One – "Want to share a ride?"
was talking with some colleagues at a surgeon’s
while on break when I saw her looking my way. I
didn't know which of them she was looking at.
Roger is handsome and so is Michael. I excused
myself figuring I was blocking some eye contact or move
she was planning for one of them.
took my glass of wine and went out to the patio and
looked out over the city feeling like something is
missing in my life. Here I am a successful
surgeon, two homes, one on each coast and alone. I
have a couple male friends but nothing serious.
They don't want to be tied down and neither do I at
least I don't think I do. I looked at my watch
‘one more boring session to go.’ I finished
off my wine and headed back inside.
was standing with the crowd waiting to go in with
everyone else when I saw her again four people over.
She was smiling and talking with a couple of woman.
I recognized one of them, Sarah, but I didn't know who
the other one were. She saw me looking her way.
We were staring at each other eye to eye when she smiled
and mouthed hello. I smiled and nodded. ‘Do I
know her’ I thought to myself as I scanned my memory.
No one came to mind. We broke our gaze as the
crowd began to flow back inside.
I found my table and settled in for the final
was passing slowly.
I looked at my watch, five minutes to go, thank
god. I thumbed through my emails to see what was
going on with my patients and if there were any
emergencies that would get me out of these last few
minutes. The sound of the crowd clapping broke my
focus as I logged off and put it away. I gathered
up my portfolio and purse and walked out to the hallway
and down to the main entrance to catch a cab back to my
hotel. It was raining softly just enough to dot my
Miss?" asked the valet
the Ritz Carlton please" I said looking in my purse
for a five to tip him.
going to the Ritz, I have a private car if you'd like a
ride" said a soft female voice over my shoulder
I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. A private
car, ah, yeah that'll be great, you sure you don't mind.
I can take a cab" I said looking at her.
won't hear of it. Do you really want to ride in a
smelly cab?" she said looking at me with her deep
really. Thank you so much"
tipped the valet and watched her walk over to the
waiting black town car and driver holding the door open.
She slipped in and began touching up her lips looking
into a small compact. I looked around expecting
more people to be following us but there weren't.
I walked over to the car and peeked in.
just us two girls" she said smiling pouring herself
a glass of wine. "Want some?"
would be nice. This has been one of the most
boring sessions I've been to in a while."
me about it. I was at one before this in
you a doctor?" I asked. I just couldn't
resist it any more. I figured she was either a
doctor or one of the doctor's wives.
am sorry; I am Marsha Masterson, Dr. Marsha Masterson,
heart specialist" she said pausing to sip her wine.
am Dr. Sharon Watson, oncologist, glad to meet you"
toasted our glasses and gabbed all the way back to the
hotel. She is divorced, no kids, a surgeon for
twelve years in
. She was engaging with a warm personality.
Her voice is soft spoken but clears as piano notes.
We pulled up to the front of the Ritz Carrolton.
evening ladies" said the doorman as he opened the
evening" we said in unison laughing at each other.
walked half way into the lobby when she asked me if I
wanted to go out for dinner and cockatails. I
looked at my watch. I had no plans other than to
order rooms service and watch a movie.
Say we meet back down here at the bar in an hour?"
got it, in an hour" she smiled
2 – Dinner at
was back down stairs within the hour having a Cosmo at
the bar. It
was nice to have a girl’s night out instead hanging
out with the boys from the conference.
It would have been more shop talk and bragging
about new techniques and “did you read my blog
about…” blah, blah, blah. Boring! I was about to
order another Cosmo when I saw Marsha come in smiling.
I motioned the bartender for another Cosmo. She
looked good for a thirty something in her DNKY jeans,
purple sleeveless tee with a white sheer over shirt.
that two” I said to the bartender
again” she said sitting on the adjacent bar stool
to you. I am
glad you dressed casual.
I wasn’t sure where we were going for
we’ve been in dress suits all day it’s time for
jeans and drinks”
are such a character, took the liberty of ordering both
of us Cosmos.”
for me, excellent way to get the party started.
Hope you’re in the mood for French fusion food.
I made reservations for us at
. It’s a
fun unique casual bistro and bar.
The music is awesome and the atmosphere is
haven’t been there before, but I am up for something
I am sure you’re might like it”
you go ladies” said the bartender placing our drinks
in front of us.
” Marsha said raising her glass
” I chanted back.
drank our Cosmos and headed off for
. Marsha was
vibrant and full of life.
How could she not have someone just as terrific
as her in her life?
What went wrong in her marriage?
She seems to have it all.
But then who am I to talk, I was just reflecting
over the same things in my life back at the convention.
Well, I’m out with a new friend and enough
about the past.
pulled up to this fabulous building with a grand
sign is lit in neon pink and blue letters that glowed
with then name
. She is
right; it looked exciting, vibrant and alive.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was in for a
jour Ladies” said the valet as she opened the door and
unhooked the velvet rope.
Marsha, this is wild” I said gasping at the entrance
and music flowing out over me
just wait until you get inside it will blow your mind.
You’re in for a treat!” she said smiling
holding my hand leading me in through the double glass
was unbelievable. It
has three levels of bars that circled the center dance
floor. You could see straight up at the flashing strobe
and telescope lights peering down and dancing all round
us. The DJ
was on the third floor working the crowd from above.
Velvet French couch booths lined the back walls
with black and gold marble tables, tulips and lit
was like being in a fantasy dreamland.
me ladies your booth is over here” said our waitress
in a black and white French maid costume.
is so cool Marsha” I said as we flopped down onto the
ultra soft couch
my favorite place when I come to
ordered Martinis and a tri level tray of appetizers.
I never felt so free and alive.
A curious thing I began to notice was that most
of the people in the club were women.
I looked on the dance floor and there were women
dancing with women.
At the bar women were draped together like soft
silk sheets blowing in the wind.
Some are lopped arm in arm, some leaning into
holding arms of each other.
isn’t making you uncomfortable
, we can leave if you want” said Marsha watching my
gaze and observations.
I want to stay. In
this day in age you have to open your eyes and your mind
to new things. My
last patient would have loved this place. She passed
away after a long battle with cancer.
Her girl friend was by her side every day for the
last three months of her life.
I never knew how deep love could be for someone
until I saw the way she looked at her and stayed by her
side until the end.
So this night is for her and new beginnings.” I
threw back my entire Martini and wiped the small tears
from my eyes.
. No more
sadness now, lets order another round and celebrate her
here” I said popping a shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce
into my mouth. Our
fresh Martinis arrived.
Lucy” we both said toasting our drinks in the air
ordered table side dinner and more cocktails.
The music was beginning to flow over me from
above, drizzling down tingling my skin. Marsha took a
sip of her drink and excused herself then went over to
the bar and began to talk to a tall brunette.
Is that her girlfriend I wondered?
I watched as they both talked and then went out
to the dance floor.
A Madonna song began
to play. Marsha
reached for her hand.
Her friend reached out to hers and pulled her
couldn’t believe my eyes.
Marsha moved up to her and began to sway with her
rhythm as they touched noses and look into each others
friend pulled back Marsha’s hair from her face, leaned
in and kissed her soft and slow all the while dancing to
the music. This
is new to me I thought to myself.
The small conservative protective world that I
lived in began to melt away before my eyes as I watched
slowly began to understand Lucy’s world.
Love is what you want and feel, not what you
think others want you to be for them.
All this time I focused on the worlds perception,
what it expected me to be.
This was a reflection that I had not every
expected to see. But
in this moment I saw that love could be whatever I felt,
not what others expected it to be for them.
to Marsha hello, are you in there?”
hey you” I said coming out of my daze of deep thought.
my friend Debbie. She
just wanted a dance.
She saw you with me and figured you wouldn’t
you okay?” asked Marsha
fine. I saw
myself in a different light for the first time.” I
replied sipping my drink
saw yourself?” asked Marsha.
I had a reflection about Lucy and then about myself.”
hope you didn’t mind me leaving you alone to go for a
O’ no, I didn’t mind.
It was life changing to see you so graceful and
comfortable with another woman.
I had no idea what it would look like or how I
how do you feel?”
like I expected”
were you expecting?”
thought this wasn’t for me and that this is a
different world when the reality is love is the place
and time that you are in, in the moment.”
I’ve never heard it put that way before”
really, you know how it is in “our world” where you
have to put on a front to move up.
Now I see that free love is everywhere,
everywhere when you least expect it to show up.
I mean look at us, we both make serious money and
the difference between you and me is…”
Marsha said leaning in with deep curiosity
absolutely nothing Marsha.
Love is love, people are people no matter what
they feel between each other.
That’s what Lucy was trying to explain to me
before she passed away.
She laughed at me the first time she saw the
expression on my face when her girlfriend kissed her.
I was stunned, absolutely stunned for the rest of
my shift. But
after seeing how much her girlfriend loved her and wept
over her day after day, I began to find understanding.
it happened to you too ‘eh?”
do you mean?”
had a Lucy patient too.
Her name was Paula.
She was a sweet girl whose life got cut too short
my small world just got bigger” I said to Marsha
wiping the tears from my eyes.
never been small
, you just never knew until now how big your heart is
and what it’s capable of. Your feelings are what you
want them to be, not what you think they need to be for
the world to accept you.”
you what, we are both here through the weekend and I
have a small cottage in
where we can go and just get away from the worlds
plenty of wine and my neighbors aren’t judgmental.
Want to go?”
like that.” I said touching up my eyes.
lets dance and put this behind us” said Marsha
reaching for my hand.
I reach for hers and let the moment take me into
phone rang as I turned in my bed.
you” said the familiar voice.
It was Marsha
you’re up early. I
had a blast night.” I said suppressing my yawn looking
at the clock.
it’s a beautiful morning and
is calling our names, or did you change your mind?”
no mind changing here.
I’ll get up, get showered, dressed and meet you
down stairs in an hour.
How does that sound?”
I am so excited.
You’re going to have the time of your life”
see you down stairs.” We hung up.
laid in bed for a while looking up at the ceiling
thinking about last night and all of its meaning.
My world was so small and narrow.
How could I have let what other people think
shape my views and feelings regardless of what they are?
I did “what I was suppose to do” according to
a judge and jury of peers that I never knew control my
any more. It’s time to unfurl my wings and fly in
whatever direction the wind takes my heart.
I packed my things, called the bell hop and
closed the door. Hearing
its lock I knew that I was closing it to the world that
I would leave behind forever and be opening a new one in
girl!” shouted Marsha seeing me come out of the
look at you, I’d say somebody is ready for the wine
I closed a door last night Marsha”
for you, whatever our weekend brings it will bring.
Let the journey begin.”
cherry red Mercedes CLK convertible is the bomb.
I’ve always wanted to get myself one and here I
was slipping into its fine soft leather arms feeling
them wrap around me.
We let our hair down, put on our shades and
powered down the top.
The breeze caressed our faces as we slowly pulled
out and merged into the weekend traffic.
Marsha put in a CD and off we drove.
looked at her as she draped her delicate hand over the
center of the steering wheel peering out at the traffic.
She hummed along to the music smiling, feeling
the breeze and smelling the fresh ocean air pour over
she asked noticing me watching her
on really, nothing?
to be honest this is so refreshing this whole idea of
getting out and going to
going to love it. The
drive alone is worth its journey.
I bought my place up here a year after my
wanted something new that was mine alone.
I spent a weekend looking at different places.
Then up on the mountain side I saw it.
I knew it was the perfect place as I got closer
to it. The
gate had a sign on it “Wisteria Winery ~ All are
welcomed”. I knew from the moment I step foot on the
wooden floors that I was home.
It’s my heaven on earth”.
just like that?”
just like that. I
just knew it. It
felt like me. I
told the realtor to make an offer immediately I don’t
want it to slip away three days later I was signing
lie girl. I
know what I want and I’ve got the money to get it.
Hell, I an’t shy. This is my time, my moment
and I an’t lettin’ nothin’ stand in its way”.
put it so simply. All
the words that I’ve ever wanted to say for years she
put them out there in simple, plain terms.
“This is my time, my moment and I an’t lettin’
nothin’ stand in its way”.
forty minutes later we were pulling into
. It is
colors, the smells, the miles and miles of vineyards
that lined the road draped heavy with grapes.
harvest weekend darlin’” Marsha said pointing at the
fields of plump grapes and workers hunched over cutting
and filling baskets.
my Marsha, I’m getting goose bumps!”
You’re feeling the aurora of the valley”
are everywhere. They
waved at us as we drove slowly down the middle of town.
I waved and blew kisses to complete strangers.
I hugged and kissed Marsha on the cheek.
hope there’s more where that came from” she said
turning into the driveway of a bakery and cheese store
maybe” I blushed not believing the spontaneous moment
I had just felt come over me.
4 – Moon over Wisteria Winery
(vsattui.com) winery and cheese shop has a picnic lawn
that is so romantic and intimate for locals and tourist
that come from around the world to visit the valley.
It is perfect, nothing like I had ever seen or
my little piece of
” said Marsha parking and hopping out.
truly is Marsha”
get ready to let you senses run wild in the Shoppe”
will, let’s go!”
the moment I stepped inside I was lost for words.
The isles are thick with shoppers trying to make
up their minds over what to choose from the cheeses,
meats, bread, and wine from around the winery and around
the world. Marsha
is a veteran of the place.
She filled our shopping cart while we sipped
samples of wines and nibbled on cheese.
The start of my day couldn’t have been better.
People are so friendly.
Everyone knew Marsha, but who could resist her
charm and personality.
should do it don’t you think?” asked Marsha looking
over the selections in the cart.
more thing” I said holding out a bunch of fresh cut
flowers I found three isles over from her while she was
pondering over cheeses and pate.
are perfect” she said with a smile putting them in our
couldn’t believe how calm and perfect my weekend had
new place, my old world behind me and a new one open for
me to explore without pressure.
I am one with myself, with a freedom that I had
never felt until last night.
ready for the weekend of your life?” Marsha asked
handing me one of the two bags.
and more than you will ever know”
let’s get this party started.” she said as we walked
to the car, loading our weekend goodies in the backseat.
We drove off towards Wisteria Winery with the
wind in our hair and the sun caressing our faces.
5 –The perfect moment in time
drove up the small winding unpaved road towards her
cottage. The sun peeked in and out through the
vine thick trees and looming Wisteria as I playfully
guided my hand up and down reaching out to feel the
wind. The smell of lavender was hovering above me.
Butterflies flew near the car as busy worker bees tended
to the wild flowers along the side of the road. I
could see an up coming sign… Wisteria Winery ~ All are
welcomed. I broke into a smile as I looked around
like a kid going to visit grandma and grandpa up in the
country. We pulled up to her porch and parked.
this is it, Wisteria Winery" said Marsha looking
radiant and proud.
is so beautiful Marsha" I said opening my door
looking around the grounds.
glad you came?"
is no doubt in my heart"
here are the keys, go let yourself in."
feeling of the keys in my hands felt as if I have been
giving the keys to my dreams, my freedom, and my
imagination. I walked towards the three simple
steps to her porch. Flower pots were filled with
wild flowers. A large wooden table is coated with
multicolored melted wax from candles lit over time.
A swing is to my right with big fluffy pillows. I
in wonder land. I put the key in the door and
slowly opened it. Out slinked a black and white
tabby cat purring softly and weaving around my legs.
that's Gracie" said Marsha bringing up a couple of
hello Gracie" I said cupping her soft face feeling
her tail curl around my ankle
a sweet heart" said Marsh setting the bags on the
porch looking proudly at her.
picked up the bags and went inside. It’s a warm
and charming cottage filled with things that meant the
world to her. Big wicker couches and arm chairs
sat in the middle of the main living room. There's
a large stone fireplace that went all the way up to the
ceiling with huge logs piled on both sides of the
hearth. A thick heavy woven shag colored rug laid
in the center with a big oak tree stump table and a
smoky glass top. The smell of lavender and vanilla
is in the air that came from home made candles setting
like?" Marsha said leaving the door open and
heading towards the kitchen.
am almost lost for words. I love it. Thank
you so much for the invite"
can come up any time you want. I’m glad you
she said pulling out the bottles we had just bought
walked over to a large window that overlooked the winery
rolling hills. I took in a deep breath, let it out
and smiled at the moment I found myself in.
you go" said Marsha handing me a glass of wine
tell me" Marsha started while standing and looking
out the window with me "What's going through your
of this is you. You have so much control and
comfort in your life. Last night I looked into a
mirror I knew existed but was afraid to look at. I
feared the reflection of my feelings. But now I am
at peace knowing that whatever I want to feel I can.
Whatever I want to touch I can. All the simple
things that Lucy would talk about when I would sit with
her so she wouldn't be alone are true. It doesn't
matter how you love but how you let others love
said Marsha taking a sip of her wine and gasping at what
I said. "That is the most beautiful
reflection I have ever heard in a while."
true Marsha. I haven't had peace in my heart for
some time. I am always saving lives every day and at the
end of the day I would wonder on the drive home when
will someone save me? I’m not alone, I am just
lonely. There is a difference you know. I
guess I put myself so deep into my work so that I can
avoid the emptiness I feel off and on. But here,
right now, I feel found."
sweetheart, you take all the time you need to figure out
all the things you're feeling because we have the entire
weekend to ourselves. O' and by the way there's a
wine harvest festival two wineries over tonight if you
want to go. I'll leave you to your thoughts and go
finish preparing lunch. Meet me on the porch in a
half an hour. Feel free to go for a walk. It
will do you good" said Marsha in her usual calm and
standing at the window for a few minutes more I walked
over to the French double doors that led to the back
patio. The vastness was as far as my eyes could
see. A flat stone trail lead to the edge of the
yard and into the garden. I filled my glass with
wine and went out for a walk. I let down my hair
so I could let the gentle breeze caress me. In the
center of the garden is a small two seat wooden swing, a
table and a bird bath with two birds fluttering their
wings splashing themselves. Butterflies are
flittering everywhere in the wild flower garden. I
sat on the swing and rocked myself as I stared up at the
clean blue sky. I was at peace with myself at
thought I'd find you out here. This is my
meditation garden. You like it?" said Marsha
holding a tray of tea sandwiches, cheese and crackers
and another bottle of wine.
like everything about your place" I said continuing
to rock myself sipping my wine
I join you?"
course" I said looking into her eyes. "I want
to share all of this with my new best friend" I
said reaching for her hand after she placed the tray on
reached out for my hand and stepped slowly towards the
swing and stood in front me. The sun lit her face
as a slow breeze pushed back her hair away from her
face. I smiled as I stared back up at her.
She sat beside me and together we began swinging.
It was like I had found myself in a moment in time that
was waiting for me. We talked, ate our tea
sandwiches, cheeses and crackers. Gracie soon
joined us sitting on both our laps.
6 – The Wine Festival
nearly time to head over to the wine harvest festival
that Marsha mentioned earlier.
I tried to pick out the perfect outfit to wear.
No jeans tonight I thought to myself looking at
the clothes in my opened suit case.
This one, this one will be perfect I said holding
up a blue and white lace cotton
summer dress. The
smell of a lavender and vanilla candle filled the room
with the music of Nora Jones Come
Away With me playing in the background as I stood in
the mirror swaying to the sweet melody.
I heard a knock on the door…
you almost ready?” asked Marsha
here I come” I said opening the door
at you, very nice, very
” she said holding a glass of wine in one hand and two
halo flower rings in the other.
“You always have the perfect words Marsha”
here’s something from the garden to top off your
look” she said putting one of the flower halos on my
let me put yours on” I said like a little girl playing
dress up at a sleep over.
looked deeply at her as she closed her eyes and lowered
her head. I
slowly placed the halo of flowers on her head penning it
with two bobby pins then kissed her on both cheeks, then
you for making this the best weekend ever in my life”
I said hugging her
you for being part of everything and not judging
” she said slowly reaching for my hand leading me out
into the living room.
fireplace was crackling with stacks of logs glowing.
The room lit up and flickered from the flames
shadows danced across the walls as we started to slow
danced to music. The
feeling of holding her in my arms was like embracing a
mellow dream that I didn’t want to awaken from.
We tucked our heads into each others shoulders
and just let the moment fold into itself. Our
evening has started perfectly.
The music slowly came to an end as we slowly
talk” said Marsha looking into my eyes…”Just
listen, take your time and don’t worry about hurting
me if at any point this is not you or for you.
I remember how I felt the first time and how I
just let whatever I was feeling find it’s on away.
So no matter what happens or whatever you want to
say, know that I am okay with us just being friends”.
picked the perfect time to say the perfect words.
I wasn’t sure about any of my feelings.
The only thing I knew was that I wanted to just
follow them and see how far they would take me. For
now I am okay with the pace of what I am feeling.
you for being so understanding.
I’m okay, really I am.
I’m glad that you are following my lead and
letting me move at my own pace.
I want to let whatever happens, happen and judge
each moment as they come to us.” I said filling both
of our wine glasses half way.
let’s head over to Wendy & Marla’s place and
join in the fun” she said toasting my glass.
& Marla’s place was just a short drive away.
The night air is perfect as we drove over to the
could see twinkling lights just ahead as we turned off
the main road and up towards their place.
The festival is in full gear.
There are dozens of people dancing and standing
around a big barn fire drinking wine as we drove up and
Marsha” said one of the guests.
shouted back Marsha reaching out to her.
“This is my friend Sharon from
New York City
, welcome to the festival.
Please, come join us.
I’ll introduce you to everyone” said Wendy
with a warm smile. She
is a cute, short strawberry blonde with a bubbly
Came another voice from the crowd as we got closer to
the large round wooden table filled with wine and food.
Marla!” Marsha shouted back.
this is my friend Sharon”
, glad to meet you.
We’re glad you’re here.
We have all kinds of wine so don’t be shy
honey”. Said Marla kissing me on both cheeks.
glad to be here. Your
place is very beautiful” I said pouring a glass of
wine for me and Marsha.
you. So how
long are in going to be in the valley?”
stay longer if you can” she said waving at other
see” I said sipping my wind looking at Marsha
I’ll be milling around so don’t be shy, get
out there and mingle.” said Marla walking backwards
then turning into the crowd.
have lots of energy” I said to Marsha
they’ll make sure everyone has a good time before the
night is over”
stayed for a few hours mingling and sampling the large
varieties of wine from the harvest.
I never knew this much about wine or how it was
made until this weekend.
It was new and exciting.
This was a whole other world that I have yet to
took the long way home so I could see the valley at
night and it is breathe taking.
The stars are so bright and clear.
It was like I was on a magic carpet ride.
pulled up to Marsha’s place.
The glow from the fireplace softly lit the
was in the window sleeping as we walked up to the porch.
We went inside and kicked off our shoes.
Marsha put some more logs in the fireplace as I
sat on the couch. It
came alive again with deep red flames.
did you enjoy yourself” asked Marsha plopping down in
one of the large wicker chairs across from me.
sure did. I
never learned so much about wine in my life, and the
food was fabulous!” I said crossing my legs on the
ottoman between us.
that’s one thing you’ll take away from here if
nothing else” she said touching my feet with hers on
the ottoman we are now sharing.
I looked at her as the fireplace glow outlined
her face, shoulders and legs.
I stood up and walked over to her slowly and
reached out my hands.
Marsha whispered with a small smile.
no words. I
said looking down at her.
with me” I said feeling her hands holding onto mine as
I pulled her up from the chair.
smiled, turned and pulled her hands signaling for her to
follow me. She
touched the button on the CD player to start Nora Jones
from the beginning as we walked passed.
I lead her to her bedroom opened the door and
slowly closed it behind us.
spent the weekend with
Marsha discovering her new feelings with freedom.
They have been out to
together a couple more times.
They decided to spend Thanksgiving together in
the valley. The
day after Thanksgiving,
discovers a terrible truth that threatens her new found
sure to watch for the up coming sequel to this story… “I
can’t be Without You”
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