This is a story I started a few months ago. I read it again and liked it. But my own assessment of my writing is like the love I have for my sons, unconditional, completely lacking objectivity.

For Olivia and Jade

Brenda knew it was time. Her “Journey Of Self-Discovery” , now ended, she found herself the distaff Odysseus, returned to her own private Ithaca. Only it was this suburb, in her now-battered hometown. Somehow, the graffiti marred plinth, reflected the battering her psyche had taken.

It wasn’t that Toby was a bad lover. Hardly. For a kid, he was pretty good. He did stay hard, when he wasn’t drunk. He had learned at the quim of a previous lover, the rudiments of cunnilingus. Yet he was in a hurry, as if he operated from a flow chart of foreplay, that governed each fuck. Every. Damn. Time.

Kiss mouth. Thrust tongue in mouth. Parry with her tongue. Stroke back. Unhook bra,. Move hands to tits. Fondle tits til nipples harden. Undress Woman completely. Put hand on pussy, rub pussy, Insert finger in vagina to check for moisture.(Good job, Stud!). Insert penis into cunt. Thrust in. Pull out. Thrust again. Repeat, if necessary.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Once the novelty wore off, and Brenda,dog- tired from waiting tables, wasn’t writing that novel she promised she would write in her off hours, the Toby-diversion felt more like a second job. Toby was youthful and virile, just as she’d fantasized about. But he talked about football and fishing, not much else. She almost wished he followed NASCAR, just so he would talk about something else, for Heaven’s sake.

Waiting tables, wearing the face mask, was ok. She worked at a breakfast, brunch and lunch place, that looked like it would give her free afternoons. But that never worked out. Toby again. He was like a dog who endlessly required walking, or fetching the Frisbee©. Only it was sex. Damned if he wasn’t through hanging dry wall at the new apartment project,not long after she had gotten home herself. And then the tab popped on the can of Natty-lite.the joint rolled, lit, and toked. Toby and his magic erection was off to the races.

Finally, she said the magic words.

“Toby, I’m done. I’m packing my stuff . I won’t be here when you get back this afternoon.”

It went as she thought it would. It seemed to register with Toby, as if she was ordering Chinese take-away.

And she got into the Honda with the dent in the right side, filled the tank, and merged into the Northbound lanes of I-95.

After breakfast at Cracker Barrel, lunch at Cracker Barrel, she dreamt of fixing Roger dinner. That is if he still wanted her in his house, much less his bed.

She dreamt more and more of her reunion with Roger. She drove on, now about four hours away. Dinner? I don’t care. Hope he doesn’t either. I know. I will pick up his favorite Chinese, mu shu pork, steam dumplings, snow pea pods at Mr Chin’s take away shop coming over.

Chinese food filling the car with flavors, she rehearsed again what she would tell him. It would wouldn’t work. He could interrogate like a TV detective.

Her story? She had shacked up for six weeks with a kid who hung dry wall, while his school was closed. Was he clean? She thought so. They could use condoms till she got tested

Talking about the diner would be easy. She took orders and brought eggs, bacon, home fries or grits and toast to the customers. Even though it was in Melbourne, it wasn’t rocket science

Maybe it wasn’t too late to teach again. She could tutor and build a base of students, given the current unpleasantness.

All the thoughts left when she rang the bell.

Chinese for Mr. Stokes?” That was the ice breaker.

Roger. He was what mattered. How he would greet her. How would she know she was home?

She pulled into his driveway. No strange cars. That’s good. Nobody else was giving him a test drive on the proving ground, as it were. At least, not tonight.

“What took so long?” was his answer.. Taking the order from her hands, placing it on the table in the entry way , then he pulled her in to his embrace.