FROM AFTERGLOW TO AFTERMATH                                                                by Susan Mason
 
 
The best thing about reunions I’ve decided, is the anticipation.

As I imagine every detail, a scenario is created in which colors are vivid, sounds are sharp and
clear and each and every emotion is taking me one step closer to ecstasy.Sadly, imagination
and emotion don’t always coincide with reality.Not my reality...

I thought that weeks apart and tender declarations of caring would lead to a passionate
reunion which would make up for everything he hadn’t been able to do or say before then.
“I’ve missed you,” he murmured.His raspy voice sent shivers down my back.His gaze was
intense, and when he leaned toward me, my lips parted slightly in anticipation of his kiss.I felt
heat rising in my face and neck, and when his lips pressed against my face, I ached for him.I
offered him my mouth, but he turned away.His embrace was strong, but lacked
imagination.His need for me would be satisfied within the same boundaries as before.Missing
me appeared not to inspire him.

The sex was predictable.He told me how much he wanted to make love to me--never with
mebut “to me.”I rubbed his back until my hands hurt.Soft sounds of pleasure escaped from
his lips, and I kissed his neck, tasting his soft, honey-colored skin.Before my mouth could find
his, he stood and faced me.He held out his hands and pulled me to my feet.The he led me
down the hall to my bedroom.

We did what we’d done so many times before.It wasn’t any less than it had ever been, and it
wasn’t any more.My favorite part was the way we lay together afterward.With my head upon
his chest I listened to his heartbeat while he spoke to me.I would pretend (for my own sake)
that the afterglow was enough to keep me warm.

When he left my bed, I felt a chilly sadness wash over me.I watched quietly as he dressed,
realizing that this would have to be our last evening together.I began making a mental
checklist of the things I would miss without him in my life.The sound of his voice when he
spoke softly might be my greatest loss.When holding my hand, his grip was strong and
tight.Too tight.The only time I really felt that he needed me was when he held my hand.What
attracted me most to him was the passionwith which he spoke of the things that mattered to
him.There was fire in his eyes and love in his voice when he spoke of his loves:education, and
botany.When he spoke about what meant the most to him, my name never came up.It was
time for me to say something.

As we stood in the doorway saying good night, my heart began to hurt.“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he said.
 
I smiled, kissed his mouth and whispered in his ear, “don’t,” and then “goodbye.”He looked at
me with hurt and surprise.Then he shrugged and walked down the hall, disappearing behind
the heavy wooden door.

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