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Kiddy pool

I lost my breath when I spied the beauty on the pool deck. I was reading my book and didn’t see her show up. When I did see her, she was getting ready to lay out in the sun. In that heat and kids yelling and screaming, she was like a deep breath of cold air. Refreshing, you know. Invigorating.

It’s not rare for a young woman to show up at the pool but usually they’re moms, not single women like this one. It’s a tiny neighborhood pool run by the parks department. There’s a playground and some swings next to it. Picnic tables, grills, and whatnot.

I bring my kid here every afternoon when I’m not working, which is plenty lately. There’s not much for an old ironworker these days. Particularly an apprentice going on 48. But that’s my fault. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to work at for more than a couple of years. Who knew middle-age would take me into a young man’s work? Penance, I guess, for all the screwing up I did when I was a kid. Drinking, you know. Wrecking cars and busting up public property. Drinking friends away. That sort of thing.

This new woman looked young from where I sat. But at a closer look, she showed signs she was older. Her legs were smooth and fine, strong and shaped good, like a part-time runner. Slight dimples on the back of her thighs made them perfect. For me. She sagged a little there, nothing serious, just a little added extra. She wasn’t fat at all. Nothing like that. But not skinny. She show a confidence laying there, something teens don’t do so well with all their looking around and fidgeting.

Her moves were smooth, not lanky or jerky like a teenager. She laid her towel on the hot concrete next to her shoes and bag. She squeezed out a bit of suntan lotion for her nose and shoulders, and adjusted her sunglasses as she settled in, face toward the sun. She wasn’t self-consciousness at all. She looked like tanning alone at the neighborhood kiddy pool where there’s mostly moms and kids was the most normal thing in the world.

I tried not to stare but couldn’t help it. Don’t get me wrong. My wife’s a beautiful woman, really beautiful. Beneath the bleach blond she wears, her hair is whata they call platinum. Not gray. Platinum. It’s hot. It drives me crazy. She just lost some weight, too. I thought she was beautiful and sexy anyway. Then she lost this weight. Jeezus.

I used to think being married and getting old drained lust out of a man. I thought it, you know, faded. I was kind of looking forward to it so I could put my mind to more creative stuff, taking pictures and whatnot. But, boy, was I wrong. It just gets worse. And the babe who showed up at the pool proved it again.

I like taking my kid to the pool. It’s just a shallow pool and not very big. About the size of eight or ten parking spots. That water’s cold as hell.

The neighborhood moms come up there. I know most of them, them being neighbors and all. I like being the only dad up there when the rest of the dads are working. I’m no prize, you know. I look in the mirror and see an ogre. I have never really liked the way I looked in the face, really. I’m a little overweight with big shoulders and back. I got hairy somehow, too. I’m a good ironworker because of my strong back and all that. But when I’m up at the pool with those moms without their husbands, I get stares. That makes a guy feel good.

Most of the moms are pretty lumpy. Mexican moms are pretty friendly, so are the white moms. The black moms are pretty shy, but they talk to you when you break open the conversation. Usually about the kids, about something they are doing or how crazy children can make you.

But for every ten moms up, I’d say, there’s just one who looks good. The attractive ones have lumps and curves like other moms, but just not as many. A lot of the heavier or less attractive ones are really pretty, and they like to talk and flirt some. Still, they aren’t the kind I’d go off to bed with.

The good-looking moms usually know they’re hot. Sometimes it’s irritating. But most of them are pretty nice and there’s a couple that like to get in and talk dirty cause they know they can get away with it. But it’s all social, you know, friendly. I like it, lusty or not, even if I’d croak if my wife ever found out. There’s no screwing around talk, mind you, just racy and flirty. It’s nice to know women are willing to talk up an old guy like me. It makes me feel like someone’s paying attention.

When the new woman showed up, none of the attractive moms were there. I knew the moms who were there, but they weren’t so attractive or talky. So, I took up my book and got lost in it. Then that woman came in from nowhere and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.

I looked at her, more than I would’ve liked. I tried to use my sunglasses for cover. I sort of stared at her without tilting my head up, trying to make it look like I was still reading. But I’m sure someone paying attention could see through it.

I felt guilty as hell. My seven year old was in the pool splashing around and yelling with a bunch of other neighborhood kids. He’s a good kid, innocent as hell. That made me feel uncomfortable. Then, I felt like the lumpy moms knew I was looking at the woman, trying to see something I shouldn’t’ve.

Like I said, she seemed young before I looked close. I’ve always gone for older women. I think I watched too much TV when I was a kid. Barbara Feldon and Julie Newmar. Eartha Kitt. Peggy Lipton in the Mod Squad. They were the women who filled up my kidhood. Maybe that’s why every woman I ever dated was older than me. My wife, too. But I like older women just the same. More, really. Probably something to do with my mom or something.

In all the time I was running around, I only ever dated two girls younger than me. They were nice. They felt good, the young ones, after sleeping with all these older women. One of them was really way too young. One day she was 17. The next day she had a birthday and we were all over each other in bed. Her name was Jenni.

This woman seemed young like that. She wore a red top and blue-and-white bottoms with a red streak up the front, in just the right spot. I imagine some fashion designer thought it was cool or sort of tied the bottoms in with the top. But to me, that red patch said, “Hey, look at me!” Since she had her feet toward me, I did. I sat in my chair and kept sneaking glances between her legs at that wonderful little hump there. That kills me, that smooth rise where the important stuff is. I kept sighing and gritting my teeth and trying to keep my head down. Except for those dimples on her legs, she didn’t sag or lump out anywhere. Her breasts, I could tell underneath that red top, were just right.

I kept turning back to my book and trying not to look. After all, a woman ought to be able to suntan anywhere without being ogled, particularly at a public swimming pool. But I couldn’t help staring past her feet and up her legs, over the rise in her bikini bottoms where her legs met and then up her smooth stomach to her breasts. I was all worked up. Nothing to show, you know, like when I was a kid. I didn’t have to keep the book in my lap or anything. But I felt tight in the chest and across the shoulders. I couldn’t loosen up my jaw.

Plus, I really couldn’t read. After a while, I was staring at her and thinking of women she reminded me of, of their parts and pieces. Those things really only matter when you don’t personally know the woman they were attached to. Sure, I’m the first to admit that it’s the pieces that pull you in. They’re the hook. But they become icing on the cake when attached to a woman with a terrific personality. That’s when lust and sex gets good. Still, a great personality makes all the other stuff matter less. I think women are even more sexy when they’re not so good looking but have a winning personality.

It’s amazing what I have overlooked with some women. Physically, I mean. I dated this woman for a while. Her name was Lucy and my friends thought she was hideous. But I didn’t think so. She was a little heavy. She was older and not so pretty. She liked to laugh and talk and wrestle around just about anywhere. It was pretty exciting, really. The mood struck her like lightning—on the front porch or in the park or in the car on the highway. Man, oh, man.

Point is, she was nice and funny and that made up for what she didn’t have in the looks department. I can’t remember why we broke it off. I was probably drinking too much. I did a lot of that.

I mean, I slept around. I was kind of a manwhore before I got married. I don’t regret it. I didn’t even sleep with a woman until I was nearly twenty. Then the dam broke, you know. It felt good to get out of all that guilt I learned in Catholic school. After that first time, I slept with all my women friends, all the women I knew from around where I was working at the time, a pizza joint where everyone drank after hours. But I never slept with the highschoolers who mostly worked the counter. Only the waitresses and cooks. They were older than me and most of them were my friends.

There’s something about older women, like I said. Maybe because they know stuff and don’t get all attached. Or maybe I like being where another man hasn’t been in a while. You know, being seen as a savior, or something. At the same, it was all fun, you know. Drunk and sleeping around. It was like recreation, except sometimes me or them would get attached when it was suppose to be only fun. That hurt.

Later, I was sleeping with friends of friends, and their sisters, and so on. I only ever slept with strangers a couple of times. Once I slept with my friend Glenda’s mom a couple of weeks after I slept with Glenda. Boy, was she mad. She didn’t talk to me for three months. Then she slept with me again. I never saw her mom but that one time. That was all right with me. It was exciting to sleep with a girl older than my mom. But it felt like going through the motions cause there wasn’t anything there. It was special to know someone first. And maybe some of it was having to answer for my actions, having consequences I didn’t have with strangers. Maybe it was just being with someone you were always attracted to anyway.

Then because this woman at the pool, I started thinking about the younger women I slept with. It was fun, too. One time, with the 18 year old, it got serious. I remember she always said her name was Jenni with an “I” when she met someone. We were together for awhile. Then we split up. I was drinking pretty heavy at the time and can’t remember why we broke it off. But we got together a year later. That was better. She knew some stuff then. She was a little less needy. More mature, you know. She was soft, too. Young felt great after being with all those older women.

I just talked to Jenni just recently. We met for a cup of coffee at one of those coffee places with a clever name. She had turned from a beautiful young 18 year old into a heart- and body-melting 40 year old. Jeezus god, she was hot. But she’s screwy, a little crazy and obsessive. I think that’s why we broke it off the second time. She made me glad I was married.

This suntanning woman was like Jenni with an “I.” Short like her and really pretty. After a while, thinking about all those girlfriends and all those years, all the missed opportunities for real relationships, I thought, maybe, if I hadn’t been so shallow and stupid when I was younger, life would be different.

Maybe I could sleep around on my wife. Sometimes I wish I could. It would keep me calm and not so oglely when beautiful women walk by.

Maybe I could have a better marriage. It’s not bad now, but it gets hard sometimes. If I didn’t have all that energy, you know, it would be better. My wife and I sleep together and it’s always good. But I have a thing, you know, about being close to people.

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