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QUICK NOTE: This story is essentially the second chapter of my attempt to turn “Sexual Healing” into a novel, re-titled and posted as a love story…there is no real sex in this story, so keep that in mind…thanks to all who have been asking about it, and thanks for reading… Chapter 2. Failure. There are some events in a man’s life that just seem to eat away at his soul. Events that etch themselves indelibly upon us with the passage of time, like the lines that form upon our faces as the years pass. Though less visible to the naked eye, they too rob us of our youth and along with it, our youthful aspirations we once held so dear. The first such event I can recall is the failure of my first marriage. Of all the things I had been prepared for in life, failure was not one of them. It had never been an option. My initial reaction was to want to run and hide, something I had never felt before. I kept to myself more, rarely speaking to friends and family. For the first time in my life, I withdrew inward, wallowing in my own self-doubts. The hurt and anger I had bottled up inside was something I did not know how to express. Perhaps it was because I was never really taught how. Or maybe it was some subconscious wishful thinking on my part that no one would ever find out the level of hurt and shame I was carrying deep inside. Imagine me, the kid who once reveled in the spotlight as a star high-school athlete, avoiding other people like the plague. It was a part of me I never knew. A part of me I wished I never had to meet. Not long after Debbie and I parted ways, I moved into a fairly modest bachelor pad in a small city across the border in New Jersey. I told myself I should make an effort to get back into the dating scene and I thought moving to a more urban area might be a plus. Or maybe in the back of my mind I had hoped I’d somehow be able to lose myself amongst the crowds. One thing I did do was to put myself more into my work. This seemed to afford me a certain amount of solace. An old friend of mine from my high school days had found me a job with a surveying company. It was a change of pace, which I sorely needed at the time, and I enjoyed the work. The pay was fairly decent and I was always an outdoors kind of guy, so things seemed to be going relatively well in that regard. Being outside during the day was something I really thought I’d appreciate, especially in the summertime. Besides finding the work pleasant enough, I also fit in well with my co-workers. For the most part, they were a bunch of regular guys who, as they say, liked to work hard and play harder. Since we were usually sent off to a different job site on a daily basis, we were free from the boss’s watchful eye. It was not unusual for the beer to start flowing before the end of the workday. We usually ended up in a local bar after the work was over, and I started to thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie of the other guys, the conversations rarely getting much deeper than a discussion of the previous nights TV sports. Our boss Mike would sometimes meet us at the bar after work. It would be a chance for him to assess the days events as well. Mike was just a few years older than myself and had founded the company after a stint in the army. This company was his baby and he would do anything to make it work. He could be a bit obsessive about it at times, but his stubborn persistence was no doubt a key to his success. His efforts often produced tangible results and he had a vision and tenacity that earned him respect. Though he was generally amiable, he could be ruthless at times with subordinates. His own competence and quick thinking made him the type of person you didn’t mind following. One could easily imagine him leading his squadron into battle back in his army days. Mike was also an avid fisherman and owned his own boat. During the summer months, he would take the guys out on fishing trips on weekends when the weather was escort izmit nice. There was always plenty of alcohol and the actual fishing always took second place to the drinking. Nobody seemed to mind, myself included. There were several of these so-called fishing trips that first summer I had worked for Mike. More and more during this time, I found myself putting more and more of myself into my work. My efforts did not go unnoticed. I soon rose up the ranks and became Mike’s assistant. Because of the amount of time we spent together, we became good friends. As a result, Mike started to invite me alone amongst his employees to go sailing with him. He was fortunate enough to own a 40 foot two mast sailing yacht built from mahogany with teak decks. It was a very beautiful craft. The scenery was always beautiful as well, and like the fishing trips there was always plenty of food and drink. What was there not to like? One such outing I recall rather well. My boss had invited me to go sailing and he had brought along his girlfriend Nancy. I had never met Nancy before, but I was certainly aware of her existence. They had been together for some time, sharing a nice apartment in town, though Mike did not really speak of her that often. It was a beautiful clear day when I arrived at the dock that afternoon. The sun shone brilliantly against the clear blue sky. Mike and Nancy were there to greet me, having just arrived themselves. My initial reaction was that she was a very pretty girl, a few years younger than Mike, perhaps around my age. The bright sunlight played upon her head as the highlights in her dark brown hair broke the sun’s rays into a rainbow of color. Small diamond earrings glistened in each ear. She was wearing a sheer white beach cover-up over a matching white two-piece bathing suit and her shapely figure only added to her attractiveness. Though she seemed a bit reticent at first, she opened up a bit during the day. Her reticence may have just been a relative thing, since Mike could be very outgoing at times. After the initial introductions, I offered to help Mike load the large cooler of beer he had brought with him onto the boat. Nancy carried aboard a large tote filled with sandwiches and other food items she had prepared. The plan for the day was to set sail and later dock at a point a couple of hours south of our starting point. There we would go ashore for a time and later have dinner at a nice seafood restaurant with seating right on the waterfront. Almost immediately upon boarding, Mike opened the cooler and pulled out a beer for him and myself. As Mike handed me my beer, Nancy caste a furtive glance in our direction as she proceeded to go below deck with the food. Mike and I then proceeded to inspect the riggings and the various lines that controlled the sails. It was clear that he took the safety of the vessel very seriously and his attention to detail was reassuring. It was something that needed to be done before we got under way. My boss was far more experienced at this than myself, but I had learned a lot from the relatively brief amount of time I had spent sailing with him. I found sailing to be a very peaceful, relaxing pursuit. The day looked very promising, as it was a nice day with a steady light onshore breeze and no inclement weather. It seemed a perfect day for sailing. As we proceeded out of the docking area, we passed the other boats lined up with their white sails rising up majestically against the deep blue sky. Colorfully dressed people tended to their craft and some would wave to us cheerfully as we made our way out to sea. Once under way, I was mesmerized by the gentle waves as the boat road with the swells. The clear blue waters gently beat upon the brilliant white sand as the white spray would seem to almost pause in midair, catching the suns rays before coming down upon the shore below. The subtle rhythmic sounds and salty air filled izmit escort my senses. Deep bays and rolling surf that crashed endlessly upon the massive rock formations captured my thoughts and put my mind at ease. Almost as soon as we got out to sea, Mike offered me another beer. No one could say he was not a gracious host. Nancy arrived back up on deck shortly carrying a tray of snacks, mostly chips and dip and pretzels. She set the tray on a small folding table and took a seat on a red beach chair. Mike offered her a beer which she declined. Mike and I took turns tending to the sails as Nancy looked on. The lines controlling the sails needed to be attended to regularly as the wind subtly shifted and the sails started to luff, or flap in the wind. Sailing is an art, filled with as much beauty and requiring as much skill as any other art form. The skilled sailor becomes almost one with his craft, a certain learned familiarity, like long-time lovers. It seemed to have its own rewards, a level of tranquility rarely found elsewhere, which I was quickly learning to appreciate. As time passed, the conversation seemed to flow far better. Nancy in particular seemed to be more at ease, and Mike was his usual talkative self. It didn’t hurt that my boss and I had each consumed several beers in the first couple of hours and we were each feeling the effects. When we got to our destination I helped Mike dock the boat and secure it. Mike seemed particularly eager to get onto land and was quickly off the boat. I got off the boat next, and held out my hand to assist Nancy off. “Thank you,” she said quietly as she took my hand and stepped off the boat. Once on land, there seemed to be a slight disagreement as to how we should proceed. Nancy wanted to walk around a bit and take in the sights while Mike wanted to go right to the restaurant. After a brief conversation, Mike won out and we made our way to the restaurant. We were soon led outside onto a large patio overlooking the water. We were shown our table amongst the other diners, and as we took our seats Mike ordered a bottle of wine. The wine steward soon brought back the bottle along with three glasses, which were quickly filled. Mike immediately raised his glass and made a toast. “Here’s to good friends…and good wine,” Mike said with a grin. “I’ll drink to that,” I responded. Nancy didn’t say a thing. We all touched glasses and in short order the waiter came by and handed us menus. After we made our decisions and placed our order, the conversation resumed as before. The setting was really quite wonderful. The boats were clearly visible from our vantage point as was much of the boardwalk. As it was approaching dusk, the lights on the boardwalk were slowly being turned on. Typical of a shore town during summer, the boardwalk was packed with both tourists and locals and there were no shortage of interesting sights to see. “Gary, check out that red bikini over on the left,” Mike said a bit loudly. I thought the remark somewhat inappropriate, considering Nancy’s presence. I noticed she didn’t say a thing. “Yes,” I said somewhat awkwardly as I took another sip of wine. Our food soon arrived and looked quite delicious. Nancy and I both ordered stuffed shrimp and Mike had some lobster dish. Fortunately, the food tasted as good as it looked. Maybe seafood just always seems to taste better when you’re eating it by the water. As dinner progressed, Mike again did most of the talking. He talked about a little of everything, from work to some plan to go on an East African safari. At times I couldn’t really tell if he was dead serious, or if it was just the alcohol talking. Perhaps it really didn’t matter. I added my input from time to time, but Nancy seemed to mostly nod in agreement, no matter what Mike said. Mike did like to talk. “Yes, an East African safari would be fun,” I commented. Nancy just smiled and nodded. Looking izmit kendi evi olan escort at Nancy, I could not help but think that Mike was a very lucky guy. Perhaps I was a bit jealous. The truth was, I was afraid to start over after the failure of my first marriage, fearful of another failed relationship. I fully realized that nothing ventured, nothing gained, but yet I was somehow afraid to venture forth. More fearful than I have ever been in my boxing days in the ring. I had never been afraid of any man, yet here I was, afraid of the unknown. The courage to start over was somehow lacking, yet I had never lacked for courage. I was playing the part of the fighter agonizing over some past glories never to be recaptured, and seemingly forever out of reach. It was if I was staggering under the weight of some unreasonable expectation I could never hope to achieve, the expectation of a perfect world, where promises are never broken. Yet the reality is nothing is really promised in life. In reality, I was just setting my self up to be knocked down by wallowing in my own unexpressed grief. Setting myself up for failure. After dinner the three of us returned to the boat and set sail. As we got under way and sailed past the shore, it was quite a scene. The lights were now illuminated on the boardwalk and the crowds of revelers were rather colorful as they bustled about, their voices and laughter could be clearly heard off in the distance. The energy and party atmosphere so typical of a weekend in a shore town was very apparent. In contrast, the view looking out over the water was equal in spectacle but far more peaceful. As the moon climbed into the sky, the moon and sun seemed to trade places like a well-choreographed dance. The setting sun slowly dipped its golden orb into the sea lending its vivid hues to the waters below. The various shades of reds and yellows seemed to almost melt upon the shimmering surface below. As darkness gently cloaked the night sky, the meandering clouds seemed almost draped above the horizon in wisps of reflected color, as if painted on by a single brush stroke of a master artist. It was a glorious display, as only nature could provide. As beautiful a sight as was presented before me, I could not fully appreciate it. It was as if somehow the beauty of the world seemed lost on me. Once out to sea, Mike resumed his bartending duties, making sure neither of us was without a drink for long. Mike, Nancy and myself took turns tending the lines and keeping the sails trimmed and flutter free. It was clear that Nancy was not very experienced at it, but I thought she did alright. While Nancy attended to the sails, Mike and I stood at the rail of the boat and just drank beer and took in the view. As night time began to come upon us in earnest, we watched the sun drift below the horizon and the last of the colors drain from the mirror-like surface of the waters below. The last of the gulls passing overhead slowly disappeared, so that the loudest sounds were the gentle rustling of the waves as the boat cut silently through the water. It all seemed so peaceful, and seemed a fitting end for a pleasant day. As beautiful as the day was, the night was equal in its beauty. The night time sky was clear and soon the light of day was replaced by a nearly full moon overhead. Stars dotted the summer sky like lights on a Christmas tree. Once again, it was very peaceful and serene as we made our way silently under the starry sky. That near silence was soon broken by a slight shift in the wind which caused the main sail to flutter quite audibly. After about a minute, Mike left my side to go over by Nancy and address the situation. I really did not pay them much mind, as I was lost in the beauty and serenity of the night sky. Moments later, Mike returned. “I’ll make a sailor out of her yet,” he stated with a laugh. He handed me another beer as he spoke. “She should be by now, hanging out with you,” I replied, taking the beer. Mike and I resumed our conversation, mostly about work and his plans to expand the company. By this point, he was getting a bit loud, but not necessarily in a bad way I thought. He was just obviously feeling good, as I was as well.

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