Mr. D

I am an old woman now and I have not been in a relationship since 1989. For the first few decades, I felt naturally content; now I feel a resurgence of desire. For one man from 1989. Mr. D. is what we should call him. Mr. D. had a fear of commitment. A commitment-phobe. Other than that, he was great. He was faithful. He really was. What else matters? To a girl who had two failed marriages? Two husbands, both unfaithful, which I was given to understand as my fault.

And should I mention that Mr. D. is younger by six years. If I am 81, then he would be 75. I entered his sphere by email to say what I can't say in person. It did not go well. He did mention that he was retired and "working in his garden." Perhaps he has been visited by Erectile Disfunction fairies.

"What the hell," I thought and discontinued the email. Then I began to dream. If he won't play, I will. In dreams I have offered him myself, body and soul. I have lifted the covers, opened my kimono.

Will he want to wait? Won't he? I imagine he has been visited by erectile disfunction fairies. I try to develop a scheme for either choice.

I dream on. Shall I remove my panties first, or should I say my 360-degree formfit underwear? My Always Discreet? This is my life and my dreams do not always accommodate this. I don't know if he has a choice for his underwear, although I have. I assume he doesn't want his choice known.

After all, there is the issue of weight gain. My daughter saw Mr. D a couple of months after we broke up and swore he had gained about twenty pounds. His girlfriend, recently added, had gotten pregnant and figured this weight gain was his response to this change. All of this is a way to cover my weight gain, which has recently increased as well. He got married, then ten or twenty years later, got divorced. I thought the time was right to approach, not to diet.

I can't even imagine how to start a conversation with him. We should stick with the past at first. Then again, maybe not. I really want to hug him after not speaking in 34 years. Just to feel him again.

After all we have had our interruptions. 1977. 1979. 1981. 1985. 1988–9. So many interruptions. We couldn't match. I wanted more; he wanted less. There was always a reason he had to go. In 1977 he went to India. 1985 he left for Sacramento State. 1989 was my fault. I sent him away. I said I loved him, but I noticed he didn't love me as much, at least not my way. He was stern; he was willing to stay in relationship. His way. Now I want him back. It's the 34-year separation that is troublesome.

He lives in Maryland now; I live in northern California. Just another challenge. Why did I stop the emails? I knew that nothing equaled the thirty-four years difference.

So it seems that we both are to blame. Neither one wants to compromise. Neither will back up. We are set on this path until one or the other lets himself/herself go. I am one of those women who walk around with a secret desire, a flame they don't talk about. I feel like a fool.

So it seems that we will not get together. It's the thirty-four years; time enough to change into a spinster or into a man who would rather work in his garden than come see about me. I have now found pictures of him to decorate my work space, together with photos of myself when I was younger. It makes me feel more equal. He would not want marriage; I would want more than dating. I was heading for something he didn't want, yet it was undefined.

What if we could just live together? Would he give up his garden in Maryland? And would I surrender my space, my mini house in Santa Rosa? With all my appliance replacements? What would be the odds? Could we be bicoastal and go back and forth into each other's territory? I know that he would not settle on someone who gave up on him 34 years ago.

I lift my covers and look at myself. I imagine my body without my grey sweat suit, naked. I can remember what I looked like 34 years ago, my breasts were higher and firmer, my abdomen was tighter, the rest lower down I never had a good look at. Varicosities. I see myself without clothes. I think of him now, 76, and can't picture him with 34 years added. That is my weakness. To me, he is still young and beautiful. About 29.

The differences between us are so stark. As a divorcee, my drama was behind me. His drama remained ahead of him. It seems like we are stuck with who we were. And are. But I still have my dream.

Cecile Lusby's mature life began with divorce and single motherhood, finishing her education in midlife. She earned her credentials as an English teacher and a school counselor, working with teenage foster youth in San Mateo County. She is retired and lives in Sonoma County where she volunteers for the Inter-Church Food Pantry in Sebastopol.