At noon I told J to take an extended lunch hour until 9 in the morning. She flashed her white veneers, did a pirouette and walked away. My eyes swayed to a Caribbean beat until she was out of sight. I closed my eyes to fight a touch of vertigo. I wish I could talk to a psychologist about office romances. The thought struck me, I am a psychologist. It says so on my door. I sat back up an swiveled my chair so I was looking out the window. I said, “I’m confused.”
“Of course you are. Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.
“It’s why I’m here. Do you know anything about love?” I asked.
“Love? Are you serious?”
“Yes, I’m serious. I think I’m in love.”
“The Sanderstuffs don’t fall in the love. To use the guttural language of today, they hook up long enough to check breeding and get the woman to sign a prenup.”
“You don’t understand?”
“Oh, I understand. I know what’s best for you.”
“You sound like Mother. Mother? Mother? Get away from me. Get out of my mind,” I screamed. I swiveled back toward the door hoping J was gone and didn’t listen to my conversation. It is privileged after all.
I needed downtime and I wanted to center myself to get back on an even keel. I hoped I wasn’t going to suffer from PTSD so I stopped by the tennis club for lunch and drinks. If anything, I’m monogamous. I’m also a male, so I flirted with Judith, she lives two mansions down from us and is ten years older than me. But she’s married to guy twenty years older. I’ll take what I can get. Monogamy can only go so far when your libido is raging out of control. I took my drink from the bar and sauntered over to Judith’s table.
I said with my self-assured smile, “You taking tennis lessons today or did you wear that cute outfit for me?” This stuff comes natural.
Judith took a sip of her white wine, her eyes never leaving my eyes. When she finished her sip, she held the glass in her right hand, her elbow resting on the table, and said, “Martin, of course I wore it for you, if I knew you were coming. Unfortunately, I didn’t know, so I wore it for Vince. He’ll be here in a minute. Maybe next time, sweetheart.”
Ouch, this one hurt. Vince Tomazo, the club tennis pro and stud. My guess is Vince cancelled all his afternoon appointments. I needed a face saving get away, so I bent over and kissed her cheek, and whispered, “Have fun.”
Judith got the last word in, “Count on it, but it won’t be on the tennis court.”
I tossed my drink down, set the glass on an empty table and headed home. I think J will be proud of me for remaining faithful.
I was physically and emotional exhausted. I went home and crashed. I woke up at 9:30 and called Oscar at his apartment and had him make a run for me to Lizzo’s Pizzeria for a sausage and pepperoni pie and then over to Ralphie’s Bar to get two bottles of Wilson’s Golden a locally brewed beer. I didn’t feel bad for Oscar, I went down to Mother’s cookie jar and pulled out a C note, she’ll never miss it. She and Father call it loose change. When Oscar arrived, he handed me the pizza and beers. I handed him the C note. He kept his hand out. I went back to the cookie jar and pulled out another C note.
Oscar said, “Thanks, man.”
Mother disapproves of my informality with the help. She says it makes them feel they are equal to Sanderstuffs. I heard her tell Grandmother Houston, when the old bat was alive, “God must really love us because we’re so much better than the people we hire. Why sometimes I think I am saint because I give them a job and let them do so much for me.” F
or my part, I never saw myself better than Victor or Oscar. I’ll never tell J, but I wouldn’t mind an affair with Nicole. Mother knows all this and says it’s the poor DNA I received from the Sanderstuff’s, If I were pure Featherstone, I’d no such inclination. I could add or passion or fun or a desire to party.
I was sleeping soundly dreaming of lying on lounge chair on a beach in Cancun when a beautiful, black haired and dark eyed señorita, wearing a flowered covered peasant blouse pulled low across her shoulders and breasts, came up to me and bent over and whispered in my ear. She touched my shoulder. Her touch woke me up and I was staring into Nicole’s dark eyes and wet red lips. Love hit me again and oh did it hit me. My first thought was, what will will I tell J when I see her this morning?
“Nicole? Is that you or am I in heaven?” I tossed my best line at her.
Nicole laughed, “Señor Martin I already have a boyfriend, Antonio. You make me laugh. The señora said to wake you up for work.”
“It’s not the weekend?” I asked.
“Oh no. It’s only Tuesday. Chu got three more days after this one.”
“Work is hell, Nicole.”
“Tell me about it,” she laughed and walked out the room. My eyes followed her Latin beat. These women are killing me slowly or is it killing me softly, whatever.