The truth of our relationship was that it was more booty call than relationship. Saturday night dates were rare. But it was convenient to have a boyfriend down the block, “Denise, how about a cocktail?” One thing I liked was that he’d begin conversations with, “Tell me about your day.” And like a wind up doll I’d go on and on and he would listen. The fact that he was an artist appealed to me, and he appreciated my praise and critique. I read some of my poetry to him which he really didn’t like –too modern, but he helped me to read aloud more convincingly. But like moons in different phases, we didn’t fit together.
On Good Friday, Mark called and asked if I wanted to walk across thePonquogueBridge, a three mile round trip from my house. A stiff southerly wind whipped off a percolating ocean, so we walked with our heads bent against the gusts staring at the charcoal grey mudflats below. On the way back the gale was behind us. It seemed to inflate my jacket like a kite ready to rise. I blurted out, “Mark, I’m confused about us. I know we enjoy each other’s company. Why can’t we be a real couple? It’s frustrating me. What’s the story Mark? Is it you? Is it me?
“You wanna know?”
“Yes, I want to know.”
“You want the truth?”
“Yea. I do”
“Okay. I want a 35 year old with a tight ass.”
I was speechless. I was too busy calculating whether I could throw him off the bridge. He wasn’t a big man. There is a sign right before the bridge that says no fishing or diving nothing about throwing someone over. Then I started to argue.
“Does this mean you want a family?”
“But Mark most 35 year old women already have a family or are anxious to start one.” I refrained from spitting what makes you think that a young woman would want a short, self centered 50 year old man who’s neither rich nor great looking. But I refrained. As we neared the drive way, I think it might have dawned on him that he had hurt my feelings.
“Denise, doesn’t everyone want a young tush?”
“No. I think you’re fine.”
“But I have a tight ass.”
“No Mark you are a tight ass.” I left him staring at the gravel.
Since my divorce I felt more or less ageless although the mirror confirmed the truth. But I was in good shape and I truly celebrated turning fifty. When I was in my forties I had a lover who was six years younger than I and when we discussed the age difference he said that he’d love me even if I was 50. If all men felt this way I was at the end of my love life, a perennial wallflower.
If I had been crucified on Friday, I rose from the dead Sunday. The next guy who saw my ass was going to love it. If a guy was so shallow that he was more interested in an age than a person, I didn’t want him anyway. About a month later, I chaperoned a five day trip toFrostValley. On day one I met a divorced father, a 38 year old fireman, on the tour of the grounds. We hit it off immediately. We discovered that we both kayaked. For a year he kept his boat in my yard. He loved my ass. I loved that he was 38.
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