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a friend request

Through all the years, the scent of new still lingers.

It was May 1967 in my small hometown of Muscatine, Iowa–a time you dream about, plan for and that everything seems to lead up to–senior year, last day of high school.

I cleaned out my locker, closed it and worked the combination one last time–16-4-36–then had a final conversation and hug with Bob Wiese, whose locker was next to mine. I walked down the hallway and up the steps–pausing for a brief good-bye with Mr. Robinson, my favorite teacher–and then exited through the large double front doors and down the four concrete front steps for the very last time.

Later that day I sat in the Maid-Rite–chomping on a greasy burger and sipping a strawberry shake–with Paul Sehnert, Dan Bloomer and Kay Ruekert–long time high school friends. We laughed, reminisced, signed one another’s yearbooks and talked about the future–mostly college and jobs. I marveled at their plans and wondered where my life would take me. That was 45 years ago when we were all eighteen years old. We saw each other briefly that summer but then lost track. Someone told me Dan passed away a few years after high school.

The weekend of August 24th, 2012 I will once again find myself in the company of many of my former classmates as we celebrate the 45-year reunion of the Class of 1967. We will laugh and reminisce about those youthful years in the late 1960s. We will attempt to catch up on 45 years of where our futures led us. And we will remember in spirit the young friends we left behind…forever captured in time on the pages of the MHS Auroran Yearbook.

“Best of luck, have fun, be good and always remember me…”

Cheryl

Excerpt from “A Friend Request,” a novel by C.L. Gillmore

 

The next slow song the band played was “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” by Johnny Rivers. Jake set the sound and the lights and led me out onto the dance floor for the first time. I was so nervous I was shaking.

I was a terrible slow dancer, I never felt comfortable. There had been no one to teach me. I didn’t know how to follow. I felt awkward

and invariably stepped on my partner’s foot or missed a beat and tripped. Slow dancing was stressful—and it was too close, too intimate for me. 

That was before Jake.

We stopped in the middle of the dance floor and Jake put his arm around me and took my hand in his.

“What’s wrong? You’re shaking, Rose.”

“Jake, I can’t slow dance—can’t follow anyone. I’ll step all over your feet and…”

I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence. Jake pulled me closer, looked into my eyes and whispered in that low, steady voice, “Hush now. Take a breath and relax. I’m a strong lead. Close your eyes and move with me. Just move with me, Rose.”

I listened to his voice and did exactly what he said—took a deep breath, closed my eyes and moved with Jake.

Magic. That was the only word for what happened when Jake held me in his arms and we danced that night. It was magic.

All my fear—all my apprehension—faded away.

I heard the music. I felt Jake’s arms around me. I fit perfectly up against him, molding into his body as we danced. He pressed his lips against my neck, my ear—breathing, whispering—and left me breathless. That light caressing contact traveled to my core like lightning flashes.

He knew where to put each hand, how and when to apply just the right amount of pressure to lead me. I felt the slightest change of direction, every hesitation and turn as we moved around the dance floor. We moved as one—like we’d been dancing for years—and yet it was our first time. Our first dance together…as a couple.

Jake led—I followed.

Slow dancing with Jake was different. Very different than anything I’d experienced before. I felt safe in his arms. We connected so intimately as we danced. And with Jake, that was okay too. I loved how his body felt against mine, how his hands touched me—one securely on my shoulder, fingers trailing up the back of my neck and into my hair—the other sensuously pressed and softly kneading the small of my back. I clasped both hands over his shoulders and around his neck and rested my head against the side of his face. I felt him spread the fingers of each hand across my hips and pull me closer against him as we moved, brushing his lips across my cheek, my hair. Our bodies fit perfectly…the hardness of his against the softness of mine.

He continued to whisper softly into my ear and no matter what the words, when Jake spoke them—they became sensual, erotic. In between the words, he brushed his lips lightly over my cheek, my ear and I felt his breath against my skin. His chest moved against mine as he breathed in and out. Something ached deep inside me.

Jake took my breath away. He made me tremble. Made me long for him. And when I looked into his eyes, I saw that same longing for me. No one ever made me feel like this and I wondered if anyone affected him this way. I hoped not. I wanted to be the only one. I wanted him to always remember how he felt with me.

Jake was the most sensual young man I’d ever been with. There was something about him. I felt it from the moment we met—his manner, his touch, his sureness, the way he looked into my face. He knew what to do with a woman’s body when he danced with her—with me. It was lovely, more than lovely.

I never wanted the song to end. I never wanted the dance to end. I wanted to stay in Jake Richardson’s arms forever.

My soul friend, a kindred spirit.

“Without a real plan for what could happen, I made an effort and reached out for a chance meeting with someone who gave me a glimpse of the color again, if only for an instant. But in that instant, I saw it. I remembered it. And I wanted it. Someone stepped back through time and into my life again…and everything routine, mundane and colorless changed.  

This someone knew about my plans, my hopes, my dreams. This someone knew the person I had been when I started out. This someone knew me and because of that, I could clearly see a different path I wanted to walk down. A path that was filled with the colors of life once again. He had been a friend, my soul friend, a kindred spirit. He had been my lover. Forty years ago.

His name is Jake Richardson.”

~ excerpt from the novel “Uncommon Bond”

by C. L. Gillmore ©2011~

Standing alone…

“Sometimes no matter how much you love someone…if that person is unable to stand on his or her own…and you are struggling to maintain your own footing…the kindest, most loving and certainly most difficult decision is to walk away. And somewhere in time you may both find yourselves walking assuredly on a familiar path that will converge once again.”
~C. L. Gillmore, excerpt from “A Friend Request”~