By K.C. Ong
She dipped her hand into the water once more; it felt cold yet invigorating at the same time. The lake from which the water flowed was sublime. The water was so clear and inviting that she wanted to quench her thirst with it or lie in it so her entire body could feel as invigorated as her hand.
They were sitting beside a beautiful lake, enjoying a picnic in the sun. The scene was perfect, so perfect that it felt unreal. Birds chirped as they sat upon the weeping willow trees that surrounded the lake. The grass was thick and so green it was to be envied. The sky was as clear as the water on this bright sunny day. She turned to face him, flicking drops of water at him playfully. He laughed and smiled. Their smiles met, and streaks of sunlight shone through the willows leaves upon her face highlighting her exquisitely fair features and auburn-colored hair.
He gently touched her cheek, and they shared a special moment looking deeply into each other's eyes. He wanted to kiss her but felt it might be too soon; after all, this was only their first date. What a first date it was! He wanted it to be memorable, so he did everything he could to make the date special, having planned it weeks in advance.
“Do want some more chocolate?” he finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Ummm, okay” she replied coyly. She wanted him to kiss her.
Unaware that he had missed his opportunity, he reached into the picnic basket and took out an enticing box of handmade chocolates. He presented her with the open box of divine chocolates. She opened her mouth invitingly. This time he knew what to do and placed a piece of chocolate delicately into her mouth. He wanted to ask if she liked his choice of chocolate, but the content look on her face said it all.
Their eyes met. “We should go; there's something I want you to see,” he said.
“Okay.” She beamed at him with anticipation.
They stood up from the picnic blanket, and she glanced once more at his dark masculine features accentuated by his dark motorcycle gear. He looked so at ease packing up, putting the lovely food back into the basket and efficiently folding up the picnic blanket.
He's obviously good with his hands, she mused, recalling that he worked as a landscape gardener who sculpted in his spare time.
He carefully attached the small picnic basket on a handy little rear deck at back of his sports bike. It looked a little odd, so she giggled, admiring his ingenuity. He handed her a helmet, which she slipped on as they sat on the bike. She held on tight to his sculptured chest.
“Hmmm, I like that; probably safer if you hold onto my hips, though.” He grinned. She laughed before holding on to his hips. He wondered if she did that on purpose.
They sped off into the distance, then up onto a curved road. The ride was exhilarating as they climbed up the road in an almost spiral fashion. She smiled nervously, excited yet at the same time trying to work out where they were going, what lay ahead. But all she could see was dense forest on either side. She wanted to ask him, but the roar of the engine made talking hard, so she relaxed into the moment, enjoying all the sights and sounds. After a while her mind drifted into recalling how they had first met.
They had met on rhyme&reason.com--a chat site for poets and aspiring poets. She had posted a comment complimenting him on his lovely poem about landscapes, “My Valley.” From the poem, she could tell he had an affinity with nature and the land. After a few online chats, she found out that he worked as a landscape gardener. She admired the pictures he had posted of his work. She revealed that she was an aspiring writer with a particular interest in poetry. In addition to her day job as a political journalist for The New Times newspaper, she wrote romantic poetry as an escape to the serious political journalism. She explained that her favorite work was William Shakespeare's eighteenth sonnet: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?” He read it, studied it, and composed a poem, “Eternal Love,” which strangely had the same effect on her. She admired his wit and intelligence, which had an almost innocent quality about it, free from any pretense. She knew that this was someone she had to meet.
They were nervous in their first face-to-face web chat. She though he was boyishly cute. He thought she was beautiful and way out of his league. Over the course of a few months, they chatted frequently this way about their lives, their fears, their hopes, their dreams. They had not experienced love before. He, because he had been so hard at work building his landscaping business. She, because she had come from a broken home, her father leaving her mother when she was three years of age. As a result of this, she had developed a mistrust of men. But he seemed to be the only exception; from his writings she felt as if she could feel his feelings and glance into his soul. The fact that he was cute didn't hurt either, she thought.
“We should meet. I want to meet you,” he finally declared.
“I would very much like that,” she had responded happily.
So they set up a date; it was to be a surprise date. They would meet at a café by the lake where she lived, and he promised to take her somewhere else afterward. They had coffee at the café, things went well, and the conversation flowed; they seemed to have so much in common. Too perfect they both thought in astonishment at times. He asked her to have lunch with him by the lake, and it seemed natural for her to say yes.
Her mind drifted back to the present. The bike slowed down, then came to a standstill. They had arrived in a clearing on a peak high above the ground--so high it felt as if you could touch the clouds.
“It's lovely. I never knew such a place existed so close to home,” she expressed, soaking in the atmosphere.
“I come here all the time. It clears my mind, helps me to think,” he explained. “I wrote 'My Valley' sitting over there.” He pointed to a small ledge overlooking the entire valley below.
She wanted to see what he saw, see what inspired him to write such a gem. They walked over to the ledge hand in hand, admiring each other and the beauty around them. The sky had turned slightly gray, giving the scene an almost timeless quality.
They sat up on the ledge high above the ground; it felt as if they were in heaven. The valley was covered in thick emerald forests forming the captivating landscape. There was a waterfall gushing down the river deep into the valley below. Across the valley they could see where the sea met the sky in an endless horizon.
At this moment, time stood still. It felt right, but he was still unskilled in the ways of love, so he wanted to be sure.
“You want to know something else?” he asked.
“What?” she said, thinking, Kiss me.
“I've never been in love before, but when I first met you and got to know you, you became my inspiration for 'Eternal love.' ” He was surprised at how easily the words came out of his mouth. Normally, with a woman as beautiful as Sonja he would have been tongue-tied.
She blushed. That was deep though the words are right for this perfect moment.
They glazed intensely into each other's eyes. He held her close as he leant forward closing his eyes.
She's so beautiful. I can't believe this. I'm about to kiss an angel.
Their lips touched. Their thick lips complimented each other, and it felt so good, so right, so perfect . . .
“Times up,” the machine beeped.
Their dream pods abruptly switched off, and they were back in reality.
That was sublime, Sonja pondered as she removed her headpiece and sat up from the dream pod. If his visions and writing are anything to go by, I can't wait to meet him for real.
Weeks passed. Thoughts of David and the dream they shared occupied Sonja's thoughts every day. They had set a date to meet for real. He would fly from his hometown of Old Wark to meet her in Sentinel, where she lived. She counted down the days. She would often find herself daydreaming about their “perfect” moment and the anticipation of turning that “perfect” moment into reality.
Finally, the day had arrived--the day their paths were to cross, their date with destiny. She was wearing a white dress, and he would be wearing a dark coat. She sat nervously at the airport arrival lounge pretending to read a book while scanning the crowd for signs of David. It seemed that hundreds of people had rushed past the gate into the arrival lounge--but no sign of David.
Has he stood me up? Oh, he couldn't have after all that we've shared. We were just chatting last night and he seemed so keen. Hmmm, he's fifteen minutes late. I wonder what's happened to him. I hope he's just running late. Thoughts raced through her head as she began to panic.
Then, as the crowd coming through the gate reduced to a trickle, she saw a man. He was tall and broad and dressed in a dark overcoat hiding his large frame.
“He's taller than I pictured, which is good.”
From across the room he looked over her way, smiled, and walked toward her. She stared back at him, smiling. As he came nearer, his large features became more prominent. Actually he doesn't look anything like I pictured him, but he seems strong and sturdy. Anyway, I'm in love with his mind.
As he came within greeting distance, she could see that he was not as sculptured as he was in the dream. Poetic license, she thought, but even so, he had a handsome face. She wanted to wave but felt uncharacteristically shy. He came closer and closer, their smiles getting larger the closer he came . . . till he sailed right past her.
A look of shock replaced the smile on her face as she turned around embarrassed. The man whom she thought was David was hugging a tall athletic woman, her face beaming with joy.
How embarrassing, she thought as she turned back around and sank into her chair.
He's twenty minutes late, and I thought he was a “nice” guy. I guess they all seem nice at first. Why can't I seem to meet the good ones? I only want one; I only need one.
It was at that moment that she felt a tap on her shoulder.
Surprised, she turned around.
“Sonja?” a man with a boyish grin said, looking straight into her eyes.
“Ummm, David?” she replied.
They stared at each other as their bodies aligned into one. Sonja's face beamed with joy; finally, she'd met him. He was a little shorter than she'd imagined, but physically, he was her type.
They stepped back to face each other.
“Sorry I'm late. I was looking all over for you, and I must admit that when I first saw you, I felt nervous. You're more beautiful than I imagined,” he explained sheepishly.
She blushed. “Thank you. You're not so bad yourself,” she teased.
To onlookers they would have been described at best as a “plain-looking” couple. He had a toned and trim physique from his years of manual labor. She was thin and waif-looking. “I'm so busy, and no matter how much I eat, I just can't seem to put on weight. I wish I could be like my friends with all their curves. They're gorgeous. Why did I have to be born this way?” she often exclaimed.
He had grown up in poor family, at times going without food. Though he wanted to be accepted into society, he knew that his looks weren't ideal, so instead focused on his business. He would undergo intense strength training so he could perform his job more effectively: lift more, work faster, work harder. As a result of his dedication to his business, he had developed a strong, toned body. She knew this as soon she brushed up against his chest and felt his hard abdominals.
His family placed a strong emphasis on education, and books were treasured in his house. Even though he could not afford to go to a university in his younger years, he read widely and often. Books were his way to journey to distant, exotic places he could not afford to visit. To understand how to run a business when he did not have a business degree. To allow him to converse freely with and understand what motivated his wealthy customers. To at least feel what it was like to be loved by a woman even if it had not happened in the physical world.
“We should go there's so much I want you to see,” she explained “what time is it?”
“2:20 pm 14th June 2177,” he replied cheekily.
“I've only been here 30 minutes and Sentinel does seem like an amazing city,” he said as he looked out the window at the imposing castles with moats, towers and cathedrals which were common place in the city.
Sentinel does seem to have taken on this Neo-Renaissance revival with vigor, he thought.
David and Sonja stared intently into each other's eyes before walking hand in hand towards the airport's exit. As they passed by a newsstand, images of rubenesque models flashed on a screen advertising the various magazines on sale. The word's “Chic Magazine's 50 most eligible bachelors” appeared on screen with pictures portly men with double chins. Their girth and weight indicating that they are well feed, wealthy and of high status.
They look like the prince and princesses in the Renaissance paintings. People really have taken to these images, I guess everyone wants to look like they are royalty, he thought as he glanced at the images.
When they exited the airport and gazed out at the cityscape ahead, he held her hand tightly as he gently motioned her to stop.
“There's something I've wanted to do from the day I first laid eyes on you,” he whispered.
She smiled knowingly. He closed his eyes and leant into kiss her tenderly.
Wow! This is amazing. It's just like I imagined it, they both thought.
David Teo and Sonya Sparks wanted this moment to last forever. Though they weren't going to win any contests as an ”ideal couple,” it didn't matter to them. They saw the beauty inside and knew that this was the start of something special.
- - -
Kevin C. Ong is not your typical romance author, in his day job he works as a Tax Manager! Though he believes his inspiration for romance might the romantic location in which he lives, Lavender Bay with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House - it has been the subject of many local artists. “Love in Another Time” will appear with its companion piece “Until the End of Time” in a collection of short stories currently being compiled by Kevin to be released in 2012. Find out more by visiting facebook.com/kcongpublications (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).