Saturday morning comes early. Thin white mini-blinds aren’t much for holding back the mid-summer sunlight. But I manage to slide out of bed and get myself together. When I came into this guest room the night before, I’d absently dropped some of my things on a dresser. This morning, I find some mail there as well, next to my things. Addressed to Eileen Rosenfelder. Hmmm… Sure, I pretty much decided last night that I’d love to marry into the family, but this is a bit bewildering. My spine is tingling and I really want to know who this Eileen Rosenfelder is, anyway. Is she real? Is this some crazy mistake? Having the name Eileen, especially at my age, is very rare. I used to hate it for that reason. What crazy person gets named Eileen? It wasn’t until we moved to North Carolina that I heard the name used for someone else- and she was my Grandmother’s age. By then, I’d come to love having an unusual name. I never mistook someone else’s beckoning for my own. I never had to alter my name so that a teacher could distinguish between the five Eileens in the class. I was the only Eileen around. I was.
I soon discover, chatting with Mike as he fixes me breakfast, that the Eileen in question is his grandmother. She and I are not alone, though; Aunt Eileen, daughter of Nana Eileen lives just across the street. Whew. I’m a shoe-in with this family where everyone’s name spans at least two generations.
After Mike’s compelling display of domesticity, we head for a Baltimore-area quarry. Under whatever clothes I have on, there is a bathing suit. The best one I have ever had- blues and reds on cream with brown trim. If you think about it, which I’m sure lots of guys do, girls are pretty naked with just a bikini on. Sure, some vital parts are covered up with stretchy fabric, but there isn’t a lot left to figure out. As we get out of the car and head up to the pool for a quick swim test, I anticipate the stripping of my day clothes as never before. To be seen, to be enjoyed, and to be desired is a wonderful thing.
I am not the only one being enjoyed or desired, though. Mike is gorgeous, his pale skin dappled in sunlight, the strength of his arms… Eventually, I stop staring long enough to understand the instructions for our test and in we go.
For those of you not well acquainted with me, you should know that I possess an inordinate amount of raw confidence. It’s really very helpful since almost everything turns out better with it. I can accomplish things I would never dare to attempt without it- such as keeping pace with Mike as we swim across the pool. Unfortunately, there are also times when it blindsides me. Turns out, Mike was on his swim team. I, on the other hand, approximate something slightly more refined than a dogpaddle. By the time we hit the opposite wall, I am completely out of breath and not entirely sure about the return trip. Just as Mike is finishing up the treading water section of the test, I arrive, hands behind my back in an awkward attempt to retie the straps that apparently came lose due to my speediness. Good thing I long ago decided to see the humor in life whenever possible.
Hours of fun ensue. Diving, failed attempts at the rope swing run, submersing ourselves in clear, cold water, and, finally, lying beneath giant pines trees watching the bright blue sky. Well fed, worn out, and still excited, we start talking again. One thing leads to another and the next thing I know, we decide to get married. It seems clear and right, obvious even.
And just like that, it is begun.