Sophie looked over at her sleeping lover. Myles was in a
coma, flat on his face, his chest rising and falling rhythmically.
His full head of salt and pepper hair partly covered his age-
creased face. A tiny rivulet of spittle dampened his drooping
mustache, his cheeks chuffing with each breath. The clock on
her night table said two o’clock and the sandman hadn’t arrived.
Today had been one of those days.
Myles was the only man in her life, at the moment. He was
so different. She had met him three months earlier quite by
accident over lunch at the corner deli. He was this handsome,
athletic-looking businessman seated at the bar across from her
having a glass of wine with his sandwich. She couldn’t let go of
his tanned face, creased with mirth, and his engaging smile. She
flirted with him mercilessly until, finally, he picked up his lunch
and moved next to her.
She had lost count of her relationships. All had ended when
the demands got to be too much for her to handle. She liked
being alone anyway and thought herself abnormal.
That’s what shrinks are for, she told herself.
She eased herself out of the bed and padded into the
bathroom not bothering to cover her nakedness. She sat on the
john feeling a little disappointed, listening to the tinkling water.
Supper had been pleasant. Her veal scallops had been
prepared to her taste. Myles’s eyes mesmerized her across the
table as they sipped chilled seven-year old Louis Roderer over
dessert. His soft voice and tender look aroused her a little in the
comfortable ambience, not that she didn’t already have a warm
Like a Box of Chocolates
glow from the bottle of Rhône red they had depleted with
dinner. She still felt out-of-body-detached and didn’t know why.
The feelings of being a spectator in her own life had been with
her as long as she could remember.
Since her psychiatrist had started her on medication, she
drifted through some days almost in a trance. She couldn’t sleep
and when she did, the dreams of her youth came roaring back
with terrifying clarity. Food, in general, tasted bad except, it
seemed, when she was with Myles. She had lost some weight
and she didn’t mind that. It had appealed to her vanity. Along
with her loss of appetite for food went her appetite for sex. She
seemed to have lost interest and feeling all at once. Then, there
was Myles. His patience with her and above all his tenderness
had no limits that she had experienced, not like other men who
had simply grown irritated then never called again. At least that
goddamned bilious green bullet spared her from the frantic
highs, when she did everything in a flurry, and the near-suicidal
lows, when overpowering fatigue held her almost catatonic in
her bed in a darkened room for days on end.
A little blue tonight, Sophie? he had asked.
Yes, too much piling up on me, the last few days, she had
responded and now she regretted the follow up she had said to
Myles. It wasn’t fair to label her boss. The alpha bitch had been
good to her. No, it wasn’t fair.
She got up and partially shut the bathroom door with a
squeal of galled brass hinges. She peered around to see if Myles
had stirred. He hadn’t. She modeled for herself in front of the
mirror. She didn’t like her thirty-three year-old self one little bit
even though Myles said over and over that she was beautiful.
She didn’t feel beautiful all the same. My hair is too straight and
stiff. My arms up here are too flabby. My breasts are too small. My
buns aren’t firm anymore. My thighs have bags, and on and on.
Sophie looked forward to her evenings with Myles. Maybe
tonight should have been one of those without the sex. After the
foreplay Sophie felt more aroused than she had felt in a long
time but no sooner had they joined Myles exploded. He
instantly apologized but he was done and she hadn’t even come
to the game. That was the norm for many, if not most of her
relationships, some attraction, no fulfillment. They just wanted
to get her into bed and it was all over before it began, California
casual, a snack before the main course.
Wednesday was Myles’s day. He was supposed to be out of
town every Wednesday but he wasn’t. It was his private time
with Sophie. He had long since gotten over telling his wife of
many years that one small fib. He still loved her but the laughter
and the spontaneity had gone out of their marriage. She was a
good woman and early on he would regret his time with Sophie
but he’d gotten over that, too. Unlike most husbands who
dallied or kept a mistress, Myles never deprecated his life
partner before another person. Sophie was fun to be with,
bright, witty, well read, sometimes up and sometimes very
down. He could never quite predict her moods but either way
she was adorable. Making love with Sophie was the pinnacle of
his week. He came to know her moods on sight and that’s when
his patience and reverence of her shone. When making love just
wasn’t right, holding her tight seemed to fulfill both of them. He
could feel her strain and distress melt away. They would fall
asleep and awake in the morning still clinging to each other.
At first Myles upset Sophie when it seemed she would
become the other woman but it had been during one of her
particularly high weeks when she felt omnipotent. They would
meet at lunch or over a cup of coffee and when it happened,
Sophie’s defenses left her bare. She wept bitterly because Myles
felt badly for having let their friendship get out of hand and he
had offered not to see her anymore. She had looked at him
longingly and said, Oh hell!
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish