115 Doxtater Pt. 3 (Image: Jessica-Elystico)

You’re no doubt wondering why today’s featured image is duplicated–in both color and B&W.  The B&W is for a good friend who much prefers monochrome (it’s an early Christmas present.)

Here’s the 2nd part of the story:

During the night the fire in the woodstove downstairs had gone out and the house was getting cold. John went downstairs and built a new fire—within a short time the house was again becoming comfortable. Back upstairs standing by the bed he studied the young woman snuggled under the covers. Her decadently thick hair nearly covering the pillow, the petite girl lay curled in a fetal position making her look more like a child than a young adult.

“I’m old enough to be her father,” he thought. “And I’m probably looking at the end of my marriage.”

John watched her breath softly—the thick lashes of her closed eyes giving her an angelic appearance. He found himself remembering various details of the room at Blenchley Park Manor in England where he usually slept with Samantha. The more he looked at the sleeping girl the more she looked like Mary Kent from across the street and less like Samantha dead these last 11 years.

But even so—everything about Mary Kent seemed so fresh, strong, delicious and immortal. It tore at his heart to think how much of his own vitality had been stolen by time. Looking up at himself in the dresser mirror he saw staring back at him a middle-aged man wearing the patient expression of someone used to giving orders, salt and pepper hair, hairline beginning to recede, a so-called “spare-tire” spreading around his waistline. His legs were still fairly firm but the muscles in his arms and upper body were soft now from years of desk work.

During the night they made love twice—a far cry from his days in England and the years just before and after his assignment to that country. His current work for the American Military monitoring, decoding and analyzing Soviet communications during the cold war of the 1950s was important work—but it was peace-time work. There was no wartime urgency. The SAC bomber crews that arrived and left from Griffiss each day depended on the accuracy of his reports but now his work was largely oversight and consultation. Younger, quicker and better educated minds did the critical heavy lifting.

His days as a wunderkind were long behind him. Now he was almost a professor emeritus, a steadying influence and provider of military, procedural and technical expertise. The dramatic breakthroughs and leaps of imagination were now the province of kids the age of this girl and her husband.

The girl stirred, opened her eyes, raised up on her elbows and looked at him. In her beautiful eyes was a jumble of emotions—remorse, doubt, sadness, uncertainty and some sort of need. She pulled the covers over her breasts, looked into his eyes briefly then lay back down looking up at the ceiling. Tears filled her eyes overflowing down her temples. John studied her face and looked carefully at his own feelings—he was quite certain she was feeling she had been manipulated—taken advantage of by an older man with a warm house.

In the clear light of day he saw her now not as an object of lust and a time-traveling escape from the vicious unfairness of time, but as a very young woman floating in that exquisite golden light between childhood and adulthood—the body of a woman—the eyes of a child. He gently sat down on the edge of the bed with his back to her.

“I’m sorry Mary Kent,” John Provisano said in a heavy, contrite tone. “I’m twice your age—it shouldn’t have happened—I shouldn’t have let it happen. I take responsibility for last night. I could tell you I’ve never cheated on my wife before but that would be pretty self-serving—if I were you I wouldn’t believe it. I apologize for what I did …”

Mary Kent dried her eyes with the edge of the top sheet and inhaled deeply.

“Jay cheated on me,” she interrupted—flatly ignoring his supplications, “lots of times. There were a bunch of them. My personal favorite is a cheesy little whore who worked in a travel agency next door to his dealership in Atlanta. He was screwing her in Volkswagen campers at the back of the lot. That’s the main reason we came here. Jay said we needed a complete change of scenery so we could start fresh. He even had us renew our vows a few weeks after we moved in across the street. And I bought it—I believed him. I can’t believe what a stupid bitch I was. I have reason to believe he’s up in Old Forge right now screwing some trailer-park tramp.”

The girl’s declaration caught John completely off balance. He was at a loss as to what to say other than, “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“I was really playing the martyr,” Mary Kent continued, “the poor, betrayed, faithful wife. I felt so superior to him. Well, at least I cheated with someone with a little class.”

Well—thank you Mary Kent,” John responded, “but I’m not exactly feeling like a classy guy at the moment.”

“Oh get over yourself, “she said sitting up and still holding the sheet over her breasts. ”I wanted last night as much as you did. I’m not an infant thank you. “

“Uh, well, I’ll let you get dressed,” John said—again taken aback by the girl’s assertiveness. “Come on downstairs when you’re ready. I’ll go down and start breakfast.”

Ten minutes later the girl and the major were sitting across from one another at the kitchen table eating hot oatmeal with peaches and milk.

“That thermos of hot chocolate was such a sweet thing to do,” Mary Kent smiled. ”It reminded me so much of my dad. Only he used to mix half hot chocolate and half coffee and pour in a big slug of cream. I love it that way.”

Major Provisano almost choked on his cereal laughing.

“That’s what I drink in cold weather,” he said once he was able to speak clearly. “Well—that’s not really accurate. I drank it during the war for awhile—haven’t had any since then but just started back again yesterday. Your father fixed it for you—you say? I don’t suppose there’s some sort of symbolism here?” He got up and returned with coffee, chocolate, cream and cups.

End part 3

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