East Herkimer, New York, a town in the central part of New York State located just off the Thruway. A sleepy place that isn't much different today than it was back in 1973, when this story took place.
It looked like every insect that was attracted to light was buzzing around the bare bulb that was supposed to illuminate the area around the door of the motel room - Room 9 in this case.
Two friends play out a ritual during the summer of 1973.
Chapter One: Anticipation.
The shower turned off, causing my heart to start beating even faster. The bathroom door was about 6 feet away from the bed where I was pretending to sleep, and I saw the shadows of movement break the light at the bottom of that door.
On the other side of that door, my best friend Kenny was probably drying off, and as the steam came out from under the space at the bottom of the door I visualized what Kenny was doing.
Chapter One: Connecting
As soon as I saw her picture I was hooked. For many, or should I say most men, the plain looking woman staring back at them from the computer screen would have been passed by immediately in the search for a more classic beauty to be found elsewhere on the dating website I was skimming through.
When I was younger my dad got me a summer job working on Saturdays for Mrs Jones. She was a woman who had a property out by the river and my job was to help her do landscaping, cut back trees, lay pavings etc.
The property was a bit run down and it was hard work. Mrs Jones was a bit of a hippie. She lived alone and I guess she must have been divorced because she never wore a wedding ring, even though everyone called her Mrs Jones.
My girlfriend is a cyclist and on the last Friday of each month she goes on a protest ride in the city. It's supposed to encourage people to stop driving to work and ride bikes instead but all it does is make people angry. She doesn't mind and enjoys shouting back at people who tell her to get off the road and out of their way.
Our flatmate Abby was back. She moved in last winter and we got on well together straight away. I felt the chemistry between us but before anything happened her scholarship came through and she went overseas to study.
Now it was summer and Abby was back. She came through Thailand on the way home and looked tanned and fit. I sat in a chair and she sat opposite me on the couch, wearing a long blue hippie skirt that went all the way to the floor and a baby blue singlet.
"I don't understand," my neighbor said, her dark brown eyes wide open as she struggled to comprehend what was going on.
What had started out just like the last few nights, an innocent game of rummy in the kitchen of her modest little apartment had changed dramatically in the last few minutes due to my actions and words.
My words had come easy because they were what was going on through my mind even since I had met Tara a few months ago, but even though I was the one that said them I couldn't believe that I had actually said them aloud.
It was just a summer job in between college semesters many years ago, but it was a learning experience and one that helped the younger man realize that some of the things he enjoyed that he thought strange were things that others enjoyed as well.
"You okay, Tim?" my boss asked me as we sat under the tree after eating lunch. "Heat getting to you?"