By Julie D Cole
A different slant for a change in that this story is about a heterosexual stud and ladykiller who couldn't find the girl to make his spine shiver despite his many conquests over the years. He finally met his Juliet by accident, in the most romantic of locations, that resulted in 'The Kiss' that hit the spot and changed his life forever.
I guess I never really expected to fall in love as I grew up. Sure I’d been in relationships but I’d soon realize it wasn’t the real thing and that there was no ‘magic feeling’ that my mother had told me I had to watch out for. I used to say to her ‘Mum, what’s a ‘magic feeling?’
Oh Kerry the magic feeling is when all your emotions suddenly collide and burst like a volcano. It’s when a shiver runs down your spine for the first time and the sensation stops you in your tracks. You never want it to stop and after that you crave for the same feeling to come back.
One day when I was sixteen I’d started to chase the girls at school and when lessons finished we’d hang around the village green near home and laugh and joke. I’d catch them sometimes because they let me. I guess I wasn’t bad looking and I was quite athletic. I soon identified the ones who wanted to go further and I guess quite a few girls I hung around with us lost their virginity to me. Dad would encourage me with those famous words from Tom & Jerry cartoons ‘That’ My Boy!!’
I guess I thought I was the bee’s knees and could have any girl I wanted and we’d chase in and out of the bushes and swim in the river often stripped bare as the sun disappeared and the light was softer.. We’d hide from the lights of the Green in the shadows where we laugh and chase each other trying to find clothes that each of would place in some prominent position. Part of the fun was trying to escape being seen but sometimes I’d stop. It was as if there was somebody recording everything and storing it up.
I never really noticed someone watching us from the seat on the corner of the Green but most evenings I’d catch a glimpse but he or she would quickly disappear if I looked across trying to focus. I’d never be seen in my glasses since real men don’t need them so it was hard to tell who it was. still these were hot summer nights and I had plenty of options. Yes at the end of that summer I was seventeen and it had been a very good year for us village boys. I was ‘Smokin’ and had more notches on my gun than the rest of the gang put together. Seventeen is a great age to be but mum would tell me to behave myself and not heed my father. I should show respect and watch out for the girls who were friends and learn about them and their feelings and personalities if I wanted to experience my ‘magic moment’. You don’t listen much at seventeen.
When I was twenty-one I’d finished school and was living in a big city. I only came home for vacation and to seek support from my parents to replenish clothes that I’d lost all around the City at parties or if I’d stayed at my girl’s apartment upstairs from me. It was a great place to find City Girls like her and not too difficult to hang around with them whilst still exploring the field. But despite the fun and all the opportunities I still never experienced that magic moment.
Mum would tell me to be patient and heed her words and tell dad not to encourage me to disrespect girls or I’d never go to heaven. I’d no idea how they had come together and produced me. Mom was pretty and quite intelligent whilst dad was a ….. Well it’s hard to describe some guys. So he was just dad.
I took my girlfriend home with me that first spring after we met at University. It had taken me one month to get her to trust me after meeting her at a St Valentines dance. She was the first real challenge I’d had since in all my time since I was sixteen and I’d had to turn on the charm a bit to get her to trust me.
I walked her around the Green listening to songbirds of early spring and then down by the river to see the red sky and watch the wildlife preparing for breeding. Somehow I thought this might be the way to get her in the mood for later. I walked us back around the places we used to hide to the lovers seat by the pub under the light where she could trust me. I gently untied her perfumed hair that she had tied into a pony tail and let it fall. She smelt wonderful and her hair was so soft and fine. I looked into her eyes and whispered nice things and took her hand knowing that I would score. I’d tried hard to look like a City boy in the latest fashion, hoping to impress her before realizing that she was happier if I was a small town or village boy and certainly she didn’t need lavish evenings out. She was very content just relaxing and chatting by the village green.
As I took her hand to help her up after I had done my deed I was quite proud of my success. A real notch on the gun this time and not an easy one. But I felt like we were being watched and looked up to see a person disappearing who had obviously witnessed it all. It was him or was it her, who I’d noticed before when he was watching my friends and I those years ago.
It was hard to say in the dim light but there was something about him/her that made me want to find out who they were. I was sure that it was a girl but I knew them all around this area and had no recollection of her in our village in all my time there. We all knew just about everybody. I could tell that she was quite pretty even though my view wasn’t clear and there was enough soft light from the street lamp. She or he was obviously very shy. Was it me they were interested in or the things we were doing together? Heck I was twenty one and could take my pick and right now I had my hands full enough without chasing another. Well my hands were often pretty full enough if you know what I mean. So when I was twenty one it was another very good year.
Well I finished university and got the grades I needed despite the nocturnal distractions all through the 3 years. I wanted a break after such a hectic time so I decided to take a trip around Europe, sponsored by dad of course and I took my girl along. She came from a nice family who paid her share. I got on great with her dad and her brothers but so far I still felt that I needed to experience the ‘magic moment’. I thought the trip would help me along the way to find it and if all else failed I had a backstop plan. Surely the romantic setting on Valentines night would do the trick.
We were away from early January after the New Year celebrations so it was pretty cold and rough at times. She complained that I should have arranged it the previous September but what about my Valentine’s Day present. Anyway we set off OK and we got along fine at first and we made love in Amsterdam [well everybody does by the look of it so no big achievement and no magic moment.]But after that our trip seemed to go downhill and not as smoothly as planned. We were at each other’s throats almost all the time and sex took a back seat...
We argued because she wouldn’t visit the seedy area that I wanted to see in Copenhagen. She didn’t like the approaches from the girls at the clubs in Hamburg, nor the friends who drank so much beer with us in Munich and by the time we got to Paris she wasn’t speaking to me at all. She said we should take some time out so she left the hotel early one morning to take the Euro star train home. I was annoyed because I’d never been rejected, but even more because I’d spent a lot of my money booking a trip to Venice where I’d ordered champagne and dinner at a small restaurant and with a hotel room over the Grand Canal with a balcony. I had been sure to experience my ‘magic moment.’ Now I was alone but since no refunds were allowed so I wasn’t wasting the trip. So I went alone.
Venice is not a place for a single guy. It’s all about romance and red roses and boat rides and a glass of beer followed by nice wine and good food to share. Women trying to encourage support to buy clothes at exorbitant prices. You needed a mortgage to by a beer in St Marks Square so that was enough.
Now sitting in a prime location at a canal side restaurant all alone had not been my plan and it was quite clear to other guests that my partner had dumped me. So after a beer I decided that it was stupid to be there and so thought I’d take a water taxi back to sink a few canned beers I’d bought or the champagne and it would be enough to enjoy a MacDonald’s in my hotel room. At least I’d get value from the balcony that was not cheap but I’d have to wrap up.
As I looked around for a waiter to pay the cheque, I looked up and noticed 3 girls walking by who seemed to be site-seeing. I was sure I knew one of them. Yes it was the girl from home. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I rushed to the door fending off would be tacklers trying to stop me leaving without paying. Suddenly from none around I had four. I convinced them I’d be back by leaving my credit card with them and shot outside to try to establish if this was the girl from home.
I thought they’d gone but then I saw them and shouted running over. She turned as I approached and I noticed that the look on her face was one of amazement. They’d been laughing together and negotiating with a gondolier for a quick tour whilst it was quiet since most people were eating dinner. She covered her mouth to hide her face a bit and tried to turn away but I gave her no choice. I shook her hand and introduced myself asking her name and insisting we’d met several times at home.
My God she was stunning tonight and not the quiet and plain girl I’d imagined her to be. ‘Are you going to a dinner or a ball or something?’
What a dumb question to ask. But she said ‘No, we are just enjoying a short break and know each other from clubs that we all joined. Bernice is from Paris, Nicole is from Milan and you know where I am from. I’m Jodie by the way in case you didn’t know.’
‘Yes I do, I’m Kerry. You’re from home but we never met. Who are you since I’ve never seen you in our village and we never met at school or I’d remember?’
‘We did but I doubt you would ever notice me and you’d never be interested in little me with so many girlfriends in tow, all throwing them-selves at you.’
‘I’m sorry about that but we were just young kids having a good time. You should have joined us.’
‘I couldn’t since I’d have been in deep trouble.’
‘Some problem with your parents or something? I’m sorry.’
‘No, it’s nothing like that but it wasn’t much fun at home then. Now I only have mum left and she’s much more flexible and open minded. But it’s too early.”
The other two girls were getting fidgety by this time so I invited them to my table for a drink. They made the excuse that they wanted to take the ride on the Gondola but at least I managed to persuade my new friend Jodie to join me. As I removed her jacket and handed it to a waiter I was impressed with her outfit and her black split dress showing stockinged legs. Well I thought if I was lucky I might find out stockings or tights. She was like some Goddess as far as I was concerned that night and her gorgeous blue eyes seemed to transfix me.
I was puzzled how I’d missed her at home yet somehow she had a familiar look and an almost boyish figure that was slim and nothing as prominent as my girlfriend. I preferred this style rather than the busty in your face look of other girls I knew. Her make-up was expertly prepared’
At least I had the presence of mind to apologize for kid-knapping her because she was obviously going somewhere later. It all seemed as if it was a secret so I didn’t push my luck at that stage.
We spent an hour chatting at the dinner table and I managed to persuade her to drink some champagne and share a plate of anti-pasta. She was not quite as delicate as she had appeared from close but still smaller than my average date these days. A lot of girls seem to rely on smoking to keep their weight under control but these days not many chances to smoke and hence more for your money.
Not so Jodie. She ate in a very delicate manner nibbling and chewing her food slowly so in turn I had to drop a few gears down to her pace. As we talked I kept trying to arrange to meet at home and to get a phone number but not much success. In the end I had to back off and I chose not to push my luck too far.
I took her back outside to meet friends from the Gondola trip and they all giggled together. I didn’t care if I was the cause of the laughter or not. I needed to at least make contact when I got home and gave her my telephone number hoping she’d call.
As they turned to step onto the bridge over the canal she turned and smiled and then waved. A small shiver ran down my body. It was a wonderful feeling. Just one look to me. Just a sweet smile and nothing more. Yet she was special.
I asked her to wait and I ran over to them. I didn’t care if her friends were there or not. I took her hand to get her to stand still so I could give her the’ One Eye ‘ and then said I wanted to say goodnight properly. Smart as I could be, since it was Valentines night I gave her the table rose that I’d picked up from the table. She seemed embarrassed but accepted.
Then I couldn’t stop myself. I took her to my arms and we kissed. It was sensational. She responded and melted into my arms but I stopped her from falling over. The sensation was different to that I’d experienced before. This girl was ready to be kissed like no other I’d met yet I didn’t know her. I felt the shiver return and I was as excited as I’ve ever been that was a little embarrassing.
Then as Jodie managed to gain her balance she pushed my shoulders back and freed herself as much as I would let her. I couldn’t let her escape just yet. ‘Stop please Kerry stop. We can’t do this. No please.’
‘Why I’ve done nothing wrong. You aren’t in a relationship are you? My girl and I are splitting up. I’d like to see you when we are home.’
‘I can’t I’m sorry just please let me have some space. This has all come as a shock. I never expected to meet anybody from my home town here let alone you.’
‘Jodie please keep in touch. I’ll find you when I get home.’
‘No please don’t. I’ll contact you I promise so just be patient as I have some things to sort out.’
They left and I went back to finish the rest of the champagne. Now I knew what mum meant. I had to see her again. I felt wonderful but so frustrated that it was such a short meeting together. She was so different.’
Of course the waiters laughed since it looked like my charm had disappeared on me. No date and no substitute into play. Never mind but just a pity that at twenty one I didn’t have the presence of mind to find out who she was.
No messages when I arrived home from the trip and I didn’t find Jodie anywhere in the village. Nobody admitted to knowing her yet there were less than five hundred people living there.
I told mum about what happened. Well how could I not tell her when it seemed like such a magic moment had occurred? She just smiled and said ‘I told you so. Maybe you’ve found the one for you?’
A few months later I’d got a job and left home to work in London at the Head Office within a very short time since I had been singled out as Management material. I did really well for myself and had a great time but when I went home I still asked mum if she had messages or knew any more about Jodie.
Same questions and same answers.
I suppose as I got more successful my visits home almost stopped. When I was thirty five I still hadn’t settled down. My world was full of beautiful women of advantage and wives of successful men looking for some fun. My life was full of blue blooded girls and we had expensive cars or used the Company chauffer driven Limousines for entertainment. I was quickly tiring of this life but still no sign of a long term relationship.
Dad had passed away by this time and so I went home to sort things out for mum and cleared some of the house to make way for a live in carer or nursemaid. It was difficult finding a person with the right experience and qualifications but finally mum called me and said someone had turned up out of the blue who had been doing the same thing for ten years and it was the only qualification that she had.
I suggested that mum hire her for 3 months and I’d get there as soon as I could. I was at Wimbledon entertaining as usual and not playing. I had two customers to look after and we had 3 days of fun before I could get home. Our village is the most wonderful place in the midst of summer and as I pulled up at mum’s house I noticed how well the whole place was looking. It was clean and the grass was neatly cut. We had flower baskets and I could hear mum chatting to someone in the garden at the rear of the house so I went around investigating.
Mum was sitting in her favorite chair and was bossing the carer who was on her knees cutting flowers.
Mum stood up and hugged me. ‘Oh Kerry I’m glad you came. It’s such a nice weekend and everything is ready and have chance to see what a wonderful job my carer is doing. So come with me since I want you to meet Jodie who is looking after me so well. I’ve never felt so good in my life. She is wonderful. So experienced and so gentle with me. She had training as well as looking after her own family.’
As Jodie stood up she lowered her eyes but I recognized her immediately. ‘Jodie is that you? After all these years is that really you?’
Mum was a bit surprised. ‘Do you two know each other? I thought Jodie was a stranger to these parts.’
‘No, I didn’t say that I said my family had moved away and I had to look after my parents for a long time before coming back.’
‘So you grew up around here?’
‘Yes and I knew Kerry at school but he never met me. Well I never let him meet me.’
I looked at Jodie again. Still some familiar look but a little older and yet slim and very smart. But I didn’t remember any girl like this from school.’
Mum went inside so I could interview Jodie and confirm the job.
‘Jodie I do feel that I know you and I will never forgot meeting you in Venice. I tried so hard to find you and couldn’t understand when you said you weren’t ready.’
I’m sorry but I had issues to deal with and there was a big fight at home when I got back. We ended up moving out and selling up. Dad had always wanted to be somewhere we weren’t known.’
‘Why. Why on Earth?’
‘Because of my situation. You see I had a problem that he couldn’t accept but until that Valentines night I intended to change as he instructed. That was supposed to be my farewell tour with friends. Then you turned up and mixed up my emotions. I knew then I was right and dad was wrong so I stood up for myself.’
I couldn’t resist holding her as tears fell down her face. ‘Jodie I’m sorry but I just don’t understand why life was so cruel to you? What was wrong?’
‘I’m sorry Kerry I can’t explain and I guess it was a bad idea to take this job. I should leave as soon as you find a replacement.’
‘No that’s not necessary. Just tell me who you are.’ I kissed her forehead and again there was a sensation that I hadn’t felt for a long time.
‘I’m me who I have always been. But I wasn’t born this way it’s just how I developed. Now do you remember me from school if I pull back my hair and remove the lipstick?’
‘Yes now I remember you. Weren’t you the girl who was always sent to school dressed like a boy?’
‘No I was a boy.’
‘OK if you say so but you still look like a girl to me.’
I wasn’t sure but at least Jodie smiled. Such a wonderful smile. Mum came out. ‘Well what do you think?’
‘Absolutely perfect. I do know Jodie and at least if she’s looking after you I can get to see her some more and take up where we left off.’
More tears and then a lot of talking for the next few days. I was right this girl was definitely more girl than boy whatever her papers said. I felt like I didn’t want to leave them and of course I visited more often. So when I was thirty five it was an exceptional year.
So now I’m in the autumn of my life and I’m lucky.
My life became like a vintage wine from old kegs.
From the brim to the dregs
and it poured sweet and clear
it is a very good year
In this autumn year.
Jodie and I have just celebrated 30 years together and mum died a very happy woman.
Every night has been filled with magic moments and the same feeling as I experienced with that special kiss on that wonderful St Valentines night.
Each St Valentines night is special and this year we will go to Rome to find the grave of Valentinus to say thank you for bringing us together.
Happy St Valentines Day.
MMM thanks to you too Frank for singing in the background.
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