Sometimes you meet people in the most painful ways. . .
I shot this photo from the castle up on the hill in Salzburg, and didn’t realize at the time that I was walking in exactly the same place about an hour later, still taking photos. There really isn’t that much to do in this town in the morning.
A few minutes later I heard a thudding behind me, so of course I turned to see what was causing it, and was tremendously surprised by what I saw: a tall blonde was jogging toward me, still some distance away but closing in a hurry. Luckily I didn’t wonder why she was making the ground thud so hard–she wasn’t that big.
More amusing, I could plainly see each and every male, from the little ones in school clothes to the old geezers wheezing on the benches, had stopped in their tracks to stare at her, which was all the excuse I needed to gaze at her too. I moved over next to an empty bench to give her room and watch the performance; with a little more warning, I woulda brought my camera up as I wondered if these old guys were here for what was an everyday show.
As she came closer, I could see she was smiling. . . at me. Perhaps I was the first healthy person she’d seen on her jog–the town does run a bit old–and as such was the only one who could appreciate what she was doing. She had no idea my knee was throbbing just from the walking, and watching her pound the pavement.
Even though I hadn’t gotten my camera into position, my mind still went into shooting mode. First thing I noticed was the blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, bouncing from side to side as she ran. That wasn’t the only thing bouncing, of course, but as I continued watching her, I couldn’t help but notice she wasn’t a very efficient runner. Her arms were flapping all over the place, not helping her movements, even hindering them by increasing wind resistance. But that thought quickly fled as she came closer and I saw she was encased in a white sweatshirt and purple tights. Her facial beauty needed no make-up, and her blonde ponytail flapped in the breeze created by her running all conspired to make her look younger than she obviously was.
She was looking at me, not the path, as she arrived near my position. I’d seen her dodging previous puddles–snow melt, in this suddenly fierce heat–but there was no way she could react in time to avoid this one. Her foot came down hard and the water splashed my leg.
When she swerved, I had the horrifying thought that she would tumble down the grass slope and into the very chilly river. But before I could move, she was filling my eyesight with her body, slipping toward me at high speed. My reflexes as far as my arms were concerned were up to the task, catching her delightful body, but I had no time to switch my weight, and as a consequence we went tumbling onto the wet bench, which was far better than the wet grass we had just avoided but also far harder.
Neither of us said anything for the next few minutes, out of breath, wet, and in some pain. The bumped knees hadn’t helped either, since mine had already been hurting and the collision made it ten times worse. I was sure her knee felt the same way, since she might have sprained it while sliding through the puddle. Her ankle could be sprained as well.
But I didn’t say this right away; her elbow had crashed into my stomach and knocked the wind out of me, and my backpack had smacked hard into the bench and bounced back against me, so I gasped like a bloated fish while she cried softly in pain.
Yet when I looked up at her and saw she was looking back, I knew we were both struggling not to laugh. There was still pain in our gazes and gasps, but neither of us wanted to be the first to lose control.
Finally I asked, “Are you always this shy?” which forced her control and caused her to let out a burst of uncontrollable giggles, punctuated by tiny sobs of pain.
Taking a deep breath–now that I could–I stood up to test my knee; there was only a small twinge when I straightened it. I knew knee bumps were painful–very painful, bump into a car fender at full speed while playing with your dog and you’ll see–for only a few minutes, after which they settled down to tenderness for the rest of the day. The previous pain I had in the knee always went away with rest, and I’d had plenty of that in the last few minutes. Despite the heat of the sun, the air was still cold, and I was glad I had worn thermals underneath the jeans; the water from the bench hadn’t soaked through to my skin. Even my hands were dry, thanks to the gloves, though the camera had taken a knock against both our chests.
It was a different story for her, though. I could see patches of wetness across her purple tights and, more importantly, her white sweater. As a matter of fact, I could see the entire curve of the outer side of her left breast, the sweater and white bra having been rendered transparent by the wetness.
Finally she tried to get up, but gave a little whimper as soon as she put weight on her foot and fell back against me. Luckily this time I was ready, and in the mood for helping a damsel in this dress. In full hero mode now, I proved my reflexes were up to speed when I saw her bend down, wincing at the pain in her knee, to take off her right jogging shoe; my hand shot out to stop her.
No doubt due to the cold and nothing else, an amazing spark shot out on contact between our hands. Usually I would have pulled back, but this current made me grip her hand tighter, and I could tell it had the same kind of effect on her.
I gazed into her lovely face, finding t full of puzzlement, so I said, struggling to remember some of the words in German, “If you leave your foot confined, it won’t swell. Believe me, I’ve had enough of these to know.”
She relaxed and leaned back a little, and I heard her voice for the first time, thankfully in English. “Since you seem to be such an expert, I put myself entirely in your hands.” With that said, she leaned completely back onto the bench, satisfied, until she touched the wet metal and recoiled. Only then did she realize how cold and wet she was; despite the heat starting to have an effect on the day, it was still breezy and the air cool.
Suddenly she was gazing at me, in a sultry way, I thought. “If my hero can get me back to my apartment before I freeze to death, I will give him a major reward. It is only a few blocks away.”
I looked into her eyes, a unique shade of purple, acutely aware of her panting mouth, her wet breasts heaving against the white sweatshirt, and those fabulous legs. . . Again looking deep into those wide violet eyes, my peripheral vision saved the day again.