One Night Stand

Well, it’s sure been nice
I might even miss you
Hey, what’s-your–name,
Come here, I’m gonna kiss you.
Yeah. Mm, I wish it wasn’t
A one night stand.
David Ackles

It was in the year 7 B.A. (Before AIDS). I had been attending a Jaycee officer retreat that day and we were now in the town bar blowing off steam. The dance floor was crowded with locals, tourists, and others simply passing through. The band played rock-a-billy and country. Occasionally someone accidentally danced in step to the music.

Even at 6’4” it was hard for me to see over this group. The men all wore cowboy hats and boots. So did many of the women. I had been asked to dance by a local lady who seemed more concerned with dancing than who she had for a partner. I turned around and saw a woman climb onto a bar stool and I started to stare.

I guess what caught my attention was her smile. It was big and innocent. She was directly beneath one of the few lamps in this dimly lit Elks Club and the contrast of her teeth to her dark complexion was mesmerizing. Had I not been in a remote section of Arizona, I would have sworn she was a Sabra (native Israeli). I came to find out that she was born in Philadelphia and of Italian descent. Her name was Gina.

I don’t wish to dwell on the physical, but Gina was beautiful. She had the darkest, deepest eyes I had ever seen and her long, thick, dark hair fell in curly ringlets about her shoulders. She was wearing a white cotton blouse and a black skirt. I remember thinking that she wasn’t really in style, and yet, as striking as she was, she couldn’t be out of style.

We danced. We talked. And as the night grew old I saw most of the people pairing up for the evening. Another officer, Gary (age 27), was seen leaving with two women in their sixties. Gina was genuinely interesting. I didn’t want to ruin the moment with a slow dance or a fast jog to a motel room. We decided to take a walk.

The Arizona sky was clear and bright. The stars too numerous to count. We sat down on a grassy knoll by the lake and talked about ex-spouses and work. I found myself massaging her neck. We continued to talk and I continued to massage. I can’t tell you when, or how it happened, but sometime that evening our guards dropped and our inhibitions disappeared and our passion overcame us. It would be a lie to say that we made love, but it would also be wrong to search for selfishness as our motivation. We tried to give each other a moment of pleasure. And we succeeded.

I thought of Gina the other day. I don’t know why. I just did. I can go a year or two between daydreams of her, but I know I can’t forget. We left the knoll that evening and said good-bye knowing that she was scheduled to leave the next morning. She did. To this day I feel cheated that I never had the chance to wake up to that big smile and those warm dark eyes.

Gary returned to the cabin at 9am the next morning. He was teased for years about the grey hairs in his red mustache.