Sitting in the hotel’s lounge, dressed in my finest, waiting for him. Another afternoon to relive my youth, as I will gaze upon his. My mind brushes away my past years and dreams, and live only in the present. The future has lost its brilliance—what might be a new adventure around a worn corner, and only presents with the sameness of routine.
He enters in a well-tailored suit—a diversion from the autumn of my life. I look at his trim physique and smooth skin over firm muscles and high cheekbones. Eyes that are filled with hope as he lives his spring—a spring he must feel is eternal. Laugh lines have yet to make their mark. His quick, energized steps bring him closer as he reaches out his hand and a broad smile emerges. Oh, to be in that devil-may-care season that is his home.
I stand as he approaches and discreetly hand him the room cardkey that I secured an hour earlier. My stilettos click on the marble as we walk to the elevator. If Charles had lived, would this same situation be my refuge. I chuckle to myself at such a silly thought. Charles and I had been married for twenty-five years before that terrible car crash that put him into a never-ending coma. The hardest last gift from me to him was to give permission for cessation of life-support measures.
In the elevator, he holds my hand and smiles. I smile back, knowing that for a brief afternoon I will whisk away all the pain and loneliness that has become my existence. As prescribed by such an arrangement, he kisses me with passion—a passion that he has honed from many such assignations with others. He knows his part and plays it well.
He slips the card into the door-key slot. The familiar buzzer rings, and then opens the door. I enter first. Opening my purse, I retrieve crisp bills and place them on the dresser. The money is new and is as untainted as possible from the bank, as if this small detail will erase all seemliness from what is about to be. He takes no notice of the payment and proceeds to unzip my dress.
I shut my eyes as his lips caress mine in passion. It is Charles kissing me—not this young stallion marketing on his youth and the loneliness of an older woman. My husband whispers in my hungry ear that he loves me. My heart cries out, “Forgive me Charles. I never wanted to let you go. Be with me again, even if only briefly, through this young man.”
Afterwards, he lies next to me in a light slumber. I look at him and wonder if my body and lined face repulses him. Does my sagging jaw line remind him of his mother? As we make love, does his fantasies create a beautiful young lady to replace the older woman who paid for his attention? I have no idea why these questions come to my mind. They shouldn’t. He gives me time with Charles and that is what keeps me sane in this dark pool of grief.
I slip out of the bed, lean over and kiss his temple as I once did to Charles. He doesn’t open his eyes, merely smiles.
Having dressed, I quietly leave and look forward to another day in my autumn. I shudder to think of my winter. When winter comes, I fear I will no longer be able to taste the sweetness of spring.
© 2015 Cynthia B. Ainsworthe
Cynthia B. Ainsworthe is a multiple award-winning author. She started writing seriously in the autumn of her life after having raised a family. Her epic length novel, “Front Row Center”, earned the IPPY Award in romance. She has also gleaned the Excellence in Writing Award by It Matters Radio for the short story It Ain’t Fittin’, and shares the Reader’s Favorite Award with other authors for the horror anthology, “The Speed of Dark”, where her two short stories, When Midnight Comes and Characters, are featured. Ms. Ainsworthe has received many 5-star reviews for her novels. She has recently released book 2 in the Forbidden Series titled “Remember?” and is writing the third book in that series. Cynthia is also working with known Hollywood producer, screenwriter, and director, Scott C. Brown on adapting Front Row Center to screen. She is actively honing her screenwriting talent.