Maria doesn’t remember the exact moment she met Danny. Thirty years is a long time to look back on when so much of life has occurred. She remembers it was June and the NBA finals were on. Celtics versus the Lakers. Bird versus Magic. She and a bunch of other twenty-somethings were crowded around someone’s television set in a double-decker apartment. A Sunday afternoon sunny and warm-the windows open to let the cool breeze inside the second floor living room.
And there he was. Thin and tan with long blonde hair. A friend of Layla’s (technically her boss), Danny was the editor of a small town newspaper where Layla worked as a reporter. Maria met Layla through an old college friend and they in turn, hit it off. She quickly became a part of Layla’s social circle.
And just as quickly, she fell in with Danny. Their first date together was dinner at his house on the lake. Gnocchi and wine. Maria doesn’t remember how she got there (she had no car in those days) but does recall spending the night. She loved the spontaneity of their relationship. Days at the beach. Beer and steamers at The Barnacle at sunset. Sunday mornings at the lake. Her hair streaked with sun and her skin as brown as a berry. The absolute sheer physical attraction was the energy that fueled their relationship. Maria had no inhibitions with him. She was quite sure that her sounds of ecstasy reverberated throughout the walls of the house he shared with three others but felt no sense of self-consciousness regarding her new found self-expression. Danny brought out a lustful beast in her that she found hard to contain. Their forays in the sand nearly bordered on public acts of indecency. (Just thinking about it now causes her heart to race and her body to pulse in places only he could touch.)
They fanned the flames of their affair all summer long. Their bodies were joined more than they were apart, breaking only for soothing swims and meals that seemed to have aphrodisiac effects. Maria’s head and heart and spirit were full of passion. Danny gave her what she needed without demands and she did the same in turn. They talked and laughed but never got in too deep. Maria loved the fact that he was a true gentleman; he treated her kindly and with a reverence reserved for those he deeply admired. Perhaps this is what drew them together. While they surely fucked like animals at times, he never treated her like a stranger or a one-night stand. But he never did tell her that he loved her nor she him. A strange dichotomy in some ways. But it worked for as long as it could last.
As summer turned to autumn and the nights grew cold, they said good-bye. Maria felt a sad longing for a little while but she never did see or think about him again. Until tonight. Sitting here with her friends, Maureen and Joanne at a beach front bar. She looks up from her drink to see a man standing next to her. He smiles. Tan, short cut blonde hair with traces of gray. “Maria”, says Maureen, “This is my boss Danny. I have been dying for you two to meet.”