This story is by ROSS PERKAL and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL FOR ME
Never one known to others as an optimist, I guess you might say, whether you know me or not, whether you care at all, or not, that I would never have believed my personal fortune teller (PFT), if, on my most recent, weekly visit, she had told me to “breathe deeply,” and “smile authentically,” as my PFT held both of my hands in both of her hands, as I sat across from her, with a small wooden table between us.
Never one to smile much, I tried my very personal best for my PFT, while simultaneously trying to both breathe deeply and smile authentically. It seemed to me now that both of those were antithetical, though I had never had the audacity to question that until now!
It comes back to me now, that I was offended then, at her insulting insinuation, that my smile, normally, was not, in fact, authentic, and/or that my normal breath, was not deep enough!
Call me oversensitive, but I, as a 70-pound weakling, had been bullied by the best of them, 75-pounds and up from the beginning of my life to the day of the date of my 14th birthday, when I received a set of barbells!
This was a chance of a lifetime for me, but it also required me to forego any ego, pride, or reasonable estimation, of who I was (really), or how I had gotten to behave this way, and what was the likely next step in my life, at my now, somewhat, advanced age.
She was a friend, well a good friend, for several years, rather, to be honest, a good lover for several years, though living far away. We were different, which always amazed me, she was a Panama citizen, younger, fitter, prettier, well, really gorgeous, to be candid, and I was plain, American, older, not pretty, sort of fit, a good person, but…
But when we went out to dinner, or to shop, or to live concerts and/or plays, musicals, etc., or charity benefits, my worst fantasy was that those that saw us “out,” thought her to be an escort and me to be her Sugar Daddy!
Having met each other online, both of us for the very first time, were appropriately nervous, scared of intimacy with a stranger, and/or what that meant as to who each of us would later become!
She had not realized I was older, nor perhaps she did not want to admit that she knew that. But to my credit, I played my typical “Mr. Good Guy,” role, which most ladies had approved of in the past, at least from me. Thus, it tended to work, if I would only go slow and not let her how overly-excited, I was. My fantasy of us consummating our future “lust” for each other, on our very first date, in the hotel room she had courteously reserved for me, near the Marina where we had dinner, once again proved to be ill-timed.
I had blabbed way too much, and stared longingly way too long, for her to have appropriately even kissed me on our first visit to “our” first room together! So she pulled away as I tried to cuddle with her in the “extra-large Passion Possessed” bed which she had specified, but I pretended that she had hurt my super-sensitive feelings when she “played” hard to get. Just between us, I was pouting and pretending to be sad, when she softened and kissed me on the cheek, as I held her body tightly, but behaved myself, at first.
The entity that had “matched” us together, was in its early years, more of a prostitution ring, than a dating service, and it was just now, learning that there was a thin line between the two, purported services, but that was also the dawning of its recognition that there was indeed a huge market for both services. Me being a consumer-protection litigator in my home state, I quickly was “on” to the expensive matchmaking purported services, and to the inappropriate function of part of the other “services.” That recognition, and my inappropriate tendency to be poetic about such sophistry, lead her to sort of chide me, telling me to “chill out” and “let’s see how we do together!”
I have always admired strong-willed, articulate, female professionals, even after I divorced one, after 20 years of inhumane treatment of me, and another 7 years on the rebound, after my yoga teacher, who preached fidelity and loyalty in her well-attended yoga classes, did the same. She deemed at this time to cheat, along with her best female friend, both of whom professed to be in the middle of a “mid-life crisis,” alleging that if they both were promiscuous, at the same time, with two males who were “buddies,” that made the infidelity less inappropriate!
Back at the hotel, she did succumb, just a tiny bit, to my heartfelt advances and my attempt to win her over, with my blizzard of romantic words (my best quality) and my continuation to attempt to caress every inch of her body, which was more successful than any words that I uttered desperately. Just to see if anyone who had interviewed me for a job after college, had read my resume, as a joke, and a “test,” I wrote in under “Work Experience,” the single word “gigolo, ever since graduating from college.”
I think she wanted to like me, even the “nincompoop” that I was, that first evening. I begged her to stay and told her I was scared of ghosts whenever I traveled, no matter where I stayed, and in my most lascivious voice, I begged her to spend the night and promised not to touch her inappropriately! Bingo, what great luck, I had struck a chord with her somehow, and she agreed to stay if I would kiss her, but not go beyond that. Reluctantly I agreed and despite my utter horniness, I knew that if I behaved as required, there might be an ultimate chance later on.
We became fast friends, both behaving as in our stipulated manners, and we both kept our word as to the “Shangri-la” that was to be revisited later on. It turned out we both were wanting the same thing, but we expressed our intent differently, but respectfully, and our remote, idyllic hideaway was the glue that held us together. We met as often as either of us could get away, for a four-day vacation, always in her home state, and on my second visit, we made love, a bit nervously, but with clear intention and care. That felt almost as good as the sexual dalliances we began to practice!
It turned out that she was in a broken marriage that her husband refused to fix, or even admit to, and she was determined not to continue to waste her precious life with a faker, a “mama’s boy,” who could not think, nor act for himself. She was moving on, and I declared myself to have moved on, and away we went with our part-time romantic endeavors, in between which we had the very best phone sex of any couple in the USA!
If this seems unusual, or ill-timed, or in any other way inappropriate, both of us asked ourselves that same question, every time we met, but the romance continued unrepressed, but fully requited, and the sex just got better every time, and in between, we “talked dirty” to each other, the sort-of, next best thing.
Years went by, and our caring for each other grew, but in between frequent trysts, we both longed to make our “situation,” more permanent, displaying our avowed “love” for each other, at every waking moment.
My divorce was now a thing of the past, but hers was just overflowing and in progress. I will spare you the sordid details, but she divorced him, pledged her love for me, and asked if she could move to my home state and cohabitate, in my home, alone, as by now my two daughters were adults, and lived with their partners, and both of them were thrilled with the prospect of someone other than either of them having to “take care of me,” at some later date.
The years flew by quickly then, but our joy at being together and the strength of our bond became evident to all who knew us or spent any time with us. We considered marriage, but since it had been such an awful dysfunctional exercise, for both of us, we decided not to “jinx” ourselves by going that route, and instead, we just trusted one another, and our delicious status quo, the existing state of our “affairs.”
Her divorce final, she moved in with me last week, moving a third of the way across the USA. We seem to fit together like the finest set of china. It has ended well, I’m proud to tell!