BY GLORIA HANSEN
Gloria Hansen is a nurse/bluegrass musician/published author from Northern Ontario. Copyright rests with the author.
I COULDN’T GO out there. Maybe the bathroom had an escape hatch. Nah. Not even a window. It was a motel room with an adjoining bathroom, nothing more, nothing less. I so hated stepping straight into a room from the toilet, and this time into the arms of a virtual stranger. An alcove would have been nice, a place to pause and collect my thoughts before ‘meeting the hangman,’ as it now seemed. It had been too many years since I had been in such an uncomfortable situation. Always one to end up in awkward messes, this was the granddaddy of them all.
Most older women I knew had long ago given up thinking they might possibly be sexy and attractive. They were GRANDMOTHERS, for God’s sakes. Grandmothers had to live up to certain images, and those images did not include nor embrace meeting slightly younger men in motels.
Yet, here I was, a grandmother, doing exactly that. ’Course, it wasn’t my fault. For once in my life, I didn’t do the chasing. I gave that up some time ago when I came to realize that what I was chasing and what I caught turned out to be horses of two distinctly different colours. Nope, this time HE started. First, by being plain old nice. And friendly. And humble. And gentle, a rare trait in this mining town. We shared so many common interests. A cliché, I know, but I wondered where he had been all my life. But he did start the ball rolling by simply being himself.
If only I had left well enough alone, but no. I had to get to know him better because, well— because a little voice told me to. He jiggled my hormones, hormones I thought had already settled into their expected chronological dormancy. Perhaps I should have booked an appointment for that ‘what-stage-of-dementia-am-I-in-now?’ test instead. But then they would have carted me off to Shady Pines, and my soon-to-be-lover would have passed me by like a ghost ship in the night.
True to my nature, I followed my heart and wound up here. I recall giggling as I threw together a skimpy overnight bag. I sure wasn’t giggling now. Cracking the door an inch, my knees buckled. There lay the object of my quivering desire, naked as the day he was delivered, grinning at something on TV. Dark, wavy hair, greying at the temples, body trim and fit as an athlete. A career on the oil rigs had been kind to him. Was I in end stages of lunacy? How could he possibly be physically attracted to an old bag like me?
Life had not been that kind to my aging chassis. Childbirth alone had started the devastation with Mother Nature’s own perverse assortment of changes — four layers of stretch marks, varicosities from toe tip to hip and beyond, progressive relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and various spots, bumps, dents and scars I wasn’t born with. I sagged where I should have perked up, and puckered where I should have been smooth. Some years I had been fit, others I had been fat. This year I was mostly fat trying to get fit. A once-pattable derriere now invited comments about junk in the trunk. The one redeeming attribute I brought to the dating game table was my silky Nordic skin, thanks to ancestry, years of steam baths and a disdain for pore-clogging makeup. So maybe after all I was caressable, but not here in broad daylight. Too many other flaws.
As I stepped steaming and fragrant from the shower, I slid into my fire-engine red housecoat. Reminded me of a matador’s cape. Metaphorically speaking, of course, since I didn’t actually plan on killing the bull, at least not until I was through with him.
Here I stood, quaking, procrastinating, all 60-plus years of me hiding under the flaming-red housecoat, smelling faintly of Neiges Eau de Toilette. Thighs still firm though, a testament to years of cross-country skiing. No ‘hangy’ things on my arms, again thanks to the full-body benefit of skiing. The red silk clung seductively to my better swells and valleys. Fluorescent lights brutally spotlighted my age spot, but they would be doused once we got down to the business at hand. Totally uninhibited in the dark, I would revert to a frigid virgin when lights were turned on during my hotter moments. Seems I didn’t like seeing what I was feeling.
It was now or never. I had come this far — might as well go all the way. Literally. One last primp and pat. Oh no! Legs! Stubble. I could not slide under the sheets like this. Razor. Neet. Spilling the contents of my bag all over. No hair remover. Wait. I grabbed his shaving kit. God it smelled good, like him. I pulled out his razor, vowing I would wash it clean of my leg whiskers before I put it back. He’d never know I had used it…
Wow! A different kind of sharpness, four rows of scalpels. My fingers oozed blood where I had tested the blades. I rushed to finish my shins, and glanced at my too-furry mid-section. Swipe, swipe—one for each groin. Never paid much attention to a bikini line, since I had never worn one in my life. But I had to admit I looked less like a Sasquatch female with those two swipes.
As I prepared to wash the razor, I felt wet warmth trickling into my nether regions and down my legs. Blood dripped onto the tiles, smearing wherever I touched the shaven parts. Coumadin. The perils of prescribed meds, in this case, a blood thinner. The more I attempted to staunch the flow of blood, the more I bled. All at once, the affected areas caught fire and began to itch. Ignoring the bleeding, I rooted with fingernails trying to ease the throbbing discomfort. If anything, my frenzied scratching only increased the itch. In desperation, I grabbed my head. I figured if I pulled my hair hard enough, I would forget the fire in my groins. It didn’t work. As I laid bare my tendons with all the scratching, I groaned in a mixed bag of ecstasy and pain. With each scratch, one itch was soothed and another would appear, the whole performance complicated by the brisk flow of blood.
“You okay in there?” I had forgotten I was not alone. I should have answered him right away, but I had found welcome relief by rubbing my groins vigorously over the bleeding shaved areas. I was blissfully unaware of the bathroom door opening until the poor man fainted at my feet, my lifeblood seeping onto his gorgeous dark waves. One look in the mirror told me why a naked man lay at my feet. Face and mussed hair, housecoat plastered to bloody thighs, hands working furiously to soothe fiery groins, breasts swaying and me, frothing at the mouth, moaning and smiling the twisted smile of the damned. It was the stuff of horror movies.
Today, we sit at the coffee shop where we met, that night a distant memory. We dare not mention the motel rendezvous, because that memory reduces both of us to tears. This is how it ended: When he came to, he helped me clean up, applied a whole box of bandaids and little bits of toilet paper to my wounds, all of which finally stopped hurting after he settled me gently into bed. Our express purpose of being at a motel room was forgotten amid the blood and the gore. By dawn, and after a scrumptious breakfast in bed, my self-inflicted wounds didn’t hurt at all, or at least, not as I recall.