Sicklerville, New Jersey
As Ali shut off his weed eater he pretended not to notice Lisa sitting on her porch across the street, sipping a tall glass of something and watching him. Whenever he did yard work she managed to find her way out onto her porch to enjoy the show. He didn’t know why her old man didn’t notice. Or maybe the dude did notice and didn’t care.
Making sure not to look Lisa’s way, Ali scanned his front yard, surveying his handiwork. Nice. He’d mowed it to a uniform inch and a half high, power-edged along the sidewalk and driveway, and trimmed along the sides of the house. His lawn looked like a layer of green carpet. It was too bad it had been so hot lately, and there’d been so little rain. Keeping his lawn green had damn near doubled his water bill.
Ali headed for the garage with the weed eater, and forgot himself when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked across the street, and saw that Lisa had gotten up and was standing at her front door, holding her storm door propped open with her hip. She waved at him.
This morning she was wearing a peach-colored tank top and white shorts. Even from across the street and through his safety goggles Ali thought he could see her nipples poking out her top.
To be neighborly he waved back. Lisa took a quick look up and down the street, and then with her free hand pulled the strap of her top to one side and let her big tittie fall out.
Ali almost tripped over his weed eater. Lisa flashed a big smile, stuffed her tittie back in her top and went inside her house.
Her dude must not be home. Or maybe he got off on his woman being an exhibitionist. Maybe he was inside at the window stroking himself while Lisa flashed the neighborhood. You never knew what kinds of freaks people were behind closed doors.
Inside his two-car garage Ali wiped down his lawn mower, then stepped out of his battered, grass-stained for-grass-cutting-only Nikes. He looked across the garage at his Charger, and decided that though it was only mid-morning, it was already too hot to deal with detailing it. He’d get up early again tomorrow and take care of that.
In his kitchen Ali peeled off his sweat-drenched tee-shirt, took it to the laundry enclave and tossed it into the washing machine. His cell phone was on the kitchen’s center island, and when he passed it on his way to the refrigerator to get some water he noticed its message light flashing. He looked to the wall and saw the voicemail light for his house phone flashing too.
He checked the house phone’s voicemail first. Kendra’s cheerful voice asked, “Okay, where are you so early on a Saturday? I’ll try your cell.” That call came just after 7:00 am. He was out in the yard then.
Her cell phone voicemail said, “Okay, if I’m disturbing you while you’re getting some nookie, I apologize. But if you are, give me a call back. It’s kind of important.”
Ali hung up, frowning. Why would his ex-wife want him to call her if he was getting laid?
“Hey, what’s up?” Ali asked.
“Are you alone?”
“Yeah, I was doing the yard. What’s up?”
“I’m not gonna do it,” Kendra said. “I changed my mind.”
“Not going to do what?”
“Oh. Sorry.” So this was one of those calls. Whenever Kendra was going through some shit in a relationship she called him to vent. For some reason she sometimes acted like they were the same kind of friends they were before they got involved, and before they’d been married for four years.
Kendra said, “It’s okay. We talked about it, and kind of decided together that we weren’t ready.”
What that probably really meant was that Kendra had jumped without thinking again and said “Yes” when Donald proposed, and now that she’d come back to earth she was looking at things realistically. She’d probably remembered that marriage was about more than the ceremony and the ability to say you were married. It was about work. Two people merging their lives and not killing each other as a result took work.
Kendra said, “One of his old girlfriends moved back to town and I think something’s going on. Or he’s at least thinking about it. He didn’t say that, but that’s what I think.”
Or it could be that.
“Damn. Sorry, babe.” He hadn’t meant to call her babe, but sometimes even after three years apart, muscle memory kicked in and it slipped out.
“It’s okay. Story of my life.”
It wasn’t the story when they were married. When he and Kendra were married he wouldn’t have cheated even if Beyonce had stripped naked in front of him and started singing Put a Dick in It. All any man needs is one good woman who’s a freak like him. Kendra was a freak like him.
“So why are you doing yard work in this heat?” Kendra asked. “It’s blazing out here.”
“It’s only going to get hotter later, and you know I can’t have my yard looking scraggly. How’s your weather in Connecticut?”
“It was nice when I left this morning.”
“When you left?”
“Open the door. I’m in your driveway.”
Ali opened his front door and stepped out onto his porch. Across the way Lisa was standing behind the glass in her storm door, watching. Ali ignored her and turned his attention to the car in his driveway.
The Hyundai Sonata looked new. Ali felt proud of Kendra that she was handling her business and able to get a new ride. Then she opened the driver’s door and swung her legs out, and he forgot about cars.
Kendra had been spending time in the sun, because her legs were baked to the hue of Vanilla Wafer cookies. She popped out of the car, smiling at him from behind dark sunglasses as she clicked her remote door lock.
Kendra’s sundress was lemony yellow, with a tube type top. Her bare shoulders were as bronzed as her legs. Ali thought that either she’d either lost some weight or gotten taller because even in her flat sandals her legs looked longer than he remembered. Or maybe it was because her sundress was damned near a mini.
Ali watched her as she came up his walkway. Vanilla Wafer skin. Yellow dress. He thought about banana pudding. Sweet. He pushed the thought away.
He held the door open for her, and as she stepped in he stole a glance across the street. Lisa was gone. Her front door was closed. Ha!
Ali closed his front door and turned in his foyer to face Kendra. She took off her sunglasses and looked him up and down like he was a piece of meat, grinned and said, “Dag, boy! You’ve been working out!”
Oh yeah. He was hot and sweaty and was only wearing basketball shorts.
She said, “I’d hug you, but I didn’t bring anything to change into.”
Ali shot a quick glance at Kendra’s bare shoulders and at the hint of cleavage peeking above the top of her tube. Once upon a time he would have joked and told her to take off her dress if she was worried about messing it up. But that was once upon a time. They hadn’t sexed each other since she was between boyfriends – before Donald and after the other dude she thought she was going to marry. Ali couldn’t remember his name. But that was once upon a time. He didn’t know where Kendra’s head was now.
“Come on in,” he said, and led her into the living room.
Kendra looked around before sitting down. She said, “I see you finally got your black leather furniture.” She looked through the archway that opened onto the dining room and said, “And a new dining room set. Nice.”
Her comments reminded Ali that she hadn’t been here in a while, almost two years. The last time she visited he was still using the family room furniture left over from their marriage for his living room set. “I got some nice bonuses last year,” he said. “I guess you’re doing all right too, with that new ride.”
“Oh, Daddy said it was time for a new car,” Kendra said. “He said I needed something safe for my commute.” Kendra commuted from Connecticut into Manhattan to work.
“Tom is right,” Ali said. “I still think you should take the train.”
“You know I like being behind the wheel.”
That was true. When they were together sometimes they’d almost get into arguments about who was going to drive wherever they were going.
Kendra sank onto his sofa and crossed her legs. She slid her palms over the black leather and cooed, “Ooh…nice…soft…”
Ali figured that knowing Kendra, if she was going to vent about her now former fiancé it was going to take up the next several hours, so he’d might as well be cleaned up and comfortable. He said, “I need to grab a shower. Can I get you anything before I go up?”
Kendra looked him up and down again and let her gaze come to rest on his shorts. She said, “I know where everything is,” and bit into her plump bottom lip.
Ali said, “Oh, you’ve got jokes,” and escaped upstairs.
Ali was halfway through his shower when he had a Psycho movie moment. His master bathroom door was open, and through the dimpled glass in the sliding shower door he saw the murky figure enter. Even though he knew it was Kendra and that everything was cool, his imagination had her snatching the shower door open and raising the French knife she’d pilfered from his kitchen, ready to try to hack him to bloody bits.
Instead of trying to kill him she closed the toilet lid and sat down on it. She asked, “So are you seeing anybody?”
She should have asked that question before she hit the road and drove down from Connecticut. But planning ahead never was Kendra’s style. For her, planning ahead usually took the form of vague daydreaming about something that was almost impossible to happen in reality. Almost everything else she did happened on impulse, at the spur of the moment. Like getting engaged twice since they’d split up. Maybe them splitting up, too.
As for whether he was seeing anyone, he was. Sort of. He’d met Coleen at the Burlington Mall a couple of months ago, when she bumped into him and almost spilled her soda on him in the food court. After three dates Colleen confessed that the bump wasn’t an accident.
Colleen was nice enough and pretty enough. She was a thirty-six year-old divorcee with a nine year-old daughter and six year-old son. They got along okay. No real issues. No unnecessary drama. He was going to have to stop seeing her soon, however.
Colleen was a “good girl.” She had a hard four-months-before-sex rule. That was cool. He respected a woman who had standards and wasn’t so desperate to get a man that she used her body as a sacrificial offering. But he could tell that she was getting anxious for the four months to be over.
He needed to stop seeing her before then.
He’d told Colleen from the jump that though he was cool with being in a monogamous relationship, he wasn’t particularly interested in getting married anytime soon. Colleen said she understood, and that that was fine. Yeah, right.
After two months he knew that for Colleen, sex was going to mean serious commitment. And to her way of thinking, if you were going to seriously commit, you had might as well be thinking about marriage. He’d seen the marriage glow in her eyes on the day he’d made the mistake of taking her and her kids to Six Flags. It was that glow that said, He’ll make a good husband and father. Looking at that glow in Colleen’s eyes was scarier than looking into the eyes of a hungry panther.
So not no, but hell no. Marriage wasn’t going to happen. He’d been there and done that. The proof was sitting right outside his shower, wearing a yellow sundress.
To answer Kendra’s question he said, “I’m dating.”
“Is it serious?”
Kendra reached and slid the shower door open, looked in and gave him that smile. It was a smile he knew so well. He used to think that she must have smiled that same way when she was a little girl and was about to stick her hand in the cookie jar when she wasn’t supposed to. It was the smile that meant she was thinking about doing something bad.
Bad, as in sometimes very good.
Kendra stood next to his bed and let him pull the top of her sundress down off her plump breasts while they kissed. She let him push the dress down over the swell of her hips, and let it drop and pool around her ankles. As he kissed his way down her body she stepped out of the dress and kicked her sandals off.
Ali kneeled in front of her and kissed her belly as he peeled her panties down. Her panties were white with yellow sunflowers on them. Pretty. What was under her panties was prettier.
Ali straightened up, took a step back and looked at the woman he used to be married to the way she’d looked at him down in the foyer, and then again when he’d come dripping wet out of the shower.
38-D, 30, 42. Five-foot-five. About 160 pounds of tight-packed hourglass curves.
She was looking at him, too. Her eyes were on his rock hard desire for her as she said, “I don’t think I can get married again. I think eventually I’d end up cheating on him with you.”
Ali wanted to tell Kendra that she was wrong or crazy or whatever. But he couldn’t, because he felt the same way.
Ali stepped back to his ex-wife. He took her soft, warm nakedness in his arms. He kissed her.
It was like coming home.
Kendra broke their kiss and asked, “Have you done it yet on your new sofa?”
“Then let’s go christen it.”
“You’re going to look good naked on black leather.”
Kendra gave him her hand in the cookie jar smile and said, “Then bring your camera.”
© 18 July 2012