The business trip to Butte, Montana brought them together.
They brought overnight bags with them. Their meeting would last into the second day. As he drove across a bridge they watched a flock of Canada geese standing on the riverbank watching the water flowing by.
He said, "Geese."
"Mmmm, Will you be seeing her?"
"Lynn. Will you be stopping by to see her while we're here?"
He downshifted as they came into town and rolled up to a stoplight. He glanced at her, then turned right on the red light. "No, I'd rather she not know I'm here. If she sees me she'll start in again. I don't want that. She needs more time."
"More time for what? To get over the fact that she caught you with that woman?"
"It was a onetime thing. We got caught up in the heat of the moment."
"Time has nothing to do with it."
"Oh, you know about those things, huh?"
"I'm a woman ... so yeah, I know about those things."
Ten miles out of Butte, they passed a man on a bicycle, dressed in cycling gear, a green-stripped polo shirt, black cycling shorts, white helmet. It was cool, but his bare legs were exposed and pumped like machine pistons.
"He looks like my Henry, she said. "My husband."
"Henry's a cyclist?"
"Yeah, he was pretty serious about it once..." She turned her head to watch the cyclist as they passed by. "He'd go out every Saturday with a group of people and they'd ride a hundred miles or so."
"Jesus, he must be in great shape."
"Yeah," she said dryly. "Bicycles bore the hell out of me, to tell you the truth. Always breaking down, and when they're not broken, you've got to fiddle with them to keep them tuned just right. The tires go flat all the time."
"I know, I had one a long time ago. I sold it after maybe a month or two of having to take it in for repairs."
"They cost a fortune to keep, and you can't have just the one. Oh, no. You need two, maybe even three if you're serious about cycling."
They passed a herd of black and white dairy cows. "Cute," she said. "What kind are they?"
"Beats me," he said, "I'm a city boy."
"But you come from around here," she protested.
"Yeah, but I'm still a city boy. I never took to the country-life. Now, if I had to guess, I'd say they were Holsteins."
He turned toward her and flashed a winsome grin. "It's the only name comes to mind."
She laughed and gave him a playful punch on the arm. And watched as they came up on another bunch ambling towards the barn, walking in ones and twos, like tourists coming back to a bus.
"Henry would know," she said.
"What kind of cows they are."
"He's really smart."
"You once told me he was the gentlest man you ever knew. Now you're saying he the smartest.
"He's really quite the guy."
"Sounds like he's a regular Mahatma Gandhi."
"Cut it out! I don't want to talk about this anymore."
But a few minutes later she said, "Sometimes, I don't know."
"He's so self-centered. Sometimes..."
"He bores the shit out of you."
"No, no ... He's such a good guy."
"But you think he's tapping the woman from work?"
"Elaine?" She laughed, "I don't think so; she's like sixty-eight, looks like an adoptive mother."
"He's faithful then."
"Oh, yeah. I can't get away from that."
They pulled into the motel parking lot. He got out, "I'll make sure they have our rooms ready. Be right back.
Three minutes later he walked back to the car. She reached back and rubbed her neck with one hand, then got out of the car. He handed her the key to the room.