Tropical Trek – Part 5

“Mark, just leave. I’ll get the copy to you, but this discussion is over. It’s not your business!” Suzy pushed Mark out of the door of her suite. Once the door shut behind her and was locked, she exhaled. She walked into the bathroom and rinsed off her face, then looked at the mirror. She noted the age around her eyes; she wasn’t a 30-something anymore. She sighed and stripped out of her clothes, then took a refreshing shower.

On stepping out, she slipped into her bathing suit and wrapped an oversized sarong around herself into the form of a dress. She dried her hair and headed back into the suite, then set up her laptop up to start working. She opened the door to get a breeze through her room and settled in to work.

After a couple hours passed, a knock came from the door. She worried it was Mark again; she really didn’t want to talk to him any more today. Her face became stern as she walked to the door. She swung open the door almost ready to say “Go away!” but she paused as she saw Steve’s face.

“Hey, everything alright? You look, peeved or something?” Steve asked.

Suzy stammered, “Oh, I, I thought you were going to be someone else. I’m fine. What’s up?” She looked over Steve and realized he had two plates of food in his hands.

“I saw your team downstairs eating. They said you were holed up in your room. Wanna bite to eat?”

Her stiffness melted away as she realized how nice of a guy Steve really was. “Sure, come on in. Want to sit on the patio?”

Steve shook his head and followed her through the room to the patio. They each took seats on the two woven chairs. Suzy crossed her legs up on the chair. “Thanks for dinner.” She looked over the plate of rice, beans, and meat. “They really like their rice here, don’t they?”

Steve chuckled. “It is a mainstay, I guess.” His sheepish grin came through when he shrugged his shoulders. His long arms were slightly reddened by the sun.

“How did you like the jungle trek today? Looks like you got some sun.”

He laughed, “Yeah, forgot the sunscreen.” He then launched into a tale about his afternoon with the guys.

Suzy liked watching him talk. He was animated and alive. As he wound down his story, he asked, “Have much more work to do?”

Suzy shook her head, “Probably about a half-hour or so. I was thinking of taking a dip afterward. Interested in meeting me back at the pool?”

He looked her over, her sarong had fallen open, showing her swimsuit, while she had her legs pulled up on the chair. She shifted to cover back up.

“Sure. I have my trunks on already,” he pointed at his shorts. “I could just wait here if you want.”

She blushed. “Sure, I’d like that,” and she stood up to head back to her computer. “Make yourself comfortable.”

Steve followed her in and crashed on the bed. “Ahh.” He sunk into the spread and propped his head on a pillow and settled in while Suzy set out to finish up work. She sat with her back to him, working steadily on the computer.

He started to speak behind her. “When I was young, I had this friend.” He tossed a balled-up piece of paper he found on the bed. “This reminds me of those times, but in reverse.”

She paused and listened to him, turning slightly to see his face. “She’d lay in my bed while I’d work away on the computer. I always wondered what she was thinking. Most of those times, we were just friends.”

She smiled and turned. “She was probably hoping you’d take a break and look at her, really see her. However, I bet she was happy as friends too.”

He tossed the paper up once more and caught it, then looked at her. “Oh, I did see her. I wanted her. But, see, I was happy as friends, too. You don’t want to mess those kinds of friendships up.”

Suzy turned back around. She had similar memories of a lifetime ago and knew their power. She made a few more keystrokes, then her computer made a whoosh sound. “That’s that.” And she turned back around.

“I’m not that friend, but I could be.” Behind her, the rainforest gave way to its namesake as the skies started to thunder and pour. She stood up and reached around her neck, loosening the knot, dropping her sarong, then crawled into the bed next to him.

He looked her over. Her dark brown hair framed her soft round face. He gently ran his fingers down her arm and over her hip. Then they came together in a soft kiss which seemed to last for minutes. Steve pulled back, then looked Suzy in her eyes. “I don’t want us to get too far in too fast. Okay?”

Suzy understood and shook her head, then rested her head on his arm. They listened to the rain as it lulled them to sleep in each other’s arms. She hoped he’d share more of his story, but now wasn’t the time.


Tropical Trek – Part 4

Suzy walked to her bed and saw a message left for her on her phone. She quickly recognized the number as a member of her team and played the voicemail:

“Hi Suzy. It’s Mark. The team was able to get an early flight. We’re already here. Meet us in the lobby in the morning at 7. Melissa saw you at dinner, but she didn’t want to interrupt. Catch up then.”

Suzy looked at the time. It was just after midnight. She slipped off her sandals, sarong and tee and slipped into bed. It was going to be a short night’s sleep. At least her brain could spin up a few pleasant dreams after the evening she just had.

6 AM arrived early. Suzy quickly showered, dressed, and finished up a few notes for the sites she had already scouted. Hopefully Mark would find at least one of them appealing to head to today. She gathered her pack and headed down to the lobby.

The team was gathered in the restaurant, and several plates filled the table with breakfast pastries and such. Melissa sipped on her personal morning shake while the rest of the team enjoyed the pastries, coffee and tea. Their chatter could be heard all the way into the lobby by Suzy as she walked in.

“Morning! Glad you all caught the early flight!” Suzy greeted them and then spied a cinnamon roll among the platters of food. She resisted temptation and picked up a bowl of fresh fruit and a boiled egg instead. “I’ve checked out a few places already, but let’s go over what I’ve found.”

Suzy took out her surface and walked through some of the sites. Mark and the team observed closely.

Suddenly, Mark spoke up. “Go back. Those rope bridges…where’s that? That looks interesting!”

Suzy pulled out her notes and reviewed one of the tourist’s experiences she visited at the start of her trip. “This location offers trails with three options, one at the top of the mountains, the rope bridges, and a basin experience. They hook together so you can do all three options with a little retracing of some of the trails. At the end of the experience, they provide a local meal including rice, meat, beans, some fresh fruit and vegetables.”

“Perfect! Let’s head there today. How long to get there?”

“It’s a quick ride, but the road up to the entrance is a bumpy dirt road. Did you get a 4×4?”

Mark rolled his eyes at her, “Of course…. I know we’re not in Chicago!”

The whole team, including Suzy, laughed. “Well, on that note,” Suzy announced, “This way!”

The team arrived onsite and spoke with the proprietor, getting the necessary releases, then opted for the swinging bridge trail. They worked through the trail setting up shots and repeatedly crossing the bridges capturing all angles as Melissa strutted her stuff and recited the script Suzy had prepared.

Suzy enjoyed the experience of seeing all of the lush greenery and crossing the bridges when she was here alone. The whole team being onsite changed the dynamics and the experience, but she hoped her original vision would still come through. It was fun to work with others, but she really enjoyed her quiet escapes at the start of the trip more. Now, it was time to work.

Finally, Mark made the final call, “CUT! Let’s head back and get lunch.”

Suzy looked at her watch. Four hours of filming and content for no more than 15 minutes of content. That should be good for today’s venture.

As the team arrived back at the entrance, the owner prepared their meals. While waiting, they shared the different shots and clips gathered and came up with a game plan for editing the content for the site. “Suzy, mind putting together some additional content we can throw on the site?”

This is always what Mark asks for on site, and always what Suzy delivers. “Sure thing. I’ll have it to out by the end of the day.”

With that, lunch was served. The team started digging into their lunches. The freshness of the food sated even the hungriest in the crew and was a welcome meal. As they sat eating and recovered from their morning’s work, the parking lot began to fill up. A few more cars pulled into the location. Suzy didn’t pay much attention, already thinking about the content she needed to put together this afternoon.

A familiar voice spoke up behind Suzy, “What’s for lunch?” She jumped a little, not expecting anyone to be so close.

She looked up to see Steve’s grinning face. “Hey, what are you doing here?” Her voice belied her excitement to see him, although she tried to control it. “Just some local food. Wanna bite?”

He looked over her plate. “Looks good.” He hesitated, realizing the entire table was looking his way. “But I don’t want to intrude.”

A voice from behind him called out, “Steve, we’re heading out, coming with us?”

Steve looked over his shoulder and shook his head yes, then turned back to Suzy, resting his hand on her shoulder. “I should get going…thanks though!” With that, he turned and walked over to his friends.

Suzy looked over her shoulder and waved bye. He turned back towards her and smiled before turning back around.

Melissa scooted closer to Suzy and in a not so hushed voice asked, “Who’s that? And, what about his friends?”

The team shifted their attention to Suzy as her face blushed through multiple shades of red.

Suzy tried to make light of it. “Oh, them? They’re staying at the same resort as us. I bumped into Steve a couple times yesterday.”

Melissa cooed, “I bet you did!” and snickered.

Suzy rolled her eyes and shook her head. The entire team chuckled at the exchange and went back to eating their lunch before heading back to the resort and an afternoon of photoshopping and editing.

poetry, writing

Pants on Fire

Skirting the truth, we all do it. Most of the time with good intentions.

But I’m still amazed when a full-grown adult tells absolute lies.

Well, not really anymore; we’re growing tolerant and stopping questions,

Perhaps out of sheer exhaustion or not wanting to deal with the cries.

But let’s get real. Proof is proof. Seeing is believing.

Adults shouldn’t need to babysit grown-up adults either.

Dancing around the truth and shifting blame is tiring.

Why are people surprised when privileges go to the ether?

If you abuse it, you lose it. Sometimes it can be even worse;

you only have yourself to blame, that will be your curse.


Tropical Trek – Part 3

Back at the resort, Suzy stepped out of the shower in her room, freshly clean from the day’s trek. She slipped into some hipsters and a light bra, a tee, then picked up the multicolored sarong from the edge of the bed. She wrapped the sarong around her waist, shaping it into a flowing skirt.

Once dressed, she slipped on some strappy sandals and headed out to enjoy a bite to eat in the resort’s restaurant. As she made her way into the restaurant, she could see through the open-air eatery to the ocean. “A seat with a view of the water, please.”

The host guided her to a table set for two with a view down the mountainside and overlooking the water. He handed her a simple menu with local fare and some American standards. She nodded at him with thanks and took her seat.

Suzy quickly looked over the menu and decided on something local, although she couldn’t quite pronounce it. She set the menu down and looked out over the view before her. It was breathtaking. The sun was settling low in the sky as a pair of scarlet macaws flew between the trees which framed her view. The crash of the waves below was distant but soothing. She could get lost in the beauty so easily. This is what would inspire her story for this trip.

A voice from behind startled her back. “Mind if I take a seat?”

She looked up and saw Steve standing there. “Of course! Please.” Her cheeks blushed briefly, but she hoped he would mistake it for the sun. “How was your time with the fellas at the waterfall?”

He scoffed. “I had more fun talking to you.” His lips curled a little at the edges when he spoke. “Anyway, where were we before they so rudely interrupted?” He rested his chin on the heel of his hand.

Suzy was flattered, but she wasn’t here for a fling, but rather work. But a little flirting wouldn’t hurt. “I think you were going to let me in on why you were really here…” She glanced down and then back at him.

Steve leaned forward and lowered her voice, “It was to meet you.” His grin turned sheepish.

Suzy couldn’t help but laugh and roll her eyes. “How many times has that line worked for you?”

Steve started laughing at himself, “Tried, once. And apparently it bombed!”

Both of them started laughing at the same time. Then Steve stopped, “Seriously, just here to relax and have a break from home. We cool?”

Suzy smiled, “Sure. Want to have dinner with me since you’re already here?” She handed him her menu.

They continued their conversation over dinner, exchanging tidbits. Suzy found him interesting and charming. He was interested in hiking and did photography and some marketing related writing of his own and was a bit of a math guy. It was a strange but familiar mix to her own life. By the end of the meals they were comparing stories about their families, travels and life.

The restaurant grew quiet and they realized they were the only remaining customers. Suzy looked around noting the waiter standing at the bar, chatting with the bartender. “I think they may want to head out.” She nodded in their direction.

Steve nodded, “Can I walk you back to your room?”

Suzy grinned and found herself uncannily comfortable with Steve. “Sure.”

As they walked through the resort, Steve found Suzy’s hand and slipped his into hers. She didn’t pull away; it was nice to have someone hold her hand after so long. They found their way down one of the corridors, and Suzy stopped in front of one of the suites.

“Well, this is me.”

Steve fiddled with her fingers for a moment, not wanting to let her go, but then released her hand. “Okay,” he stammered, “hav…have a good night.”

She slid her key into the lock and let herself in. She turned back and looked at Steve, “Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Steve’s face lit up. “That would be nice.” He made sure her door securely closed before walking off to his room.

Suzy leaned against the inside of the door. She hadn’t felt this way in a long time.


Tropical Trek – Part 2

They swam to shore, then walked over to her pack and took seats on opposing rocks. He towered over her short stature.

“I’m Steve, by the way,” he stated as he brushed some of the wetness off his head.

“Suzy, nice to meet you,” she responded as she took her towel and dried her legs, then laid the towel across her lap. She dug into her bag, “Sesame snaps?”

He smirked and took a pack from her. “What brings you out here?”

Suzy smiled. “Oh, I am a writer for a travel site. I get to go to fabulous places, do fun things, eat interesting food, and write about it.”

“All by yourself?” Steve’s eyebrow arched up.

“No, no. I arrive a couple days before my team. They’ll do all the videography, photography, and our model/spokesperson will show off what I find.”

“Sounds like a dream job,” he leaned toward her a bit, “traveling the world and such.”

“Well, I used to live behind my computer, basically 24/7, and decided finally, once I had a good cushion built up, to change it all.”

“Getting out of that grind is good!” Steve smirked as he leaned back and bit into one of the sesame snaps. He chewed a moment and looked back over.

She raised her eyes back towards his, “and, what’s your story?”

Steve shifted once more, setting his arms on his knees. She noticed his skin on his shins was slick and smooth, like that of a swimmer. His face soften a bit.

“I’m out here with some buddies. Getting away from the grind.” He laughed at his choice of words. Then he leaned forward and started to speak in a hushed voice, “Actually, I’m here to…”

A clamoring group of men walked out of the dense rainforest . “Hey! Steve!” The troop began to set down their gear.

Suzy looked over the group and then back at Steve. “I should let you get back to your friends.” She extended her hand, “Nice to meet you, Steve.”

Steve shook her hand, then smiled back at her and stood up, “Thanks, later!” He held up the remaining sesame snap as he waved goodbye to join his group.

Suzy waved, then turned back to her pack and pulled out her phone to grab a couple shots of the pools and waterfall. She then made a few notes and packed away her belongings.

She watched the guys goofing around and giggled to herself, then decided to head back. She slipped her shorts back on and her hikers, then quietly headed back into the rainforest, and back to the resort.


Tropical Trek

The dense tropical forest surrounded her. The calls of macaws echoed through the vines above. A lone hiker stopped along the trail, wiped the sweat from her brow, and sipped from her canteen.

She slipped the canteen back in her pack. That waterfall can’t be too far now, she thought to herself. She couldn’t wait to take a dip.

She listened for the sound of rushing waters, but was met only with rustling leaves and more birds. She picked up the pace after her rest, knowing it was not far now.

Ahead she spied a small man made bridge over a creek bed. It was small, but at last, a sign she was close. She continued on the trail.

She swiped her bare legs, flicking away a pest. Her shorts, cuffed, and tank, let her skin breathe in the humid climate. Her cropped hair was tucked into a boony which kept the sunlight off her freckled face.

She tugged on her tank to get a little air. It was hotter here than she expected and not much breeze found it’s way to the rainforest floor.

She rounded a bend of granite rocks and in the distance finally heard a rush of water. A slight coolness drifted across her face and she sighed in relief.

As she neared the waterfall, the stream became wider. She stopped a moment to feel the water; cool to the touch and refreshing. She splashed a little on her face.

Behind her, she heard the sound of leaves pushing against each other, like something moving between them. She stood up and looked over the area.

A toucan took flight and she smiled to herself. Silly girl! It’s just a bird, she scolded herself. She adjusted her pack and carried on.

Finally, the greenness on the trail gave way to flowering plants and a series of fairy pools being fed by a glorious waterfall. She had arrived at her destination.

She found a spot to enjoy the falls and set down her pack. She pulled out a small towel and took a seat, watching the water cascade over the rocks. The rock face was covered with flowering plants in yellow, pink, and white flowers. Their sweet aroma filled the air.

She rested back on her elbows and dipped her toe in the babbling water. Another round of brush swayed and made a bit of noise. She sat up and turned to see a monkey moving between the branches.

She heard how these cute creatures could easily steal your food, so she secured her pack as best she could. He didn’t seem interested as he climbed on and disappeared into the forest.

She decided to take a quick plunge in the large pool at the base of the falls. She looked around, and seeing no one, shimmied out of her shorts, then headed into the pool.

The water chilled her at first. Her skin was covered in goosebumps from the temperature of the pool. However, it was refreshing as she swam toward the falls. The sound of the falls grew louder, drowning out the sounds of the forest.

She looked back toward her pack and a few rocks over, saw some hikers and a rucksack. It surprised her as there was no one visible to her in the area. She scanned around trying to see if someone else was nearby, but saw no one.

Part of her thought was to go over there to check it out, but the water was so enticing, especially as the falls also splashed her from behind, she decided to stay put. She looked up to the sky and began floating on her back, drifting about the pool.

After a few minutes, she felt a tug in her shirt. Her eyes were closed, but she figured a stick or something had caught on her clothes, so she reached to clear it away. Then a hand grasped her wrist.

She opened her eyes in surprise. She looked over to see a man holding her arm. His mouth was moving, but his voice was muffled. She lifted up her head from the water.

“Are you okay?” the man repeated.

She looked at him groggily and shook her head. “Yes, just enjoying a float. Where did you come from?”

She looked him over and realized he was bare chested and quite handsome. His eyes, light blue with little flecks of grey and gold, danced in the sun’s rays. His face was thin with a three day shadow of golden blond/brown hair.

“I was behind the waterfall,” he breathed out as he realized he was still holding her wrist. He gently let go. “I just saw you laying there limp and was worried.”

She smiled and then shrugged. “I’m good. No damsel in distress. Thank you though.” She tilted her head a bit. “Hey, I have some snacks to enjoy, if you’d like to share?” She swore his face blushed a little.

He looked down to his hands and smiled, holding them up. “Yeah, I think I should get out. I’m shriveled up like a prune!” He showed her the deep grooves in his fingers.

She chuckled as she raised her hand, “Me too!”

…to be continued

poetry, writing

Long to Go

Twinkling sounds dance from wind chimes

As the sky’s breath moves them to and fro.

The sounds remind me of olden times

When grandparents live and gardens grow.

Birds sing songs full of rhymes,

And scent fills the air of berries and tomato.

The world, simple yet spanning lifetimes,

The daffodils and tulips bloom just so.

The mountains await for our climbs,

And my mind and heart so long to go.


The Other Side

Grasslands and ranches line the road,

Speckled with aging frond covered palms.

Ramshackled old houses long abandoned

Leaning from storms that swept the land.

Tomatoes and strawberries and sugarcane,

Active farms and ranches keep us fed

A different world exists between our coasts.

Florida is more than fun and beaches.

poetry, writing

R & R

The babbling of the spa waterfall lulls me

While the flames of the nearby fire dance

These things put me into a trance.

My mind here is free to wander,

But stays clear of thoughts that hurt,

As if it know it too needs a break.

Here I can feel my stresses melt away.

The crescent moon flies overhead

As the sun bids adieu to the day.

Tonight I will sleep alone in a king bed

Lined with linens and quilts for warmth

And drift off to dream wondrous dreams,

Before next week’s drama starts anew.


A Queen’s Place

The lady entered the great hall, dressed in silks foreign to the gathered crowd. Her crown sparkled of gems, carefully selected to finish her look, or perhaps it was the other way around. The bold red, deep emerald, and royal blue tones reminded all of her place in this world, and it was at the head of the table.

The knights and lords fell to their knees and silence took over where once was a frenzied din. The ladies curtsied as she passed. To each she nodded and shared a genuine smile. As she ascended to the elevated table at the front of the hall, she lifted her skirts slightly, revealing leather riding boots.

She stepped up to the table and welcomed her guests, “Please, rise! This is a festivity!” She raised her glass. “To the people of Riggs, the house of Whitney welcome you!”

With those words, the band resumed playing, the men rose, and the wine began to pour. Queen Filippa straightened her skirts before sitting. As she reached for her chalice, a page kneeled beside her.

“Your Majesty, Yarl Mikkel of Riggs wishes for an audience.”

Filippa looked out across the room and Mikkel nodded his head in her direction. She looked with annoyance back at the page with her dark eyes. “I shall see him. Tomorrow, in the morn. Ensure Lady Aramith is in attendance.” She pursed her ruby lips and waved off the page with the swift tilt of her head.

The page nodded and slipped away with little notice.

“Uncle,” Queen Filippa turn to the man to her right, “why do these roguish men whose lands have come under my protection keep groveling to take my hand?”

Her uncle scoffed.

The Queen continued, “I understand why,” stressing the word why vigorously, “but why can they not see I have all that I want, and easily can take more if I want it. I don’t need these fools falling at my feet. Goodness, I need a real man!”

A hearty laugh escaped her uncle’s mouth. “My dear, they seek the power, and, forgive me, who wouldn’t want a piece of you?”

Queen Filippa rolled her eyes and found levity in his words. Nothing like honest Uncle Abe to state the, well, obvious. She looked down her bosom and shifted a bit to ensure all was in the right place then exhaled in frustration. “I grow tired, Uncle. I shall see you tomorrow.”

Uncle Abe nodded at her as she departed the table to retire from the party.

Filippa paused outside a moment as she returned to her quarters to breathe in the night air. The river and the mountains which ran alongside castle laid awash in moonlight. She thought to herself, These are the views I want to share… The small quiet moments between the flurry of the crown’s demands; this is when I need somebody holding my hand.

She released her breath and continued to her chambers. Tomorrow brought another day of royal duty and another day of sorting out suitors. Tonight she would rest easy knowing Riggs lands and it’s people were now hers.