Given that I’m 67, I don’t necessarily want to tell you about the last time I made love, and you almost certainly don’t want to hear about it. Old people talking about sex is unsettling but, hey, romance in the life of a 67 year old woman is about as likely as being cured at Lourdes, and this is a romantic story.
Of all unlikely places, what happened happened in Arkansas. Not just Arkansas, Fayetteville. For most people, Arkansas means Little Rock and Fayetteville means nothing. I had impulsively agreed to fly there from Seattle to visit a man I only sort of knew, on a wing and a pretext.
His legal name is Thomas Anderson, but his real name is “Thomas Walks Softly.” He’s half Ojibway, a quarter Cree, and a quarter Ohio factory worker. He is tall and lean and muscular. He knows how to tie a fly and clean a knife and tell a story. He’s the wrong side of 70, but plays the flute, piano, saxophone, and guitar in a way to keep death guessing. He has a hawk nose and a gray-black ponytail, a husky voice and keen, woods-savvy eyes.
He’s a poet, Thomas- a good one, and the pretext for my flying to Arkansas was that he and I were going to collaborate on a book. That was the raft to which we both clung as we made travel arrangements.
He met me at the airport and we drove the long drive to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. I kept touching him as we drove– a child’s touch to make sure he was real.
It was snowing when we got to the cabin, so we built a good fire in the fireplace and sat on the futon inches from the hearth.
After a minute, Thomas said he was nervous because he really wanted to make love with me but he hadn’t done that for a long time he wasn’t sure if I wanted that or if he still could. Somehow that led to my suggesting pot might make us less nervous which led to his suggesting we unfold the futon first, while we could. So we opened the futon, working in smooth concert, shedding clothes as we went and laughing.
Then we were sitting together naked in the center of the futon, smoking weed he had grown himself. The old smoke still knew exactly where to make itself home.
As outside winds howled and snow flung itself on the windows, we kissed in the firelight. Thomas was tender and sure. I was warm and wet and wonderful . And just when it was right, he positioned himself over me, and began his descent.
And just when it was wrong, the futon tipped over and spilled us on the edge of the hearth, flesh confronting brick. Later I would learn I had gashed my leg. All I knew then was that Pain came at me but I was in the throes of Desire, and unstoppable…. Unstoppable as only a single 67 year old woman can be, making love on the floor– for the very first time.