Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 22, 2017

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I remember Vicki

Lover's Breath

by DonandVicki

I remember Vicki. I never realized just how close I came to missing out on her so long ago... I want to take you back thirty some years ago to when we first met and share with you a special love story. They say some people fall in love, Vicki and I learned to ascend in love.

The Beginning...

I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she sat near me in the classroom. She was a stunning redheaded Irish girl. Her hair was cut short, wild, and flaming red, her eyes were a brilliant, piercing, deep blue, her skin was pale white and just covered with freckles. You know, those big, fun freckles, the kind that makes you want to connect the dots.

We were part of a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Deep Diving Class that was taking place in the Philippines. Today was our last class before we went out into the ocean to qualify for our 'Deep Water Certification'. I had one last chance to get to her, hoping that I could talk her into being my partner on this last qualifying dive. She had paired up with other guys on our several practice pool dives, so I figured that I didn't stand much of a chance. She had a man magnet personality, a smile that could disarm the devil himself. Guys clustered around her during the class breaks. I figured that the very worst that could happen would be that she would turn me down, so what the heck... I figure that she never was mine to lose in the first place.

We broke for lunch for an hour and would meet back at the classroom for the bus ride out to the dock. Now was my only chance.

"Vicki?" I said, as I quickly moved up behind her.

She turned and smiled just as I got beside her.

"Hey?...Don...right?" she said.

"Right... listen, I was wondering if I could buy you lunch?" I said, "I have a question that I would like to ask you."

"Sure, we only have an hour, where would you like to go?" she said.

"The 'Spanish Gate' has pretty good food, burgers, pizza, something fast. Would that be alright?"

"Of course," she said, "what's the question?"

"I was hoping that you would consider being my partner for the qualifying dive this afternoon," I said.

She was silent for a few moments, and looked at me intently.

"I would like to ask you a question first... before I answer yours," she said.

"Sure, what is it?"

"What took you so long to ask me?" she asked.

She had caught me off guard with this question and I wasn't quite sure how to respond.

"Well, you... you were always surrounded by other guys. You paired up with Serge, and several others for the pool dives, I just figured your dance card was full," I said.

"And what? just stood back like Mister Cool, and watched them?" she said, "you could have cut in on the dance at any time."

"Well, better late than never. I knew that this would be my last chance before the final dive," I said.

"You have no idea, how much I wanted you to ask me to be your partner...did you?" she asked.

Again, those blue piercing eyes bored a hole into my being. Her smile was so disarming, that I was afraid to speak, for fear of not making sense.

"No... I guess... I did not."

"I noticed you the first day when we introduced ourselves. The way you spoke, and your deep voice impressed me. Your tone has such a commanding, self-assured sound to it," she said, "yes...of course...I'd love to be your partner."

My heart did a little flip when she smiled back at me.

We ordered a couple of burgers and sat and discussed the procedures that we had been rehearsing in class; We would all take a dive boat out to 'Grande Island' which was in the middle of the channel leading into Subic Bay, Philippines. We would all gear up with our weight belts, Scuba tanks, and regulators. The boat would drop us off and in pairs, we would slowly descend following the Instructors to the bottom of the channel. The bottom was at about seventy feet down. All twenty of us would sit in a circle with the Instructors in the center. When the lead Instructor gave the signal, we would remove our Scuba tank and lay it out in front of us. The junior instructors would swim around in front of us to make sure that no one would freak out, or possibly get themselves in trouble. At another signal, we all would slip our tanks back on, with the assistance of our partners. The final trial was called the 'Buddy Breather' test. You and your buddy would share just one regulator to slowly ascend to the surface. This had to be done calmly, carefully, and slowly, to prevent the 'Bends'; the accumulation of nitrogen in your body tissues from being at such a depth.

"Are you a little nervous about the final dive today?" she asked.

"I don't think so, after all, we practiced these same procedures in the pool. We will just be in a lot deeper water," I said, "I am really pleased to be doing this with you."

"Me too," she said, with a big smile.

She reached across the table and squeezed my hand.

"I have watched you in the class room and in the pool. You seem to be so calm, and that is exactly what I need in a partner," she said, without taking her eyes off me.

I felt a little more at ease after hearing that from her. At first, I held her hand on our way back to the classroom, then I put my arm around her waist. I was very pleased that she didn't push my hand away.

It was getting very hot and humid by the time we got back to the classroom, dive locker. The tropical sun was intense. Sweat ran down our backs as we all assisted getting our gear stowed in the big gray bus that would take us over to the marina. This is where we would board the fishing trawler that would take us out to deep water.

The twin diesel engines thumped in unison on the trawler and put out a cloud of black acrid smoke as we slowly left the dock, but once we cleared the breakwater, the skipper opened up the throttle, the smoke cleared and the heavy equatorial breeze felt fantastic.

I sat with Vicki next to me on the deck and I was very proud to see the other guys looking at us, enviously. Vicki noticed this as well. I had my arm around her, she got up, deliberately sat between my legs and snuggled in close. My heart nearly burst.

"I have very sun sensitive skin," she said, "could you please keep the towels over me, so I won't burn?"

I took my towel and placed it over her shoulders and put her towel over her legs.

The two other females in the group paired up together and it looked like the other guys would just have to make do. There was no way that I was going let Vicki down, I was determined to be the best, most reliable partner she could possibly hope for.

The Captain cut the engines and my stomach twisted in a knot, as I realized we were at the dive spot.

"Listen up!" the lead instructor called out, "when I, and only I give you the word, you and your partner will do a reverse entry into the water and wait for the rest of us to enter before we all descend as a group to the bottom. Okay, let's gear up."

Vicki and I were next to the last pair to enter the water. She insisted on holding my hand as we flipped over the side. We both tested our regulators as we got situated. I checked her gear to make sure every thing was in order and she did the same for me.

The senior instructor-led the way to the bottom, with another instructor at the back of the group. The third instructor swam back and forth in the group holding a 'thumbs up' signal. We were required to give a 'thumbs up' back, to assure the instructor that all was well.

At first, I felt a little awkward that Vicki wanted to constantly hold my hand, but the instructors didn't seem to mind, so I took it as a big complement. I noticed that the deeper we went, she seemed to squeeze my hand a little harder and stay a bit closer. In the quietude, I started to sense her vulnerability. I smiled to reassure her that all would be okay. She gave me a weak smile back.

We reached the bottom and it was a bit surreal as we all knelt in a huge circle facing the center. A cascade of bubbles going up in a perfect circle. The lead instructor stationed himself in the middle and the two other instructors went around the group, carefully observing.

The signal was given and we all removed our Scuba tanks, flipped the tanks over our heads as we had rehearsed and laid them in the center. I watched Vicki closely, hoping that she wouldn't have any trouble. She was a pro, she gave me a thumbs up and a sweet smile.
The second sign was made and we all, in unison, put the tanks back on. The partners were required to check each other out to double check and make sure there were no glitches. Vicki tapped me on the shoulder and gave me the 'okay' sign. Again we all knelt and faced the center. The lead instructor came around and pointed at each couple, which was our signal to do the shared buddy breathing to the surface. An instructor would follow each pair up, then return and attend to another couple.

Vicki and I were the first couple to ascend. I was glad to get this part over with and I had a feeling that she felt the same way. All the others watched us as we faced each other, I reached behind her and took hold of her weight belt with my left hand and she did the same with me. We pulled each other in tight. She smiled as she took her regulator out of her mouth. I reached behind her and turned her tank valve 'off'.

We slowly started our assent. I took a breath and handed her my regulator. I pursed my lips as if I were blowing her a kiss. She took a breath, handed the regulator back to me and returned the pucker with a smile and a wink. I hoped this moment would never, ever end. We broke the surface all too soon for me. We had to wait in the water until all the others surfaced.

My knees were weak when I climbed the ladder back into the boat, I turned around to assist Vicki and we both hugged and laughed after we helped each other get our gear off. We sat in the aft section, on the deck discussing the dive.

"That was fantastic!" she beamed.

"Yeah, wasn't it weird, being in that big circle watching everyone. The bubbles slowly floating to the surface?" I said.

She started to lean in a bit closer, so I didn't hesitate. I put my arm around her waist and pulled her close. I gave her a deep kiss. Our tongues met, caressed and played a soft, slow dance with each other. I could hear and feel her softly moan. I felt like I was floating away...

"Excuse me!" a voice from above us said.

It was the lead instructor standing over us."You two are having waa a yy... too much fun," he said smiling, "congratulations on your qualifying dive."

Vicki and I looked up at the Dive Master to thank him.

"Thank you, sir, that was the most fun I have ever had," I said.

" Yeah...right, I'll bet."

The Senior Instructor winked at me and walked away to another couple.

Vicki looked at me and we both broke up laughing.

"I don't want this to end," I said, "how about dinner tonight to celebrate?"

"You must be reading my mind, dive buddy. Where would you like to go?" she said.

"I heard that there is a good rib joint out in town. Southern style home cooking, or at least a good as you can get here in the P.I.," I said.

"As long as I am with you, anything sounds good," she said.

We rode the boat back to the dock and got all of our gear checked back into the dive shop. We didn't wait for our Deep Dive Certificates. We were told that they would be mailed to us in several weeks. I called for a cab, Vicki and I cuddled in the back seat.

"Where to?" the cabby asked.

"Naval Hospital, Cubi Point, Women's Barracks," Vicki said.

"You're a nurse?" I asked.

"I'm a Navy Nurse, I work in the ER on the night shift."

"No wonder you were so calm and collected during the dive," I said.

"Yeah...right, If you hadn't been there with me I would have fallen totally apart," she said.

I paid the cab driver and walked Vicki toward her room at the barracks.

"Do you want to come in?" she asked.

"If I do, we will probably not make it out to dinner," I said.

"We can always eat later," she said, with a wink.

I felt like I was day dreaming as we walked hand in hand to her room. She unlocked her door and let me in. It was well furnished for a simple barracks room. She had a knack for color, it was surprisingly modern and a true 'Chick's pad'. Nothing was out of place, and I noticed that she had matching decor pillows stacked several high on the couch and bed, a shag rug on the floor.

"Wow!" I said, "How do you qualify for a private room like this?"

"All the Senior Nurses here at the hospital have private rooms."

She pulled the pillows off the couch and invited me to sit.

"Can I get you something to drink?, Coke, Ice Tea, water?" she asked, "I'm sorry but I don't have anything stronger."

"It's okay, I don't drink," I said, "It dulls the senses, Ice water will be fine."

She turned slowly and smiled, "you have no idea how glad I am to hear that you don't drink. The other guys that I partnered up with last week, drank and smoked."

I had a serious twinge of jealousy course through me when she said that. I tried to keep my cool about it, hoping it didn't show.

"I don't drink or smoke," I said.

"That's one of the reasons that I am so glad you asked me to be your partner," she said, "I can't imagine a guy taking a drag on his regulator, then putting the nasty thing in my mouth after he had been smoking."

"Lucky me," I said.

"Oh... you have no idea sweetie," she said.

She put the glass of ice water down on the coffee table in front of me, and nearly fell on top of me. We kissed passionately for several moments. I had a feeling that if one or the other of us didn't put the brakes on soon, we would be in bed shortly.

"Vicki...babe..., don't you think we should take this a little bit slower?"

She pulled back, sat up, and stared at me for several moments. I thought for sure that I had blown it.

", and a Gentleman as well?" she said, "most guys would have tried to get me in the sack, have finished, and be smoking a cigarette by now."

Again... that damned twinge of jealousy. She knew which buttons to push, and push really hard.

"I just want this to last. Today was the most special day of my life, just being with you and all that we went through," I said, "let's do this slow and do it right."

She sat back and took a drink from her ice water.

"Thank you for that," she said, "I fell so hard for you, especially when we did the shared breathing. You were holding me so close, blowing me kisses, you were so sexy. It would be so easy right now to just say 'what the hell', and let you have me every which way."

"I have way too much respect for you to do that, sweetheart," I said, "listen... I have an idea. You enjoyed the shared breathing right?"

"Enjoyed is putting it mildly," she said, "whats your plan?"

I watched her eye's closely as I formulated my idea, I was making this stuff up as I went. It was a plan to bond our spirits so that we would become an unbreakable us.

"This procedure is what I call 'Ascending Love', I said, "you know how some people say they 'fell in love'? Well, I consider falling in love a negative term. I like to think of 'ascending in love' a more positive statement."

"Beautiful, now... should I assume that you are a 'Philosophical Poet' as well?" she said.

I detected a note of sarcasm in her demeanor.

"Trust me, Babe, you are going to love this," I said, "and the interesting thing is, you do not have to take your clothes off to do it, you could... but it's not required."

She broke out with this huge grin, her eye's sparkled.

"It's nice to know that I have that option," she said.

"This takes lots of practice and is done in several steps," I said, "first we kiss, mouths open, no tongues."

"Darn," she said.

"Just like in the ascending dive, we share a breath," I said.

"You're making all this up, right?" she said.

"Shhhhh! Just listen," I said, "after we put our lip's together, I take in a breath through my nose and softly breath into your mouth and lungs. I hold my breath as you exhale through your nose. You take in fresh air and breath into my lungs, and so on for as long as we can stand it."

She sat there wide eyed for several moments, then slowly, deliberate and softly, she licked her lips. That gesture caused me to gain a serious erection. I was hoping she wouldn't notice.

"I want to try that...," she cooed.

"Oh...we will, sweetheart, but first, look into my eye's and try not to blink, just breath slowly. Just try to imagine that we are ascending and sharing a breath."

We sat there unblinking for several minutes, just softly breathing. My eyes seem to enter her consciousness. I knew at that very moment, this is the woman that I wanted to spend the rest of eternity with.

Tears slowly started to bud in the corners of her eye's, then one right after the other, they quickly ran the full length of her cheeks.

"I will absolutely die if you tell me that you have done this with another woman," she said.

It seems that the jealousy sword has a nasty, sharp, double edge. I was going to be a lot kinder to her than she had been to me.

"Like you said, I'm just making this up as I go. I came up with this idea right after we completed the Deep Dive Qualification."

"You are a very sexy man...," she said, "if we practice this and get it right, can we try it with our clothing off?"

"I can see no reason why not."

She quickly got up and sat on my lap, put her arm around my neck, shut her eye's and kissed me full on, mouth open. My whole body trembled, I wanted to stay in control, but it was obvious that she was becoming more dominant. I took a deep breath and slowly breathed into her mouth, down into her lungs.

Now it was her turn to tremble. I put my hand on the small of her back, under her blouse, just above her panties, I could feel her body quiver the entire length of her spine. Her nipples grew rigid under her thin cotton blouse as they softly and warmly thrust into my chest. She exhaled, drew in fresh air and breathed into my waiting lungs. Her breath tingled as it entered me, I could feel her essence blossom deep in my chest.

We continued our lover's breath for several moments, maybe minutes...It was impossible to tell. After about ten breaths we were both totally mesmerized. I couldn't tell that there was more than one being, just one 'us'. This was way better than any sex that I ever had before, I had no intention of telling her that, I didn't want to break out the terrible sword of jealousy again.

I reluctantly pulled back from her to look into her eye's. Her lids were closed and she had this soft 'far away' look on her face.

"Vicki?" I whispered.

"Shhhhhh..." she said, "I'm not ready to come back just yet."

"You took me so far...far away," she said breathlessly, "that was so amazing."

I pulled her close and kissed her deeply again. I could feel a tremor pulse through her amazing body.

"Now that's what I'm talking about," I said.

The Ending...

Vicki and I were married right there at the Naval Hospital in the Philippines. I was a Merchant Marine and at sea quite a bit. We used her room as our home while I was in port. I told Vicki that as soon as her enlistment was up, we would return to the States, buy a home and start a family. Things didn't quite turn out that way. She loved her job and took it very seriously. By the time we returned to San Diego and bought a home, we were both too involved with our work to start a family. She was able to work at Balboa Naval Hospital, get her civilian Nursing degree, her Masters, and retire as a Lt. Commander. I worked at the NASCO shipyard in San Diego. We were rolling in dough and loving life.

It was a blessing that we didn't have children because we didn't have much love left over. We spent every moment together selfishly enjoying each other. We loved us.

Sometimes bad news hits hardest when it suddenly and rudely slaps you in the face. Especially when you are totally unaware. Vicki was diagnosed with stage four, pancreatic cancer. God had always been very, very good to us, but now he was taking her away from me...from us.

I wished that I could just die but there was no plug to be pulled. The pain of knowing that she was going away was just too much for me to bear.

The day that Vicki died we both knew the end was drawing near. She was in such pain that it was hard for her to breathe let alone smile at me, but she did both.

I crawled into the hospital bed with her, sobbing and held her close, not wanting to let her go. The nurse understood and pulled the curtain shut, and closed the door as she left the room. The heart monitor slowly sounded out Vicki's failing heart beat.

Shhhhhhh," she sighed weakly into my ear, "it will be alright, just hold me close."
I held her, not wanting to hurt her.

"Closer and tighter," she gasped, "closer, I want my soul to enter you."

"I don't want to hurt you, sweetheart," I said, pressing my face next to hers.

"No..., tighter, it feels wonderful."

The heart rate monitor started pulsing at a quicker pace.

She kissed my cheek and whispered, "you must help me go."

"I can't do that," I said, sobbing into her pillow.

"This will be the last chance for us to share our special kiss," she said, "this is my last wish, this is what I want to do, for my last breath to be inside of you. Please, just one more time my love. Take me away, far, far away."

I put my tear stained lips on her waiting mouth, I drew in a breath and softly exhaled into her lungs. I could feel her body quiver as it had done so many times in the past. She weakly exhaled and drew in a fresh breath, then exhaled into my lungs. I could feel her warm breath tingle all the way to my toes. It was every thing I could do not to cry as we continued our passionate kiss.

It was her last weak breath that entered my lungs, then a steady tone emitted from the heart rate monitor. The monitor flat lined and I released her and whispered;

"I love you, I'm so sorry."

I looked at her and she had that 'far away' look on her face. I knew this time she wouldn't be coming back to share her experience with me.

Moments later, the nurse walked slowly into the room with the doctor behind her. The nurse felt for a pulse as the doctor listened with his stethoscope...

"I call the time of death at 4:42 am. I will leave you alone with her." the doctor said.

The doctor unemotionally left the room as I held her hand and cried, thinking of all the years we had together. All the love and the breaths that we shared.

The nurse came over to me and whispered;

"I am so very sorry, take as much time with her as you want."

She closed the curtains on her way out of the room.

I sat there numb, all I could think of was kissing her again and trying to fill her lungs with my breath. I wanted to 'Buddy Breath' with her one last time, just get her to the surface. But I couldn't be there for her this time.

As I walked out of the hospital, her words still ringing in my ear...

"Just one more time, my love."

Never...never...ever again.

'To love another person more than yourself is to look through the eye's of God'.

----The Author.

I Remember contest entry


The 'Lover's breath' is a practice that she and I shared for many years and it never failed to excite us both. I was able to capture her last breath.
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