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Saturday Night Seduction | By Janis Mitchell

The Adored Child is away for the whole night so we can use the entire house. We will be free from our hypersensitive awareness of her 14-year-old self too nearby and too well able to hear and attach meaning to the sounds we make together. This gives us an uninhibited opportunity for seduction and romance. When we learn she will be on a sleepover we eye one another discreetly and start to make plans. The refrigerator is fortuitously stocked with salmon fillet, a tight little ball of Boston butter lettuce, asparagus and a bottle of very good wine. We drop the Adored Child off at her friend’s house and spring into action. I wash the lettuce and spin it in the drainer, then wrap it in a clean dishtowel to chill in the fridge. I get out the old favorite wooden salad bowl and put in a scant half teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a shake of salt, two to one of olive oil and Cabernet wine vinegar with some sliced garlic to infuse for a while. John comes up behind me and nuzzles my neck with sweet kisses. I lean against him and we sway.

When we let each other go John walks outside to fire up the barbecue. He has taken a cedar shingle left over from the resurfacing of the facade on our old Berkeley Craftsman house. He has soaked the shingle in water. He will put the salmon fillet on it before it goes on the grill to smoke and bake and absorb amazing flavor. He has carefully selected the music. It is soft jazz by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. We keep stopping in our preparations to hold each other and indulge in long and lingering kisses. Our bodies fit so well together after 28 years, and our erotic history has so suffused our senses that we are aroused just being close together and smelling one another’s skin.

John comes in from outside and approaches me with a single rose from his lovingly tended garden. It is perfectly formed, lavender colored, and fragrant with voluminous overlapping petals. He looks at me and I get the reference. He is reminding me of the afternoon a few years ago when we pulled the petals off of the flower and scattered them in our bed. We rolled around and crushed them, they stuck to our skin and released their perfume in the room and on us.

I resume preparations and snap the asparagus one piece at a time at its natural breaking point, then line up the spears on a baking sheet coated with olive oil. It goes in a hot oven to roast. Midway through the cooking I will sprinkle breadcrumbs and finely grated Parmesan over the surface. The fire outside has stopped smoking and the coals glow with readiness. We are holding each other again in the doorway. I look at the grill and I ask, “So, are we ready to start cooking yet?”

John says, “We have to eat first.”

We look at each other and start to laugh, enjoying the flirtation. We dance a little, we chat a little, we enjoy our wine and the music we fell in love to way back in the ’70s. Maybe we will fill up the “Tea for Two” bathtub and stretch out on opposite sides with our feet next to each other’s heads. Can’t hear the music in there but the lights will be low, the scene will be sensuous, and we love to look across the bathwater. Our faces appear young in the diffused light. Not that it matters. I don’t see gray hair and fine lines, I just see John and I know he just sees me. We have been in love for such a long time.

Loneliness | by Swathi Desai

Saturday Night Seduction | by Janis Mitchell

Senior Mommy | by Karen L. Pliskin Veronica Chater

A Girl’s Best Friend | by Karen Yencich

Warm Enough | by Suzanne LaFetra

 


Illustration by Susan Sanford.

 

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