaned up, now to find that cat and kick him out for the night. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great cat and all, but he also has a bad habit of thinking my nose is a toy at 3am. So, we have our quality time before I go to bed, and he can serenade the lady cats all night on his own. Right on the bed of course, where else would he be? I am sometimes surprised he’s not in the middle of my pillow, the comfort-seeker that he is.


Just as I reach for him, he startles and dashes off the bed, and crawls under it. “I don’t have time for these games Chairman Meow. It’s time for you to go out now buddy.”


As I’m getting on my hands and knees, and lifting up the edge of the comforter to see him, well, all I saw are huge golden eyes looking back at me in terror. He looks scared spit-less, and I can tell I’m going to need a tow truck to get him out from under there.


I have no idea what spooked him so badly, and I can’t remember seeing him act like this before. We’ve been roommates for over two years now, and he’s about the best cat I’ve ever known. He just showed up at my back door one evening, and I let him in for what I thought would be a minute.


He came right in and casually went from room to room as if he were inspecting the place. I could almost hear him thinking “I suppose this will do for now.” And, he’s been here ever since.


He’s great though, as cats go anyways. He’s fairly quiet, doesn’t shred up my furniture, poops outside, and it’s one of those super needy types. He’s just perfect for me. As long as I have a comfy bed, and keep him supplied with the good type of canned food he loves, I am pretty sure he’ll stick around. But tonight’s behavior, well, I have no explanation for.


Sitting on the carpet by my bed and wondering what my next move is going to be, I feel a slight rumble. Not really an earthquake type of rumble, but more like a vibration in the floor. I better check the window in the living room, I think, just to see if anything is going on outside.


As I’m padding down the hallway all hell breaks loose. A boom like I haven’t heard since I was a kid, when jets at the nearby airbase were allowed to fly low. But this boom knocks me off my feet, and blows in all my front windows too. If I’d have been ten feet further down the hall, I would have been shredded by flying glass.


I don’t know what the hell just happened, but something hit the ground outside, and hit it hard. My mind is reeling, and my earls are ringing. Plane crash? Space junk? What the hell could blow out my windows and knock me on my ass like that?


As I get to where the window, um, was – I can see my front yard looks like it was just plowed up. I can smell the fresh soil, and burnt grass, and something else I can’t identify. I go out the front door to assay what’s left of my front yard, and make sure I don’t need to put out any fires.


There’s a single furrow starting at the street, about three feet wide, and five feet deep and ending just short of the foundation of the house. In it lay a steaming ball of what looks like solid rock.


Small clumps of smoldering grass line each side of the trench cutting across my front yard. I can hear voices coming up behind me, neighbors who want to know what happened here. Quincy, from across the street is first to get to me.


“Damn man, what the hell is that?!”  Just behind him is Brinn, she lives next door to me. “Oh my God Lenny, are you all right?”  Both their voices seem muffled to me, probably the result of the massive sound wave when this thing hit the ground.


“I’m fine, I’m not hurt believe it or not.” I tell them. “I wish I could say the same for my windows, and stuff in my house.”


“I can’t believe you’re not hurt Lenny, and look how close that came to smashing right in to your house!” Brinn says.

“That’s the biggest meteor I’ve ever seen!” Quincy says. The look on his face is priceless. Part fear, and part astonishment.


My brain probably isn’t thinking clearly at this point, and without concern, I step into the trench to get a closer look at the meteor.


“Lenny, don’t get close to it man, you don’t know if it’s all radioactive, or has some kind of space shit on it!”


“Yeah, Quincy’s right, I wouldn’t go near it Lenny, it looks roasting-hot too.”


But, I can’t explain it; I just need to get closer to it. I move within about three feet of it, and Brinn is right, I can feel heat still. Suddenly the meteor begins to glow. A soft pinkish light starts to emanate from its surface, and I also feel the heat go away instantly. It doesn’t scare me, and hardly even startles me. It is almost like I’m expecting it to react to me.


“Lenny, get away from it man, that fucking thing could kill you!” Quincy is pretty riled up now, I can see it in his face. He is actually a few steps further back than the last time I had looked over at him. Brinn too is moving back a little, like they both think this is going to explode suddenly.


I dont share their fears though, I feel calm, and assured that it is all okay. Since I had felt the heat dissipate suddenly, I kniow it isn’t dangerous anymore.


So, I reach out for it; I really want to touch it.


“Damn dude, don’t touch it! Have you lost your mind?” I hear Quincy say, but it is even more muffled than before, like when someone speaks in a dream.


The pinkish surface of the meteor has somehow cleaned itself. It had been splotched with dirt and grass, but now it is smooth as glass and glowing. It has changed slightly to an almost peach color, and it is very inviting in a weird way. As my fingers make contact with the surface of what’s now, in my mind, a perfect sphere, I feel a small electrical spark, like carpet static.


I’m in an unfamiliar landscape suddenly. I’m standing on firm ground, but it’s not my yard, not my neighborhood, and I even fear it’s not my planet anymore. The sphere is right in front of me still, but I’m not where I was just one second ago. The sky is the same peachy color that the sphere was glowing, but there’s not much else here. No trees, no buildings or houses anywhere that I can see. As I turn in a circle to look all around me, just as I face the sphere again, there’s a woman standing right next to it. This time I’m actually startled, she made an entrance in complete silence. No footsteps, no nothing, just suddenly here.


She isn’t really what I’d call a normal human woman, but she does possess some of the features that women I know also have. She has no hair that I could see, not even eyebrows or lashes. In fact, she is completely hairless, and also completely naked.


But, her skin is what I am mesmerized by. I can only describe it as being somewhat like the sheen you see when oil is on top of water. Like a kind of rainbow effect, but denser, darker, and more vivid. The colors are also slowly swirling and moving all over her, it’s both fascinating and calming at the same time.


“I don’t sense any fear from you, and this pleases me.” She says. “I was correct in feeling that you were the perfect one to bring here.”


“Um, yeah, about that… where is ‘here’?”


“This is the Meeting Place. It is simple and hopefully calming to you. I made it for you based upon some images I had felt when you came close to the, um, the sphere, I think you call it. Your favorite color and a simple empty landscape, nothing hidden and no distractions for us.”


“Wow, you got this all from my mind?”


“Yes, all but my own appearance, which is true, and also unhidden.”


Um, yeah, I see that.” I stammer out.  She is just a few inches taller than me, and probably could be best described as voluptuous. In any other circumstance, she’d be a totally desirable woman, but these are not normal circumstances by any stretch.


“Would you prefer to be unhidden as well?”  But before I can answer, my clothes are gone. I am naked as the day I was born, and I had not one second to think about it.  Instinctually moving my hands to cover my crotch, I think I must look ridiculous now.


“Would you prefer your coverings to be returned?”

“Um, well, no I suppose not. It only seems fair I guess, I mean you’re not covered and all.” More stammering, but at least I’m not lying, I actually did feel like it was fair, and puts us on even footing.


“You have many questions, I feel them swirling in you like a storm. Please allow me to begin to answer them for you.”


Clearly she has some kind of ESP skills, because up to this point I had asked no questions at all. We stood about five feet apart, facing each other. The main difference being that her hands are at her sides, and I’m still covering.


In some other circumstance I’m almost sure I’d have found this funny.  She was right about the questions and the storm part too. I don’t think I could have put the questions I have in any kind of order of importance if I had to. Still, it isn’t from fear as much as it is just the absurdity of the situation. She actually has quite a calming presence, and an unusually soothing voice too.


“The sphere is a conduit, not a meteor, ship or capsule as you were first thinking. Your atmosphere was thicker than I had planned on, so it was an unfortunate landing for it.” 

That was an understatement.

“Hey, wait… You meant that to land in my yard?”


“Yes, but not nearly like that. I am sorry for the damage it caused. It was supposed to land gently and summon you with the light. I had no intention of traumatizing you or your friends, I fear I have complicated matters now.”


“Oh, I don’t know if anything’s complicated yet, but it sure was a show. I’m pretty sure Quincy and Brinn have got to be curious about where I just disappeared to.”


“No need to worry about them, they still see you at the sphere, just as you were when you touched it. For them, time is frozen, and you are not any different to them.”


“So, then this is not real? It’s like a dream or something?”

“You can think of it like that, but it’s more like a pocket in time. We just stepped in to it for a bit. The sphere helped with this. It does many things to help me.” Her voice trails off as if she got lost in thought suddenly.

“But, as I said I know you have many question, so I will endeavor to answer as best I can. You can call me Avital for the ease of conversation. It sounds very close to my actual name, in fact, this sound is very pleasing to me.

I am from a very distant system outside of your galaxy. I am both here with you, and also not. Like you, part of me remains on my world, safe and frozen in time. We can meet here for as long as we wish to, and nothing changes back on our respective home worlds.”

As she’s speaking about the details of this “pocket in time” I can feel myself drifting in thought for some reason. Maybe it’s her voice, I don’t know, but I think a bunch of it went over my head anyway. I snap back when I hear my name being said.

“Lenny? I’m sorry if that was a complicated explanation, I felt as if I lost you for a moment. I will try to keep my answers a bit shorter.”

She continues “I know you are wondering why I chose you, of all the people on your world, to contact and bring here. The answer to that might be even more complicated than my last answer, so I will say this; you are the most receptive mind I have encountered in a very long time of searching.”

“So, you’ve been looking for someone to talk to for a long time? I can’t even guess how you would have come across me in a search like that.”  Attempting to be a little funny, but I can tell that she doesn’t get it.

“No Lenny, not just someone to talk to, but someone to really communicate with. Someone whose mind and spirit operates in a certain way, and is open to the complex energies that are making this work. Also, someone whose mind is emotionally open like yours is. You may not know it, but it’s your emotions and internal energies that are helping to make this happen Lenny. You are half of this process even if you don’t realize it.”

She’s right I don’t realize it. I don’t actually feel like I’m doing anything at all, no concentration, no meditative state, no effort I can detect at all. To me, this is all just kind of happening, like any dream might happen. But, she’s the expert here, and if she says I’m helping make this happen, I choose to believe her.

“I know you very much want to know the reason behind my contacting you like this. Let me explain; after I discovered you, or your energy here, I knew I’d be able to make this happen, and just in time too. Lenny, my world is dying. My home planet will be gone in a very short time, and I am reaching out for help.”

As she continues I can’t help but notice that the patterns on her skin are changing with increasing speed. It looks like a film I once saw about Jupiter, and its bands of clouds moving in opposite directions.

“What kind of help could I possibly provide to you? I mean, clearly you’re way more advanced than we are, just what you’re doing right now is proof of that.”

“Lenny, you can help save me, and in turn I may be able to save a few others once I am safe. It’s probably too complicated to explain it all right now, but if you agree to what I propose, we will have time to talk about it later.”

“Okay, um, I need a minute to think about this. Wow. I mean, what does this consist of me doing? I wonder if it’s against the law even? I mean, I definitely want to help you, or save you, or um… ugh, I can’t think.”

“Calm down Lenny, I can feel your pulse racing, and your mind is a blur to me. It’s going to be alright, it’s not complicated, and the only risk is to me really.”

“Risk?! There’s risk? What kind of risk? Could someone die or something?”

“Truthfully Lenny, if what I wish us to attempt does not succeed then there is a possibility of death; my death.”

“Oh God, I don’t want that to happen, really. I mean I barely know you, but I like you, and I sure don’t want anything to happen to you. What do you need me to do?”

“Well, first Lenny, you’re going to have to be the very best salesman you can possibly be.”

“What? Sales? Me?”

“Yes, and I can promise you it will be very difficult too. You are going to need to enlist the help of your two friends. I need three of you to be at the sphere to have this be successful. It needs three minds, and their energy to activate the sphere’s controls.”

“Oh crap. I don’t know Avital, um, Brinn and Quincy are pretty freaked out right now. And, I don’t even know if they’d believe me if I tell them every single thing we’ve said here. Quincy is kind of a disbeliever when it comes to stuff like this, he’s a pretty religious dude and not likely to suddenly believe in aliens contacting me.”

“I know Lenny, that is why it is going to be so hard for you, and so very important that you are able to convince them. You will have to employ all of your best qualities to make them believe you. Just be honest, and sincere and I think they will come to see that you are not either joking, or mad.”

“But one more thing, you said that they are like frozen in time right? So, they saw me touch the sphere, and then, I’m guessing that once you, um, put me back; they’re going to think I touched it and just suddenly stepped back right?”

“Yes, you are correct. For them, almost no time will have passed. I will seem as if you touched the sphere and received a vision from it. You may be able to use that to your advantage Lenny.”

“Well, I can promise you that I’m going to do my absolute best. I won’t let you down. But, let’s say I convince them to help me, then what?”

“The next part will seem relatively simple after getting your friends to help us. The three of you will need to gather close to the sphere, and place your hands on it. Once you do that, you will be in charge of what happens there. You and your mind will be leading the other two, and showing them the way. You will see the sphere here on my world, and you will see me next to it. Once you’ve focused on my sphere, a connection will begin to be made. You and your two friends will need to concentrate your mind’s energies on that connection. You will feed it energy, and you will direct that energy back to your sphere.”

“Oh, wow, is that all? No sweat.”

“Lenny, I detect insincerity in your voice. Are you being untruthful with me?”

“No, I’m sorry. I was being a little sarcastic because it all seems totally overwhelming to me. I’m sorry. I’ll get a better attitude from now on.”

“I understand Lenny, please believe me I do. I thought about this day for many cycles now, and I did try to imagine the feelings and complications you might encounter. I realize that this is not only extraordinary to you, but it may also not even seem real to you. You have to trust me that this is all real, and that actual lives are at stake.”

As she is finishing her sentence she reaches out and takes one of my hands into hers. I didn’t even realize that in all this crazy conversation, I had ‘uncovered’ myself, and my hands had dropped to my sides. Her hand feels warm and soft in mine and I wasn’t expecting that for some reason. Her skin feels just as soft as any I’ve ever felt. Maybe even softer.

“Well Avital, I do trust you. Even though this is all completely outside of anything I have ever experienced, or even fantasized about, I still believe in you. I guess I am ready to go back, and do everything I can do to help you out. I can’t honestly promise you that I’m going to save you, but at least I can promise that I’ll do everything in my power to try.”

“You must realize this; once you return to your time, and we step out of this pocket, I will not be able to recreate this. You will be on your own to fulfill your part. Have I answered all of the questions you have for me?”

“I’m sure I haven’t even hardly scratched the surface of the questions I have but, the rest can wait until I see you here…err, or there, or well, you know. When you’re really in front of me, on Earth. I am pretty sure I know what I need to do to get you there too.”

She still has a hold of my hand, so I just naturally pull her in for a hug. I was not really thinking that through; I mean she wasn’t resisting it or anything, in fact she came right to me, and it’s a great warm hug. Very warm. And, she’s making this kind of purring noise too. I, um, kinda start to feel myself respond to that feel and sound too. I decide to back away quickly before my developing situation gets any more obvious.

“Okay, well, like I said, I am going to do everything in my power to make this work, and get you safe. So, I’ll see you soon Avital. Don’t you worry too much, okay?”

“I do not worry too much, Lenny. I have faith in you, I feel you will succeed in this. I have so many good feelings Lenny. But, as you said, we will speak at length once I am with you. I will project my most positive energies towards you Lenny, to help ensure a good outcome.”

“Sure, I mean, if that was your way of saying ‘good luck’ then I am all for it, and same here.”

Suddenly I am pulling my hand away from the sphere, and listening to Quincy, once again, ask if I was nuts.

“Lenny! Get away from that damn thing man.”

Brinn is pulling on my shirt to move me back from the sphere, and I stumble back into her.

“I’m fine, I’m totally fine.” I say

“Well just get back here by us and we’ll all feel fine together okay?” she says to me.

“Damn Lenny, I just have a bad feeling about that thing and I think we should get the cops here before it does some weird space shit.” Quincy is clearly rattled by this whole thing.

“No no no, just relax Quincy, you too Brinn. Just give me a minute to sort this out. It’s not all like it seems here, I mean, not what you think. Ugh, this isn’t coming out right.”

“Take a breath Lenny, maybe you were zapped by that ball-thing there. Just take a sec and gather yourself. Maybe Quincy is right and we should get some cops here?”

“No, please don’t do that. I’m fine, all right? I am just trying to figure out how to tell you what is happening. I know that sounds kinda crazy, or mysterious or whatever, but I really don’t mean it to.

“You guys know me, and you trust me right?”

Since they are both nodding their heads, I feel safe to go on.

“This is going to sound so nuts, but you’ve got to hear me out, no matter how crazy I sound, okay?”

Again, both nodding to me.

“When I touched that sphere, well, I know to you it looked like I touched it for a sec and then pulled away from it, but that’s not what really happened. And, here we have the crazy part…”

“Lenny, maybe that thing did zap you man, you don’t sound like the normal Lenny I know. You even look kind of shook up man.”

“Just bear with me Quincy, and hold off on judging until I am done okay? It’s gonna sound wild, but I am dead serious and not making this up. I wasn’t zapped or anything like that. But, I was taken away for a little while.”

“Lenny, you know I’m not as skeptical as Quincy, but I was here, and I saw with my own eyes that you were also here this whole time. You didn’t go anywhere Lenny.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I chose my words poorly, I didn’t physically leave, but in a way I kinda did too. You guys were um, frozen in time for a while. I saw you for a few seconds all stopped like a movies that was paused. But, then suddenly I was somewhere else completely. Like it wasn’t even Earth. It was, um, well, I don’t know exactly where I was. All I know is that it sure wasn’t here, or anywhere near here.”

“Well Lenny, you were right about the crazy part, because this is really starting to sound pretty bizarre, my friend.”

“Hey, I asked you to be patient Quincy, please man, just listen okay?”

He was looking exasperated, but I could tell he was going to listen now. In fact he backed up to the edge of the trench and sat down. Brinn was still right by me like she thought I was going to fall down or something, but that’s okay. She’s listening at least.

“Look, you don’t have to totally understand this, and I’m not even sure I do, but I believe what just happened to me. As soon as I touched that sphere I was taken to a place I won’t even bother describing. Just know that it wasn’t here, and you guys were kinda frozen in time for a little while. I met this, um, woman there. But not like a regular women, kind of more like an alien woman.”

Both of them looked like I was an alien suddenly. But to their credit, they weren’t saying anything, or arguing.

“Her name is Avital, and she’s from some other world that’s fantastically far away. She’s the one who sent this sphere here, to contact me. How weird is that?”

“Brinn, I think we may need to get an ambulance too, along with the cops. He’s delusional now, that can’t be a good sign.”

“Stop it Quincy, we said we’d listen, so lets do that. Go on Lenny.”

“Well, so anyway, Avital told me that there’s something happening to her world, and it sounds really bad. She sent this thing to contact me because She said I have some kind of ‘mind energy’ that she picked up on. I still don’t know what she means by that, but I’d say the sphere being here pretty much says she’s telling the truth.”

“She said that I, or um, actually we, can help save her by using this thing. She asked me to do everything I could to convince you guys to help. I guess it takes all three of us to make it do something. She said I’d know once we all touched it. Now I know this sounds crazy, and even I don’t have all the info I’d like to have, but her situation sounds pretty desperate, and I don’t think we can wait long. I really need you guys to help me. Please.”

Nervous glances back and forth between them, fidgeting and finally some words. “Lenny, even if we believe what happened to you, in what looked like a millisecond to us, we still have no idea what that thing does. I mean what if it’s a bomb, or a beacon to bring alien invaders here? All I’m saying is we just don’t know.”

“I hate saying this Lenny, but Quincy’s kind of right. We don’t know. And you’re asking us to take a leap of faith and go along with something that you can barely describe yourself. I mean, what if it is something bad?”

“Oh man, I get the feeling we don’t have a lot of time to argue this out guys, but I hear where you’re coming from, and had it been one of you that touched that, and then had a crazy story, well… I just don’t know. I think I’d trust you though. You’re my friends, and in my mind that’s what counts. If it’s something bad, well, then we’re in it together at least. I know it’s asking a lot, more than a lot, I’m asking you to make a leap of faith. I realize that, but I have to do this.”

I don’t know if it’s how I said that, or the look on my face, or divine intervention, but I saw both their faces change almost at the same time.

“I can’t speak for Quincy, but I’m in Lenny. You’re my friend too, and I truly believe that you’d do the same for me, anytime.”

Quincy breaks out in a big laugh suddenly. “I’m in too my friend. I guess I was just waiting to hear what Brinn was going to say, but she just said it all. You’re right about another thing too, at least we’re in it together, for better or worse. So, what do we have to do to save Avital the alien?”

The smiles all around feel really good, and I believe we can really do this now. Well, whatever ‘this’ turns out to be.

“Alright, well, like I said, she wasn’t full of details about this. She said once we got together on the sphere, I’d be leading us, and I’d know what to do. It’s supposed to connect to a sphere on her world somehow, and we’re going to help it. So, I guess we just have to get around it, and put our hands on it and see.”

The sphere was actually looking a bit brighter now, still a peach color, but bright now. As we move around it, the colors seem to move inside it a little. Maybe I am imagining that, but I don’t think so.

“Alright you guys, this is it. Let’s put our hands on it at the same time. I don’t want to get whisked away all alone again, okay?”

Looking in to each other’s eyes, we start to lower our hands in unison. Just as I feel the smooth surface of the sphere, a vision opens up before me. Just like an invisible television screen suddenly come on! I can see both Brinn and Quincy in front of me, but what I can see behind them is almost indescribable.

We’re in space. We’re moving through space, past planets, asteroids, then galaxies, and things I don’t even have names for. Long gray trails of what looks like fog just underneath us, like an extra-solar highway we’re following.

“Um, can you guys see all of this?”

I can see that Quincy isn’t going to say anything at all, his eyes say all I need to know.

“Oh Lenny, it’s so beautiful, so amazing… I can’t…”

Brinn’s voice trails off, but I understand her completely. Actually I feel like I can sense what she’s feeling right now too. As if we’re more connected by this sphere than we know. She’s right, it is so beautiful out here, seeing things no other person has ever seen. Well, no one from Earth anyway.

As we ‘move’ along this galactic highway, I suddenly see another one that almost paralleled to us. But, it’s brighter than the one we we’re following. I think maybe it’s a sign I should be on that one. As soon as that thought occurs to me, we are on it.

I had navigated us there just by thinking that it’s where I want to be. This is so amazing. I recall Avital saying I’d know what to do once we got the sphere going, and I think she’s right. I feel like I can see where we need to go, and I have the ability to make it happen now.

Suddenly, we’re heading right towards a big peach colored sun, right in front of us. It looks huge, much bigger than the one I know. Then, I see it, her world, and I ‘turn’ us to it. In the blink of an eye we’re on the planet, right next to her sphere. Right next to Avital herself, and she’s smiling at us.

“Lenny! It is so very pleasing to see you again! And, your friends as well.” Quincy still wasn’t ready to make words, but he manages a smile. Brinn smiles and nods to Avital, but also doesn’t say a word.

“It’s good to see you again too Avital. I wasn’t sure what I was doing at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quick.”

“Yes Lenny, I could see your journey through my sphere, and I think you did a fine job of navigating. But, now will come a much harder part, yet I know you will succeed at it just as well.”

“Okay, so what do we do?”

“I am going to concentrate my essence into the sphere Lenny, it’s how I am going to get to where you really are. But the return trip will take the concentration of all three of you. Carrying my life energy will drain the sphere, and you will be not only navigating, but giving energy to the sphere too.”

“How do we do that?

“Once again, all I can say is that you will all know as the need arises. What I have not said yet is that in doing this, it will tax your energy as well. You mustn’t over tax yourselves, for it can be dangerous. You might begin to feel tired, or even sleepy. If you do, you must stop giving energy to the sphere. Watch the color and brightness of the sphere, it will be your indicator of its energy level.”

“Hang on, what if the sphere fades, and we’re all getting tired, I mean what happens?”

“If that happens Lenny, the three of you will find yourselves back on your planet, right where you last touched the sphere. You may be lying on the ground sleeping, or even in a coma state if you drain yourself too much. As for me, I will no longer exist. The sphere will no longer exist, and your life will go on.”

“I’m not going to let that happen, okay? None of us will. We’ll do everything we can to make this work. So, when do we start the return trip?”

“We can begin immediately. I need just a moment to prepare myself. You will know when it’s time to go. I hope to see you again very soon Lenny.”

As I’m about to answer, I see her begin to, well, shimmer. The patterns on her skin begin to swirl faster and faster, then they seem to emit light in a rainbow of colors. The light starts to surround her whole body in this amazing color tornado. It looks like she levitating a little bit, then she’s gone, in a blink.

“Alright guys, let’s get her, and us, back home shall we?”

With that single thought, we’re off into space again. But, something is different feeling about this, she was right, it feels like it’s taking an effort from me to get us moving. Just to get back to that ‘highway’ we were on earlier is an effort. I see it, just off in the distance, but I feel like I am steering us with my whole body now. Quincy and Brinn are smiling in approval, and their apparent confidence in me gives me a little boost. With a heft to my right, I get us on the pathway leading home.

Keeping one eye on the pathway, and another on the sphere, I notice that it doesn’t glow as brightly as it did on our way to Avital’s world. But, Quincy and Brinn both look happy and determined, so I decided not to worry, and just do my part.

I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination, but it also feels like we’re not travelling as fast as we were on the way here. For lack of a better idea, I lean in to it, like if I were riding a motorcycle. I feel us speed up a little bit, and this is good.

I see that the sphere is looking slightly dimmer, and I see that Brinn has noticed too. She gets a look of concentration on her face, like someone straining to lift something heavy. She looks right down at the sphere, and almost touches her forehead to it. Right then the sphere begins to brighten up, and we move a little faster too. Now we’re on to something.

“Quincy, see if you can do what Brinn is doing, she sped us up by giving energy to the sphere, and I really believe that we need to go faster.” I just have a sinking feeling that time really is of the essence now. We need to get home before this ride slows down, or we run out of energy.

Quincy does the same thing Brinn is doing, with closed eyes and leaning down to the sphere. I swear I can see a faint light between their foreheads and the sphere. I can see the energy moving between them.

The sphere accelerates to the speed we came here with, and I know we’re coming to that place where I need to move from this pathway to the one that leads back to home. I’m concentrating on the surroundings, now passing by so fast, and then I see it. It’s actually glowing a little brighter this time, I think it’s a cosmic map-hint of some kind. Like it knows where we’re going, and saying ‘come this way!’

I use all of my strength and body English to move us onto the new path. I swear I just felt a bump as we switch, but it doesn’t’ see possible. Now on the right pathway home, I suddenly see that Brinn looks almost asleep, and Quincy looks pretty tired too.

“Brinn, wake up! We need you, we’re not home yet. Quincy, can you get her to wake up?”

Quincy looks up at me with tired eyes; I can hardly hear his voice as he speaks.

“I can’t Lenny, I think she gave everything she had. She’s drained, and I’m not far behind her. I had to back off a little bit or I’d be drained too. This seems to take a lot of energy, and I’m not sure I have much more to give man.”

“It’s alright Quincy, I think we’re going to be okay, we’re on the last leg of this trip, and maybe it’s downhill.” I say with a smile, trying to bolster his confidence.

But, once again I can see the sphere is dimming a little, and we’re slowing some too. I am not a actual navigator, and without this pathway I would never find Earth again. It’s a sudden and scary thought, and I try to put it out of my mind. We can make it, I really feel we can, I just need to concentrate.

The dimming sphere is looking urgent though, so I ask Quincy “Can you give it just a little more Quincy? I think we’re almost home, but it’s not looking good right now for Avital.”

Quincy nods and lowers his forehead to the sphere again, and again I see the faint flow of the energy from his mind to it. The color of the sphere is darker now, but the energy Quincy is giving it seems to move us a little faster at least.

Then I see him go limp, and I know he’s given it his all. He’s tapped out like Brinn, and probably somewhere between asleep and unconscious. I still don’t know how much farther we have to go, but my confidence is waning a little. When Quincy folded, we slowed down a little more. The sphere dimmed just a little bit more right then too.

I knew it was up to me now. I am suddenly scared that Avital’s life is in my hands, and I’m the only one who can get us home safely. I decide to see if I can add energy to the sphere, like Brinn and Q did. I lean down a little bit, and close my eyes.

“Lenny, I feel you.” I suddenly hear Avital’s voice in my head. “Lenny, don’t put yourself and your friends in danger. You have the option of pulling your hands off the sphere if you want to. I didn’t tell you this earlier and I’m sorry. I was being selfish, I guess. But now we’re all in danger, and I cannot have the three of you damage yourselves for me. Let go of the sphere Lenny, just let go. You’ll be back home and safe.”

“No! I won’t do that Avital. I won’t abandon you. You’ll die if I give up, and I am not going to let that happen. When you took my hand, when we were in the pocket of time, I felt something I have never felt before. It was like you were part of me. Like I’ve been missing something all this time and I didn’t know it until you touched me. Now…”

I am suddenly overcome with emotion, and even though I am not actually speaking, I still have a hard time telling her.

“I feel like I… need you now. Like my life needs you in it to be complete, and I am not going to just give up the chance to have that. Not when I’ve just found this feeling, and just found you too. I’ve got to make this work, I have got to make this happen.”

Tears are streaming down my face, and dripping on to the sphere and I see that each place a tear hits, the sphere brightens there. I can still feel Avital in my mind, and I focus on her, on her face and her words. I drop my forehead on to the sphere, but instead of feeling a thud, like I was expecting, it feels soft and warm. I don’t know why, but that feeling just triggers something inside me, and I cry out.

“We’ve got to make it!” and then all is black.

I feel myself lying on my back. I hear a voice, faint but I hear it. “Lenny… Lenny we made it, you did it.” It’s Avital bringing me back to my senses.

I sit up and see her kneeling right in front of me, and Brinn and Quincy are right there too. All of them are looking at me and smiling. They all look fine too, actually better than fine, they look kind of radiant.

“Damn Lenny, you pulled us through my friend. I thought we were done for, but your last charge of energy to the sphere pushed us here in a flash of light! I wasn’t even tired anymore when I realized we made it.”

“Yeah Lenny, you made the difference. I was completely drained, and just barely conscious, but when we appeared back here, I felt recharged and awake.”

“Wow, I don’t even remember what I did. I felt you talk to me Avital, and I kind of remember telling you some things, but then it gets kind of blurry.”

Avital helps me stand up, and she holds on to my hands, and as she does so, I begin to remember everything I said, and more important, everything I had felt too.

“Lenny, it was your soul’s connection to me that saved us all. Your pure heart and true emotions that burst out in an energy release I have never seen before. Your feelings, and your mind’s energy are so much more that I first thought.”

“I remember now, I really do. I was telling you I couldn’t lose you after just finding you, and right then I realized something. I realized I loved you, and I don’t even know how it’s possible, but I’d never lie to myself about my own feelings. Love was what just popped into my head, and it felt huge, and so overwhelming, but really good too. I have never felt this way before either. You are like a missing piece of my life, and now, here you are!”

I lean in and kiss her right then and there. She seems a little surprised, and a little awkward at first, but suddenly I feel her kiss back with passion. The colors on her skin start to swirl, almost like they did right before we left her planet. I think it’s a good thing.

 “Oh, Avital, what about your other people still on your world?” I ask her.

 “We now hove two spheres here, Lenny, so we can use them like a homing beacon and we will not have to make the trip ourselves. My people can transport here using their own energy now.”

“How many people are on your world? I don’t have a very big house.” I say smiling at her. I’m kidding around, but I kinda sense that they don’t do that much from where she’s from.

“Sadly, Lenny, there are only a very small number of us left there. Many chose other places to travel to, places that were closer and required much less energy. I will use the sphere to contact the few that may still be there, but it may only be two, or three.”

“Well, that’s not many, I am sure between Quincy, Brinn and me we can handle them staying with us. Are you guys cool with that?” Both were nodding in agreement. Soon we’d have our own secret alien colony, and how amazing is that? 

The Stable Hand

Many centuries ago, in a land overseen by a benevolent Queen, lived a simple stable hand. He worked at the Royal Stables, and he was very good at his job – in fact none were ever better. He took great pride in his work, and always gave his very best. He felt that doing anything less than his best effort was cheating his employer of their money.

He wasn’t particularly handsome, or muscular, but he was quite pleasant looking to all who knew him. While he worked, he would spend his days daydreaming about what he would rather be doing. His great dream was to become the Queen’s court poet. It would be so wonderful to recite his best writings to the courtiers and the Queen. But, it was just a dream. He had no idea how he could ever get the Queen to read, or even hear one of his poems. She lived in the great palace, and he was not allowed there.

One day, after his work in the stable was done, he decided to practice his readings in front of the animals he loved so much. He liked reciting to them because they never complained or criticized his work. After one of his romantic poems, he suddenly heard a very deep voice say “That was wonderful, the Queen would love that.” He looked around in dismay, and saw that no one else was there. As he looked about, he noticed the Queen’s stallion looking straight at him. “Did you say that steed?”

“Yes, your poem was quite wonderful.” came the response. Bewildered, but believing, he asked “You said the Queen would like it… is that true?”

“Yes, I am sure of it. She loves romance and anything associated with it.” Said the steed.

“Do you think you could get her to read one?” The hand asked. “I’d love to be the court poet someday, but I do not know how I would ever get the Queen to see or hear one. But, with your help, maybe it would be possible.”

The steed considered this request for many minutes, and then answered “Why yes, I would be honored to help you. You’re an honest and true man, and the court has too few of those. The current court poet is a terrible man, and his writings make my mane crawl.”  The stable hand was beside himself with joy. Finally he had a chance to get a poem to the Queen, and to have her see his work and just possibly, achieve a dream.

He cautioned himself to not let his hopes rise too high. So many different things could go wrong, the worst of which was, what if she did not like his poem? The horse, seeing the distress on the face of the stable hand, spoke up “Don’t get too far ahead of yourself on this, everything will turn out the way it should, just give it time.”

“Really?” He asked

“Yes, I’m sure of it. Now, let’s get to choosing which poem you want to give her. It’s important we chose the right one.” The horse said calmly.

It was just the reassurance he needed. They got right to work looking through his best writings, and separating out the very best ones. Then he’d read them aloud to the horse, and await his reactions.  The horse had very good taste in poetry, so their task went quickly. When they had finally decided on the right one, it was a short, but very romantic poem – straight from his heart. The horse knew this would appeal to the Queen, who was very fond of romantic verse. The current court poet mostly wrote about great battles and hard-won victories. These bored the Queen, but he never seemed to notice that. A romantic poem was sure to catch her attention, they both thought. Then, maybe she would ask to see its author, and finally his dream might just begin.

Several days passed without the Queen summoning her steed. The stable hand was beginning to get worried that their plan might not work out. The horse reassured him that everything was fine. It was not uncommon for the Queen to be very busy, and not have time for riding. But, he knew she would be calling soon. She loved riding, the wind in her hair, the smell of the fresh country air were all elixir to her soul. They were the remedies for too much time spent in the stuff old palace.

Finally, after five long days, the call came down that the Queen wished for her mount to be readied for a ride. They were both excited, and as the hand began getting the steed ready, they finalized their plan.

“How should we give it to her?” he asked the horse.  “Do you think you can give it over to her?”

“No” The horse said, “I can’t be the one; she doesn’t know of me like you do, she believes me to be a common steed, only you know my truth.”

“But, what will we do, I can’t get near her, the guards make me leave as soon as she arrives.”

“Don’t worry my friend.” The horse said to him. “I have an idea. Fold your poem up and place it just under the front of the saddle, below the horn. Make sure it sticks out a bit, and she will surely notice it.”

The stable hand did as he was instructed, and placed the parchment exactly where the horse said to. He hoped with all his heart that she would see it, and read it. If she did just that much, he felt he had a chance. He was standing on the very edge of a dream now, no turning back. This was his chance to reach what he knew was his destiny.

As the horse was now ready, the Queen’s guards made the stable hand step out of the area and into a empty stall. He’d become used to the routine, but this time it stung him more dearly. As door to the stall was closed on him, he moved his face close to the edge of the door, checking to see if he had a view of her. He could just make out the rear of the horse, but nothing else. His heart sank a bit.

Then he heard the clomp of hooves on the stone floor, getting louder, coming his way. She didn’t usually exit the stables this direction, but today she was. Seconds later she rode past him, he could see her well through the crack in the door. She was so beautiful, up on her steed, raven black hair flowing in the soft breeze that cuts through the stable. Her bangs neatly trimmed above her eyebrows, and those deep brown eyes that held every image they saw in soft consideration. She wore a purple blouse, and black trousers, with a golden belt. She was a vision he savored like the taste of ripe summer fruit. She rode out of his sight, and now, even with his soaring heart singing to him, he still felt nervous when he let himself think about her finding the note. What would she do? What if she hated it? Worse yet, what if she missed it entirely? Oh, he knew he’d be sick if, when he was grooming the horse after her ride, he found the note still there where he’d put it.

Out in the green meadows of the countryside, she rode swift and far. She loved the wind in her hair, and the smell of the trees and grass. With a gentle prompt she urged the horse over a fence or two with majestic jumps. She was in her bliss. After some time, she knew her mount needed a rest, so she headed for a small glade. Apple trees and green grass, sun and a breeze – a perfect place to stop. As she dismounted she noticed something under the front edge of the saddle, a small parchment. She held the steed steady, and removed it carefully. Curiosity was suddenly overtaking her, and she unfolded it to see it was a poem.

It was a romantic poem, of great sensitivity and depth, honest and heartfelt to be sure. It was a true heart’s pouring, and it moved her greatly. She read it, and re-read it several times. She could not help but wonder if it was written for her, but how could that be? And who could have written it? Certainly this was not the work of the court poet, his ramblings were as dry as his humor was. He knew nothing of this level of feeling, or this idea of love. No, this was someone she did not know, but she would find out. She knew she had to, she would not be able to rest until she knew this man, until she could look into his eyes and see what was truly there.

As she reread the poem one more time, she heard a voice ask “So, do you like it?” She spun around, but no one was there. There wasn’t another soul to be seen anywhere. Was she going mad she wondered?

Just then though, she noticed her steed had taken a few steps towards her. He was looking right at her, right in to her eyes. But… Before she could think any further the horse asked again “Do you like it?” This time there was no doubt, that horse had spoken! Spoken to her, as any human would. She felt dizzy and confused suddenly. Horses just simply did not talk, yet he had. “I.. I did like it.” she said haltingly.

“I liked it very much actually. But how is it that you are asking me steed? Is this some trick, or black magic?” The horse tried to manage a smile, as best a horse could, and whinnied as a laugh. “No ma’am, no magic, just me. I could not remain silent any longer. The question was burning me up.” She approached him and still in disbelief, she continued, “Why are you so curious good steed? Was it you who wrote this poem of romance?” Another whinny escaped him, “No, certainly not. I’m just a horse, we rarely compose romantic verse. No, it was a good friend of mine who wrote that, and I just wanted to know if it pleased you.”

“Tell me steed, tell me of this friend of yours please. For now I am greatly curious as well. I very much desire to know the kind of man who can write with such feeling and grace. Who can pour out the contents of his heart with such conviction.” The horse had not anticipated this question, truthfully he had spoken without thinking at all, and now he was in a predicament. He truly did not want to reveal the identity of his friend, but she was the queen, how could he lie to her? He hung his head low.

She noticed this behavior immediately, “You do not want to tell me do you? You do not want to break a trust with someone dear to you. I understand that better than you may think. I won’t command you to tell me who it is, but, we should go back now, I have a poet to find.” The horse was so pleased that she honored his wish not to tell her, he thought her nobler that ever. As she mounted up, he turned and said to her “Though I won’t tell you, I will say this, do not overlook anyone. No matter their station in life, or their manner or dress. I believe that when you look at this man, you will see what you need to know right in his eyes.” She smiled, “I agree steed, I very much agree!” And with that, they raced back to the royal stables on a mission.

As the horse and queen arrived back at the stables well ahead of her usual return time, the guards had left to return to their usual posts. The stable hand, of course, heard the approaching hoof beats and came out to see what was going on. “You there!” the queen said. The stable had felt a sudden queasiness in his stomach. He’d never been directly addressed before by her, this was all so different than he had imagined it would be. “Yes m’lady, er, Your Highness, Ma’am…” he sputtered out in answer.

“Stableman, hold my mount, but do not put him away.” she said as she easily dismounted the steed. She was right before him now. He could see into her eyes, he could smell her perfume, and it made him dizzy with delight. “Yes your Majesty, I will hold him.” The queen considered this for a moment, then said “Well, better if you lead him along with me, I have some business to attend to, and this steed needs to be with me, so come along with me please.” He looked right at the horse, and almost didn’t believe it when he saw the steed wink an eye at him. He took this as a good sign…

The queen did not seem to be angry, or even upset. No, she seemed to be very determined, her voice, her pace, all on a mission. They walked briskly up the stone street that led to the palace. He wasn’t sure how far she’d let him follow, but he was keeping quiet for now. He got the feeling from the horse that he should just play along with what was happening.

As they approached the palace main gate, guards scrambled at the unexpected sight of the queen coming their way. All got to their stations quickly, and snapped to attention. The lead guard approached, “Your Majesty, I apologize for…” The queen waved her hand to silence him, not rudely, but as to let him know she had more pressing matters. “Worry not, I came back suddenly, and I have business with someone of the court. Please call the courtiers as soon as possible, I want to see them all.” She said calmly. “Yes, your Majesty, right away. Do you want me to send this stable hand and horse back where they belong?” He asked.

The queen’s face reddened, and in her response to the guard, both stable hand and horse did now hear her in her temper. “You’ll do no such thing unless you’d like to be re-stationed outside the gates! Just do as I asked, nothing more.” She said with pointed exclamation. The guard made a poor salute and ran off to do as instructed.

She entered the main courtyard and started up the palace steps that led up to the large doors of the great room. The stable hand paused, and held the horse back for a moment. “You Majesty, um, do you really want us to follow you into there?” The queen stopped, and returned to stand in front of her two new friends. “Yes, of course, my good man. You and this steed will go anywhere I go. Do not hesitate, you are with me now, no one else will question you, or why you’re here. Don’t worry further.”  With that, she took his hand and led them both up the steps and in to the Palace’s great room.

Her lead guard had done as she instructed and gathered the courtiers into the great room. Several dozen people were milling about and talking in a loud and indiscernible murmur. Some were dressed in fine clothing, fit for an audience with the queen, but others were in their evening clothes – apparently caught off-guard by the summoning to the court.

The Queen and her new escort entered the room, heads held high, and walked up the center isle. As she approached the dais where she usually sat, she gestured for the stable hand and horse to flank her to her left. She, however, did not sit down. Standing and facing her quite curious courtiers, she looked them over, one by one.

“Today, an extraordinary thing happened to me.” She said loudly enough for everyone to hear. “I was on a ride into the countryside when I discovered something truly wonderful.” The stable hand glanced at the horse, who suddenly appeared concerned that the queen was going to tell the world his secret. If a horse could actually look nervous, the hand thought this one sure did.

The queen went on “I discovered a lovely hand written love poem, just under the edge of my saddle. It was quite a surprise for me.” Both horse and hand breathed a quiet sigh of relief. “I have read this poem several times now, and it makes my heart soar skyward each time. But, the poem is unsigned, sadly. I know not who the author is. So, this is why I have asked you to assemble here this evening. Because I want to find this author, and look him in the eyes, and give him my response.”

“I know many of you may think me suddenly mad, but these words have sparked something in me that had lain dormant for a very long time. I must, at the very least, express my gratitude to this author.”

As she was speaking, the stable hand spotted the court’s poet standing off behind the front row of people. He looked as if he thought the queen was going to call upon him at any moment. A large smile, and straightening posture indicated that he was ready to step forward and claim ownership of this writing. Just then the queen spoke up again. “You may leave if you with Mr. Maloney, I quickly recognized that these were not your words, nor your handwriting. You needn’t worry that I will pick on you.” She smiled at him sweetly.

“But, let it be known that I am sure that the true author is standing in this room at this very moment. I shant embarrass anyone by asking for them to step up. No, I would rather use my own intuition to solve this mystery. For whom but I should be the one to begin to know the heart of this man? Such a love professed for me should imbue me with a sense of this person, so I cannot fail at my task.”

Then, most unexpectedly, she turned and looked right at the stable hand to her left, directly into his eyes. He was unable to move, or look away – her deep brown eyes held him captive completely.

“Please tell me your name my new friend?”  She asked him quietly.

“My name is Jonathan mi ‘lady.” He said, with some confidence behind it too.

“Well, Jonathan, you wrote this poem didn’t you?” She asked, smiling a genuine smile at him.

“Yes, yes I did indeed. I wrote it for you.” This he said even a bit louder. It was something about looking her right in the eye – it gave him a confidence that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He was speaking his heart’s truth to her and he wasn’t shy or ashamed.

“I knew it was you Jonathan, I felt it as soon as I returned to the stables. As soon as I looked at you, I knew these words were yours. Also, a good friend suggested that I not overlook anyone in my quest to find the hand that wrote these words.” She and Jonathan both glanced at the horse, who was also standing a bit more proudly.

“I’m no young maiden any longer Jonathan, but a mature woman now. I find myself wishing to be very direct with you, if you will not be offended.” She said as her gaze returned to his shining blue eyes.

“Please, mi’ lady, speak as you wish – I too am no boy, but a man, with a man’s feelings and sensibilities.” He replied respectfully

“I need to know something, and I am desiring your most honest answer Jonathan; Is this love poem a profession of an actual love for me?”

Without a blink of hesitation he answered her “Yes, from my hearts deepest recesses came this vision of love I’d been storing away for you. You may find me ridiculous because I have only seen you from afar in the past, but love does not dwell in logic, does it? It is not decided through calculations and formulas, but comes from the seat of our deepest feelings. From the first time I saw you, I felt quakes inside me, warmth of a thousand fires burning. The poem I wrote is a mere glimpse of the true emotions that flow from me, to the sea of you.”

All who were gathered there were suddenly silenced, not only by his honesty, but also the staggering depth of feeling on display before them. Not one single person spoke, or even made a noise. All eyes were on the queen now, as she was apparently considering Jonathan’s words. No one could predict her reaction to what he’d said. A stable hand, professing love for a queen, no matter how honest and true was still unheard of.

“Jonathan” She began in a very sincere tone. “In my lifetime I have seen and experienced many great and wonderful things. But, today I have been given the greatest gift of all. Your true love for me is both surprising and welcome. When I looked into your eyes just now, I saw such sincerity as I’ve never seen in my life. My heart has opened like a morning glory to the sun. And that sun is you, and your love Jonathan. Do not sit in wonder one more second, because I love you too.”

She reached out for him, and drew him close. He put his arms around her and their warm embrace turned into a passionate kiss. Slowly and progressively the courtiers began to clap and cheer. It rose like an orchestra beginning in concert. Even their mutual friend, the great steed was stomping his feet in approval.


Road weary from the long ride, I decide to stop at a local cafe to take a break, rest my bones, and get a bite to eat. I’m pleasantly surprised to find out it’s a wine cafe. I order an bold Sangiovese, and gorditas con carnitas to fill the emptiness in my stomach. The patrons are colorful and animated here, I pick up on their energy, and find I’m moving to the music on the stereo here. A large table of men are finishing their meals, as I notice they’re in costume. I can’t tell for what, but it looks to me Mexican traditional dress.

I also notice an attractive woman, sitting on her own in a corner booth. She’s engrossed in a book, but I also see her looking around, is she waiting for someone I wonder? Her eyes were immediately mesmerizing to me, the depth and just a hint of sadness in them. Maybe she was alone after all? Suddenly I noticed the costumed men leaving, and cheerfully speaking in Spanish to the waitress. I am not sure what they are saying, but it all looks very grateful and happy. The wine is deep and complex, maybe one of the best I have had recently.

I look again over at the intoxicating woman in the corner; she catches my eye for a brief moment, then returns to her book. Was that a playful look, I wonder? The door of the cafe opens suddenly, startling me, and I am very pleased to see it’s the costumed men again. But, now they all have instruments, and I see they’re a Mariachi band. They speak again to the waitress, and I see her lead them to a corner near the kitchen entrance, and they begin to tune their instruments.

They take only a moment to sort out, and then they burst into a lively song. It’s absolutely amazing music, so perfect for the time and place. I raise my glass to them in complete appreciation, as the music blends with the wine and the surroundings. Moments of bliss are rare and wonderful, if you’re paying attention, and are open to the experience, and this was one right here.

The cafe patrons were all enjoying the unexpected music, and all were moving to the compelling rhythms of the songs. I looked over to the ‘reader’ in the corner, and was surprised to see that she too was captivated by the spontaneous show. Her head was moving to the beat, and her feet were keeping time to the bass player’s rhythm. I was also happy to see that an older couple had gotten up, and were dancing to the infectious melody of the salsa song.

They moved gracefully like a pair that had been dancing all their lives, with intimate knowledge of each other’s moves. I was envious of such synchronicity of movement and emotion. It was a deep desire I had not yet realized in my life.

The Tapas came and I ate with a new found energy. Possibly the combination of the music, the wine and the people, were all making me feel better than I had in a long time. I love people, and am usually very social, but this past year had changed me a bit. One reason I took his long motorcycle ride was to regain my feelings and relationship with me. To reaffirm my sense of self, and self confidence.

It had been a tough couple of years, and my self image and emotional well being had taken a beating. It was high time to recover and live life again. The Mariachi guys had switched to an even livelier song, with a very danceable beat. I looked over to Ms Reader, to see that she had put down her book, and was now fully engrossed in the music too. I am not sure what possessed me, but I guess I was operating on the feelings of the moment. I got up and walked over to her booth, and I asked her if she’d like to dance. I was floored that without one moment of hesitation, she said Yes. She took my offered hand, and we moved to the open space where the other couple was dancing.

It seemed that neither of us actually knew how to salsa dance, so we just laughed and relaxed into a rock-style dance we both seemed to know from instinct. We both laughed, and stared into each other’s eyes. Again, it was just a special and rare moment of bliss. No words were needed. Just the moment existed for us. Just that magical music, unplanned, and borne from men grateful for a good meal. Now, sharing their gift of music and grace with us.

The lively song faded into a much slower ballad. We awkwardly made the change from the rock steps to a slow dance. I took her in my arms, and she wrapped hers around my waist. We swayed to the sloe cadence of the impassioned song of what I thought was about love gained and lost. The singer was masterful at the impassioned vocalization of loss and regret. It resonated in my deepest parts of my being.

I hoped that she didn’t see the welling tear in my eye, yet one escaped, and fell down my cheek. I was moved beyond my capacity to feel her move a hand up to my face and catch that tear, and wipe it away. I was transported to another place and time, one completely unexplainable, and unbelievable. She looked at me like someone who’d known me for longer than I’d been alive. And, quite unexplainably, I felt it was true.

We danced like it was automatic, as if we’d rehearsed it a thousand times before. I leaned into her and asked her name. “Athena” she said softly.

“I’m Ken”, I said to her. We just smiled, and danced. Losing ourselves to the music, the mood, the feelings of that perfect day.