“Yes, something like that,” she replied.
“Come on. We’d better get back before they miss us, or you freeze to death,” said John.
“Yeah, good idea,” she said dreamily. “Maybe Rachel can let me borrow a jacket or something to stay warm in,” Marta replied, joining him in nervous chatter.
The walk back proved awkward. Neither of them knew what to make of the situation they had just gotten themselves into.
John put his arm around Marta as she continued to rub off the cold, and the nervousness.
“Please don’t,” Marta snapped suddenly.
“No, I’m sorry. I’m just not ready to do this. Please understand,” Marta said laying her head on his shoulder for a second of reassurance.
“Don’t worry, I understand.” John’s voice told her he wasn’t sure about his feelings either.
They walked back in clumsy silence to the picnic tables where she’d left the magazines. Marta wondered if it was such a good idea to have eagerly applied the perfume. They sat on the table with their feet on the seats. Marta put her elbows on her knees and hid her face in her hands as she sorted through the confusion in her mind.
“Are you all right?” John asked unnerved by the silence.
“I’ll be fine,” she said, sitting up straight and patting his leg. “John, what am I going to do about you?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping I didn’t ruin anything back there. I mean, I’m glad you are here tonight, and I hoped we could play some games since it’s early yet. But you probably want to be alone now,” John said.
“No, I don’t want to be alone; I was planning on some time with you. I’m just mixed up, so believe me, I am looking for relief.” Marta assured him with a smile. “It’s not what happened back there that has me confused. That was the catalyst that started it, but it’s not you.”
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.