| bio | stories
| poetry |
links | guestbook
| message board
previous | stories
index | next
On the Riverwalk
Ah ... love is in the air.
How do straight people meet and what kind of relationships do they have?
Before I accepted being gay, I had a few straight relationships and
saw how the whole ritual worked (although it worked better for the more-enthusiastic
straight guys than for me who really just didn't get much out of even
looking at girls, let alone dating them). Anyways, this is one of the
many possibilities for how straight relationships work. You might be
The sun was steady on the horizon as late afternoon fell into early
evening. The orange rays spreading from the west changed the normally
greenish-blue waters of the river into a flowing current of gold, moving
steadily along the gently winding banks and cascading over the occasional
outcropping of rock. The trees on either bank, waving in the light breeze
as if swaying to some silent slow-dance, sheltered the river and isolated
this spot at the edge of the city, standing tall and full enough to
block the sight of buildings and freeways not too many miles distant.
The citys sounds of horns and engines were not to be heard here
above the chirping birds and the rush of cascading waters; the citys
smells of exhaust fumes and urine were blown far away by the winds to
leave only the rich smell of earth and flowers; and the citys
inescapable vibrations and pulsations also were absent, leaving only
the soft caress of that gently flowing breeze.
Alongside the river, winding and flowing in sync with its path, lay
a simple wooden boardwalk of smooth pine planks, evenly spaced and deftly
engineered to blend into this tranquil scene. Small shrubs and tall
grasses in some areas completely obscured the edges of the wooden path
as it meandered beside the river through the woods. At a certain bend
in the river, where the arching bows of the trees made a latticed canopy
above the flowing waters, a simple wooden bench had been placed upon
the walkway, facing the river and dappled in glowing patches of orange-hued
The path at this time of day was often empty of the men, women and children
who traced their way back and forth throughout the rest of the day,
some jogging, some walking deep in thought, and some having animated
discussions with a companion. By this time of the evening, as dusk was
descending, the people of the city had generally returned to their homes
within the surrounding area. Tonight, however, two forms walked along
the slightly creaking planks, arm in arm as they headed to the empty
Sitting on the left of the bench without taking his eyes from his companion,
a handsome man with raven-black hair and stylish clothing smiled and
lay his arm along the back of the bench. "Do you like it?"
he asked of the woman to his right.
"Oh yes, its
incredible. Its so peaceful here.
How did you ever find it?"
"Ive been coming here for years," he replied. "Its
very relaxing, and I can get away from the stresses of the city
at least for a little while. I just wish youd been here with me
sooner." Smiling at her again, he lifted her hand from her lap
and kissed her fingertips, stopping only for a moment to smile again
when he noticed her blush.
Smiling shyly, the attractive woman lowered her head to hide the redness
of her face, her long blond hair flowing along with the motion. She
was noticeably younger than her companion, but she was old enough to
know what was happening. "Blake," she said to the man, "do
you really love me?" She raised her head once again, waiting for
"Of course I do, Eva, "Blake replied soothingly. "I love
you more than Ive ever loved anyone else in the world, and thats
why I want us to be together."
"I know," Eva responded. "And I want us to be together,
too, but it just all seems so fast. I mean, I just met you last night."
She hesitated a moment but then smiled.
"Darling Eva, dont you feel it? Its like Ive
known you all of my life, like Ive been waiting and waiting for
you and now youve finally shown up! Oh, I can wait if you insist,
but I want so much to be with you and show you my love. I feel like
I could just explode; you get me so excited!"
The blush returned to Evas cheeks. "Yes, I do feel it. I
feel the same way, but
oh, I shouldnt doubt something that
feels so right."
As she finished her reply, Blake twisted on the bench to face her and
drew her close for a long, passionate kiss. Each face pressed closely
against the other as hands moved along each others backs. One
kiss led to another as the final reddish light of the sun vanished beyond
the trees. A soft glow of light, fading as the minutes passed, barely
surrounded the lovers as they slowly drew apart.
"Its getting dark," Blake spoke softly. "Do you
think we can go back to your place?"
"Mmm-hmm," Eva replied breathlessly. "Yeah, lets
go. I want you."
Blakes white teeth could still be made out in the fading light
as he smiled at Eva. "I want you, too. Lets go."
Taking her hand again, Blake stood and drew her up into his embrace.
Leaning in for one more kiss, Blake made a quick little lovers
peck then smiled and laughed at his little teasing contact. Leaving
the bench, they each stretched an arm around their lovers waist
and walked casually down the path. As they disappeared into the night
the last light of dusk faded, leaving only the soft sound of rushing
water and the gentle passage of the wandering breeze.
The next evening found Blake and his companion once
again walking arm in arm along the walkway to the bench by the riverside.
The height of the setting sun, the color of the sky, the fragrance in
the air, the sound of the birds and the waters all was the same
placid atmosphere as on so many previous nights that Blake had come
to this spot with a woman. Blake led her to the bench and allowed her
to sit before seating himself. She crossed her long legs and threw back
her head so that the flow of long red hair would fall back from her
face. Her fair skin was colored by rosy patches on her cheeks as she
smiled and looked around.
"I remember coming here with my father when I was a little girl.
I always felt so safe, like nothing bad could ever touch me here. I
dont know why I havent come back til now."
"I always feel safe here, too," Blake told her. "Whenever
Im here it seems like I can have whatever I want and no one will
stop me." Blake smiled and placed her hand in his. "Do you
have any idea how much I love you, Sheila?"
"Blake, I love you, too. I never thought when I met you online
that wed ever be more than just friends. So many guys online are
just creeps. All they want is anonymous sex and no commitment. But youve
been so sweet and never seemed to care about that stuff. And now were
" Blake began to speak but stopped and looked toward
"Whats the matter, Blake? You can tell me."
"Oh, Sheila, I dont want to scare you off after you just
said that about those guys online, but I want so badly to kiss you."
He lifted his head to face her, a pleading look on his face.
Sheila smiled and stroked his cheek. "Youre not like those
guys, Blake. Weve known each other long enough for me to see that.
I want to kiss you too."
Blake wasted no time. Twisting in his seat he grasped her into a strong
embrace and kissed her deeply, taking Sheila momentarily by surprise
at his passion before she gave in and responded in kind. The kiss seemed
to go on for quite a while, the light of dusk dimming as they embraced
and caressed each other.
Blake pulled away and stood up, facing away from Sheila as she sat on
"Whats wrong, Blake? I
it was so good for me
"Its not you," Blake responded. "Look, Im
not sure I should say this but I havent been with a woman in a
long time and youve got me really excited. I
I need to calm down."
Sheila giggled. "Come here, big boy."
Blake turned around to a smiling Sheila as she reached out her arm to
invite him back to the bench. He hesitated a moment as she grasped his
"You know, its really a turn-on for me to have a guy thats
so shy like you are. I promise I wont lead you on and not follow
" Blake queried as a smile drew his lips up
tightly, the statement unfinished but as clear as the waters of the
river in the distance.
"Yeah," Sheila replied with another smile. She looked around
for a moment before mentioning, "Its getting dark. Do you
want to come back to my place? I dont want to rush things, but
I know you have to fly back home in a couple of days to go back to work.
I want to spend as much time with you as I can."
"Me too. That would be great." Blake sighed and looked to
the sky. "I wish I could live here so I was closer to you. Damn,
I hope that transfer goes through."
Sheila stood up and pulled Blake close. "Lets not worry about
that now. I know well be together; we just have to be patient.
Well find a way."
Pulling each other in for a tight hug, they turned and walked off along
the pathway, the planks creaking in the otherwise silent night. Soon
even that light creaking grew silent, leaving simply the sound of rushing
waters and the musical chirping of crickets.
following night the scene was changed only slightly. A brief summer
rain during the day had fallen over the river and the trees, and clinging
drops still fell randomly from the leaves. The planks of the walkway,
soaked during the rain, were a myriad of shades of brown and tan as
the water brought out color from the sun-bleached wood although some
planks were lighter, having dried more quickly than others. The descending
sun, normally a warm orange influence upon the river, was instead a
flow of pinks and purples, not quite as bright as on other nights and
setting a more subdued mood to the whole area.
Blake walked along the wooden path alone, headed toward the same bench
he had sat upon countless times in the past. He glanced around occasionally,
looking forward and back along the path as he made his way to his destination.
Reaching the bench he sat down, looking each way along the walkway once
again. He stared out at the river he had seen so often and then raised
his arm to glance at his wristwatch. As he lowered his arm, a quiet
creaking could be heard from the planks along the path. Blake looked
back to see a short, plain man walking along the path toward him. Seeming
uninterested, Blake turned his gaze back to the flowing waters.
"Where is she?" Blake mumbled to himself.
"Hope is not coming," the short man spoke to Blakes
question in an even, British-flavored tone.
Blake turned and directed a questioning glance to the stranger. "What?"
"I said, Hope is not coming," the stranger replied.
"She was never going to come. I wanted you here so that I could
speak to you myself."
"What? Who are you?" Blake queried, his voice full of confusion
and a bit of anger.
"My name is Justin Wilde. Do you recognize that name?" Blake
shook his head to the strangers question. "I didnt
think you would. In fact, I doubt that you would even recognize the
name Delia Wilde." A dumbfounded look from Blake seemed to confirm
this, and the stranger continued. "Delia was my wife up until about
six months ago. She and I are divorced now, and I feel more empty and
alone now than you can possibly imagine."
"Look, fella "
"Justin," the stranger interjected.
I dont mean to be an asshole
I mean Im sorry to hear you got a divorce and all, but
why are you telling me this? And how do you know about Hope?"
"Well, it will take a bit of explaining." Justin pointed to
the empty space next to Blake on the bench. "Um, may I?"
"Sure. Go ahead," Blakes tone was guarded as he watched
Justin take the seat beside him.
"Alright." Justin paused a moment then stated, "You
are the reason for my divorce."
"What! Look, buddy, I dont even know you!" Blake began
to stand but Justin grabbed his shoulder firmly and pulled him back
into his seat.
"Just sit! I have a lot to say, and you are going to listen!"
Justin paused again, seeming to actively work at calming himself from
his stern outburst before continuing. "My wife and I were high
school sweethearts. I was away from the city getting my Masters
Degree for the last two years, and Ive only been able to return
every month or two for a long weekend while Ive been at college.
We figured we could struggle through a couple years apart. We probably
could have. But then you came along."
Blake stared at Justin with a look of dread creeping onto his face.
Blake was strong and suave around women, but it was obviously just an
act. Faced with a real problem, a confrontation, it didnt seem
that he was very strong at all. He was noticeably fidgeting in his seat,
his gaze fixed upon his feet, and he seemed to shrink from his suave,
controlled façade into a timid, nervous wreck as Justin explained
more and more.
"About seven months ago, while I was still at college, I got a
letter from my wife telling me she wanted a divorce. I was heartbroken,
and I just knew that it had to be because I wasnt with her. I
flew back to the city to speak with her, hoping to convince her I would
give up college and come back if she would forgive me. She told me that
I had done nothing wrong, that she was guilty and wanted a divorce because
she owed it to me. I couldnt understand what she was trying to
say and insisted that she tell me what had really happened. Eventually
she told me."
The look of dread that had been growing upon Blakes face became
accented by a slight sweat on his forehead.
"Yes, I see by the look on your face that you remember her name
now. What you dont know is that after you seduced her and went
your own way, she became pregnant."
The sweat began to bead and drop across Blakes face.
"My wife has always opposed abortion, and even under the circumstance
she felt the same way about this child. Rather than hurt me, my wife
wanted a divorce because she couldnt face me anymore. I tried
everything I could to convince her that I could forgive her and that
we could get past this, but she would not forgive herself. She wouldnt
stay in the same house and she was getting sick with anxiety. In the
end I didnt feel I had any choice but to agree to the divorce,
hoping she could forgive herself if I wasnt around as a reminder
of what had happened."
Blake looked quite shaken and backed away from Justin on the bench.
"I am so sorry. I had no idea. Really. I didnt
"Thats right! You didnt think!" Justin yelled
out a defiant comment but paused for a moment and noticeably forced
himself to calm down once again. "Im not here to beat the
living hell out of you, Blake."
Blake looked slightly relieved but not completely trusting of Justins
"I probably should kick the shit out of you, and Im sure
other men would, but I want you to remember this and suffer for a long
time. Ive spent the last six months anticipating the satisfaction
of telling you what you have done and telling you what I have decided
to do to
Blake paled. "Look, I "
"Shut up!" Justin loudly cut him off. "Im not going
to hurt you. Not physically, anyhow. I decided that you deserved a fate
at least as bad as what youve done to me. I am alone and bitter
when I should be blissfully happy with my wife. But thats gone
now. Let me tell you what Ive been doing since my divorce."
Justin smiled a wicked grin and Blake shrank back into his seat without
saying a word.
"When the divorce was final, I tried to move on but I couldnt.
I could only think of what you had done to us, and then it all came
to me. I hired a private detective and told him everything I knew about
you from my wife. I figured if we could find you that I could either
warn the women you found or I could blackmail you or something. I figured
Id know what was the best solution when everything came together.
Surprisingly, it didnt take him long to find you. The fact that
you seem to bring every woman you meet to this riverwalk was very helpful.
By the way, wave to Mr. Sykes, my private detective." Justin leaned
over the back of the bench and waved at the trees.
Blake turned around and looked at me sitting behind my tripod-mounted
video camera, the edge of the camouflage hunting blind pulled aside
amidst the trees where Id been hiding less than fifty yards away.
The last of the color drained from Blakes face as he turned back
to look upon Justins defiant smirk.
"This is all really just for my fun, Blake," Justin told him.
"I wanted to see your face when I told you everything. Im
having my ex-wife sue you for child support. Ive contacted all
of the women youve seen over the last five months since Sykes
started filming you here. If youre lucky, none of them got pregnant
or youre really in trouble. Oh, and I shouldnt forget,"
Justin paused a moment and smiled even more broadly as he dealt the
final blow, "Ive sent copies of all of the video tapes to
your wife along with some extra footage that Mr. Sykes associates
were able to provide from in the city. I not only expect her to file
for divorce, but I expect her settlement to give her possession of everything
"I suppose I should feel a bit sorry for you, Blake, but I dont.
You ruined my life, asshole. See what it feels like." With those
final comments, Justin stood and turned away from Blake, walking quietly
but with a somewhat lighter step than Id ever seen him use since
Blake didnt seem to move until some time after Justin had passed
from sight then he just seemed to lean into himself and shake
as he sat hunched over on the bench. I pulled the flap of the hunting
blind closed again as the last bits of light fell away from the riverside.
As the darkness consumed the scene, all that could be heard were quiet
sobs as Blake accepted his fate.
On the Riverwalk, by Paul
Cales, © September 2001
previous | stories
index | next
| bio | stories
| poetry |
links | guestbook
| message board