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Companionship

She was sitting at the bar looking tired and lost. She was also quite attractive, though he was sure she didn’t feel particularly interesting right then. He knew he could change that, at least. He was good at that. Everyone seemed to think of him as a harmless old widow, but a surprising number ended up in bed with him. He smiled, remembering a few of his more interesting companions.

The stool next to her was empty. He walked up to the bar a few seats away and began chatting with the bartender. He was here often enough that they conversed easily. The bartender was a young, handsome man who seemed amused by the considerably older man’s ability to coax women to bed. Both of them had standards; neither would sleep with a married woman or even one just involved with someone else. They weren’t willing to hurt anyone, and, in a world of rakes and rogues, that gave them a place to begin a friendship.

After a few minutes of light banter, the older gentleman looked over at the woman. “Hello, my dear. Would you mind if I sat next to you? I’m rather short on company tonight and you look like you could use someone to talk to.”

She blinked up at him, surprised and a little wary. Her expression softened as she took in his appearance. He was at least seventy years old, quite dapper, and he had a kind face with many laugh lines. He looked comforting and comfortable. She did not enjoy people hitting on her, but he seemed genuinely interested in her company, not just her cleavage. 

“Sure, why not.” She smiled.

“You should do that more often. It brings out the green of your eyes when they catch the light. May I buy you a drink, since I’m taking up your time?”

“Um, sure, I guess. I’ll have a gin and tonic.” She sounded slightly wary now, suddenly not as sure as she had been that his intentions were honorable.

Over the next two hours, she changed her opinion again. He really was a sweet old man. His wife had been dead for about ten years, but when he talked about her there was still joy and love in his voice and his face. They had been together for almost forty years, had three children, and had traveled extensively. She, in turn, told him about her breakup six months ago. She had not been happy, really, but she hadn’t expected him to cheat on her, either, and she was still recovering from that blow to her ego. She was a nurse and loved her work. Some days, like today, she was exhausted by the end of her shift. She worked hard and did well, but it was a difficult profession, especially since she did not have family or really close friends in the area. She had moved here five months ago, determined to start over and make a better life for herself, but it was not moving very quickly. She listened avidly to his travel stories and wished she could visit some of the exotic places he described. He did not ply her with drinks, but he paid whenever she asked for another. Near the end of the evening she switched to fruit juice so she could sober up and get home safely.

He walked her to the door of the bar and told her how much he had enjoyed the evening. She found herself thinking about how nice it would be to see him again.

Over the next two weeks, they saw each other three more times, always at the bar. After the third time, as their discussions carried on until closing, she impulsively asked if he would like to come over to continue talking. She did not have to work in the morning and the idea of going home to her empty apartment was suddenly too dreary to contemplate. He agreed and followed her home.

She made hot chocolate and put together a plate of crackers, cheese, and cookies. He appreciated everything and was, as always, quite courtly. She enjoyed his company, his sometimes wicked sense of humor, and his intelligence, and she felt more comfortable around him than around any man she could think of. She told him all of this when she was tipsy enough to blurt out her innermost thoughts, then blushed furiously and muster that he could just ignore that.

He gathered her into his arms and hugged her. “I take that as a high compliment, my dear. Please don’t be embarrassed.”

She leaned into him, smelling a whiff of pipe smoke and brandy. She snuggled closer as he began to rub her back. Non-sexually, she told herself, but it felt very good. It kept getting better, too. He took his time, making sure she was relaxed and happy. She looked up at him to ask if he was comfortable and found herself kissing him instead. This was not a bad thing, she decided, enjoying the kiss.

Events continued to unfold at a relaxed pace, both of them enjoying sensations and feeling relaxed and happy. At one point she stopped and said, “I’m sorry to ask this, but, well, can you get it up? I know older men sometimes have a problem.”

“Oh, no, my dear. I took my pill; I’m sure we can figure out how to get my rocket to stand up straight enough to give it a good polish.”

She laughed out loud and settled back into his arms.

They spent the night together.

The next morning, as courtly as ever, he made a simple breakfast, ate with her, and then took his leave. They agreed to meet at the bar the next week. They discussed the previous night, agreed that it was enjoyable for both parties, and agreed that neither was looking for a relationship. They parted as friends, both happier for the dalliance.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Brad MacDonald challenged me with “‘I polish the rockets and swallow those pills.’-Monster Magnet” and I challenged Allyson with “‘All our kids are screaming but the ghosts aren’t real’ U2, Get On your Boots”

Tuesday tidbits

We had a really great weekend, and Katja got to go on her first road trip.

Apparently Katja travels very well. She fussed a little when she got put into her carseat, but she settled down fast and went to sleep. We had to wake her up to be changed and fed. She seemed to enjoy meeting everyone, even though there were a lot of new people.

I was very happy to be able to catch up a little with people who matter to me. These are big-F family, people who have become Family because they are important to me and vice versa. We also got to see quite a few people in Xander’s family, which was nice, and they were all happy to meet Katja. My dad happened to be in the Bay Area during our visit, so we got to see him. I also got to meet one of the other IndieInk editors. None of us live very close to each other, so it was neat to actually be int he same room as one of them. Hopefully she wasn’t too overwhelmed. (Hi, Grace!) My godmother and her husband came, too, and they brought a beautiful, colorful quilt for Katja. It’s on the back of the couch in her room right now, and she often just stares at it, fascinated. I’ll be using it as one of her tummy time blankets soon since she likes the pattern so much.

We didn’t get quite enough sleep, but we managed to avoid getting crabby. I got to go running one morning, which is much easier when there’s some humidity and it isn’t freezing. I love running near the ocean. It’s much easier to run there than it is in the desert. My mouth doesn’t get dry, it’s easier to breathe, and my toes don’t go numb. It was pretty funny that I didn’t see anyone else out on the sidewalks or on a bike, but I suppose 6 AM on a Sunday is not prime time for exercise for most people.

It was a busy weekend, but I came back feeling refreshed and reminded of all of the wonderful people we are lucky enough to have in our life. We will try to get down more often to keep those connections strong.

A good place to be

Once in a while I hit a point in time in which everything is just good. I’m in one of those times right now, and it is very nice. We have been stressed over infertility and adoption over the past six years; now we have a daughter, and she’s quite wonderful. Our sleep schedule has become predictable enough that I can start running again. I’m at work full-time now, after a couple of months of part time work, so I am catching up there. I do miss getting to be home with Katja in the afternoons, but we have weekends and evenings together as well as that odd, half-asleep time for her middle of the night feeding, so I feel like I’m still involved enough. For the moment, Xander is taking good care of her. Once he goes back to school, she will be with a very dear friend, her honorary grandma, half time for childcare. I think Katja will be very happy in that environment.

I took Nyx running yesterday morning. We only did a mile and I walked a bit of it, but it was very pleasant. She has a harness specifically for when she’s working. She is not allowed to mess around while wearing it. I use it when we’re running or going for walks with Katja. When we run, she just settles into her funny gait that adapts to my short legs and doesn’t pull or try to check out much of anything. I’m not sure how true that would be during the day with all the neighborhood dogs out, but at 5:30 in the morning she does beautifully.

The endorphins help me a lot, too. If I can’t exercise for whatever reason, it is difficult for me to not end up feeling a little unhappy. When I have the time and energy to exercise, the world seems like a much better place. After two and a half months of not running, getting back to that steady push is good for me both physically and mentally.

There are still things to worry about, mostly money, and things we need to figure out how to do. It isn’t that life has suddenly become perfect. I am just being constantly reminded that there are good things that considerably outweigh the worrisome bits of life, and I am trying to enjoy everything as much as possible.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am content, as I doubt I will ever manage that. I have several projects going, including learning Russian, working on a somewhat serious piece of writing, and reading a challenging (well, challenging for me, anyway) book about mathematics. I am enjoying re-learning Raffi songs and folk songs my mother used to sing to me so I can sing them to Katja. I don’t, however, feel unhappily driven. I don’t feel like there is any constant irritation in my life. I like what we have and I am happy.

It’s a good place to be.

Our new family member

On October 21, 2011, our daughter, Katja, was born. She had a bit of a hard time for the first five days, since she needed time in the NICU, but she’s fine and healthy now. I am deeply happy that our adoption journey is almost at an end and that we have such an amazing, beautiful little girl in our lives.

Here she is:

This is a picture of her while she was still hooked up to the machines and such; she looks much more like a baby and less like a cyborg now.

We’ll be setting up a private, password protected blog to write about her. If you’d like the link and password, please email me.

Cooling off

It is starting to cool off here. I don’t much like summer in the desert. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where summer meant an increase in heat to an extent but, at least where I lived, not many days in a row of temperatures close to or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The desert, of course, is different. We don’t have weather as miserable as Arizona’s, where we visited earlier in the summer and encountered temperatures hitting 116 degrees. The pavement didn’t cool down overnight. It was just too hot. Still, this area is not fun in the summer if you don’t have air conditioning, and our little old house didn’t come with that amenity.

Now, finally, we’re starting to get cooler temperatures. My ideal temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees, and rain is a very nice addition. I could do without snow, but for the most part it isn’t a huge deal. At least when it’s cold out I can bundle up and get warm. When it’s too hot out, all I want to do is hold very still with a fan blowing over me. It is finally getting to the point that Nyx and I can go out for walks and I don’t come back dripping sweat.

I am not a desert rat by any stretch of the imagination. Both of my parents like the desert, but give me a place by the ocean with lots of moisture in the air and I’m happy. When I moved to the desert I ended up with my hands, feet, and lips cracking a lot until I learned how much water I had to drink and that I had to put on lotion every day. That was not pleasant, to say the least.

Someday we will end up in a place that has a climate more suited to our tastes. For the moment, though, I’m just happy that it is cool enough at night to want to have a blanket and not wake up in a pool of my own sweat with a dehydration headache. I love Autumn and Spring best here.