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We knew what we were. I was the New and know-it-all college grad, all eager and ready, with the nuclear-powered dick,and twenty-five years her junior. She was the widow, the grandmother with the adorable grands, the water aerobics teacher. We played the way we thought we wanted to play and how we thought we should be playing. And the relationship broke, faster than a North Korean condom.

After that first break-up, when the game was over, the hearts gone hollow and the tears cried out, she went back to her usual things, filling her days with a sterling silver respectability.

I returned, like Odysseus to Ithaca, to the girl friend who didn’t get me, the job that left me empty, the booze and the weed. It didn’t take long for the girl friend to stop looking for a sparkle in my hollow eyes. The baby she wanted and the stable home wasn’t going to come from me. My job traded my energy and what brains I had left for money.. Lots of energy sucked out, lots of money pumped in.

Direct deposit saved me from the street. For I drank alone, and automatic bill pay kept the lights on and mortgage paid. But in the end, after I recycled all the wine bottles and smoked the last reefer, the red sign in my head flashed GAME OVER. I walked down the steps to the church basement, to join the other burned out husks, ready to have some life creep back in.

After a while, the smiling came a little easier, food started to taste good again, I went back to the pool to feel my body move in the water.

I didn’t expect to find Marta there. I should have known. I saw her finishing up her class, filled with ladies old enough to be her sisters, yet they thought she was young enough to be their daughter. She did not one thing, nor said not one word, to dispel the misconception.

“Well, Dean, I didn’t expect to see you here”

“Oh Hi”

“You know you’d swim a lot faster if you lost that gut.”

I blushed. “Guess it’s time to find a personal trainer. Know any good ones?”

“You’re looking at one. If you’re serious, meet me at my house at 6:30. AM. that is. ”

I was there the next day.