By Clive Aaron Gill
I sauntered on the boardwalk at Mission Beach, San Diego after the August morning fog had cleared. Cyclists, joggers, and skateboarders raced past me. Walkers and adults pushing children in strollers passed by. Multi-colored umbrellas on the wide beach sheltered people wearing swimsuits and sunglasses. Surfers floated on boards, waiting for a good wave, and youngsters built castles in the sand. Girls in bikinis jumped and dove for the ball during a beach volleyball game.
I leaned against the low wall separating the boardwalk from the beach. A few yards ahead of me, a gorgeous woman sat alone on a beach chair. I stared at her long legs and white shoulders. She stood and stretched, her blond hair waving in the wind. My eyes were drawn to her slim ankles and smooth, satiny skin. A wine-red beach thong exposed her chubby rump, and her top strap held small, firm breasts.
She stepped into black jeans that hugged her curved thighs and tied a white, sleeveless blouse at her waist. She folded her beach chair and walked toward me with a sway as if dancing to reggae music, her thighs rubbing against each other, her red lips parted.
My mouth moistened with excitement, and my cheeks felt hot. She reminded me of the beautiful girl I adored in high school. And I remembered my college days filled with music, frequent laughter and long, passionate kisses.
I wanted to know everything about her. Did she have a boyfriend, a husband, a partner?
I wondered if she would be free to join me for dinner that night at Bud and Rob’s New Orleans Bistro. Perhaps she would be interested to hear about my African safari, when a bull elephant trumpeted and charged me, ears flapping, head shaking. Or the story about the leopard I noticed crouching on a branch when I went to an outhouse.
More questions raced through my mind: Should I ask if I could walk beside her? Did I have the courage to introduce myself and start a conversation? Would I stutter and stumble? Would she smile with light, playful eyes and welcome me?
I wanted to buy her a red rose. I imagined her gratitude, her soft fingers touching my cheek and the warm moisture of her lips on mine.
As she came close, I smelled the aromatic perfume of jasmine flowers.
But she walked past me, looking straight ahead as if I was not worth a glance. As if I was invisible.
I sighed. What else should I have expected? I’m an 80-year-old with varicose veins who finds it difficult to bend down and tie my shoelaces.
Stories by Clive Aaron Gill have appeared in more than 30 print and online literary journals and in “People of Few Words Anthology.” Born in Zimbabwe, Clive has lived and worked in Southern Africa, North America, and Europe. He received a degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and lives in San Diego. Some of his work can be found on Amazon.