The first time I looked into her eyes, she was walking into my studio. It was just after sunset. She was late. At least two hours late, but she had walked miles, taking several trains and finally a taxi to get to my studio, a good four hours from her home. I lit candles in the studio and had both fireplaces going. I was hoping to start at sunset, one of my two favorite times of the day to shoot, with sunrise my absolute favorite. But, one of her trains was delayed. I had a glass of wine waiting for her, as I was both flattered and interested to see what kind of person would travel so far to shoot with me. As I opened the door I was quite surprised to see that her beauty matched her online photographs. That was not always the case.
The golden flame of the fireplace lit her face as she entered the door. She looked like an Indian princess. She was petite, dark, with eyes almost black and perfect cheekbones. Not to mention, a slender well-curved body. I will never forget her first words to me. “Oh my God, you are as handsome as your Facebook photographs.” I was both flattered and taken aback. Despite her four-hour adventure, her hair and makeup were perfect and she was ready to shoot. She walked in with her flight attendant style rolling wardrobe and immediately gave me a kiss. It was a kiss of friendship like those given in so many countries. I knew she could not be from here and later learned she was from South America.
She took a glass of wine, sat on the stool in front of the seamless backdrop and lights, as if she had been modeling her entire life and we started shooting. She was great. Her eyes were strikingly beautiful, so deep and dark, yet alive and sensual. She was very much a model though she was new to the New York modeling scene. She had modeled and danced her entire life, so the studio was a natural and safe environment for her. I found out rather quickly, photography was not why she came to my studio.
Before long she was wearing sexier and sexier outfits and the small talk between us became sexual. I was not the impetus for this. She was flirting well beyond the task at hand. It was not long before we were taking lingerie and bathing suit shots. Soon, her wardrobe changes started to take place in front of me. She was younger than me by at least twenty years. I was getting nervous thinking, what if she really wants me? What will I do? Will I open my heart to such a young woman? Or, will I just make a joke of it, as I usually do, when approached romantically? Finally, after a bottle or two of wine she suggested that we shoot some nudes. I agreed. Her body was beyond sensational with beautiful curves and firm, with dark nipples.
We started shooting against the seamless backdrop, but very quickly she moved to the couch. I turned the strobe lights off and used one hot light, a technique to best capture nudes or implied nudes. Not that I have photographed thousands of nudes. It was always a gift when a model trusted me enough to experiment with the human figure. Even so, once she was on the couch I knew that she wanted me. I drank more wine to calm myself. It was many years ago that I had last opened my heart and let myself just go with it. Especially, with a model, as I did not want to get a reputation as a player. I wanted to keep my reputation as an artist intact. But she was too hard to resist.
It did not take long for me to go fully mobile with indirect flash from my handheld flash unit attached to my camera. We wound up in my bedroom, where the light was best and I had white sheets that would make for a great prop. Once she started rolling around on my bed and giving me those bedroom eyes, I knew that it was now or never. I sat down next to her. She reached up and started to stroke my lips and hair as if to give me permission to move forward. I starting kissing her forearm softly, working my way down her arm, to her forehead, shoulders and eventually her lips. She had the softest lips I have ever kissed; I was mesmerized by what was about to happen. I was shaking, overwhelmed with her passion and stunned at how comfortable she was in inviting me into my own bed. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Not figuratively, but literally. I was in trouble as she had me going and I had not taken my blood pressure pills, or any of my meds, including my daily aspirin. So, I did what any middle-aged man would do, I excused myself, swallowed my pills, checked my blood pressure, and stalled for a few minutes before I went back to the bedroom. I knew that if I continued, it very well could be my last time. I could die.
This was long before my successful heart surgery, so my blood pressure would go so high during sex that I was putting my life at risk. As I reached out to her, she started to kiss me again and my heart started to beat faster and faster. The wine was kicking in and without giving it another thought I starting kissing her all over her body. I mean everywhere and not just for a minute or two. She was writhing with passion. At times the softness of my kisses tickled her and she flinched. This was clearly a new experience for her. She had not been with many men before. Her inexperience was obvious.
For a petite woman, she enjoyed love a bit rougher than I was used to. Her body had a sexy curve I had never seen, or experienced before. It was a particularly sensual experience. We spent hours and hours in the bedroom. Now that the fireplace light was extinguished, candles were the only form of light in the entire house. We laughed and held each other for hours upon hours, until we fell to sleep. The next morning I did not know what to expect? How much did the wine affect her, or me for that matter? Would we have the same passion in the morning that we experienced the night before? Equally important, what was I supposed to do or how was I supposed to feel? It did not take long to find out. As I laid there, gazing into her eyes as she awoke, her eyes met mine. She pulled me on top of her and we started right where we left off. After a quick breakfast, I drove her home. The thought occurred to me that I might not ever see her again. As destiny would have it, that would not be the case.
It had been so long since my last intimate moment that I was reeling from feelings of love. We all hope to experience this with someone special, but I barely knew her. I was thinking, maybe she is just easy and sleeps around a lot. Yet, she seemed so inexperienced. In time, I learned that I was not only an exception, but also one of her first encounters. We texted day and night and talked frequently, as she was planning her next trip to my studio. The photographs were exquisite. I knew that they were the best photographs of her she had ever seen. By that weekend she made the four-hour trip to see them, and me.
I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I picked her up at the train station. She immediately hugged me and kissed me lovingly. I knew then, this was not going to be a one-time affair. She had the look of love in her eyes. But, she was so young. I did not know what to do. What would people think? I did not care. She came to my home studio to shoot again and again and again, weekend after weekend, for months. Almost every time it was the same. She would get off from work and make the long trip. We would shoot all night, sleep in and she would go back the next day to study or to get to work. I worked mostly on my computer or phone, so my hours were much more flexible. But, I did wish she could just stay.
She was making her own way thru life and paying for her own education. She was a hard worker. I had a great deal of respect for her, but at the same time I started to crave her like a drug. She was passionate, so passionate that before long she walked into my studio and went right to the bedroom. There was no shoot or even lunch or dinner. I figured that she knew that eating a full gourmet meal, which I cooked for her every time she came, was probably not the best idea for a guy with a few stents, in addition to a plethora of heart issues. But it was simply her insatiable desire and obsession with our sexual relationship that drove her. I could not understand why. Surely, if I were a much younger man I would have performed better and found a way to fulfill her insatiable passion.
It had been about nine months and the new-year was approaching. I promised myself, at some point, I would end the relationship. She was just too young. Despite the fact we were in love there was no way I could give her a future with children and a long life together. Her twenty years was the deal breaker. Everything else was pure love and I was still suffering from a broken heart. As the love grew every time we would shoot, so too grew the guilt. I felt that I was stealing her heart. I tried to find ways to drop hints about our age difference and where we were in life. She caught on quickly and it angered her.
At one point, as Christmas approached, I thought I would buy her a powerful vibrator. Maybe she would start to like it and maybe just maybe, stop thinking of me as much. Truth be told, I simply could not keep up with her and eventually started asking her if she was;” trying to kill me,” as we spent more and more time in the bedroom. When she unwrapped her gift, not a holiday present, just a random one, she took it out of the box and asked me what it was. I was surprised. I thought everyone knew what a vibrator was for. She asked why I was giving it to her. I told her, so she could enjoy sex more. Without even batting an eyelash, she took that brand-new vibrator and tried to stick it up my ass! She was very aggressive and pissed off. When I resisted, she threw it against my bedroom wall! For the first and only time since I had met her, she was angry and screamed out with her South American accent, “do you think I travel four hours to see you for that vibrating piece of plastic?” With that she began passionately kissing me and we continued our torrid romance all day and night.
When we were not in the bedroom we were shooting and when we weren’t shooting, I was cooking. Typically, I would cook many of the recipes from my childhood. I frequently merged them with recipes I picked-up from my travels, or from my work in the hospitality business. I was not exactly sure if she was in love with my food or me. I must ask her one-day. For a petite woman she could really eat.
New Year’s Eve was approaching and it was almost a year of weekend affairs, almost every one of them the same. We started in the bedroom or pretty much anywhere. We would shoot and then cook and eat. When it got late I would drive her to the train station and she would go home. She did not want me driving four hours each way late at night and did not mind sleeping on the train. So, the train it was. When we were not together I often would text her. But, never did I feel that she was the one I would spend my life with. Not that I thought I had much life left, but the age difference was too much for me.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to a concert. It was delayed for hours and it was just a mess. She was pissed and did not hide her disappointment. In fact, she took it out on me. It was the perfect opportunity to end the relationship. After she left we both knew that something had changed. We were not using any protection and during the evening she made a sudden movement to suggest she felt a kick in her stomach. At that point the fear factor immediately took control of my heart and I shut down.
The last thing I wanted to do before my heart surgery was to bring a child into the world, especially with such a young woman, who was clearly not ready to be a mother. All the same, for years afterwards, after a brief pause, we would meet and the heat would take over. Again, we would find ourselves in passionate embraces and more. Even though she found herself an age appropriate boyfriend, we just could not control the passion. The sexual chemistry was too powerful. All the same I was not getting any better and I knew I would have to leave New York for warmer winters or further risk my life. Eventually I left. I would have died otherwise.
She remains single, although she is not the cute innocent young woman she was when I first met her. Now she is approaching thirty and remains as young at heart as when we first met. I know that time and heartaches, like me, have toughened her heart. I sometimes think what life would be with a younger woman by my side, probably with a new generation of children with us. But, all the same, I believe I did the right thing ending it. It was a chapter of love I will never forget. I know that the love I showed her helped her get through life as much as it helped me when I was lonely and heartbroken. The fact that she loved me when I was at my heaviest and in my worst health, spoke clearly to how genuine and authentic her passion was. She used my photographs to help her land many modeling and acting jobs, including feature films.
I hope she will always cherish our chapter of love, as she will always be my “South American princess” and will always have a place deep within my heart. As I have found, so many times, love does not need to be a lifetime novel to be cherished. Chapters of love, no matter how long or short, are all sacred.
“Chapters of Love” Copyright John Joseph Dowling Jr.