I recall one day I was out walking with a lady friend. No, at the time the two of us were not romantically entwined, however the thought of dipping my feet into those enticing waters had traipsed across my mind more than once. Sadly, as many moments come and go during the dizzying course of one’s lifetime, so too do people pass through us as delicious and brief as sips of wine at a banquet. So too did this lady pass from my life after a time, leaving only memories.
But in this memory I recount now, we were not ghosts of a time passed and gone but present and alive and breathing and enjoying the afternoon sun as it warmed the boardwalk and the ocean and our selves. I had just made a joke which had coerced a flutter of lovely laughter from her slightly blushing face, when suddenly all the world came to a halt.
Jogging toward us up the path, shirtless and rippling with hard, pronounced muscles was a tall, dark man like the ones about which skittish mothers caution their virgin daughters, and about which Caucasian fathers warn their sons. The sweat from no doubt hours of intense and passionate physical exertion beaded across his milk chocolate skin and made his impressively sculpted torso glisten in the high, hot afternoon sun. He, The Jogger, was spell-binding. Lesbians would fall in love with this man. Even corpses would find him attractive. I do not count myself an expert on male beauty, but I know enough to know that this man was beautiful. And as this exotic Adonis jogged passed the pair of us with his long, fluid strides on legs as finely powerful and graceful as a thorough-bred Derby horse, his body trailed behind him a heavy musk of forbidden desires mixed with Gillette Sport.
My ego was immediately wounded. I found myself unable to feel adequate while in the company of my female friend for the remainder of the afternoon. How could I possibly hope to inspire lust in this young, vibrant person’s heart when both of us had become aware of a man such as that? In retrospect, I have no reason to suspect that he did in fact enter my friend’s mind at all, but it remains true that I myself could not shake the ghost of that tall, dark man from my memory for at least a month and a half.
To this very day his vision both haunts and motivates me. So, as petty and shameful as the objective observer may find it, when I sweat and toil under heavy iron in my neighbourhood fitness club I do so with two clear goals in my head: 1) to make my wife lust for no other man but me; and 2) to one day spoil a young couple’s romantic afternoon walk by simply jogging by.