His voice was deep and manly and evoked sensual images of melted honey smoked over burning hickory wood. That smoky voice coated me with its sweet stickiness and the imagined flavour of it rose and slipped down the back of my throat and settled there.

That voice summoned forth unbidden butterflies that had long lay dormant in the core of my being but now fluttered in my belly by their legions and crashed about giddily in my abdomen and against my ribcage.

Hearing that voice, subtle effervescence seeped into the back of my mouth and the corners of my lips rose with sheer unadulterated anticipation - the memory and prospect of pleasure in our company. Welcome to the recitation of a morality play on the pleasures and pitfalls of internet love.

For all the feelings between us, I never set eyes on “Paolo.” He refused to share his real name. He lived more than a thousand miles away. He did not want to bridge that gap for reasons he insisted were his and his alone to deal with. The only visual image I had of him was a picture on a website which may or may not really have been him. He would neither confirm nor deny. I was in love and his in all but reality. A detail really.

I write this because it is over with my hickory smoked honey voiced suitor, though really it isn’t. I long for him with the same keen ache that preceded the often nightly phone calls before our breakup. But logic knows and reality dictates what is untenable. And neither of us expected this development. I know I didn’t.

I blithely entered the internet dating scene back in the late fall hunkering down for the winter]and expecting only to widen my circle of friends and kick start my social life. What I hadn’t yet learned was how many married men had discovered internet dating seeking side dishes to complement their diet of stale romantic fare at home. 

I hadn’t yet learned how compelling a younger guy might be: unshackled, a little unsophisticated and relatively untested and unafraid in the bigger arenas of life and romance.

I was especially unprepared for a whipsmart younger guy with a deep and manly voice that evoked images of melted honey smoked over burning hickory wood.

“Paolo” was funny and smart and focused and tough. He worked to keep his core of gentleness in check but his decency showed through. He was a good man but wounded and in the mix that presented who he was to the world, there was unmistakable quality slightly cowed by a mediocre hand or two dealt in life and love that had sliced him to his core.

It wasn’t all empty talk and butterflies in the stomach. He called me on trivialities. He encouraged me. He challenged and complimented and comforted me. He lifted me up high on currents of joy and passion.

For a moment in time, I was truly and totally his: his woman, his love… all his. I fell deeply in love and was lost in the illusion of surrender to him.

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