(If you’re under 40 you probably will want to skip this)
I couldn’t just sit down and write this..earlier in the week when it happened. I had to leave it back there, on the back burner of my mind..to simmer a bit, adding a bit of liquid when it began to go dry….and yet holding on to it lest it slip away forever. That’s because it was such a rare occurrence…a literally physical and soulful connection with a young lady young enough to be my granddaughter, so much so that it defied explanation. (A bit of explanation would be good right now, wouldn’t it?)
I had taken my Chi, Rosie over to the PETCO grooming salon. Steady, competent and sweet Melissa, a latino lady, took Rosie in the crook of her arm, advised me to come back in an hour, and I set off to run a number of shopping errands while waiting for Rosie’s grooming session.
When I returned an hour later Rosie was still getting her nails trimmed so I posted my haunch on the low counter and began exchanging pleasantries with Melissa as she did her work. Just then, a young lady entered the salon, stepped through the swinging door, and announced to Melissa that she, “Annie”, had been sent over to intern with her today. Apparently PETCO shuffles their trainees from one franchise to another…to expose them to various grooming techniques.
At the first sight of Annie I had a visceral reaction to her..one that was not lustful in nature…far more complicated and unexplainable than that…and I certainly could not explain it myself, even had my very life depended on it. But I was immediately entranced…and in a strange vortex of the sweetest feelings.
First of all, she was indeed beautiful. Her heart-shaped face was alive and in great grace by that mid-western “milk-fed” complexion, yet to be marred by leathery beach tans so often sought by the young, not a wrinkle evident, nor a frown line that might sprout from life’s worries. Her cheeks were full; two rosy “half-apples” framing a lovely smile. Her lips were plump, and a man could imagine softly bruising those lips while laying prone with her in some sun-kissed meadow.
But it was the widely spaced cornflower blue eyes, an almost angelic light beaming behind them, that proved to be the icing on this beautiful cake. Those eyes, nearly violet, whispered of icy blue seas and sirens beckoning above the roar of mighty waves. They caused one to stare into them..for just a little longer than politeness might allow.
Annie did not dress sexily in any way. Though she clearly had a figure that might stop traffic out on Northern Avenue, her jeans held generous space about her rump and above she wore a ratty old Denver Bronco’s jersey, cut down at waist and sleeve. And, as if trying to somehow blunt a bit of her beauty, she had cut her hair as short and severe as a boy…kind of like throwing a towel over a bright lamp to soften the glow. It didn’t work..she remained lustrous.
She turned and smiled at me, and said “hi”, then turned to Melissa to offer her assistance with Rosie.
Melissa greeted Annie cheerily and instructed her to go out in back and put on one of the freshly laundered smocks that best fit her, then told her she’d be with her as soon as she was finished with Rosie.
Annie donned her smock, then came back out and lingered around the reception desk, where I sat on the low counter. As Melissa busied herself with Rosie, cooing words of comfort as she trimmed her nails, Annie and I began talking about our dogs. She pulled out her phone and showed me pics of her boyfriend’s dog and her rescued Dalmation-Pitt named “Domino”, and all the while I was somewhere else…standing somewhere to the side of where my physical body stood, still bedazzled by this exquisitely designed beauty, and felt an electric charge as our shoulders touched while bowing to look at her phone pics.
At last I was jolted out of my reverie by Melissa delivering Rosie into my arms. I paid the bill, proffered the tip, and bid the two ladies goodbye.
And, as I walked out to the van, I pondered this most unusual reaction I had just had to simply another human being! Was this the first sign of old age lechery? I doubted that. For at least twenty years I have felt not a single attraction to anyone under forty….I have been attracted to women with those frown lines and laugh lines, solid proof that they have some life experience under their belt.
So why such an immediate fascination with a 20 year old? Well, for several days now, when my daily activities are on “pause”, I’ve pondered about those few minutes of attraction silliness. The only explanation I can come up with is that my emotional machinery must have slipped a cog at just the right moment. Perhaps, the night before, I had dreamed of an apple cheeked love of long ago. Maybe a song from the radio, from my teenage years, had set me off on an unconscious nostalgic trip to those days when I might have lay in a warm meadow with a lass such as her, gazed into those “cornflower eyes” and bruised her lips with summer kisses.
Never mind. The spell, of whatever nature, has now been broken and I’m back to worrying about fixed income pensions, and creaky old joints of early mornings, and fumbling for my reading glasses and whether I’m getting enough fiber. And, happily, I’m back to ogling 50 and 60 year olds in the Supermarket aisles so life is back to normal.
But, just for a few moments on a warming sunny morning last week, I was 20 again, and cornflower eyes and green meadows were a grand thing indeed.