Our phone conversations are stilted. I never quite know what tone to adopt. I want to say how happy it makes me to get the call but that would be laying myself open to a lukewarm reaction. Instead, I’m cheerful and pleasant as though I’m talking to Mrs.G next door. Used to be that we’d talk on the phone all the time.
When we are in company, it’s warm and neutrally friendly. Once in a while, our gazes clash and slide past each other. When he’s talking, I sometimes just look at him. He has gained a lot of weight and his fine boned, narrow face looks a bit fleshy. But his mouth is as finely chiseled as ever. Watching it affords me pleasure and lets my imagination wander. I wonder if he ever looks at me and wonders.
When we are occasionally alone, the air seems more relaxed with the wariness out of the way. I really want to say “Can we dispense with the talking for today and just make out?” There is a certain urgency to my thoughts. I mean, if not now, when? When I’m ready to turn in my chips, there is really no currency in the earlier morality of my actions – or lack thereof. So, why not when I’m younger? I don’t think there is much ambiguity about my preoccupation. There are days I can’t stop thinking about what he thinks about me and whether he thinks about me.
Then, there is sex. Or perhaps, just making out. I so want it. I want to snog till we can’t breathe. I want him to kiss me silly. Till the sheer intensity makes time stand still. We’ve always kissed well in the past. This time, perhaps, with abandon.
If all this ends up in sex, so much the better. But I worry about my body with all its lumps and bumps. Self-image is a craven creature when it comes up against middle-age and celluloid. Will he be supremely confident about his body which is now soft and probably lumpy too? It’s all a trifle beside the point and not actually relevant. But it makes me anxious just the same. Then, what if the sex is not fun? Having imagined it for so long, it’s bound not to live up to it. Perhaps the fantasy is better.
Once in a while, I catch a glimpse of the young man who stole my heart many years ago. When I do, my breath catches. I don’t think it’s supposed to.