The Touch

I looked forward to a new week and hardly awaited midweek. Wednesday she would pitch up at four pm and type my poetry or perhaps my next novel. I have met her at an exhibition, where she worked as secretary.
“Excuse me; may I have some double tape?” I addressed her while she sat down to work on her desktop. She looked up.
“Of course, I will bring it to you.” When she turned up at the wall space I had been given to hang my artwork, her assured gait and good looks enticed me, but more so her dark brown eyes. “Here we are.” She handed me the tape. For a moment my fingers touched hers and it seemed we both liked the tactile spark. She smiled, turned around and left. I looked after her. Cute and intelligent, I thought, I am certainly attracted to her.
While I hung my paintings my mind concentrated on her, her way she walked, the sound of her voice when she talked. There were many artists preparing their work for an exhibition. A friendly photographic artist next to my space asked me to take a photograph of her with her exhibited work behind her. I took the snapshot and then being closer to her desk I eyed her.
“I see you like V”, a dark haired woman with an operatic voice and figure – reminding me of Tosca – approached me.
“Yes, I do.” I sounded surprised somebody wanted to know.
“I am B, a costume designer.” I held her fleshy hand for a moment as I introduced myself to her. “Can I borrow your hammer?” She took it and walked to her space where a man helped her to set nails into the wall, where she hung her designs. I accompanied her and she told me about her life while she directed the man hanging her work. “I will bring the hammer back when I finished here.”
“Ok,” I said. Being closer to V’s desk, I viewed her face, as she worked away. Now and then she might have felt my staring and responded with a quick return. i walked to her desk. “I like you,” I said. She smiled.
When the opening of the exhibition was under way, I felt I had too many drinks already and I behaved unfair to my friend, who gave me a lift here. As she had to drive, she could not drink too much and soon she signaled to leave, I said good-by to V.
“I like your painting.”
“Which one?”
“This one on the top.”
“Yes, the best of them. You have good taste.” She smiled
“How much is it?” Oh I had a potential sponsor, young, attractive and intelligent. I must not spoil this, I thought. I named a price and she frowned.
“I have only a small income, working at an hourly rate here.
“OK, I’ll give you a gallery discount.” She smiled.
“You mean you give me off what the gallery would charge you as commission?”
“Yes I would.
“OK, then…” she summarized the cost and we agreed. V had me over a barrel with her charm and her warm umbra eyes with flickers of hazel. Then she paid me and took the watercolour, I have not heard from her for a while. During another exhibition at a common friend to both of us, we met again. I acted like a teenager, buzzing around her continually. Even for her friend it was obvious that I had become infatuated with her.
“You are always talking to V,” she confronted me. Yes, I thought, I have fallen in love with her. No, my rational mind interjected, not with a young woman that is a quarter of your age. But I wanted her. A, her friend was onto me. “Why don’t you employ her as a secretary?”
“I can’t afford it.”
“Well she is reasonable; otherwise I could not afford her.”
“OK, what’s the hourly rate?” A filled me in, an artist and poet, living on a cloud, she called me her Nefeli-Poiitis- her Cloud-Poet.
“Z, the poet, felt honoured, as long as he remained a kind of pet-sweetheart in the community of friends, strangers to Greeks, although they had accepted Greek language and parts of Greek culture. The following week V phoned him and he arranged the first meeting as his private secretary. It had to be something else, I mused, as I shied away to dictate her expressive erotic poetry. I felt that it could never be the same as it had been with my great love, Ana. The moment Z the poet went and I held back, V became a different person: A slippery being, a beautiful serpent, reminding of Adam and Eve, although here Eve had taken on the role of serpent as well. Damned! I sensed that directly approaching V with one touch dictated by desire meant direct disintegration and death. I felt Goosebumps shaping up on my spine.
V came every Wednesday, regularly, precisely like clockwork, dedicated to help me with typing. I changed the rules. Not any longer typing of my Z-poems and novels, but teaching me the basic language of Greek. She was appalled, but quickly adapted herself to her new role of a teacher of the Greek language. I think that giving it a test of survival time, we both wanted to be close to each other, so we accepted the new challenges I have thought about keeping V close to me. Of course she realized this and she began a series of rituals that aimed at the high points of her body used for seduction. She attired herself with mini skirts and pants, and I became mad about desiring her. But there was B, my spouse, who by intuition came to check on us when I had my lessons with her. B was adamant that V used me with her sexual prowess and exerted money from me through Greek lessons that taught me perhaps grammar and theory, but were practically not successful.
V tempted me to go all the way and take her offered hand of seduction. All I had to do is ask. But I did not. Ask me why and I cannot tell. Perhaps the memory of Z the poet having been cheated still remained such a great agitator of refusing any trickeries of the mind. I wanted V and I craved for her day and night. Even my wife realized my infatuation with her. But I had a block cast in front of my body and it was labeled: No! Rather write a poem, Z the poet whispered.
I used the given time of learning the in and outs of a language, the Greek language. V, as an intellectual had no difficulty to adapt herself from secretary to Greek teacher. I was impressed. “You have a good mind,” I reiterated. B, my spouse began to throw conundrums and I assured her that I had no sexual relations to V. She did not believe me. Of course lies are believed much better than the truth. V became to me a wondrous being, somebody skilled in seduction, a woman on a trail of power, somebody who missed out on something before, a love or a boyfriend with his own interpretation of love and freedom. Z the poet in me had a creative time of writing poetry about V that transported her from her real self into the spirit Z the poet wanted her to be. She became a different being, an icon, a Muse of great inspiration.
Damned! Before meeting of V I had been quite practical and to the point. If you found a reasonable woman that matched to you, what stopped you to extend the greatest compliment to her, to fuck her? This was the fiery voice inside me shouting. I never had the opportunity to ask her, or I did not wish to hear her denial or I had no interest in hard reality. Excuses?
The constant bickering from my spouse did not stop and after a while I regretted to have never asked V to let me make love to her. As I read a poem I had written, as Z the poet, in the heat of the moment when my emotions matched my thoughts: Burn. I am in awe of having written a great poem, but I never showed it to her.
My heart beats faster. She sits next to me: Short pants and a low top. She oozes femininity albeit her child-like attitudes and her desire to search for the truth of love.”It would be great falling in love,” she said.
“Indeed,” I replied and I feel that albeit the age difference of about 50 years there are strong sexual stirrings that can engulf us. It is not impossible, but might be deadly to me. My spouse’s jealousy attacks and my girlfriends enquiries about her, makes me feel like a convicted cheater and a man who committed adultery. My heart races and I place her portrait in front of me on my monitor. I love V sexually, but I will never be a vehicle of escapism from her present environment, which is what she desires. We have many delicious moments of tease and agreements of love, but never committed to them directly.
I am experiencing my decay of age. I was right not to be involved in a love making me ridiculous and losing self-respect. Besides, V is concerned with cash reimbursements for services rendered. After all it was always a business proposition, and how on earth did sex ever come into the formula?
I meet V as many times as she has free time. When I returned from a ten day trip to Vienna, I noticed changes in her appearance. She had become slimmer and a sad taint of expression washed across her face. We have moved on.”I have a new boyfriend,” she exclaimed.
“Great, I commented, “hope he will make you happy.”
“Yes, he wants a beach house too.”
“Don’t forget who will be the architect,” I had to reply. We parted as friends, with hugs that could have been once an initiator to physical lovemaking. Now it is friendship.
“Keep in touch,” she said, turned and entered the arriving tram. I walked home along the street we had walked many times, wondering if I would see her ever again.

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