Bond, James, and I got into to a routine of late night texts followed by late night chats if we were both awake where we found ourselves confiding in each other in an attempt to decipher the signals used by the opposite sex in the mature mating game…
It was in one of those late night chats that he, frustrated by unrequited lust for his Florida filly, announced that he wanted to ‘‘practice kissing’’ – would I help him?? It took me minus five seconds to respond “Yes! – Absolutely”. . . I felt I needed to be more prepared for my future, why not? He was coming back to New York the following week but could stay longer . . . I told my ex I needed the beach house for the weekend and so it was we were off to the Hamptons for some serious lip exercise.
We opened the house, unpacked our bags, picked up some groceries, checked out the beach . . . And then, towards evening, the moment of truth was upon us. Born not from romance but from a late night verbal contract to conscientiously hone lip-locking techniques, I got out the glasses and he poured the wine. Walking bravely towards the living room sofa, we toasted to a successful outcome, sat down and leaned in for impact . . . and then we laughed/stop . . . another sip . . . another laugh/stop. Ok – this time . . . laugh/stop. . . go for it!
Kissing is definitely underrated. It’s good for your heart, your mind, your soul . . . Cary Grant, Clark Gabble or Elvis, if done right, it’s the invitation and the gift that keeps on giving, setting us mere mortals on the path to wanting more — Eventually, our lips connected and it was sensational. Longer, shorter, standing up, sitting down . . . we laughed diving in and diving out, having totally ridiculous fun.
Paley and her tennis obsessed Dentist drove out a few hours later to join us for the weekend and by the time they arrived we looked like two guilty teenagers with the best kept secret in town. We put on our “host” faces but still in research mode, Bond, James, would come up behind me – left side, then right side — to plant a sweet one, testing out new approaches to lip contact . . . That’s all the ammo the tennis obsessed Dentist needed to start nibbling at Paley, so to keep everything from going totally insane, we challenged them to a ‘kissing contest’ –which we won, without question, confirmed by a mutual friend who stopped by to join us on the beach the next afternoon. (My eldest daughter called in at one point and without giving her any of the gory details, I told her “I’m having so much fun, you’d be throwing up if you were here!”)
Between the comedy, the candlelight and the full moon, I learned a lot more about Bond, James, and he, about me . . . by the end of the weekend we were better friends, grateful for the good humor, slow pace and dim lighting. He headed off to Boston to meet up with his Florida filly for a business meeting, confident and satiated . . . and I had a giggle in my step heading back to Manhattan.
I headed out West the following weekend to a wedding in UT and a few days of R&R with a gal pal whose husband is seriously ill. Doc had actually invited me to meet him in Chicago that same weekend but when I couldn’t, he booked his flight from Austin to arrive at O’Hare to meet me for the hour and half I had between flights. He had an even better idea a day later, and asked me if I would push back my second flight so he could take me to lunch at his club not far from the airport. I got on the phone with American Airlines . . . “Ok, so I’m a Grandma and we’re talking about a Jewish Docto . . . my parents, if they’re watching from above, would be so excited . . . is there anything you can do?” The woman on the other end of the phone laughed out loud and replied “I’m gonna try, honey . . . I just remarried a great guy – hang on!” Thirty minutes later, I had a six-hour layover in Chicago and no change fee.
It was a picture perfect day. Doc landed earlier, rented a car and scooped me up for a drive by his old haunts and a long walk along Lake Michigan. We enjoyed an outdoor lunch on the patio at his club all the more interesting when he spotted his ex randomly lunching with a couple of gals a few tables away. Their divorce was based on a serious case of betrayal involving expensive jewels and a wealthy elderly man across the street, and although they’ve been divorced for many years, her icy attitude certainly gave credence to his side of the story. Their very pretty 18-year-old daughter arrived shortly after and stopped by to be introduced. She and her friends were hanging out by the pool, a fact I was quickly reminded of when, having brought my bathing suit too, I swam over to Doc and playfully wrapped my legs around him, “careful, my daughter’s here!” he muttered, panicked– “yikes!” I screeched, pushing off and stopping a legal distance away “so sorry, I forgot!” – and then we both laughed at the fact that, being parentless, we were now having to hide any hint of intimacy from our (semi-adult) kids!
As the afternoon waned, we readied for the airport. But before we left, he led me to the indoor dining room and a grand piano where he serenaded me once again, this time with the song Soul Sister by Train . . .total wow. We listened to music and talked more on the drive back to the airport and when we arrived at the terminal, he got out of the car to come around to my side for the goodbye kiss, our first kiss actually . . .
You can anticipate a kiss, initiate a kiss, accept a kiss, embrace a kiss, use a kiss, withhold a kiss, whatever . . . Contractual, romantic or friendly, it’s inner chemistry messaging . . . a moment (or a suspended moment) that’s launched a thousand ships, sent warriors off to battle with a smile and women off to Victoria’s Secret with a plan. Kissing sets off a series of emotions that run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. With Doc, it was rushed and funny . . . and familiar.
I was standing by the wooden fence in my backyard when a boy named Johnny leaned over and gave me my first extended kiss. I was in 7th grade and I remember thinking in the middle of it, “what’s the fuss all about?” Now, I know.
NOTE TO SELF: Write thank you note to Bond, James.