The sun was just a sliver of crimson as we reached the top of the hill. We were about a quarter mile from the gaggle of ramshackle frame homes, which meander along the ravine and make up the Irish community. To the west, an impenetrable stand of firs was silhouetted against the lavender dusk, and the sounds of fellowship, fiddles, and Lidge’s concertina, were barely audible from the happy gathering below. In the distance a whippoorwill called, crickets sang, and the air carried the faint scent of hickory smoke, as the little community lit their stoves against the cool night air. Christoph and Laura paused to admire the sunset, and Mariah and I found a seat on a log at a distance sufficient to afford a degree of privacy. We admired the pastels as the sun slipped peacefully away, soaked up the serenity, and reflected on the events of the day. Darkness crept in silently around us and not a word was spoken. Eventually the silence was broken as Mariah shivered, moved ever so slightly closer, and pulled her sweater snugly around her neck. This was my opportunity. I slid over close beside her, wrapped my arms around her and waited for her response. After a moment Mariah reached out hesitantly and awkwardly placed her arm around my waist. My heart raced furiously, and as I listened to her quickened breath, I fought to calm the quickness of my own.
Eventually, noting my hopeful gaze, she glanced up apprehensively, licked her lips expectantly, closed her eyes and eagerly puckered up! This prospect, enticing and long anticipated though it was, had the immediate effect of sucking all the breath from my lungs and simultaneously paralyzing my tongue! Fighting for wind and desperately struggling to moisten my own mouth, I took my queue and pressed my lips to hers. We held that kiss for the longest time; both unwilling to let that moment end, and as our lips parted, we held on passionately in a long, lingering hug. For as long as I live I’ll remember that embrace. Then the twilight faded to velvet black, and our palms caressed as I walked Mariah home. "Obie's Quest"