Whole of Heart


I awoke to the surf washing upon the beach adjacent to which my tent was pitched, the heat of the morning sun announcing the arrival of another beautiful day. As a light breeze blew over the ashram on the southern tip of Paradise Island, the Bahamas, I emerged to stand beneath palm trees gently stirring. A lovely lady nearby, bare feet trolling beach and sand, let her toes play water tunes. She looked to me and I shyly engaged her smile.

A nervous sixteen year old I was, obsessed with my seemingly obvious lack of virile charms. Obvious to me at least in the face of the professed prowess and experience of all my male peers of the time. I was a virgin and it bothered me greatly. Awareness of the fact ached in my loins and drove me to foolish lengths. I did approach that lady thinking as I always did, "Is she the one?", knowing, trusting, that it was not so but that someday, someday it would be.

I left the beach, terribly embarrassed by her amusement at my gangly attempts, a feeling all to familiar to my youth. Little else seemed important to me those days and fantasies fueled my reverie, near infantile erotic daydreams were my shadow. Would I spend my life trapped, I wondered, in this overzealous unrealized yearn?

As time would have it, around noon of that day I made my regular visit to the fruit stand couched in the heart of the little forest in which the ashram nested. I basked in the glow of color and aroma of eden that pilgrimage evoked each time, and ate of my addiction. Sweet dates in my mouth, my eyes beheld a sight more delicious than any my libido could concoct. A vision swam past my delirious gaze to stop but a few feet from me, whereupon she too procured the dates I so enjoyed.

I could not help but stare. She was not tall, nor was she of awesome proportion or slightly clad, but something in her magic entranced me. My heart cried with the song her silent poise sang of peace, rapture and beauty that could never be real, it couldn't be, not for me. "Could she be the one?" I wondered, knowing of course the answer.

"They're good, aren't th... they?" I stammered foolishly.

Her smile sank my heart as she answered, "Yes they are." and she walked slowly away, my tears unshed in her wake.

Such was the story of my youth.


I lived my seventeenth year in a small room at the YMCA, dabbling in the asking of unanswerable questions. My days were spent in libraries and such, my evenings in the company of strangeness. I was wont to paint my face and play the mime, a training in martial arts, dance, and contortionism serving me well. My mystique brought me finally to a fateful day where I was permitted, by a bit of barter, to participate in a weekend workshop on hypnosis.

I arrived early, to wait a full hour before class was to start in the morning. There was but one other in the room as I entered, her back to me, leaning on the window sill, looking out into reverie. My sight awoke a smile from her and I joined her quietly.

The over exuberance of my earlier youth had mellowed into a shyness that some found charming. So it was that we conversed, at first about simple things, then at length about simple things that mattered. We sat together in the front row of the class as others drifted in and quietly discovered a kindred sentiment in much we held dear. The class started and the teacher in his preamble informed us that for the rest of the weekend we would have to pair up with someone and work exclusively with that person. F. and I looked to each other and smiled hugely.

As the day wore on F. and I got closer. We ate together both lunch and supper and were inseparable the whole day. I went home that night ecstatic for the friend I had found. She was incredibly compassionate, insightfully brilliant, and very, very pretty. My dreams that night were of her only.

The next day we both arrived very early and took breakfast together. The day we spent as we had the previous but as the day wore on there was a tension that developed. There was a magnetism between us that was noticeable to everyone in the room throughout the weekend, but as we got close to the end of the workshop there was also a worry. I did not have her phone number and she did not have mine. I was too shy to ask and she had been too hurt herself. Want as we might, we did not overcome our fear. We parted that night, unable to reunite.

I raged at my inadequacy! I banged my head on the wall. How could I be so stupid? How could I let such perfection slip from my fingers when I had it in the palm of my hand? I cried myself to sleep that night and many nights after. Perhaps I was indeed doomed to live my life, the victim of my own idiocy.

Three months later there was another weekend workshop, this time on dream control. Once again I bartered my way in and once again I arrived early. There was but one other in the room as I entered, her back to me, leaning on the window sill, looking out into reverie. My heart leapt! "F.." I whispered.

She turned, her smile one of joy and relief melted my soul. We embraced and me nearly crying we sat together and just looked into each others eyes. We did talk and we did pay attention to other things, but it seemed that our eyes never left each other. When finally the class started, the teacher, a new fellow named Rabbi Jerry Steinburg, could not help but notice the magic stirring between us. His own smile knowingly on his face he informed the class that for the rest of the weekend, we would be working with one other person and would have to pair off. F. and I just hugged.

The weekend was pure magic! The aura of songbirds filled my mind and I felt as I had never felt before. I knew what was happening, I knew I was falling in love. We spent every moment together, often hand in hand and our teacher watched us, perfectly aware of what was happening. The weekend wore on and as the sunday class got near to the end, a familiar tension was there and I seemed powerless to overcome the root of it. Once again neither of us had dared to risk that most hurtful of consequence, neither had braved the rejection of hearing that what we so desperately wanted could not be. The teacher noticed this too.

The class was over and we were all getting our coats on and leaving, when Jerry, Rabbi Steinburg, approached the two of us and said, "You know, I only get to this city once a year and when I do I always have to visit Pam Pam's restaurant for a piece of walnut cake. It is the only place I know that serves walnut cake. It's just around the corner, would you two care to join me?"

My sigh of thanks was terribly evident, as it seemed was F.'s. We gratefully accepted and slowly walked towards our destination. Jerry looked strangely at the two of us as silently we walked, for I was on one side of him and F. was on the other. He broke the silence with a question.

"Peter, what's wrong?"

"Wrong?" I answered, rather surprised that he should ask such a thing. "Nothing's wrong."

"Nonsense." He said. "Something is obviously bothering you."

"No, really," I defended, afraid of admitting that I needed him to press, "everything is fine."

He looked at me a moment and said, "Tell me, what is it that you would like most right now."

"Huh?" I responded intelligently.

He repeated his question and appended, "Would you like a woman to make love to?"

I almost died of embarrassment! I wanted the ground to swallow me. I stared at him speechless. Then I did one of the few truly intelligent things I have ever done in my life, I said the right thing. "Well," I started, "That would be nice, but I don't think that that is what I would want the most right now. What I would want the most is a really close friend. Someone to whom I could tell anything and who could tell me anything. Someone who would accept me for who I am, faults and all and for whom I could do the same. Someone like F. over there." I said looking lovingly at her but a few feet away.

Her face lit up and she came from around Jerry to take my arm and we marched to the restaurant glued together. At the restaurant as the two of us stared into each others eyes, Jerry literally told us to exchange phone numbers and watched as we did so. He left after having only a few bites of his walnut cake and we hardly noticed. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you Jerry.

F. had to catch a bus that stopped running after midnight, so after a while we had to leave and I 'gallantly' offered to wait with her to see her off. So it was that at midnight in the moonlight after a waiting in silence, F. came timidly to me. She stood very close in front of me and put her palms on my chest, stood on tiptoe and looked longingly into my eyes. "Peter," she said softly, "It would be real nice if you would come home with me tonight."

That night F. became the one. She never did believe that it was my first time, as I pleasantly discovered that the disciplines I had spent many years learning had other uses than dimes in a hat. Nor was it to be our last time. I fell head over heels, madly in love with her that night. And every night thereafter, I fell in love all over again.

We spent far more time together making love than we did everything else combined. We just couldn't get enough of each other. I had a hard time believing my fortune at finding such an extraordinary lover as F.. She had an appetite sufficient to exhaust a teenager in olympic condition, and no inhibitions at all, none. She was no passive recipient of affection. She was six years older than myself, but seemed to have garnered far more than six years experience. For myself I soaked up every bit of experience she had to offer, I took it, added myself to it, and fed it back in a synergy that never ended.

As it is said however, the only constant in life is change, nothing lasts forever. The reality of the situation I had known from the first day we had met. She had been planning a trip to the bottom of South America and back to Montreal on a motorcycle. This trip was something she had planned for years and been dreaming about for most of her life and it was to come soon. Knowing that from the beginning made it easier to deal with and we made promises to each other that we knew were unrealistic. I do not remember the day of her leaving, which is strange as I have very good recall of most everything else.

After three months of us being passionately together, she left. While I did not expect to fill the vacuum in my life left by her parting, she left me a changed man. Gone was the insecure boy who lived in fantasy of what it might be like. Left in his place by the tutelage of this witch of tantra, was a young man to do Don Juan proud. I was by no means perfect, but when it came to seduction and the art that followed, I knew much success.

A year went by, then another. I had a few lovers and one serious relationship. Finally however there came a time when I was alone, for lack of want to be otherwise, and I thought much of F.. Things weren't the same with anyone else. It was fun, but the magic was missing.

It was at a party hosted by strangers that I saw her again. She sat alone in a corner, her leg in a cast. When our eyes met, we were lost. I went to her slowly and knelt at her side and we said not a word but just looked into each others eyes. That old hesitation was back, for neither of us knew what the other wanted, and asking would risk that most terrible of pain. We couldn't even hug.

We spoke together softly about her trip and the accident that brought her back. We talked about my life and the things I had been doing. We talked the way friends talked who have not seen each other in a while and as friends there was no harm in exchanging phone numbers.

We talked on the phone the next day for a while and made a dinner date for a few days later. We talked over dinner and got into the habit of seeing movies together. We would go to the same parties and had mutual friends. We saw more and more of each other and discovered something we had not previously discovered about each other. We discovered in each other, not a lover, but a friend, a really good friend. We became best friends.

Six months into our new friendship she invited me to her home for dinner on a friday. This was unusual as I liked to cook and usually she would come to my place for supper. It was something special but I didn't think more of it than that. When I arrived however, things were very obviously very special.

It was dark out and as she opened the door, the glitter from dozens of candles lit the space. Glowing with candle light was her dome tent set upon the shag carpet in the middle of the large room that was her studio. A little table sat in the middle of the tent with two place settings and cushions strewn around it. Dozens of large plants had been strategically arrayed about the tent such that when sitting inside you would have the illusion of being inside a forest with the candles glittering a starlight.

She greeted me in a seductive gown and with a kiss most unbefitting of just friends. She led me inside, relieved me of my jacket and sat me down inside the tent. I offered to help with dinner and she flatly refused. She went to ready things and as I waited I could just make out in the dim light, her futon arranged in the center of the floor beyond the tent and plants. She only pulled out her futon for sleeping and one other purpose. Her smile and demeanor as we ate was enough to break a god. I was seduced.

That night we made wild and passionate love as we hadn't in years. We didn't stop the next day, nor the next. Monday morning she was late for work, very late. Such was the nature of our relationship. *

As of that weekend I for all intents moved in with her. I maintained a small place for myself as she needed sometimes, time to herself. We spent most nights together and as often as not the whole of the weekends. I knew how truly I was in love.

I would do anything for her, I did all I could. Her happiness was more important than my own, her well being more important than my own. I know many who would say that such extremes are not healthy, perhaps, but I am certain that most of those who would say so have never felt anything like it, and so they have my sympathy.

I would cook her dinner. I would give her a massage almost every day. When she returned from the trips she often took for work, she would find her studio filled with literally two dozen vases with flowers. Gods I loved that woman!

She was always torn between her passion and what her mind believed she needed. With me there was no question of the passion, but with respect for her desire for a secure future and one day family, I was far from perfect. I was young both of body and mind with no sign of ever putting aside childish things. Ideas for career and such were far from my mind. So it was that we went through a repeating cycle of pushing away and drawing closer as these two divergent needs warred within her. I tried hard not to cling and was always there when she welcomed.

For two years we were together. Two years not without turmoil, but two extraordinary years. Years I shall remember for the rest of my life. They were the years where I was whole of heart.

There came one day when she pushed hard. She pushed me away harder and more severely than ever before and this time I got scared. All the previous times I 'knew' she would come back, but this time I feared that she would not. I cried, I wept openly in front of her, something I do not recall ever doing before. She strengthened her resolve before that entreaty and pushed away ever more. I freaked.

I could not bear the thought of loosing her and rather than deal with the situation in the secure manner that probably would have brought her back with her passion, I handled things badly. I begged.

She was adamant in her decision to do what was right for her future. I left love letters in her mail box, I left roses on her doorstep early in the mornings. I got an apartment, the turret window of which she could see from across the street from her balcony, and for six months I kept a candle burning in that window. She remained steadfast. I cried.

Finally I could bear the pain no longer and fell into a depression so low that thoughts of suicide were not unknown. Rather than seek her attention, now it was so painful that I could not bear to be near her. On more than one occasion I had to leave a restaurant because she was there. The emotional pain was physical, its toll clearly visible in my eyes.

Corny as it may seem, a song may have saved my life. Maybe the song just came at the right moment when I was ready for it. Be that as it may, as I sat despondent over a cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe, a song started to play over the radio. The song was 'The Rose' sung by Bette Midler (sp) and with the first few words of it, it held me and walked me through its message. At the end of it as my tears rolled down my cheek one last time I knew that I would go on. It would be a long climb back up, but I knew that I was ready.

It has been fifteen years since I last kissed F.. We have spoken but a few times since then and those moments are still painful. It is now a memory that is painful, as we have both changed much over the years, but knowledge of that does not make it disappear. She is happily and securely married with children and I would not dream of intruding on that happiness.

For my part, I have had other relationships since then, though they have become less frequent and less intense with time. I have in fact been alone now for eight years and am content with my solitude. I am not an unhappy person. Sometimes however, when I stand in the moonlight at midnight and remember her hands on my chest and the look in her eyes, it still hurts.


F. and I discovered after a couple of years together that we had both gone to the same symposium on paradise island. It was with that discovery that things clicked and I realized that the vision I had seen by the fruit stand so long ago was in fact F.. She was the one. Will there ever be another?


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