postâMickey Mouse comforter) up in a molten blaze, having settled into a definitely married kind of routine in both frequency and variation. We were both busy, tired at night, and Rick often got home late. Plus having two kids around at all times, a dog to walk, a social life, and a phone that seemed to ring endlessly wasnât exactly conducive to seductive lolling around in a pearl thong when and wherever the mood struck, but I hadnât planned on giving it up completely just yet.
Charlotte laughed. âIn that case I hope the last time was fabulous.â
Maria came in, looked at me huddled in my chair by the window, and shook her head.
I glared at Maria, implying I was waiting for her to leave. âIâm trying to remember.â
Maria folded her arms to let me know she wasnât going anywhere. I covered the receiver and suggested that she take the money and the grocery list on the kitchen counter and actually go to the grocery store. I knew sheâd substitute whole milk for low fat and Velveeta for cheddar in retaliation for her morning TV schedule being interrupted, but I didnât care. I uncovered the receiver. âSorry.â
âNo problem,â Charlotte said as Maria stomped out. âDoes the lack of memory imply passage of time or lack of fabulousness?â
âHey.â I was, maybe, a little defensiveâafter all, Iâd been married to him by choice for a lot of years. âThatâs not really fair. Rick wasâ¦good.â Which was true.
âMmm. Maybe. But best for himself, I bet.â
âCharlotte,â I started to object but changed my mind. âWell for sure, he never had any complaints.â
She laughed. âUh-huh. Iâm familiar with the type. Did he check his BlackBerry in the middle?â
âNot too often.â
âOnceââshe had a definite BTDT toneââis too often.â
âNever at a crucial moment.â I had to stick up for him a little.
âCrucial for who?â she wanted to know. âYou or him?â
âGet yourself a Rabbit,â she advised. âThe battery kind, not the pet kind.â
âNow Iâm even more depressed.â
âAre you kidding me?â she sounded amazed. âThink of all the boring banker dinner parties you donât have to endure any more just to get a little action later.â
âCharlotte, thatâs often called sharing a life,â I pointed out. âI miss it.â
âThat,â she said, âis because you donât know any better. Iâve named mine Grey.â
âWhat,â I said, âare we talking about?â
âMy Rabbit. Iâve always liked the name Grey. I think it sounds interesting. Itâs currently my only sexual relationship, so why not?â
âAre you saying you donât date anymore?â Charlotte was the kind of woman who never lacked for men offering to whisk her off to Rome for romantic weekends, polish her toenails, carry her grocery bags, debug her computer, buy her diamonds. So this was hard to imagine.
âOh, no,â she said. âI date. I just donât have sex with anyone except Grey.â
âCharlotte,â I said. âDo me a favor and donât call me anymore until Iâm back on my feet, OK? I donât think I can take many more conversations like this.â
âSee,â she said, âthatâs where weâre different. This conversationâs depressed you, but Iâm thinking this should all be in the blog. Itâs real, itâs intimate, itâs exactly where every other dumped woman your ageââhmm, maybe I could convince her to adopt a new catch phrase on thisââends up. Itâs practically universal.â
Pretty much as soon as weâd hung up in order for me to ponder the universality of unlooked-for celibacy in over-35s, my mother called and said, âSo, tell me what
Geralyn Dawson, Emily March