Sometime during our embrace she realized that, yes, I was real - not another one of her hallucinations.
She nuzzled her face into my shoulder and began to softly cry and shake uncontrollably.
She struggled with the violent convulsions and the "stutter/gulp" breathing cycle that usually accompanies tears of deep sadness.
The muffled crying was heartbreaking; sounding like an exhausted, abandoned, and starving baby that was too weak to protest with anything louder than a whimper.
I tolerated the stench of her clothes and hair, and the gritty oil of her skin.
I kissed her forehead and gently rubbed her back. She always liked that. It had an instant calming effect.
Eventually, she stopped shaking and sobbing just long enough to look me straight in the eyes for a second or two.
I don't know what she saw in my eyes, but all I saw in her's was a combination of utter confusion and a desperate kind of pleading that instantly tore my heart apart.
I was on the verge of tears.
I first met her while partying at one of my favorite night spots years ago.
It was her mesmerizing eyes that intrigued me the most.
They were so beautiful; so full of life, joy, and playfulness.
When you added the "angel wings" smile, the knock-out body, a sharp intellect, and a sense of humor befitting a salty sailor, it's no surprise that - like me - many were hooked from the start.
When I saw her that first time, I made it a point to consciously prevent stumbling over myself and looking like the next fool in line.
She was surrounded by a group of admirers; mostly fat, rich old foreigners and young, poor-but-handsome backpackers.
I maneuvered close enough to listen to her voice, but far enough to appear nonchalant about all the fuss.
Assessing the current situation, I knew it would be insane to appear like just another "buzzing gnat vying for attention."
By now, I’d formulated a strategy to get her away from the others and alone with me.
What did I do?
The only thing that I believed would instantly separate me from the herd: I waved at her, made eye contact, winked, blew her a kiss, put my hand on my heart, bowed and walked away with as much swag I could comfortably display.
And just as I predicted, less than a minute later she detached herself from the group and walked to where I had stationed myself in a foyer leading to the restrooms.
She smiled and pointed to the female restroom, pointed at me, pointed to my feet, and while flashing the cutest, sexiest pouty-face, gave me the "please" gesture (hands together as if praying).
The meaning was simple, “Please stay here until I get back from the restroom, ok?”
Of course, I waited!
Back then, just as now, when she returned I offered my hand; and without hesitation, she took it.
That started a romance that lasted for almost two and a half years...
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Excerpted from: "Suckers and Samaritans. Same Thing?" - JaiChai 2017. Revised 12-22-2020. All rights reserved.