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Sedona has always been a special place for my wife and me. I had proposed here, we had honeymooned here. When we were finally accepting the reality that she just couldn’t conceive a child, we came here to begin a new chapter in our life’s story. This is where she came to reenergize after her cancer treatments. Now here I am, alone, having scattered her ashes at one of her favorite overlooks.
When you’re in your twenties and just setting out on life’s adventure with your partner you’re filled with hopes and dreams of growing old together. Now here I am, mid-fifties, I still feel young, yet I find myself without my partner of so many years.
I booked a week at our favorite resort, thinking that it would again be the site of closing one chapter and beginning another. By Tuesday afternoon I had done what I had set out to do and I was sitting on my patio, writing, trying not to get too maudlin, not succeeding.
My concentration was broken by the sound of four young women, mid-twenties, walking past, laughing and talking loudly, enjoying their youth. They appeared to be headed to the pool. As so often is the case, the louder girls weren’t worth my attention, but they drew my attention to the quieter girl, who otherwise probably could have walked right past my patio without disturbing me.
She was slimmer and appeared more athletic than her friends. The other girls wore bikinis which were unflattering on their more generous curves, making them appear chubbier than they would in more body-appropriate outfits. So many curvy girls seem to think that they can capitalize on their larger breasts by showing off as much flesh as they can. This girl wore a more modest bikini which flattered her smaller chest and more muscular legs and backside.
She caught me checking her out, and smiled in response as she passed.
I resumed my writing, though now I kept thinking that maybe I should go to the pool. Yet I struggled on, proofreading what I had already written rather than writing fresh paragraphs.
Some time later, the sound of the girls returning from the pool reached my ear and I watched the corner of the path and awaited their reappearance. The girl who had caught my eye was again trailing behind her friends; she smiled again when we made eye-contact.
She had a towel wrapped around her waist, but her bikini top was uncovered and I began to imagine what her breasts must have looked like bare. Would her flesh be bumpy from the cold water? Would her nipples be erect? Does she have tan lines? My eyes may have over-stayed their welcome, gazing at her youthful body as she approached. I could only hope that my tongue wasn’t actually hanging out of my mouth.
The girls entered a unit a few doors down from mine and I didn’t see or hear them again until just before dusk.
My evening routine had become sitting on the patio, sipping a beer, as the setting sun cast its warm glow over the timeless red rocks of the valley. It was usually a quiet time of day. Most people who visit this magical place come to commune with nature and replenish their spirit. Mule deer and javelinas often sought food in the resort’s meadow as dusk deepened into night.
That was not to be on this particular Tuesday. The stillness of the day’s end was shattered by a whoop coming from the direction of the girls’ unit. Soon, they appeared. All wearing short, tight-fitting dresses, ready for a night out partying.
The reason for their boisterous behavior became apparent when I saw that the girl who had caught my interest wore a cheap plastic tiara and a sash reading ‘Bride To Be’ over her Little Black Dress. Tacky decorations aside, she was clearly the best looking one of the bunch. I saluted her with my beer as she passed. Her shy smile thrilled me once again.
I went to bed that evening thinking of her and what pleasure I might have exploring her body, as some lucky, young man was about to begin a lifetime doing.
Wednesday morning dawned. Another glorious day in Red Rock Country. I headed to the resort gym and began my usual half-assed workout. I had never been athletic, and “working out” had never made much sense to me. I prefer to get my exercise out in nature, walking among the trees and mountains, breathing fresh air. But I had promised to “make an effort”, so there I was, plodding along on the treadmill while a caught up on the news of the day. Having a beautiful vista out the picture window before me was almost enough to feel like I was actually out there hiking.
I heard the door open and close and glanced over. Wearing running shorts and a sports bra, she looked ready to go trail running and I nearly didn’t recognize her, but her smile when she saw me let me know that she recognized me and was pleased to see me. I tried to straighten my back, and stride more than amble, but there was no way to hide that I had reached middle-age and I was easily twice her age.
“Oh, good morning,” she greeted me cheerfully as she entered the gym and prepared to mount the escort bostancı elliptical torture device beside the treadmill I was struggling to remain upright on.
“Good morning, and congratulations,” I replied.
“Thank you,” she beamed back as she adjusted the devious device.
The fluidity with which she was soon striding along was like poetry, a goddess; I could imagine her lithe physique bounding from mountain top to mountain top, spreading peace and beauty wherever she went.
Her long, lean legs were a ballet of motion, her ponytail bounced gently to the tempo of her body’s rhythmic rise and fall as the mischievous machine submitted to her mastery of it.
So caught in my reverie, watching her dim reflection in the window, imaging that I, a mere mortal, could race the wind beside her, my foot landed wrong, I stumbled, I barely caught myself from falling, a dislocated shoulder seemed likely.
“Oh!” she gasped as she deftly leapt off her elliptical steed and rushed to turn off the treadmill which seemed to be enjoying my predicament.
The treadmill halted reluctantly and I was finally able to sit down on it and catch my breath. “Thanks, you’re an angel,” I was eventually able to mutter as my heart rate slowed.
I then noticed that she had put her arm across my shoulders comfortingly. The closeness of her body, the pressure of her breast against my side, soon dispelled thoughts of my near-death experience.
“Did you sprain your ankle or wrench your shoulder?” she asked sweetly as she probed my aching shoulder. Her concern seemed genuine, professional even.
“I think both will be alright, though I’m sure I would be in worse shape if you hadn’t acted so quickly,” I replied as I tested my ankle. “Are you a medical student?”
“Nursing, just graduated, but thanks for not assuming,” she responded.
“Well, I have a niece who’s finishing up her residency.” I tried to shrug, but the pain brought a grimace to my face.
“We may need to put some ice on that,” she stated.
“I’m a man, I’ll tough it out,” I responded through gritted teeth as I worked the joint in a circle.
She rolled her eyes. “Of course you will,” she conceded. “It would still be good to have someone look after you for at least the next day,” she insisted. “Are you here with anyone?”
“No, I’m alone now,” I admitted sadly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said kindly. She seemed to pick up on my body language and didn’t press further. I couldn’t help but feel that her natural empathy would serve her well in her chosen profession.
She seemed lost in thought for a moment before saying, “well, maybe we can help each other.”
“How so?” I asked, curious how I could possibly help her.
“This will probably sound crazy,” she began once she seemed to gather her courage, “buuut…”
I didn’t interrupt.
“You know I had my bachelorette party last night.”
“Yes,” I confirmed.
“Wellll… there was a woman there who got me thinking something I hadn’t thought about.” She paused, as if thinking, unsure she truly wanted to proceed. “She’s been married a while and had a perspective of greater years. She may have been drunk as well, but she said that a young woman should spend some time with a middle-aged man before she gets married. So she’s not surprised when her husband becomes middle-aged.”
“That sounds like it makes a lot of sense,” I responded, unsure that it did, but hoping that I might benefit from the situation somehow.
“It does, doesn’t it?” she stated, seeming to be pleased that she didn’t sound as foolish as the idea had seemed the previous night. “So, you could use someone to watch your shoulder and ankle for the next day. And my fiancé doesn’t arrive in Flagstaff until tomorrow afternoon. We could spend the next twenty-four hours together. What do you think?”
I jumped on the opportunity. “OK, nurse…” I prompted.
“Tammy,” she supplied with a broad smile.
“For the next twenty-four hours you may be my personal health care provider and I’ll try to show you that not all middle-aged men are hapless buffoons,” I said. “Providing you overlook the last half hour or so.”
She laughed, “deal! What should I tell my friends I’ll be doing?”
“Tell them you’ll be having An Adventure.”
“And what will I need to pack?”
“Just a hiking outfit really. A toothbrush, etc. A swimsuit if you insist, though I always go without.”
“You go w… oh, right,” she blushed slightly. “I’m a nurse, nothing I haven’t seen before.”
“And something… or nothing… to sleep in. We’ll camp under the stars and it will be rather warm even at night. Better not to wear very much.”
“I… I can do that…” she trailed off, as if considering the weight of what she was agreeing to. “Yes, OK, I’d better go get my things and I’ll meet you…”
“In the parking lot.”
We left the gym and walked back to our building. I noticed that she kept checking on my ankle. It still twinged a little bit, but walking was ümraniye escort making the slight pain ease.
She headed to her unit as I entered mine. I packed the few things I thought I’d need for another night under the stars. Most of my camping gear remained in my Jeep after my Sunday overnight, so I changed into my dusty hiking shorts and shirt, laced up my trusty boots, and carried my small pack out to my car.
I was checking that I still had everything in place when Tammy arrived carrying a small, leather, designer backpack. “Don’t laugh, it’s the only pack I have,” she said as she handed it to me to load into the back.
I didn’t laugh. Her pack was sure to be enough for our easy one-night camping trip. I gave her another look once her pack was secured. She still wore the trail-running outfit, but she had tied a long-sleeved shirt loosely over her sports bra for sun protection. Her ball cap, emblazoned with her college emblem, would suffice for protecting her head from the sun. Her ponytail stuck out the back the way girls prefer. The pair of trail-runners on her feet would be enough for the small amount of hiking required. She appeared a very capable young woman and I was looking forward to convalescing under her care until the following afternoon.
We got into the Jeep and headed to the store to buy food and water sufficient for one day in the wild. Glamping isn’t really my style, I enjoy roughing-it under the stars with minimal protection from the elements, but I still prefer to eat well. Soon, our provisions were stored in my ice chest and we began our Adventure.
I decided to take a longer, circuitous route to our destination, expecting to arrive just before noon, in time for lunch, before the hottest part of the day. Our tires left the pavement and began kicking up dust. The sun blazed down on us, and the dry air parched our skin, but I knew that a desert oasis lay at our destination and that the cool water would feel all the more soothing after the scorching drive.
Tammy rode beside me, looking out at the desolate scenery, watching vultures soaring overhead, gazing up at the tall, red cliffs as we passed them. Her eyes were in constant motion, taking in the stark beauty of this small corner of the southwest I love so much.
We made some small talk as we progressed through the network of forest service roads, down gullies and along ridges. At times, the noise of the tires crunching over rocks and the jangle of the camping gear bouncing in the rear drowned out all attempts at conversation.
As noon approached, with the sun seemingly directly overhead, I turned up the narrow canyon which few others seemed to know about. The soft dirt showed no tracks since I had left on Monday morning. Once beyond the entrance, I stopped and swept away my fresh tracks. We continued up this canyon until it rose to a terrace and I parked between two cottonwood trees.
“This is it,” I announced once I had turned off the engine.
Tammy looked around for a moment, “this is it?”
I laughed, “OK, this is the parking for ‘it’,” I clarified. “‘It’ is just over the ridge. A short hike, maybe a couple hundred yards. I’ll be making a few trips with our gear.”
“How are your shoulder and ankle feeling?” she asked.
“They’ll be fine,” I insisted.
She seemed unimpressed. “I’ll help with the carrying,” she asserted.
We got out and prepared to begin carrying our equipment to the campsite. Tammy slung her pack on her back, grabbed the tarp and sleeping bag, and waited for me.
My pack was also quite small and light, containing only a few essential items and one change of clothes. I hefted the cooler. I grimaced as my sore shoulder took its weight. Tammy gave me a concerned look. I smiled.
“Men,” she muttered as she rolled her eyes.
I directed her up the trail and followed along after her, glad that I not only got to watch her legs and ass flexing as she ascended the ridge, but that she couldn’t see me continue to wince whenever my foot landed wrong.
She did stop and look back periodically, but she made no further comments about my masculine bullheadedness.
From the top of the ridge, the little oasis was visible glimmering in a shallow depression. A few more cottonwood trees stood in a group nearby and a fire ring marked the campsite. Years of periodic flooding had left a sandy area beside the creek.
The creek flowed only during the spring snowmelt and after summer storms. The previous week’s storm higher up the canyon is what prompted me to schedule my visit this week. The water level in the creek was already a few inches lower than it had been when I had left just two days earlier.
Tammy carried her load down to the campsite and watched as I descended the slope and placed the cooler on a rocky shelf which I used as a kitchen.
“The activity might be helping,” she remarked, “but you definitely still look to be in some pain.”
“The cooler is the heaviest and it will be lighter when we leave,” kartal escort bayan I reassured her.
We headed back to the Jeep to get the remaining gear. She insisted on carrying the camp stove and chairs, leaving me with only a bin of various sundry camping items.
Once back at the campsite, I began setting up the tarp. Over the years, I have devised a way to use it as a ground cover, a wind break, and a shade structure all at once. The result is similar to a lean-to, but open on three sides, with an abbreviated roof.
Tammy watched as I pounded in the first two stakes in increasing discomfort. For the third stake, I tried to use my other arm, but eventually she took pity on me and finished the last two stakes while I tied the tarp to four trees. With the tarp up, I relocated the sleeping bag and our packs inside and flopped down in the shade.
Tammy had set the two camp chairs up near the fire ring and now sat watching me, perhaps evaluating my performance so far.
After resting for a moment, I sat up and began unbuttoning my shirt. “This is where I camp when I come up here. It’s a special place, with mostly good memories.” I removed my shirt and began untying my boots.
“It’s beautiful,” Tammy agreed, “so remote and unspoiled.”
“I found it simply by chance many years ago, and I suspect that only a few others know of it, but I fear that with drones and satellite views it can’t remain secret very much longer.” I had removed my boots and socks and stowed them with my shirt in the back of the shelter.
Nudity has always been the norm when camping here, so removing my shorts here in this private refuge had never been an issue before. I had told Tammy that I would be swimming and sleeping naked, but perhaps she hadn’t expected me to simply strip off right in front of her as soon as we were settled, or that I would probably remain naked until we left. She had indicated that she was OK with me being nude, so I unbuckled my belt, unzipped my fly, and lowered my shorts and briefs together and stepped out of them as usual.
“Time for a swim,” I announced as I headed to the shallow pool in the creek.
Tammy had averted her eyes when she saw what I had intended, hopefully out of her professional propriety rather than disgust, but she had turned back to face me again by the time I had departed the shelter for the cool water.
After I had begun wading into the creek I turned and saw that she was untying her shoes. Whether or not she’d share in my nudity I didn’t yet know, but I was optimistic that she would. I submerged into the cool, clear pool and felt my muscles begin to relax.
My next view of Tammy showed that she was removing her jogging bra. As I had suspected, it had compressed her small breasts considerably, keeping them from shaking around on the drive out here, making her appear nearly flat-chested. Happily, once freed of their constraint, her breasts proved to be a pair of very well-formed B-cup-sized handfuls.
Topless, she carried her bra and shoes to the shelter where she placed them before removing her running shorts. She shimmied out of the shorts, revealing a pair of white running panties.
As she had for me, I opted to turn away and allow her to remove her panties unobserved. I paddled across the little pool while she finished undressing.
“Whoa, cold,” I heard her exclaim as she reached the edge of the water and tested the temperature.
I looked over. As I had hoped, she had chosen to try the water nude. Her breasts looked even more perfect now that I could see them from a shorter distance. They were indeed delightfully sized-and-shaped, just right to be cupped by a lover’s hands. Her nipples were surrounded by modest areolas, their pink flesh standing out on the pale surfaces of her breasts. The lighter shape left by the bikini she had worn to the pool the previous day was just discernable, highlighting those areas which I felt privileged to see. A narrow triangle of short hair marked the edges of her vulval cleft.
“More that the air is so hot really,” I opined from my seat on a submerged ledge.
“I suppose so,” she acknowledged, “it will definitely be good to cool off.” By this point she had waded in up to her knees. “OK, here goes,” she announced as she executed a shallow dive into the deepest part of the pool. “Whoo!” she shouted as she reappeared above the surface some distance away. “That’s… that’s refreshing.”
I smiled at her reaction to the cool, clear water of the secluded desert oasis. She lay back in the pool, floating with her breasts just poking out above the surface of the water, and drifted toward me. I caught her hand as she reached me and drew her to the ledge.
“Let’s have a look at that shoulder,” she said as she took a seat beside me. She began to press and probe the sore joint.
“Ouch,” I mumbled.
“Does that hurt?”
“It’s really just sore. Over-exertion so soon after straining it.”
“OK, and how’s the ankle?”
I flexed the ankle, it felt OK. “It seems pretty good now.”
“OK, the cold water soak should be good for both. Try to get the shoulder under water for a while.” She floated away and enjoyed the oasis while I followed her orders by leaning back until only my face was above the surface of the water.
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