close to touch

He caught a glimpse of her as she exited the sauna and he entered the steam room.  Worth a second look as she moved towards a shower.

Mediterranean skin, hypnotic curves, exotic, as if she belonged on a desert island, like she just stepped out of Bounty advertisement.


He continued his entrance and began his habitual stretches, lying alone on the bench amongst the steam.  He alternated in raising each leg, stretching tight hamstrings, breathing deeply.   As ever, they felt that strained mix of good and bad.

She entered the room a couple of minutes later, or rather that barely clad bottom did, right at his eye-level.  Perhaps she smiled down at him from above, perhaps he imagined it.  Hard to tell.  She sat down opposite and he continued, now arcing his back against the hard surface, slowly squeezing out clicks of his erratic vertebrae.  He could feel her dark eyes on him.

He still admired a great many women, all their variety, and doubted that would ever really stop.  Occasionally he dreamed about cheating on his girlfriend, despite being as sure as he thought it possible to be that she was it.  There was no consistent other object of his affections or anything.  Surely most males still admire other females after finding a strong mate?  Isn’t it a sort of primal thing, how we’re programmed?  And dreams are just mind fluff anyway, not premonitions.

This is what he told himself.

Sometimes he wondered if his wanting it so badly in his 20s was the reason for his almost constant failure.  His eye usually seemed keener than his friends, his appreciation greater, his hunger more desperate.

A man entered the steam room and joined them, breaking an unspoken spell that was maybe produced only in his mind.  An overweight, hairy Asian man he had seen in here before.  His really attractive partner was surely thanks to an arranged marriage.  He felt bad for thinking it but thought it nonetheless.

“How is the takeaway?” exotic Bounty woman asked the Asian man.  She had a Spanish or Italian accent which did nothing to dim her overall effect.

An exchange ensued in which it was discovered that she had mistaken him for someone else, had assumed he was the brother of someone.  It was faintly embarrassing but amicable.

Stretches completed, he sat upright and admired her anew.  An exotic looking shell necklace, deep and natural tan, perfect abdominal muscles, slightly receeding hairline – but he was barely one to talk, cute face.  She stood up.

Above his right shoulder was a small metal nodule protruding from the wall.  When covered, more steam was emitted into the room.  He covered it occasionally himself, never sure of the mechanics.  She stepped across the small space towards him and held something over the nodule.   In doing so, her right breast and considerable steamy cleavage presented itself an inch or two away from his eyes.  Her wet exotic Bounty advert body remained close to his.  She stayed standing there for a minute, more.  He had to close his eyes she was so close.  That seemed the only thing to do.  He wasn’t going to move.  He was going to appear unruffled, and continue to breathe deeply.  It was her who was presenting her incredible body in his face.  Surely she could have arranged herself differently, shown him a shoulder instead of a breast.  He could smell her skin, its natural tanned oiliness.  She breathed deeply, he breathed deeply, they breathed deeply together.  He wasn’t sure how deeply the Asian man was breathing across the room, but he wished he wasn’t there.

He wondered if he would have the courage or cowardice or whatever was required to cheat on his girlfriend.  He’d never cheated on anyone before and liked to think he couldn’t; that it wasn’t something within him to do.  There were more than a few examples of his arguably over-moralistic approach when single.  But can anybody really know until they’re in the moment presented with an opportunity, a purely irresistible difference, something previously imagined unobtainable?

Still she stood there.  Was she deliberately teasing him with this display, this proximity of posturing?  He was proud of his control, that he wasn’t getting physically excited.  He was definitely an adult now.  This was proof.  Eyes closed, breathe.  Eyes open.  Still there.  That scent, body, breasts, necklace, skimpy swimming costume.  Eyes closed.  Her natural perfume eventually faded and the next time he opened them she was sitting opposite him again, two yards away and gone forever.

He decided to stand and inspect the pool through the steamed-up door.  Not so many people there now.  He placed one foot at a time onto the bench and stretched hamstrings for the final time, his bottom now at her eye level.   The overweight, hairy man’s attractive partner entered the room as he exited, heading for the cold shower.