“His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, how much time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape, Galen said nothing but simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed…”
I slowly kissed a path down the length of Galen’s naked chest to his navel and when I reached my ultimate destination, I stopped. I stared up at Galen with sexy intent as I pulled on the drawstring of the pyjama bottoms he had changed into after our shower together.
Why did Galen bother putting on clothes when I would peel them off again?
“You know, I’m not complaining.” Galen’s breath was heavy with expectation as he stared back down at me knowing what I was about to do. “But eventually we will need to come up for air, get some real food and make that trip to the pharmacy Katie.”
I groaned and rolled away from him, knowing that he was right.
We had spent most of the past twenty-four hours reveling in each other, only leaving the warmth of the bed to freshen up or find something to eat. When we had attempted to make a trip to the pharmacy to get more condoms, our bodies had decided to dictate the conversation, forcing us throw caution to the mind – more than once.
But there was little to worry about – I hadn’t been with anyone since my divorce and my almost 40-year-old body couldn’t even remember how to make babies anymore. Galen had assured me that he hadn’t been with anyone since his last testing a few years back. But to be responsible, we had still agreed to do the right thing and make that trip.
I crawled up alongside him, curled up next to him and Galen immediately pulled me in tight to spoon. I took hold of his hand so that he could wrap me even tighter. I traced my finger along his small tiny heart-shaped birthmark that sat next to a colored tattoo etched onto his wrist that said “Pause and Remember“.
Before I could ask him about the meaning of the tattoo, he explained.
“When I first moved here, I got that tattoo as a reminder of why I moved to Maui in the first – to pause and remember my son Ben and to pause and remember every day of the rest of my life.”
I paused at his words, exhaled deeply and remembered that I’d gotten the one night that I had wanted.
I need to tell Galen the truth now.
“Galen, we need to talk.”
“Okay.” Galen nibbled on the back of my neck. “About what?”
“Uh…I need to apologize to you.”
The way Galen’s warm hand caressed my stomach was soothing against my skin and I felt his body stiffen.
“Apologize for what? Giving me one of the best nights I’ve had in my life?”
When I didn’t respond, Galen promptly flipped me over to face him. I took a deep breath.
“Remember that day when I told you that I felt like I had wasted time in my life and wanted to all the things I hadn’t before I died?”
Galen nodded and smiled.
“Yes, of course I remember. How many of those things did we check off your list in the past twenty-four hours?” Galen teased.
But when I didn’t return his smile, he frowned.
“Why are you bringing this up?”
“We’ve only just met and yet we feel so right together. I don’t know what it is about you but I feel so free with you. And I keep wondering how far we could have gone together if circumstances were different…”
I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and I tried to hold them back.
“Katie, I’m not looking forward to being without you either…”
“It’s more than that Galen. When I told you that I was dying, you should have taken it literally…not metaphorically.”
My words hung heavy in the air as he tried to understand what I meant. He bolted upright when he saw my tears start to flow.
“What are you saying?”
There was an instant look of horror on his face and I quickly realized what he was thinking.
“No, no, no. It’s not HIV or anything like that Galen…”
His eyes grew wide and then wider with shock as I told him about my diagnosis, the time I had left and how I had walked out of the doctor’s office with no intention of returning. After I stopped rambling about how this trip was my escape to think through my situation, Galen said nothing. He simply stared at me like I was a naked stranger in his bed.
“I’m sorry, Galen. Please say something,” I pleaded with him to understand.
“Why didn’t you tell me before? I was honest with you about my life and you kept this from me?” Galen whispered angrily.
Before I could even begin to explain more, Galen jumped out of bed, threw his clothes on like the condo was on fire and headed to the bedroom door. Still naked under the covers, shame and vulnerability washed over me.
“Where are you going?!”
Without looking back, Galen paused in the doorway.
“I don’t know and I don’t care as long it’s away from you right now.”
Photo credit: Fabio Zenoardo Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
When I heard the front door slam, I curled up into a ball and just lay there. Then, I slowly got out of bed, retrieved my clothes from the floor and waited for Galen to return.
But as seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours, I realized that I not only needed to go back to my own condo, I needed to go home.
Continuation – U is for “Ukana”
©2017 Marquessa Matthews.
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