I woke up the next morning, without my usual hug. How I had grown to love that first thing in the morning. Before I knew it I was at work, looking at my computer. I tried my best, but in my mind, my thoughts kept returning to James. I focused on work as hard as I could for an hour or so, but I couldn't take it anymore and got up to go for a walk. Outside was beautiful. The birds were singing, there was a slight breeze, and the clouds took on all sorts of shapes. The sun felt great as it warmed my bones. Outside seemed like the perfect environment. This is where James works, and I began to wonder how he was holding up, wishing I could talk to him. "James where ever you are I wish the best for you." When I left work there didn't seem to be a reason to hurry home, and stopped by the store to get something to eat. Cooking on the grill seemed like a good idea.
When I got home I changed, to go for a run. It was a lot of work sometimes but it was also rewarding. I got out to the highway busy traffic, cars and trucks zooming by. Not a good place to go run. I was heading for the closest country road to me. It was so hot and the wind from the cars felt good, but the traffic still made me nervous. I got to an old country road that no one used much anymore. The sound of traffic was behind me now, slowly fading away. It was just me and the road that lay before me. I could feel my legs stretch out to meet the pavement. My breathing was heavy but getting into a rhythm. Even the movement of my legs was a rhythm. It felt great to get it back, to feel each leg reach out and push off as it moved under my body. Each step like the one before it, moving without thought. I looked around me, all woods for now. There was a farm up ahead. I could smell it, even thought I heard a cow in the distance. I rounded the corner and started down a long hill. Hills always brought on different rhythms. Where legs and breath were synchronized they now changed. I stretched out my legs even further, taking full advantage of the hill. My breathing slowed just slightly, gave me a chance to relax. I was hot, the sweat was pouring off me but I didn't care. I just kept going, staring at the bottom of the hill. At the bottom was the farm, not a huge place but big enough. Nice looking farmhouse way off the road, with some big oaks surrounding it and some farm buildings off in the distance. On my left was a field that went up a hill and disappeared down the other side. The terrain on the road was flat; my breathing became heavier, going back to its original rhythm. The sun was hitting me now full strength. I was really hot; sweat pouring off me in buckets. The road passed by the farm heading for more woods again. Good maybe it will be cooler. About the time I hit the woods the pavement ended, and turned into a gravel road that wasn't traveled much at all. In fact I hadn't seen a car since turning on this road. The gravel road had a lot of twists and turns, up and down small hills, almost like a roller coaster. I remember my first roller coaster ride with Shelly. How we bounced around the first curve, how I squeezed her up against the side of the car. Then it was her turn as we made another corner, then I was sandwiched between her and the side of the car. We always had a good time together. I thought I heard traffic ahead, but it sounded more like pavement. Sure enough the gravel road ended as it intersected a paved road. I took a right heading directly toward the sun and a long hill going up before me. Now came a different rhythm. My steps got shorter and breathing harder. Half way up I finally settled into an up hill rhythm, just the right number of breaths and steps. At the top, the road turned slightly right, flat, some shade as the sun was now on my left. I was tired, relying completely on my rhythm. After four or five miles you tend to loose concentration. Your mind wonders and your pace is governed more by your subconscious and how you feel. Apparently I was having a good day, and noticed that I was moving at a good pace. At the highway I turned right again, heading for home. The sun was now at my back, and I was hot, tired and thirsty.
It wasn't too far down the highway till I reached the driveway, and walked the rest of the way back to the house. I got me a big pitcher of water and walked up and down the drive cooling down while replacing the fluid I had lost. Once cool enough I got the grill started. I pilled up the coals like James did and waited for the fire to get going, while I sat out on the deck. It was hot and I was in the sun but I didn't seem to care. I sat there, drinking water, while the heat from the sun made me hotter. Was I punishing myself for something? I couldn't figure out why I was there, but I wasn't moving.
I got out two hamburgers knowing James wouldn't be home for hours. I put them on the grill, returned to my post, as I listened to them sizzle down below me. The heat from the sun was putting my mind in neutral. It was blank; time seemed to pass without me being aware of it. Suddenly I knew it was time to turn the hamburgers over. They were almost done and I hadn't cooked but one side. Apparently time did slip away. After eating I straightened up the house a bit washed my jeep and then took a shower. I went out to the deck and watched the sun set; it was my favorite time of day. It wasn't brilliant, but still beautiful. God created such beauty, and it was all around us everyday. I went inside to watch TV but it made me sleepy, and while I tried to stay awake it was no use, and went to bed. I awoke to the sound of a car door closing. Could it be James? Then I heard footsteps on the gravel, got to be James. I got up and walked through the house, into the kitchen, opening the door for him. He entered set down his stuff on the floor and gave me a hug. His arms reached around to my bare back. I could feel the strength in his arms, the warmth and the love he had. It was better than what I had remembered, and I didn't let go of him for the longest time.
"I missed you," he said.
"I missed you too. You must be tired," I said.
"Yeah, I drove all the way back home while my boss slept. What time is it?"
I checked the clock, "eleven forty five. It's almost midnight."
"I'm tired guess I'll go take my shower."
"Good idea," I said, "you can unpack in the morning, just leave your stuff there. I'm going back to bed." I went back to sleep about the time my head hit the pillow. I was asleep dreaming about the fair, the roller coaster ride with Shelly except it was James next to me. We were rounding a curve as James slid across the seat squeezing me in the seat. I awoke, as James snuggled next to me, he was squeezing me tight. I was lying on my back, James on his side facing me. He had put arm across my chest and laid his head down next to mine. I heard the sound of his breathing, and could feel his breath on my neck and face. We both were asleep in no time. I woke up during the night, and there was a breeze blowing in. I was cold, and I didn't feel James touching me anymore. I reached out for him, felt his back, and the tops of his shoulders. I pulled up the covers over both of us and snuggled up to him. He warmed my entire body as I reached around, feeling his chest with my hand. I had missed him being gone just one night. I buried my head there at the back of his neck and was soon back to sleep. When I woke in the morning the light was streaming in, the birds were all singing, and James was right next to me sleeping peacefully. How I wanted him, but how that was exactly, I didn't know. I lay next to him for a long time, awake and thinking about what he meant to me. Maybe I was falling in love with him. It was hard to say for sure, but that's how I felt. He was there in my arms, asleep, and I thought about getting up, but I also thought about staying where I was. I didn't want to leave him, but I had to go pee, so very slowly I got up. I knew he was tired, and I was being careful not to wake him. I went to the kitchen to pull out some bacon so it would thaw out. I got some orange juice and went out to the deck to watch the sunrise, but when I got out, it was already up, and had missed it. I went back in and made some more orange juice, ice cubes for later, and got things ready for lunch. It had been so hot the last two days, and I was certain James would want to go to the lake as much as I did.
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