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I need to thank my co-author Addie Q for her help in the mood of this story. And I also need to express my deepest gratitude for the editing skills (which I needed!) of archangel.
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I had seen her before, and I thought she was absolutely adorable. I was fully aware that I was way too old for her, probably old enough to be her father, but that didn’t stop me from recognizing how cute she was.
We were introduced to each other and we shook hands. I was immediately aware that she was acting nervous. I made an effort to smile in the hopes of calming her down, at least a little bit.
This formal introduction happened on a pleasant summer morning at the ski area in our town; she was helping out as a high school intern during the off-season months. We were standing outside of the main building with the offices. This wasn’t any kind of big fancy resort, just a small little hill with two chairlifts with a nice family atmosphere.
I clearly remembered seeing her here a few times during the winter. We even rode the chairlift together a few times and exchanged some simple chit-chat, but I felt she was almost too shy to talk, like it was hard for her.
I remember watching her ski, and she had this really cute way of wanting to be perfect. I’ve been a ski instructor over many winters, so I can get a sense of people by watching them ski. She wasn’t showing off or trying to ski really fast like a lot of kids will do. Instead she had a curious determination about her, and I liked her immediately.
It was summertime at the resort when we met properly. This time, neither of us had helmets or goggles on, so it felt like the first time. I doubt she would remember me, but I sure remembered her.
We were introduced by the head of the ski school. “Pamela, this is Ian McKinnon. Ian, this is Pamela Sparrow.”
Oh God, holding her hand for just that brief moment was electric for me. I was instantly smitten by how cute she looked. She was wearing blue jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, flip-flops and an old baseball cap.
She looked up at me, smiled nervously, and said, “You can just call me Pam.”
I could tell she was trying to act so serious, like this job was terribly important and she needed to seem all grown up. She wore these cute little librarian glasses that I thought were just perfect for her; they added to her endearing, bookish disposition.
I’m sort of tall, and Pam is tiny, just barely 5 feet, so it felt like I had to reach down to shake her hand. She was obviously a lot younger than me, and I immediately realized that I probably shouldn’t be feeling what I was feeling.
Her handshake was timid and a little shaky. We walked into the building and stood in the hall with my ski school boss, talking a little about the requirements for the summer. Pam and I were there for just a month or so to help finish some of the leftover paperwork from the previous season. This was an easy, low-stress job for both of us, and we wouldn’t have anyone overseeing what we would be doing.
After our formal introduction, she and I walked down the long hall to the little office we would be sharing.
I would be working together with Pam, just me and her alone in the office. We would be taking some of last year’s ski school accounting and inputting it into the new computer system. All this was going to happen in this tiny room hidden way in the back of the resort building. I was so self-conscious that it would just be her and me without anyone else around, doing this busy work. I wanted her to feel comfortable, not like she was stuck in a tedious assignment with some older guy. I tried to be lighthearted and open, but I could tell she was tense.
The summer is eerily quiet at the ski area, but the whole scene was pleasant and easy. Pam still seemed terribly shy, but she was smart and wanted to do a good job. This may seem funny, but it was a little embarrassing for me because I was totally new to the programs we were using. She was very patient with me as she helped explain a lot of computer stuff that I would never have been able to figure out on my own.
I really appreciated her patience as she led me through each step I needed to understand before I actually become comfortable with these new computer techniques. I thought it was absolutely adorable that she would play the role of instructor for me. I made sure to say a heartfelt thank-you whenever she played my coach. She had a such pleasant way about her, and I enjoyed every minute I was near her.
Little by little over the first week or so, she seemed to relax around me, enough that she would giggle at my jokes, and eventually share some things with me about her life.
It was obvious right from the beginning that Pam was really smart, but at the same time so painfully shy. She dressed in a way that made me think she must be terribly insecure about herself. She always wore clothes that made it seem like she was trying to hide from the world. It was funny to see a beautiful escort bostancı young girl dressing in a way that was just so frumpy. It could be cool (and sometimes chilly) up here in this mountain town, so it seemed she always wore baggy sweaters and oversized shirts; so it was sometimes hard to tell if she was skinny or not.
My sense was that she had a perfectly lovely body, but I really couldn’t tell. Every once in a while she would wear shorts, and I thought she had beautiful legs.
One thing that left me confused was that she never once mentioned having a boyfriend. I never asked about it, but I was curious. I thought that maybe she was so shy that it would have been too awkward for her to be in any kind of relationship. I didn’t know, but I thought maybe she’d never even had a boyfriend. This made me a little bit sad, because there was something so wonderful about her and I felt certain there must be some young man at her school who would have been sensitive and caring enough to see how sweet she truly was.
As I got to know Pam better, there was something about her that left me in awe. I recognized how eager Pam was to please me. It was a lot of little things; for instance, she very quickly found out how I like my coffee, and she would get it for me and prepare it just the way I liked it (no sugar and just a tiny bit of milk). She knew the mug I liked, and she would always set it on my desk before I even sat down in the morning. She always was so eager to do a good job, and that same side of her was so obvious in other ways too, like always needing to be helpful and obliging.
At the same time, that eagerness to please me seemed like it had another aspect that felt worrisome. It seemed as if she was so wrapped up in being helpful that she was almost in a dream world. I know that seems funny for me to say, but I sensed a vulnerability in her that was almost trancelike, as if her ideas about the world were somehow too simplistic and loving.
This “eager to please” side of Pam was totally endearing, but at the same time it made her seem so innocent.
Pam didn’t have a drivers license yet, so right from the start I offered to drive us both work together, I would pick her up in the morning from her house. It was about a 20-minute drive along a quiet mountain road to get from town to the ski area. The intern program didn’t really pay all that well, so I wanted to make it easier for her. It would have been a long bike ride for her each day, so I always drove, and i was happy to do it.
She has big brown eyes and little librarian glasses, and as silly as this sounds, this made her seem sort of philosophical. She always wore her straight, dark brown hair pulled back in a little ponytail.
Even thought had this grown-up seriousness, her body was really tiny. I think she was really self conscious because she was just so petite. It’s funny; I’m really tall, and I always envy the way short people look when they ski. I’ve seen lots of videotapes of myself skiing, and even though I’m a totally skillful and athletic, there is something so gangly and awkward about the way my arms and legs look when I see myself skiing. I’ve always thought that the shorter the skier, the more graceful they look. Pam was a perfect example of this; she was a wonderful little skier.
So, to me, her petite body seemed perfectly adorable.
She always called me Mr. McKinnon, and there was something endearing about the way she would say it. Like I was somehow a formal stranger. She never once called me Ian, even though we were spending a lot of time together at work and on the drive to and from the ski area.
I knew she was in high school, but I didn’t know what grade. It felt like maybe I would have been prying if I asked, so I never did. But one afternoon she timidly said she wanted to ask me something, and I replied sure. She took a deep breath and, very quietly, asked how old I was. I told her I was 42. She didn’t say anything; she just sort of nodded.
We were both quiet for a while, and then she sort of awkwardly announced that her dad was 41. It was a funny feeling to realize I was older than her father.
Then I asked, “Pam, how old are you?”
She replied softly, “I just turned eighteen.”
That really surprised me, because in a lot of ways she acted older. I knew she was in high school, but I wasn’t sure, because she seemed like she should be in college. Even though she wasn’t very tall, she always had a curious seriousness about her. She could be so quiet, and that made her seem so thoughtful and all grown up.
I don’t know why, but thinking back, it felt a little awkward that afternoon when we told each other our ages. I was surprised at how young she was, and I think she was surprised that I was older than her father. We were both quiet for a long time after that. Eventually we started talking about the work at hand, and any tension between us melted away.
That night on the drive home, she said ümraniye escort that she would ride her bike to my house the next morning, so there was no need to pick her up at her house like I had been doing. There was something about the way she said it that made me feel a little concerned, like something was wrong. I quickly agreed, and she seemed relieved.
When I dropped her off that evening she turned and looked at me with those big adorable eyes. She said, “Thank you Mr. McKinnon, I really appreciate how nice you’ve been to me.”
I smiled and said, “Of course, Pam.”
It looked like she wanted to say more, but she just sat there and looked at me.
I said, “I’ve really enjoyed all the time we’ve spent together.”
She smiled timidly and then mumbled, “Uhhm, yes—me too…”
Then she hurriedly got out of the car and I watched her run off towards her house. There was a man in her driveway, and when she passed him her whole disposition seemed to change; she was almost cowering. I assumed it was her father. It was odd, because in some ways he looked a lot like me. We’re both tall, and we seemed to have a somewhat similar face, but from what I could see from my car he seemed dour and stern, which is the exact opposite to me. Even though I only saw him for a brief moment, I was left with a bad impression. Something about him seemed so unfriendly.
As I drove to my own home, I was deep in thought about how sincere Pam had acted when she left my car. I realized that I had always been very nice to her, always treating her as an equal and not as a little kid, and it was apparent that she appreciated it. I’ve always tried to be my best self and not to be negative or grumpy.
Was that why she was thanking me, because I had been so thoughtful? She had hinted a little bit that life was hard for her at home. She didn’t say much, but I sensed that she was really distant from her parents, especially her father. Seeing her father for that brief moment tonight, I thought that maybe he was part of why she always seemed so nervous.
That night after work I spent a lot of time thinking about Pam, and how grateful she had acted towards me in my car.
I thought about our time alone in the office together. There had been a few times when we were together when she would share some personal things with me. There was one afternoon when I could tell she wanted to tell me something. I listened intently as she quietly said that her father didn’t understand her. She brought it up a few more times after that, and it always came out as so sad and despairing. I remember how my heart sank each time she whispered about her father. I felt a deep need to somehow help her, but I didn’t know what I could do.
I was really worried about her; even though she could be so calm and competent at work, there was just something so fragile and vulnerable about her.
When Pam arrived at my house on her bike the next morning, she smiled and said hello. It felt nice to see her all smiling and content. I put her bike in my garage for the day and then we got in my car and drove up to the ski hill. During our time in the car I recognized how she was acting more relaxed than I had ever seen her, and I thought that maybe that had something to do with what she’d said the night before. Whatever the reason, she seemed really happy, and that made me feel wonderful.
That entire day was perfectly pleasant, and I truly enjoyed every minute I was close to her. We laughed and joked around more than we ever had. At the same time, we got a lot of work done, and everything seemed delightful.
We ate lunch outside at the picnic area. We sat together under the warm summer sun. It was such a relief to see her acting so happy.
There came a point as we finished our lunches when she looked up at me and said, “Mr. McKinnon, you’re not at all like my dad.”
Hearing her say that sort of took me by surprise, and I wasn’t sure what to think. She seemed so cheery that I all I could do was just said thank you, as if it was a perfectly normal thing for her to say.
Later that same day, I asked her something, I was at my desk and she was sitting across from me at hers. The mood that day was so playful that when I addressed her, I called her “Pammy” instead of Pam.
I saw her visibly flinch as I spoke the word.
I immediately recognized that maybe “Pammy” was too intimate, and I apologized, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by that.”
She composed herself, and graciously told me, “Oh, it’s okay, I mean, I like being called ‘Pammy’ but it’s just that—that, well… nobody has called me that in a long time.”
I said, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have called you that.”
She smiled and looked at me. “Don’t worry, I really like being called ‘Pammy.’ Because, well—uhhm—my dad—he used to call me that, but he hasn’t in a long time.”
As she said that, I was trying to read her expression. She was smiling, but at the same time, there was kartal escort bayan something sad about what she was telling me. It wasn’t too long after that we had moved on to talk about work things. We ended up having a nice afternoon, but I didn’t feel it was right for me call her ‘Pammy” again. It seemed like it brought up some emotional stuff.
On the way home we continued to joke and laugh. It felt wonderful. There was something so fresh and innocent about her, and I realized how much I needed that magical, youthful energy in my life. I felt so grateful that we had become such close friends.
Pam was giggling as I pulled into my driveway. She sort of gave a big sigh, caught her breath, and then we both got out of my car. It was a glorious summer evening, and I felt a kind of magic in the air. I opened my garage door and rolled her bike out onto the driveway.
It was curious; she stared at the bike as if she didn’t want anything to do with it. We just stood there for a moment with her bike between us.
Then she suddenly got very serious. She looked right at me with those big eyes, and said, “Thank you so much Mr. McKinnon. I had a really nice time today.”
I smiled and agreed. “Oh Pam, I should be thanking you! Today was wonderful.”
Then she meekly smiled and stared at me in such a funny way. After a moment, she slowly got on her bike and rode off. Something about that simple little exchange just made my heart soar with a joy I hadn’t felt for a long time.
Even though she was so much younger than me, I loved the closeness and the spark of life I felt around Pam.
Everything seemed wonderful. I loved my simple role as ski instructor over the winter. And now, during the summer, I didn’t do all that much, I took on some odd jobs and helped a little doing the office work for the ski school. Everything felt easy and simple.
My life had been so different than a lot of men my age. I lived in a tiny little house and I made almost no money, but I was as fit and healthy as I had ever been. I was outside a lot, and I hardly had a care in the world.
Curiously, this freedom set me apart form a lot of people my own age. So many of the people I know are lost in mortgages and stress. They all acted different than me, and I was never sure if they were angry at my lifestyle, or envious. As the years ticked on, I’d found I had fewer and fewer friends. It wasn’t until Pam and I giggled all day today that I realized I had been lonely.
I’ve had some wonderful relationships over the years, but women would eventually drift away from me because they wanted to leave this sleepy little town. Or maybe they wanted something more from me; the only thing I could really offer was kindness and love. I had been alone for a long time since my last breakup, and I hadn’t really made any effort to try to date or play that game again. I had thought I was content being alone, until that day.
That night I slept poorly. There was an anxiousness in me that I didn’t understand.
The next morning Pam was a few minutes late, so I waited outside by the car. The sky was gray and cloudy, and I was worried it was going to rain. When I saw Pam riding up the street towards my house, I knew immediately that something was wrong. Even from a long ways off I could tell she was upset.
She slowly brought her bike to a stop right up close to me, but she just stood there silently, staring down at the driveway. My first impulse was to just take her into my arms and hold her, but of course that wouldn’t have been appropriate. Instead, I just put her bike in the garage.
The 20-minute drive up to work was dreadfully quiet. Pam hardly said anything and just blankly stared out the window. I tried to engage her in some small talk, but she barely responded.
The time in the office was tense and awkward. I was feeling terribly concerned, and I tried to do whatever I could to make her feel better. I brought her cups of tea throughout the day. Her favorite was this strong ginger tea with a spoonful of honey, and I made it just the way she always liked it. She would softly whisper “thank you” and then stare back down at her work. Not knowing what was wrong, and not being able to help my beautiful little friend were tearing me up inside.
On the drive home, I knew I had to say something. I tried to be thoughtful and concerned as I spoke: “Pam, I can tell that something is bothering you. If I can help, just please know, I’m here for you.”
She sat quietly for a long time, looking away from me out the window as I drove. Finally she whispered, “Thank you Mr. McKinnon. I know you care, and it really and truly means a lot to me.”
“If there’s anything I can do, or if you just need someone to listen, I would be honored to help.”
“I’m sorry—but… I don’t even know what to say…”
In a steady voice I told her, “I’m here if you need me. You can always call if that would help, or knock on my door, okay?”
She meekly replied, “Okay.”
When we got to my house I rolled her bike out of the garage. Pam got on, but she just stood there awkwardly in the driveway. She seemed frozen and scared, and my heart felt so heavy seeing this sweet little 18-year-old girl acting so terribly upset.
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