what love feels like at nautilus teachings


1980-College-The months pass by. Watching Zak play football is fun and I begin to come out of my shell. I have many girlfriends, the best of which is Emma. College life begins to flow like soft strokes against a canvas. I get the hang of it quickly and find myself falling in to bed each night smiling. I have no need for corners; I feel no threats.
I spend hours in the art studios here learning how to mix, blend and use my palette to create new worlds.
I continue to write Ted as we are becoming good pen pals. I have no chance of seeing him until the following summer, so I settle in to life as a college freshman and dare life to throw it all my way.

i go to church in the tiny chapel on campus and love the simplicity of my faith and art guiding me.
Months stroll in and out like the tides along the Atlantic coast on a balmy summer day. The only difference is it is freezing here. Zak and I are getting along well, classes are good, girl friends are great and I feel as if the wind is at my back and filling up my sail as I cruise along at sailors pace. Saturday night comes and it is time for another movie in the commons. Everyone I know is going and I tell Zak I will meet him there. As we enter the large mustard painted room, the music pulses through my veins. I am frantically searching for Zak, when Emma says, “Sheri, c’mon let’s get a beer, he will find you!” She then laughs, I return the smile and she says, “God you are whipped!”
I begin to relax the moment the cool suds run down my throat. I am transported to Bishops Park watching the foamy waterfall. Everyone is laughing and having a great time, when I turn and see Zak cheek kiss another girl. This sends me tumbling down familiar steps of red wood. I close my eyes to hide my tears. I walk over and dump my beer all over Zak’s head. He is fast behind me as I run outside.
“Sheri, what is going on, why did you do that?”
“I s s saw you k k kiss that girl, I hate you…”
Zak gently tackles me onto the soft sea of green grasses and I feel like I am floating in familiar waters. I like this guy. Why is he doing this, I think through my tears.
“Sheri, Sheri, stop.i love you.”
His hands are holding my head and we are staring at each other. He is on top of me and I am not afraid. “She’s just an old friend I hadn’t seen around. She came back to campus for a visit, that’s all.” He breaks in to the melt your blushing heart grin and I am lost inside of him. He kisses me and we roll on the grass and giggle. We head up to his dorm. We are holding hands and my resistance is slight.
“Shhh…” he places his finger to his mouth, winks and smiles. “Be real quiet.” We enter his room and he says, “stay here, I have to take a quick shower and wash off the beer.”
I sit softly upon his bed. The room is dimly lit and I am shaking. I have never been in a guys room before. It’s plain. No posters or flowered bedding. Just books, clothes and empty walls. ‘Oh how I would like to color these walls’, I think to myself. I crack a grin and close my eyes as I lie back upon Zak’s bed and pull in his scent. It’s a musty scent like the gnarley big oak trees in Bishops park. I rub my hand across the soft sheets. ‘These are more like Mr. Caterpillars fuzzy body than bark,’ I think.
I am scared
My head spins
My lips grin
Is what
I am thinking
I look at his
Naked chest
His large hands
And imagine
They will feel strong
Upon my body
They won’t
Or hurt
I know
They won’t force
He will not smell-
The question
What will happen next and am i ready?
Can I take
This step?
Will he blend with me
Or smear me
Like the muddy watercolors of 73?
I am still shaking like a playing card vibrating in the front wheel of my blue Schwinn bicycle I had as a kid. I loved that big bike. It made me feel grown up and free, riding with my long tossed cocoa hair winding behind me, as if hand signaling to all the butterflies, ducks and raccoons who watched, ‘there goes fancy finns, she shed her flippers and is running away.’


the door opens and there stands Zak.
Zak kneels down. He is still wet and wrapped waist down in his towel.
My fish friends
are swimming all around me
and their fins
feel like goose feathers
tickling my whole being.
I don’t know or understand
this feeling I am having.
My skin
seems to be splashing
warm violets and robins egg blue,
my mouth has dried up
like the desert
and I am shaking.
The warm water, silky bubbles and Zaks hands gently touching my body take me back to my childhood. I am rolling down the leafy hill, arms and feet stretched straight out. I am smiling, my hair is a tangled fudgey mess of twigs, leaves and knots. My body stops as it smacks into the grape vines. They are loaded with plum, violet and eggplant colored grapes all in various stages of growth. I pull one off and plop it in my mouth. The juices spurt out and my tongue is a carnival of flavors. Every ounce of me tingles and I feel goose bumps spreading down my arms and legs. My eyes are closed and shooting light rays glide across my eyelids.

of Colors,
baby blues, turquoise leading into deep navy,
Champagne and
Swirled in,
add a Blush
of Strawberry…
I had
in gentle shades of blue, violet, yellows and passionate pink.
so, i think to myself – this is what love feels like…