The dream is always the same... A cool early autumn night, a light breeze, and a three-quarter moon that appears periodically through the light fog that has formed in the late evening chill. I sit on a hill top, alone with my thoughts. Ahead of me off in the distance, though I canít see it, I can hear the soothing sounds of the ocean as the waves lazily roll across the bay, crest and break as they reach the rocks, then recede to begin the cycle again. Beneath me is the late summer grass, years since itís last clipping, and still retaining some of the heat from the dayís sunshine. I can smell the earth underneath, a pleasantly musty odor mixed with smell of the wild flowers and the pine forest behind me. This place had always been "our" place. We came here sometimes on the weekends, but more often than not in the evenings. Evenings just like this one. She was the light of my life, and I told her so at every possible chance. We had been together for over six months and had plenty of time to get to know one another in every possible way, every way with the exception of one. Not that I wasnít willing mind you, quite the contrary. She was firm in her belief that the one thing we had not experienced together should wait for "The Right Time." I was firm in my belief that "The Right Time" was ANY time. Of course, she would be the one to decide when that time was and not a minute before. You see, she was in control of that one thing, and my job was to wait, and wait I did, confident in the fact that all good things come to those who wait. I didnít wait silently or patiently, though. At every possible turn I tried coaxing and convincing that the "right time" was right then. She, of course, countered all my reasoning with ways I had no way around or couldnít argue with, so I let it lie...for a time. You see, I had experienced "it" often with quite a few other women, and she had never before experienced "it" at all. I understood and respected that... to a point. My favorite argument was that "it" was the ultimate expression of affection, showing mutual feelings for one another and proof of trust and commitment. Well, none of those ever worked, otherwise I wouldnít be sitting here alone in "our" place contemplating where and when it all went wrong. Okay, no contemplation needed, it all went wrong 2 hours and 17 minutes ago when all my "coaxing and convincing" finally pushed her over the edge, and she decided it would be best if we not see each other, "for a while." Boy, have I heard that one before! The last time was ten months ago when my last girlfriend said that and promised sheíd call. Last I heard, she was married and had a baby on the way... Once again, I had messed things up, and I would just have to live with it....

My thoughts were interrupted by a shadow passing in front of the moon. I looked up and recognized the graceful silhouette of a spotted owl out on itís nightly hunt. One predator in the night that may or may not get itís prey. At least he has a fighting chance! My quarry left me with an empty promise that she "would be in touch..." As I returned to my miserable lonesome existence, I heard a rustling noise behind me emerging from the woods. Thinking it was a deer or possibly some other night creature, I turned and gazed into eyes of the most startling green. The moonís shape reflecting outward toward me from those eyeís will forever be burned in my memory. Her lidís were half closed with long, curving lashes reaching out as if they alone would embrace me. Her mouth, slightly open and quivering itís moistened lips were the color of a rose blossom shrouded by the morning dew. High Regal cheekbones reflected the moonlight as though carved from living marble. Surrounding this magnificent sight as a frame around a masterpiece was her hair. It cascaded around her face and down just below her shoulders in waves of dark curls. They appeared to be sentient in the light breeze and the moonlight danced off each strand of hair as if lit from within. With some effort I tore my eyes away from this apparition and followed the curve of her neck down to the shoulders and finally the rest of her body. I recognized her and yet, I didnít. I had never seen this much of her body and now I was seeing all of it, and what a sight to behold! The sheen of her light brown skin told itís own story. One that I could listen to over and over again. A slight hint of perspiration that shouldnít have been there on this cool evening covered every inch of her body and glistened in the night. I tried to speak but nothing seemed appropriate. I was spellbound. She took a step toward me and I caught a faint whiff of her favorite perfume, one that I had grown accustomed to as belonging to her and to her alone, in my mind it was her scent and one I would be able to pick out of a crowded room. With her movement, the spell was broken and I tried to speak again. She noticed my stammering for speech and placed a single finger to my lips, silencing me though I hadnít been able to utter a single syllable. Not trusting myself to speak, and not knowing what to say, I reached up from my still sitting position and grasped her hands gently and guided her into my lap. There we embraced for what seemed an eternity and yet, not long enough until she pulled slightly away from me. I gazed deeply into her eyes and the spell was in place once again. Barely moving her lips, she whispered, "Itís time." In the distance amidst the soft crashing of the waves, I heard the spotted owl screech. He had gotten his prey...

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