© Copyright 2002, 2004 by Roxanne L. Green. All rights reserved. Personal copy is OK. Reposting or Internet Archiving prohibited. Posted by the author on December 21, 2004 to StoriesOnline.net
Sometimes I'll tell you when a story is true. Sometimes I'll tell you when a story is fictional. Sometimes I won't tell you either way. I don't know if this one is true or not. I won't know if it is or isn't true for many, many years.
This story is different from what I usually write, at least under this moniker. It is autobiographical, but it hasn't happened yet. I wrote it for myself, not for the reader. More than ten years ago, the "aunt" who raised me no longer recognized me. While visiting her, I met people who made the choice I make in this story. They have wandered around my mind ever since. I'm writing this story to set those characters free. I was urged to post it somewhere. Although it contains some sexuality, it doesn't have any sex, and very little stripping, so only a small piece is sort of on topic for this board.
I acknowledge help, especially from Stan, who has been supportive throughout, and also from Barb, Track Jim, Nemo, Starry, and Indian Outlaw, in working out logistical problems. I thank them all. Any remaining errors are mine alone. This is probably more in the nature of a first draft. Unfortunately, Stan died several years before the story says he did, but I've opted to not change that in this revision.
I prefer that my stories not be archived on the Internet, but anyone who wants it is free to make a personal copy.
Roxanne L. Green
September 16, 2002, Revised December 20, 2004.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
It had been five years since my beloved Hank went into Seaview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility. Hank was my third husband.
My first husband hardly counted. It was more than sixty years ago, and it barely lasted two years. He was my early training husband. I haven't thought about him in I don't know how long.
Stan, my second husband, was the love of my life. He had been my best friend since childhood. We got married in our mid-twenties, and we didn't have nearly enough time together. He was sick for most of the twenty years we were together. He lived most of those years on borrowed time. As sick as he was, and even though we missed out on a lot, I wouldn't trade those years for all the gold in Fort Knox. I didn't know until I found them after he died, but Stan had managed to acquire a lethal dose of medicines in 2006. He was a strong-willed man. That he never used them in the last six years of his life is testament that he wasn't ready to go.
After he died, I was single for almost fifteen years. I wasn't celibate, nor was I always alone. I just knew I wasn't going to remarry. No man could come close to the standard Stan had set.
Then I met Hank. He was 66; I was 59. We dated for a couple of years, and then we tied the knot. It was great good fun for the first five years. Then he began to slip, mentally. After every test they knew, the doctors eliminated everything except Alzheimer's disease. I was Hank's caregiver for almost seven years. Finally, his care got to be too much for me.
The doctor convinced me to put him in the Alzheimer's wing of Seaview Terrace. I felt guilty, because I wasn't ready for a rest home yet. I was very tired, but I was still alive. I had a lot of living yet to do.
Relieved of the responsibility for his care, my tiredness went away. I didn't realize how draining his care was. Stan's care was not as difficult for me, but I was twenty years younger.
I visited Hank every day. I stayed for most of the day. Occasionally he was his old self. He talked a lot about the past; he didn't realize I wasn't the one who shared that past with him. Eventually, I was taking him to the dining room, and helping him to eat. I was taking him to the toilet, and changing him. He became less communicative, and angrier.
After a while, I began to take Wednesday off; I needed the day for myself.
Seaview Terrace had a support group. That's where I met Ron. He was handsome, charming, and funny. His wife, Marge, moved in about when my husband did. She had Alzheimer's too. Ron and I often sat together at the meetings. I don't remember exactly when, but we started going out to an early dinner after the support group meetings. Our spouses were still going to the dining room for meals. We ended up sitting together with them, a couple of times a week, at lunch.
Then I began taking Wednesday and Sunday off, for myself, and I was only spending 5 or 6 hours with Hank, on those days when I visited him. He seemed glad to see me, but often, I didn't think he knew who I was.
Ron and I began to come and go at the same times and days. Synchronizing our arrivals and departures were not planned, they just sort of happened. Often we'd go to dinner after we left them. Sometimes we went to an early bird movie before dinner. Then I started to take Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for myself. The time I spent with Hank dwindled to as little as four hours a day. Ron adjusted his schedule to match mine a couple of weeks later.
There was a lecture series at the university. It was every Wednesday night for eight weeks. I told Ron about it. He was interested, so I got tickets for us. It was exciting, talking with him before and after the lectures. We were both pretty well educated, and we shared many of the same viewpoints. We had dinner together first. After a couple of weeks, we were going out for coffee afterwards, too.
We were just friends.
Shortly after the lecture series ended, we were only visiting our spouses on Monday and Thursday. We got there about eleven o'clock. The four of us had lunch together, and we were gone by three. Neither of our spouses knew who we were, nor did they know when we last visited them.
Ron and I were greeting each other with hugs. We held hands walking down the hallways. We began to exchange kisses when we left.
We had dinner three or four days a week. Sometimes we'd meet for breakfast too. We went to the zoo, and to baseball games. We went to the races once a week in the summer. We took walks on the beach. We spent hours in the museums in Balboa Park.
We were still just friends. We had never been to each other's homes. We'd never been physically intimate -- until death do us part was firmly engrained on my mind -- but we'd been spiritually intimate for several months.
Ron told me about a one-day bus trip to the Getty Museum, in Los Angeles. I said I'd never seen it. He invited me to come on the trip with him.
Chapter 2: Going Away Together?
The trip was on a Thursday. That was one of our two remaining visitation days. It was the best Thursday either of us had in a long time. We didn't miss our spouses. They probably didn't miss us. We met for breakfast at Denny's at 615. The bus left at 7, beating the morning rush in San Diego, and missing the morning rush in Los Angeles.
We enjoyed the Getty; we enjoyed our time together even more. The bus stopped for dinner at a nice place. We didn't hit the road for home until well after the evening rush.
The bus was dark on the ride home. Many of our fellow travelers fell asleep. We didn't. We were holding hands, and talking quietly. At about San Clemente, he let go of my hand, and put his arm around me. I leaned over, and kissed him. It was a different kiss than the friendly pecks we'd been exchanging. This kiss took me back nearly 60 years. We cuddled the rest of the way home.
He walked me to my car. We exchanged a chaste kiss, and I was on my way home. I had pangs of guilt as I drove. What I had done felt wrong. What I wanted to do felt much more than wrong.
He phoned me on Friday. He wanted to get together, and walk on the beach.
I said no. That was the first time I told him no, for anything. I needed time to think. We agreed we wouldn't talk until Tuesday, at Seaview Terrace.
I got there a little after eleven. His car was not in the lot. I waited a few minutes, and went in. My husband had his usual reaction; he had no idea who I was. I talked to him about inconsequential things. He answered in monosyllabic words, not related to what I'd said.
At noon, I wheeled Hank to the dining room. As we rolled past her door, Ron wheeled Marge out. We pushed them down the hall to lunch. Marge had a magazine on her lap. Ron said he'd missed me last weekend. I told Ron I missed him too. There was no need to hide anything from Hank and Marge. Even if they somehow managed to figure out what we meant, they'd forget it momentarily.
The four of us sat at a table in the corner. We'd been sitting at the same table, most visits, for several months.
Ron talked to Marge about the magazine she carried into the dining room. I felt he was really talking to me. He was talking about vacations; showing Marge the pictures of places they'd been, and places they'd wanted to go, once upon a time. She was not responsive. I was paying close attention.
He gave me the book, as we wheeled our spouses back to their rooms. He asked "230?"
It was a warm day. I followed him out to the end of Harbor Island.
We sat on a bench, watching the sailboats come in, and an ocean liner depart. We looked at the vacation book. It was about bus tours.
"Will you take a trip with me?"
I said I thought a lot about us over the last few days. I told Ron how very much I treasured our time together, but such a trip was not a good idea. We were married to others. It wouldn't be the right thing to do.
He said he knew a couple about our age, with a platonic relationship. They travel together. The tour company could usually match them with other singles traveling alone. Would I go with him, if we had same sex roommates? If they couldn't find roommates, we could pay the single supplement. Or we could get rooms with two beds.
I said, "Let's talk about it; but a two bed room for us is not an option."
What I meant by 'talking about it' was discussing the propriety of taking a trip together. One of those 'what would people think' discussions.
Instead, we talked about places. Where we'd like to go, what we'd like to see. While we talked, we walked over to the Lighthouse, a restaurant with a working lighthouse on the top. Not one of those tall lighthouses, as it was for use within the harbor. Most of our meals together were at places like Denny's, or reasonably inexpensive places like pizzerias, Mexican or Chinese places, or family style spots. We'd only been to a few upscale places. It wasn't on account of the money -- we could both afford better -- it just 'didn't look right' to go to fancy, romantic places. The Lighthouse was as nice as anyplace we'd eaten together.
We settled on which trip, even before we talked about what was appropriate for two people in their mid-seventies to do. People who were still married to others. Once we decided where to go, the rest was easy. Had we talked about propriety first, I'm not sure we'd ever have gotten to the question of where to go. Things certainly could have turned out differently.
The trip we booked was really two tours. The first one started in Montreal, went along the St. Lawrence, then crossed into Maine, and wound through New England, before ending in New York City. We'd have three days in New York, where we planned to do some sightseeing; and see a play or two if we could. The second tour went south from New York, through Washington, DC, into colonial Virginia, the Shenandoah Mountains, up to Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania Dutch country, Philadelphia, and terminating in New York City.
The trip was predicated on separate hotel rooms, hopefully with roommates, on the tour part.
By now, it was obvious we were very good friends. We enjoyed each other's company. We could easily move up to the next level, but that wasn't in me. I was still married to a man I loved very deeply, when I married him. I couldn't be disloyal to those memories, even though the fates had been unkind to Hank. I'm sure Ron was hoping to pay the single supplement, just in case we (meaning me) changed our minds.
I was hoping for a nice woman roommate, more to serve as a chaperone, than for the company. I'd been fairly faithful during all three of my marriages; the short first one, where he cheated regularly; the longer second one when I was young and horny, and married to a man who lived on a long time, going back and forth between seriously ill and just not feeling well; and the current marriage to a wonderful man, who no longer knew me. There had only been a few outside liaisons, the majority of which had been with women. I was not hoping for a woman roommate to share my bed this time. I wanted -- and I needed -- her to protect me from what was becoming an urge I didn't want to satisfy, at least not while my husband Hank was still alive.
Ron and I continued visiting our spouses twice a week. They were short visits, with lunch in the middle. We spent more time feeding them then eating ourselves. Two weeks before we left, I was feeling guilty, because I added a few additional days. I didn't tell Ron.
We booked a much longer trip than people generally do for a first trip. That was probably because of how comfortable we were together. We added a few days in Toronto first, booked the train to Montreal, and added two days in Montreal before the tour began. We pre-booked separate hotel rooms, and separate sleeping compartments on the train. This tour operator always booked with single supplements, making refunds at the end of the trip, if they found roommates, and they worked out.
As the time to go drew near, Ron told the staff he'd be gone for a while, on a trip. I didn't say anything to them. I told him it would look better if it appeared he left, and I hadn't gone anywhere. He visited Marge on a Tuesday, while I came to see Hank the next day. I visited twice the next week, while Ron stayed away, but he did phone and check in with the nursing staff. I visited the following week, right up to the day before we flew to Toronto.
I phoned in a week later, feigning illness, saying I'd be out until felt well. The Nursing Supervisor said it was the right thing to do. On our trip, Ron phoned in a couple times a week, I phoned two or three times a week. We almost never called on the same day; usually we took turns calling the day shift and the night shift. Somehow, I didn't think we were fooling anybody.
Chapter 3: The Trip
The trip got off to an uneventful start. Nothing happened on the plane, in Toronto, on the train, in Montreal, on the first bus trip, or in New York City, which was anything other than a couple of people in the prime of their golden years traveling together. We held hands now and then, and exchanged rather chaste hugs and kisses. Well, there were a few more steamy moments, but I never once felt the need to push Ron away, or slap his face, like I sometimes needed to do when I was dating in my teens and twenties. We saw the sights, and had a wonderful time.
Our roommates on the first tour were nice people. The four of us spent a lot of time together. They didn't know each other before the trip, nor did they ever get close, but we all got along splendidly.
Underneath it all, I still felt guilty, like I was betraying Hank. Ron wanted more from me, but he was a gentleman, and he never pushed. I wanted more too, but there was always the guilt, so I was a good girl. Up to the point of departure on the second trip from New York, Ron and I still hadn't spent one second of time in each other's living or sleeping quarters. Not at home, nor on the road.
Things changed on the second trip.
Connie and Jack, the second set of roommates, were about our age. They were a dating couple from Phoenix. They don't want to sleep together, or so they told their kids. Their relationship hadn't progressed to that point, but it was obvious to me Connie was about ready to take that step. We spent out first night of the tour in Washington, DC. After dinner, the guys invited us back to their room. Nothing much happened, we talked, and played word games.
When we got back to our room, I told Connie that was the first time I'd ever been in Ron's living quarters. She was surprised. She predicted we'd be spending the night together before the trip was over.
She asked why we hadn't moved in together.
We had a long discussion about Hank and Marge. Connie insisted neither of them would want us to be unhappy. She said that so long as we looked after their needs, it was acceptable for us to look after our own needs, too. I wasn't convinced, but I hadn't really thought much about it, from that point of view. Such loyalty was admirable, but misplaced, according to Connie, now that medical science could keep people alive who'd have died a generation or two ago. I could identify with that notion, because my second husband had lived for fifteen extra years after a liver transplant.
I fell asleep conflicted. Stan and Hank visited me that night, in a dream. They were both active, and alive, and vital. I had never been in the location where we three met. It was high in a building, with a large balcony, and a view of the Pacific, with La Jolla a few blocks away. Stan and Hank were telling me that even though their lives were over, mine was not. Hank told me I had a lot of living yet to do. Stan had said the same thing 45 years before, the first time we thought he was going to die. They talked to me until the telephone rang. I excused myself, went to answer it, and heard the recorded voice of the hotel operator, with the wake up call. A minute later, Connie's travel alarm went off.
Before we left the room, Connie promised to keep the fact that Ron and I were married to other people a secret, even from Jack.
I was real quiet that day. My dream conversation with Stan and Hank was replaying in my head most of the day. I'm not even sure where the tour went, but I do recall walking around in a big house, and through some gardens, and there was a river mixed in there too.
Ron and I had dinner with Connie and Jack. We went back to the guys' room to talk, but we moved on to our room, since it was nicer. We talked for a while; then decided to play word games again.
Connie complained that the way we played last night would get boring. She said we needed to spice it up.
My defense mechanism perked right up. "Spice it up how?"
Jack said "we need some stakes, to make it interesting."
Before things got out of hand, I suggested two bucks a game.
We played for almost an hour, before the guys left. Connie won $2. I broke even.
I had a good sleep. I recalled no dreams the next morning. I decided whatever happened with Ron was meant to happen.
I was more like myself on the third day. Ron commented that I had seemed down the day before, but I was back to normal today. I told him I'd had a very disturbing dream the night before last. He asked it as about. I didn't want to tell him, so I said I didn't recall. At that point, the tour director came on the PA, to explain some interesting historical fact. When he finished, it was easy to steer the conversation to the history of colonial Virginia.
The bus pulled into our hotel just after five o'clock. Our keys were distributed, and we went up to our rooms. Our suitcases had already been delivered. Connie and I decided to dress in the nicest of our traveling duds. She called the guys' room, and told them to dress in the best they had. That meant clean shirts.
We were in the restaurant before six. The four of us sat together again. We had a lot in common; I enjoyed spending time with them. I'd been a caretaker for a long time before Ron came along. I'd grown out of practice in the art of conversation. With my three traveling companions, I was getting back in the swing of things.
It was a few minutes after seven when we finished desert and coffee. There was a shopping center across the street. Many on the bus went over there. We couldn't think of anything we needed, so we went up to the guys' room. It had better seating arrangements than ours did.
Connie asked, "What shall we do?"
Jack explained a five-letter word game, which sounded interesting. Then he added, "We ought to really spice it up tonight."
Looking back at it, I think Jack and Connie may have set this up in advance, but I didn't realize it at the time. Connie asked "Spice it up how? Bigger stakes?"
"Different stakes. Clothing!"
Ron looked at me. There was a question in his eyes.
I didn't respond. I'd played stripping games since my training bra days. Not so often as I got older, but all three of my husbands were into games, and I sometimes participated, even when there was no husband.
"Well?" was Jack's question.
"What are the rules?"
I don't think Ron believed I asked about rules for a stripping game, in a hotel room, with another couple.
Chapter 4: Getting Naked
It was a simple word game. A two player, five letter, word-guessing game. Jack suggested two games, played simultaneously. The players rotating after each game, so every three games, everyone would have played everyone else. The players would select five letter words, then alternate trying to guess letters in their opponent's word. If a guess was correct, they were told the position in the word where the letter belonged. Once a word was guessed, the winner got to remove as many garments from the loser as the number of letters the loser failed to guess. There was a fifteen-second time limit to make a guess. Failure to guess within the time limit was the same as guessing wrong. Even if you thought you know the word, you could only guess one letter at a time, and only when it was your turn. We'd select the pairing for the first game by chance, the two winners would play each other in the second game, as would the two losers, and the third game would be whichever pairings hadn't played together yet. The rotation continued until both members of the same sex were naked, or until both partners in a couple were naked. We all had four garments, plus shoes and socks, making a total of six. There were no ties; rock-paper-scissors determined who would guess first, and the game ended when a word was finished.
We all held one hand behind our backs, with either one or two fingers extended. We put our hands out at the same time. Once we had two people with one finger and two people with two fingers, those people would play in our first pair of games.
The room had a couch, and two easy chairs facing it, so the competing players could sit directly across from each other. That is why we played in the guys' room, as our room -- while nicer -- didn't have a couch. As clothing came off, none of our wrinkles, sags, blemishes or surgical scars would be hidden.
I played Jack in the first game; Connie played Ron. When I closed out Jack's word, he had two letters not yet guessed. I removed his shoes and socks. Ron had won two garments from Connie, and removed her shoes and socks.
The second game had the winners playing each other, and the losers playing each other. Ron and I were game one's winners. When the word was guessed, it was I taking off Ron's shoes, socks and shirt. Except for barefoot walks on the beach, Ron and I had never been less than fully dressed around each other. This was an opportunity to get naked -- or nearly naked -- without it being a romantic or passionate encounter. I rationalized this as a kind of loophole. It wasn't cheating if we got naked, because we lost a game. On the loser's side, Jack got the already barefooted Connie's word and beat her by two. He took off her shirt and skirt. Connie was down to just her bra and panties. Jack seemed to enjoy looking her. He wasn't the only one.
The third game was gals playing gals and guys playing guys. I was the only player without a loss, and Connie was the only one winless, sitting across from me in her bra and panties. Her bra was pretty; it held her breasts, without concealing them. She had a good body, especially for a woman in her seventies. So did I, but my body was still fully dressed. That didn't continue. Connie had three of my letters guessed before I got one of hers. I was very lucky to only lose by two letters. As Connie finished taking off my shoes and socks, Ron had just beaten Jack by two. While we waited for Ron to get Jack down to his underwear, I looked closely at Connie. Her nipples were pretty pointy in her bra, and it looked like her panties might be damp. I tested with my index finger. I couldn't tell by touch if she was wet or not, but she sure jumped when I checked her. Before I knew it, she and I were standing in each other's arms, hugging and kissing, and grinding. Suddenly the room was silent. The fellas were staring at Connie and me. Embarrassed, we separated.