Cupid’s Arrow ~ Take Two


Standing on the plane, my bag in hand, I begin to sweat. I feel nervous, excited and terrified all at the same time. As I slowly creep forward I think, my life is about to change forever. Once I fall into his embrace, I am done. This will either be the most romantic and passionate weekend of my life or I will find my heart utterly shattered, but still not wanting to change a thing.

Who would have thought that I would be meeting Sam after 25 years! Sam, my former high school sweetheart. In minutes, I will see him face to face after months of talking. My heart is pounding. My belly is fluttering. It is like I am 17 again…minus the awesome flat abs and wrinkleless face. Damn the aging process! What the hell? I never understood why men looked more rugged and distinguished in age and women…well, they just look old. Not fair Mother Nature. Not fair.

Finally, people start to make progress and my feeble legs manage to walk. I head toward the baggage area and text Sam that I am on the way. “OMG. I am so nervous! But, here I come.”

“I am nervous too baby. No worries, we’ve waited long enough. Now hurry up, so I can kiss you,” Sam quickly replies.

I am so excited that I have to stop by the bathroom to breath, check myself in the mirror and dab my sweat. Looking in the mirror is not that 17-year-old girl anymore, but instead a confident woman. “I can do this. Breath. And for the love of God, stop sweating! Now go. He will like you,” I chant to my reflection. I walk down the long corridor. I swear it seems ironically long as the 25 years that have passed since I last saw Sam. “How long is this damn hallway,” I mutter.

Raging with nerves, my scattered thoughts think about our high school romance. We were so into each other back then. He was on the football team. I was a cheerleader. We were the best of friends too. Oh, and we were both so shy. It’s a miracle that we even went out since it took forever for us to summon the courage to talk to each other. After football games, we would go to the pizza house with all of our friends. We would walk around hand in hand. We would talk and laugh by each other’s lockers at school. We would take long drives to be near each other. Everyone thought we were the cutest couple.

I giggle. People must be wondering why I look so stupidly happy as I walk down this ridiculously long hall. But I can’t stop smiling. And much to my displeasure, I am still sweating. “Ugh. Well, I sure hope he is sweating as much as I am. Maybe then, it won’t be as obvious,” I think.

Finally, I see the door. I stop for a brief second. I breathe. I look down to make sure there is no toilet paper on my shoe. My dress is straight. “OK. This is it,” I tell myself literally out loud. Yep, I have resorted to talking to myself. I am that nervous. Hopefully, no one notice that. If so, who cares! I am about to kiss Sam. “Oh my God! My breath! Where is my gum? Does my breath smell bad?” Yes, I am having a moment of panic and I stand there rummaging through my purse.

Suddenly, my phone beeps with a text. “I can see you. Get out here! I can’t wait to kiss you. So whatever you are worried about is not real. I can see you already and I know I want to kiss you! Walk through the door,” Sam’s text reads. I laugh and look up. The door is the only thing separating the 20-foot distance between us. And there he is smiling and standing there…waiting for me.

I walk out the door and up to him. We are looking at each other and standing so close I can feel his breath on my face…and it smells good. We just stare into each other’s eyes for a moment. I don’t even know how long even – 10 seconds? 30 seconds? 1 minute? I don’t know, but we just stand there, taking each other in. I gaze into his blue eyes and I know, I am done. I am so done. We smile and then he grabs my face and pulls me to his lips. I immediate drop my bag from my hand and wrap my arms around his shoulders and kiss him back eagerly. He steps back after we have a full, long passionate kiss and says, “Um, hi. Welcome to California.”

I laugh, “Yeah. Hi to you too. That’s the best welcome a state has ever given me. I need to fly more often if this is the reception at airports these days.”

Sam’s eyes laugh and he blushes some. “Let me grab your bag. Oh, and I got you these,” he says as he hands me small bundle of colorful flowers that were down by his feet. I grab the flowers, bring them to my nose and smell, thinking he is so sweet because the bundle has little tiny pink carnations in it. That was the homecoming corsage he got for me decades ago, and we joked about it in one of our recent conversations. I stop and grab his arm. “Sam.” “What? Is something wrong?” he looks alarmed.

“Oh no. I just wanted to say thank you,” and with that, I lean into him and kiss him on the cheek. “I am so glad I am here.” Relief washes over his face.

“I am too baby. I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Let’s get out of here. I will show you my town, and if you’re lucky, I just may kiss you again,” he teases me.

With the biggest grin on my face, I say, “I kind of have a feeling, I’m lucky. I mean who gets a second chance to kiss their homecoming date, football star, super hot boyfriend after 25 years!”

“I guess you do my sexy cheerleader. Yeah, you are so getting lucky today” Sam laughs as he grabs me, pulling me into his arms again and kissing me deeply. All the years we spent apart start to fade away as I stand in his embrace. I am 17 and falling in love again, with my whole future ahead of me, but I stop and look up at him seriously.

“Sam. I don’t think we should get too lucky at the airport.” He drops his hands and a boyish grin crosses his face.

“You are absolutely right. If we keep this up, we could end up in jail for the next four days. Let’s go get reacquainted baby doll.” And with that, we exit the airport and head out to wherever this second chance is leading us. Neither one of us knows where that may be, but we sure as hell are not missing the chance to try.

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For the Cupid’s Arrow Daily Prompt.

It is not exactly and ode, but this is where the prompt lead me. There is freedom in interpretation right? 🙂

Months later, the Prompt ~ First Crush made me think of this post. So I figured I would link it since it fit so well. Maybe I should do a sequel to this story….

Slightly Scared of Charity


In just a few days, I would be out of Afghanistan and on leave, I thought. I was so excited that I could almost taste home. Prior to leaving, I had one more mission to go on though. And while I was on it, I had moments where I thought I may never make it home.

It was suppose to be a simple mission. I was headed out to a nearby village to hand out humanitarian aide with a Special Forces Group. I was going along to document the mission through photography. I have to admit, I was thrilled to go. As a public affairs officer for a signal task force, there was not necessarily a lot of excitement or interaction with the Afghan people. So, I jumped at the chance to go on a mission. It was a low-threat area and we were just handing out clothes and food. The SF guys wanted to use this opportunity to give specific items to specific people. Baby clothes and food to new mothers. Shoes to young kids. Hats to the teen boys. Interacting with the community also gave us a chance to talk to them, build relationships. And of course, get a feel for what is going on the area.

We loaded up the gator with our boxes of donations and we started walking though the town. Like expected, people started to follow us. We chatted with the kids, handed out candy. We spoke to the adults. We found out their concerns. And through all that we handed out some items to people in need.

Of course, some Soldiers were not involved in the banter. Their job was security. As I snapped away, I tried to be very aware of those Soldiers to watch their cues as they instructed. They knew I was not very experienced in moving through a village. I’ve been on some patrols and convoys over the years, but its not my typical every day mission. So, I have to trust the experts. So of course, I was a little nervous.

As we kept moving through the village, more and more people came. The crowd was not only making me nervous but I could see the security team was not as relaxed as before either. They started pointing things out for me to photograph. Certain people. Odd piles of rocks. They told me to get closer. I was getting a bit uncomfortable and very aware of everything around me. (And, when looking at my pictures, I can tell when the mood changed because the quality of many of my photos diminished greatly. It was like I was just snapping away and not paying as much attention to my craft. I was merely thinking of tactical skills at that point. I was no longer a photograph but a Soldier with a camera.)

What I noticed is that there was now a bigger crowd and they were pressing in on us. The security Soldiers were telling them to back up. They were not listening though. They were trying to grab things off the gator. They were trying to “steal” the things we wanted to give them. My thoughts were very conflicted then. I thought, if we are going to give them these things anyway, why do we care if they take them? Well, we wanted to give the right items to the right people was my answer. Then I felt empathy, thinking how awful it must be to feel that desperate, that in need. And of course, part of me that had never been in the middle of a swarm of people pushing, was scared. I was scared I would get hurt. I was even more scared someone else would get hurt. My fellow Soldiers were in the crowd. There were kids in the crowd. One child fell to the ground. I helped them up and put them near my legs and pulled them with me out of the growing chiaos. Now, I was getting angry at the carelessness of people pushing with no regards to the kids.

To bring the risk to an end, we just walked back from the donations, pulling what small children we saw with us. And we just let them run of with the stuff we wanted to give them anyway. It removed us, and the small kids, from the middle of the pushing and the crowd dispersed.

We headed back to the base shortly after that. I think we had all had enough community interaction by that point.

I look back at this mission years later and think, a few varied thoughts. This is definitely no where near any level of danger that many Soldiers have experienced. As a matter a fact, it would probably be laughed at by some of those hard core troops, and justifiably so. But, I can only tell you about my experiences and how I felt. At that time, I felt conflicted. I was nervous, but still had a job to do. I could see the potential for this situation to go bad as a Soldier and as a public affairs officer. I was trying to think tactically and not do anything that would put my host Soldiers at more risk. I didn’t want to let them down and make the situation worse. I was also thinking…I am about to go on leave, I really hope I get to go.

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For the Daily Prompt ~ Fight or Flight

To see some of the better photos from that mission, check out my photography blog next Thursday, March 5th.

Romance, Hope and All That Comes


Our passion passes as we talk of our past, our present…
our dreams. Oh do we dream!  The things we want, vivid and rich.
Desire builds, demanding our delight. Decades gone
since we saw each other last. We were teens in our past.
Too many years lost as we lived our lives apart. Now…
we find each other again. Years gone, but friendship remains.
A palpable spark ignites something deep within. Is it hope?
Hope that our romance could pick up from so long ago?
 
We plan a visit, to see face to face. To look into each others eyes
and take a taste. Will our hearts soar with this feeling of glee?
Will our fingers explore greedily? Will our lips meet, bringing peace
to our weary hearts? Will all those years of sadness fade like we
were never apart? Will we find…that we want to start again?
 
I guess we will both see when our visit ends…

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I am not really sure if I got all of the goals of this assignment all right, but, I went with the feeling.