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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Jeanne Lupton

The Senior Housing Affair

He's 78, tall with broad shoulders and a beard. We're neighbors at Strawberry Creek Lodge. We run into each other in the parking lot, in the hallways, at the Friday night movie. When he says he wants me, I hear love, but is that what he's offering?

For several years, we flirt, go to dinner, even make out on his bed. But I resist him, even though he's handsome. I no longer feel the need of a man. At 72, I'm about friendships, writing a memoir, morning walks. But he's a good kisser, he tastes all manly, and I like how he growls at me with a deep rumble. I like being wanted. I consider making love with him.

I tell him, "I have herpes."

"Who have you been hanging out with?" He laughs.

"Are you still interested?"

He nods. "You could have told me earlier."

"I'm telling you now."

"Thanks."

"I'll take the medicine, so your risk will be small. If I have an outbreak we can hold off. Your risk will be lower if you use a condom."

"I've never used a condom in my life."

That was Wednesday. Thursday I expect his call. Friday I think maybe he'll call. Saturday I want him to call. Can't he even tell me he's changed his mind?

I see him in the elevator. In the breezeway. At the tenants' monthly meeting. He is friendly, even glad to see me, just like nothing happened.

herpes
demon guarding my gate
defends
the treasure within
from the fainthearted


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