We circled and socialized around the pool table
Much like we would later circle and socialize around the fire
My eyes settled on the back of her neck
Her long brownish blond hair was up on top of her head in a haphazard ball
Leaving the back of her neck wonderfully exposed
I have always been impulsive
Throw in a beer or two, and I am dangerously impulsive
The next thing I knew I was placing a long delicious kiss on the back of her neck
She did not flinch
She did not crack me in the head with the pool cue
She simply did not make a move
She was wearing blue jean overalls
A little stained
How could I not notice the quick-release snaps?
The whole package made me think of whole grains
Horses running together across an open pasture
It was spring
Springtime in Valdez Alaska
My mind was having difficulty reconciling the baseball on the TV with the five-foot snow banks outside the open door
We - the crew - had been on the ship for four and a half months
We all had been together for most of that time
What might have been?
What would have been?
What could have been?
We will never know
Because the barkeep placed his palm over the phone and gestured to me
“Pete, they just called for the tugs”
I did not care
Did I mention it was springtime?
Did I mention I had been on the ship four and a half months?
She finally turned
With a delicious huge flushed smile
She leaned into me
“I think he is talking to you”
Calmer more sensible heads than mine prevailed
In the blink of an eye we were sliding around corners in a cab towards the dock
The sun feels absolutely delightful on the tanned leather of my face
The crisp clarity
Of late September is also delightful
I can feel myself waiting
When I close my eyes I see swirls of color
I hear the light steps, and feel the open palm on my bare ample belly
A voice like a silver spoon tapping crystal makes me smile
“I know you are awake”