In what might be called Adventures in Unreality, Still Life stories take place in a world very much like our own, the major difference being that occasionally an inanimate figure might come to life. Some people might say I'm writing in familiar Twilight Zone territory, but that name was already taken, and besides, this tale goes a fair bit beyond what The Twilight Zone was once able to show on television. The Pygmalion myth is several millennia old and has never gone out of style. In Still Life: Barbara, a tall man in a social club for vertically enhanced individuals meets a mysterious, equally statuesque, woman who intrigues him to the point of going out of his way to try and discover her secret before anyone else beats him to it. When he uncovers her not-quite-human past, which explains her virginal nature, he realizes he has himself the catch of a lifetime—provided he can adapt to a relationship unlike any other with this very special woman. It's a delightful adult fantasy come to life.
I didn’t see Barbara when she entered. While you might find it hard to believe I missed a quite attractive six-foot one-inch woman wearing three-inch heels in a crowd of ordinary people, she’d slipped in quietly behind a couple of other members while I was distracted pointing out the way to the table in back to them. I didn’t really see her until I went back to the table myself, by which time she was sitting in what had been the only remaining empty chair left—the one next to my own. I did little beyond get her name and confirm that she was the last one on my list expected to arrive that evening. That meant the hard part was over for me and I could sit down and relax now. If anyone else showed up, they’d have to find us themselves. The only remaining hurdle I faced as host was to make sure that the bill got settled fairly at the end of the meal.
It took some time for her to attract my attention because she was the quietest one at our noisy, social table and I was busy playing the good host by interacting with everybody present. I didn’t even get a good look at her face initially because she had it buried behind a menu for the first few minutes. It took some time before I started to become aware of the shy, beautiful woman sitting next to me.
I first noticed that she had lustrous long dark hair that fell in broad waves, framing her face before falling below her shoulders. It took longer before I got a good look at her face. Since I was sitting at the head of the table she spent most of the time looking away from me down the length of it with calm interest at all the discussions going on. Although she would glance back my direction occasionally, I didn’t want to get caught staring and missed getting a good look until something noisy at the entrance suddenly caught her attention long enough for me to catch an unobtrusive glance.
She was gorgeous! While certainly not the only gorgeous woman in our club, or even at our table that night, Barbara was beautiful—and had come alone. Then there was another distraction at our table and she turned away again.
As much as I was enjoying everyone that evening, Barbara’s quiet presence grew on me.
She quietly answered questions from everyone else at the table with soft, short sentences, but didn’t ask any of her own. From what I could see of her, while not heavy at all, neither was she skinny. I became aware of her large bust, well covered from the neck down by the white dress she wore, and suddenly realized as she turned from one side to the other that her breasts were moving unconfined underneath it. She had to be quite large there—and amazingly firm! And at one a moment I could see where her nipples pressed against the confining fabric.
And as I belatedly started to focus more of my attention towards her, I realized what made her so endearing. Half hidden from the sides by her waves of lustrous hair, she was looking at everything around her with the bright-eyed innocence and curiosity of an exceptionally well-behaved child. Suddenly I realized that I was in Love!
* * * *
Now I’m old enough to have learned a few things along the way, and wise enough to apply many of them. The first one is that, no matter how strongly I may feel, it does not mean that any other person has—or ever will have—any such feelings for me in return.
Unrequited love is one of the great tragedies of existence and I’ve had my full measure of it, but my wanting it to be different won’t change that fact one iota. Sometimes you’re lucky—unfortunately often you’re not.
The second thing I know is that coming on strong, without some very clear signs of returned interest from the other party, can turn a nascent opportunity into a never-will-happen-in-this-lifetime loss.
So instead of saying anything I took a deep breath, held it for a five count before releasing it fully, and sat back to just enjoy the feeling of sitting next to such an appealing woman. That alone is something to be savored. Whether or not Barbara would ever come to actually occupy a special spot in my life, she could certainly dwell in my imagination for a while.
* * * *
Finally, however, I did make a first move. It was either that, or wait until the meal was over and accomplish nothing. I reached over and lightly brushed my fingers across the top of her hand, which she had thoughtfully left on the table next to me while her attention was again drawn towards the rest of the group. I treasured that brief touch.
As she turned her clear eyes towards me I asked a couple of questions that were my prerogative as host.
"Barbara," I inquired as gently as I could manage. "Are you enjoying the dinner?"
"Oh yes," she replied quickly. "I’m so glad that I came."
"I am too," I replied genuinely, taking that tiny opening to slip in part of what I so much wanted to say to this lovely woman.
I noticed she hadn’t moved her hand away yet, so I seemingly absently brushed it again the way women do naturally—the way most men never do at all. Touch is very bonding.
I was also aware that for this instant I had Barbara’s complete attention. That’s a powerful thing, and not to be wasted.
"Is this your first club event?" I asked, using the question anyone in the group can always safely ask a new prospect. If she stuck around for long she would be hearing it a lot.
"Yes," she replied simply, yet warmly. She didn’t seem worried at all about what she might have gotten herself into by coming to meet our group. I took the moment to finally get my best look at her.
Blue eyes, red lips with matching fingernails, flawless skin with perfect makeup. Twenty-four years old I’d guess. It was easy to guess why her attention had been held so long by the rest of the table. All of the men present had been trying to capture it for themselves.
And if she’d told me right at that moment that she’d never been kissed, I would have believed her without a doubt. Actually I probably would have believed pretty much anything she told me at that moment.
"Think you’ll come to some more club events then?" I asked, primed that if she replied no, to jump directly to asking her out before she left tonight, rather than never see her again. There have been women before I only saw once in the club, and regretted the missed opportunity ever afterwards. My advantage here was that I wouldn’t have to shout my entreaty to the whole rest of the table. I had the one of her ears that wasn’t being shared with the rest of the group.
But she replied, "I hope to. Everyone has been so nice tonight."
"We’re a nice club."
Instead of asking another question, I instead reached out to touch her longest finger with my own. The lightest touch possible, but much more deliberate than before. It shouted my unspoken interest in her. It would be a very good sign if she didn’t pull away from it.
She didn’t pull away.
Instead I got a bit of a smile from her, until I was suddenly presented with our bill for tonight. That interrupted everything as people started digging out money.
Barbara looked at me for a moment longer, before reaching for her small purse and pulling out a fistful of small bills, counting them until she had enough to pay for her meal. Her choice of purse for tonight was so small, I doubted it could hold anything more than the bills she’d taken out.
That was all okay. I’d accomplished what I’d wanted. I’d left things at a conversational point that I could pick up easily the next time I saw her. I didn’t want to try and hold her back now that it was time to leave.
We stood up together and I got my first, full-length look at her. It was straight across at her. Our eyes were even in height.
We both froze for a moment at that glance. Even when I expect it, it's startling to look directly over at a woman and she seemed equally surprised. Then, hearing the other people behind us, I broke the moment and ushered her ahead of me. More than just being a gentleman, this let me get a long look at her from behind where my stare wouldn’t be intimidating, nor seen by anyone else.
Her loose white blouse covered her from neck to wrists, while a broad black belt cinched her waist and black skirt fell to her knees. Those colors made her stand out against the warm country colors of the restaurant. She didn't need nylons to enhance her already impossibly smooth and shapely long legs below the hem. Her narrow waist and broad hips properly balanced off the memory of her large bust, while the square-heeled, open-toed fashionable black and white matching shoes she wore showed perfect toes with nails painted to match her lips and fingernails. Barbara was like a work of art, except instead of being static, she talked and moved. She glided along in the alluring way that every woman comfortable with them does in high-heels—with a sway that I enjoyed all the way to the exit.
She caught my eye once more when she looked back at the door, where I had stopped to pay our bill as rapidly as possible. I kept the cash and put it on my credit card, my heart thumping. I hurried out the moment the transaction was complete, almost throwing the pen and signed receipt back at the cashier.
I dashed out into the parking lot in front of the restaurant looking for her. She certainly hadn’t had time yet to get into a car and leave yet. I was ready to force one last word. In fact I was ready now to propose to her right here and now—the whole concept of take it slow be damned!
But I didn’t see her. I scanned the lot quickly twice without seeing my tall woman in white, and then a third time slowly. She simply wasn’t there. Most of the rest of the group still was milling around and one of them asked me, "What are you looking for?"
"Barbara," I replied quickly. "Forgot to tell her something." A social white lie, but true in its own way.
He didn’t make fun of me. We’re all in this club to hook-up where we can. Instead he replied, "She went that way," nodding towards the busy intersection.
And there on the other side of the street, with a red signal between us, I saw her walking down the block into the darkness. I edged as close to the street on my side to see, but it was hard as the street is one way facing me and there were headlights everywhere.
I considered trying to chase her down on foot, or get in my car and circle the six block minimum in heavy traffic it would take to put me ahead of her in this maze of unidirectional streets. Fortunately I quickly discarded both ideas. Such lack of control could undo every good thing I’d accomplished tonight.
Instead I turned back and accepted congratulations from the rest of the group still congregated in the small parking lot for an event well carried off. Then I waited until she had to be well and fully gone before getting in my car and driving home.
I prayed I’d have another chance soon with the tall lovely Barbara.