Men. First they love you, and then they leave you wondering what the hell just happened. And that, I imagine, is why so many of us women turn into pineapples, all hard and prickly on the outside, with our sweet centers hidden so deep inside that only an act of God can bring our sweet back out.
Even so, being that I’m all but drooling over a man in a white straw cowboy hat, I think it’s entirely possible I have not yet turned all the way hard and prickly. Which makes me a gidiot. Girl idiot. It’s what I call women who lose all sense God gave them when they find themselves in the vicinity of a hot man. The man in the cowboy hat is hot. I have officially become a gidiot.
Gidiot Taylor Grant.
Or maybe it’s that I’m bored. And lonely. Yes, lonely, and finding myself thinking about all the choices I’ve made in the past couple of years that haven’t worked out in my best interest. As a result, I’ve spent far too much time gazing out my office window at the Space Needle, wondering what it would be like to free-fall from the top of its pointed little head. Not that I’m planning on taking the big dive, but life has been stressful lately. Too many lost cases, one painful breakup, and a whole lot of friends who would rather not hear one more word about how my man done me wrong. Perhaps I should wear a sign on my back that says, “Happy doesn’t live here anymore.”
Maybe I should just wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. That’s how long I’ll be here in St. John. I’ve come to see my sister, Paula, who has become a bona fide island beach babe. She runs a bar here, and she’s not one for allowing others to wallow in their pain or feel sorry for themselves. I fully expect she’ll tell me to woman up and get over my ex. She never liked Peyton. Which is fine by me; I don’t much like him right now, either.
But where is Paula? I check my watch and see she’s late picking me up—by forty-five minutes—and then I remember her fondness for being the last to arrive at a party. That’s okay. It gives me a chance to peruse my surroundings. I look to my left and see a hillside dotted with colorful houses. Then, above those, nothing but dark forest green. Trees, I think. Though the green is so thick it looks like a jungle. And now my imagination is going wild with visions of all kinds of animals swinging from vines, such as you might see in a Tarzan movie. Tarzan, I could deal with; wild animals, not so much. And I’m not big on foraging for my own food, either. Which Paula has assured me won’t be an issue here.
A young couple passes in front of me, and they make their way across the sand, linked together and leaning into each other, presenting themselves as newlyweds or at least new. But that only takes me back to memories of Peyton, so I turn away and look at the man in the hat again. He reminds me of nothing from my past life, and surprisingly, for the first time in weeks, I feel a hint of sunshine and smiles. Like life is not so bad, like life goes on, no matter what… and it feels good.
And why not look at other men? I may be half-broken, but I’m not dead.
My gaze stays with the cowboy. I’m curious what his story is. He seems to be alone and hasn’t once in the last five minutes pulled a cell phone from his pocket to check for messages or to take a call. Which I find refreshing and so different from the men in Seattle who become panic-stricken if they discover they’ve left home without their iPhones or iPads or iSomethings.
I squint, focusing on the cowboy’s right bicep, and I make out a tattoo that looks like a set of horns. Bull horns, I think. Which is fitting if he is indeed a real cowboy.
My lips curve into a smile. That would be something—a real cowboy, here in the Caribbean.
And what might I do with a man like him if I had the opportunity?
Everything… absolutely everything.