She unfastened two buttons, revealing a little cleavage, before she sat and ordered her drink. She usually only drank at parties or special celebrations.. There was nothing special about this night. Tonight the drink was there simply to give her hands a prop.
It had been years since she’d been in a bar. The last time had been with Keith, many years ago on their anniversary. They had danced in a similar bar, rocked their hips to tacky jukebox music until their bodies had gotten warm and sweaty. They had flirted with the idea of sneaking into the men’s bathroom, but had chickened out at the last minute and gone home. They had dropped the sitter off, kissed the kids goodnight and turned out the lights before they had made love, not so hotly, in the comfort of their own bed. Spontaneity and excitement, they had joked, could wait until the kids were grown.
The last of their kids had finally moved out a year ago. They had sipped wine that night in celebration, toasting to the future and the good times they would have. They had danced together in the living room and anticipated many romantic nights to come.
Tonight, instead of dancing with her husband, she drank wine by herself. He didn’t miss her, or if he did, she didn’t know about it. And she felt no guilt.
She sat at the bar alone and sipped her wine. Her skin tingled with hot, prickly shots as she eyed what her mature eyes could only call a boy. He looked good enough to eat - hunky with round, meaty biceps. And dimples. The dimples sealed the deal. He sat shyly under his U of M cap, aware of her presence and playing it cool. A more self-conscious woman might have hesitated - he was much younger than Keith - but no her, not tonight.
She swallowed the last of her wine and reached out to the spot where his hand rested next to a mug of beer. With her middle finger she drew circles on the back of his hand, lightly tracing swollen veins. Her wedding band caught the light from above and sparkled. She didn’t think he’d care.
The college boy looked at her fingers, tilted his head in her direction, and smiled.
It had been a long time since she had done anything in the bushes, maybe not so long for him. She moved close to him and inhaled his fresh, soapy scent.
“Do me a favor,” she whispered, resting her head on his chest, “pretend you care.”
He cupped her chin in his hand and gave her a short, sweet kiss on the lips. “No problem lady.”
She reached up to his collar and with her thumb pushed the first plastic disk through the slit. He kissed her, not as sweetly this time, as she lowered her fingers to the next button. His flesh was smooth and tight. She removed his shirt and ran her hands along his chest before she reached down to unfasten her skirt.
The house was quiet when she got home. She stood outside the bedroom door awhile, listening to him breathe, before she nudged it open.
Keith slept peacefully, his wrinkled lids closed, his mouth shut in a fine, tight line. His sunken cheeks sagged and his pajamas, the ones she had given him last Christmas before the kids moved out and he was diagnosed, were buttoned crooked. She moved to the edge of the bed and undid the first button.
She hadn’t been the one to dress him a long time. A few months ago his loose, papery skin had started to disgust her. Putting clothes on him had become a chore, one she tried to do without actually touching flesh. She hated his body and had resorted to hiring a nurse the day his flaccid organ made her cry. She had apologized, through the tears, while kissing his forehead. She had long ago stopped kissing those scant lips.
She unfastened the rest of his pajamas. In the dark room his pale skin glowed. She placed her hand on his sternum and watched him breathe. The faint tap of his heart pulsed against her fingers. Tonight, for the first time in months, she could touch him. She could even lay in bed beside him.