Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: Fanning All the Right Flames
By Chely Roach
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The dream where she is fifteen again, out behind the basketball gym leaning against the brick wall. The air is brisk, so he puts his leather jacket around her shoulders, and smiles. She smiles back. He reaches his left hand up to her face, stroking her cheek with the back of his fingers. He whispered to her…
<i>“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar
but never doubt thy love.”</i>
The words were gentle, and with a passion that seemed to echo his own heart, not that of a long dead poet. He put his fingers in her hair, right below the ears, with his thumbs resting on her cheeks. She knew it was coming…and she never had wanted anything more in all her life. The tips of his little fingers grazing the nape of her neck sent a thousand electric butterflies cascading through every fiber of her being. With her face cupped like it was a delicate, fragrant bloom, he leaned down toward her, and brushed his warm lips against her trembling ones. She sighed…
And then the blasted alarm woke her. Teleporting to…to whatever this was. Life as she knew it. She sighed again.
Pulling herself out of bed, she trudged to the bathroom. Her husband, Martin, left a note for her in the bathroom: <i>Sorry, I think I used the last of the toilet tissue.</i> Next to the post-it was a stack of McDonald’s napkins. “How sacrificially romantic of you, honey.”
She showered and dressed with the door wide open, a much coveted benefit of finally having the boys out of the house. Twenty five years of family dinners, ball games, PTA meetings, and stern lectures, and here she was; bored and a little depressed.
She loved Martin, but their marriage was built on an untimely pregnancy in college. Now, with the kids gone, it had become pretty obvious to Lynette that they had very little in common. She loved classic literature and the theater, and he preferred baseball and The Fishing Channel. Occasionally, they would participate in each other’s interests for the sake of appeasement, but the lack of mutual passion made it a struggle.
And lately, he had become clingy. They had fights about her going out with her friends; he wanted her home. With him. Watching replays of the day game. It was killing her. And when she would go out without him, he would pout…
“Fine, just leave me here all by myself…”
“What about all those years that you went out with the guys from work, and I stayed home helping the kids with their homework?”
“I was wrong.”
“And will you be wrong when you spend half of November in a tree deer hunting?”
“Well, maybe I won’t go this year.”
<i>Oh, Lord, please make him go this year…</i>
“You don’t love me anymore, do you?”
“For Pete’s sake! Are you taking my hormone replacement pills, or what?”
Lynette struggled through the morning thinking about that dream. Her first love. She couldn’t stop herself from wondering where he was.
It started as a simple Google search. She discovered that he was an English Professor in Springfield. She imagined that he was married with kids. This started an internal argument for Lynette…
<i>I hope he’s not married…
YOU are married, you ninny…
Well, maybe he’s divorced…
Like you’re gonna be, you idiot…</i>
At that moment she had an epiphany; Facebook.
Her heart pounded as she typed his name into the search. Jackpot. Oh, and he had one hundred and twelve friends. <i>Perhaps he’d like one more...</i>
You’re crossing a line…
Do it already!</i>
The chat box popped up in the bottom right corner of the screen, and Lynette screamed. Her face flushed, and she was awash with guilt. Martin’s message appeared…
<i>Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Les Mis is playing in the city tonight,
Do me the honor of accompanying you?</i>
She giggled, <i>He is certainly not Shakespeare…</i>
Lynette typed back:
<i>Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better...</i>
<i>Never mind. Sounds lovely.
How about taking your lunch hour at home?</i>
<i>I’ll be there in twenty</i>.
<i>I’ll leave the bedroom door open…</i>
<i>I’ll be there in ten.</i>
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