When did we first connect? I wasn't sure. Nor was I confident in remembering the precise circumstances. We males are just wired that way, I suppose.
But once we did, I knew that my life would never be quite the same again. I was hooked. She exuded confidence and a sexuality that would come off as brazen and undignified in a younger woman. I found this refreshing.
And that body. The manner in which her slinky dress instinctively knew where to end and begin again; the way it tenderly caressed her curves while shimmering and shadowing in all the right places. It was only with great difficulty that I could avert my eyes at all.
I've never been fond of wildlife comparisons to describe these encounters. I've habitually chosen to avoid using terms such as "predator" and "prey". If something is meant to be, there should be no element of capture or conquest to it.
But for some strange reason, ever since first hearing the term "cougar" to describe an older, attractive and available female who is drawn to younger men, I have been enamored with it. This obviously contradicts my aforementioned stance; though this is not unusual for our species and as such I readily admit to and embrace this paradox.
Perhaps this is partly because of the image that a cougar evokes in my mind: sleek, bold, smooth, graceful. It is therefore a perfect representation of the sophisticated and sexy older woman.
I felt fortunate to be in a position to vie for her attention the very next time our paths intersected at that black tie affair. Maybe it was fate. Whatever the case, it became apparent soon enough that the feeling was somewhat mutual, as we deliberately gravitated toward each other while the presence of others dissipated into the ether.
Thus began the tango of mutual desire and motives uncertain. We embraced. We kissed.
Arriving at my place, our dance continued. Soft music, wine, candles, hushed tones speaking what need not be said. The flow of intertwined limbs writhing over silken sheets. All of a sudden, a glimpse out of the corner of my eye: a spilled glass of red wine, delicately weaving its way along the sheet in close parallel to my leg.
Then I remembered.
It was an actual cougar that had me in its tight grip. The wine wasn't wine at all. It was blood. This was an embrace of death, not ecstasy. Why oh why did I choose to hike alone, and at dusk, of all times?
And yet, I didn't fight it. Perhaps it was the delusional state I was in, most likely due to excessive blood loss. Or it could be that I was - in some twisted way - infatuated with my captor? After all, Stockholm Syndrome has been well-documented in many hostage situations. Was I not a hostage to this most elegant of hunters?
I would have made love to it with the last of my fleeting energy, if it had so wished. Alas, I could only take solace in knowing that our molecules would soon become virtually indistinguishable. I'd be but a passenger on the new journey that awaited me.