Glancing at my watch, “When are we supposed to be there?”
“It starts at nine, but they want us there at least a half hour earlier so we can find our group.”
“Who are you going to introduce me as?”
“Who would you like me to introduce you as?”
My hand still on her thigh, squeezing it lightly, “Your husband.” I said softly.
“Oh, Mitchie,” tears coming to her eyes, “I only wish.”
“Yeah, me, too.”
Cyber Affair 13
Day Two 2-3
Saturday June 18, 2009
The convention hall of the Allerton hotel moderately crowded, “Welcome, ladies and gentleman.” Standing upon the stage, the moderator said, “This competition; our second annual internet poetry competition is, first; to hear the thoughts and writings of all of our wonderful, previously commercially unpublished poets, then to offer the prize of publishing, in a hard back edition, the writings of the winner of this year’s competition, along with the guaranteed placement in at least one major book marketing chain.”
After searching the large room for a few minutes we found the “TheWritersPlace.net” representative, whose name I cannot remember, along with the other two semi-contestants, one male and one female, whose names I also cannot remember.
Feeling proud as hell, but receiving fishy eyed stares when Barbara said, “I’d like you to meet my husband, Mitchell.”
Screw ‘em, I thought, if they think I’m her father!
After shaking hands around, wishing the other contestants, as they did Barbara, a half-hearted, “Good luck.” as the room was set for “stadium seating”, we drifted away to find chairs among total strangers.
“The rules are simple.” The moderator went on. “Names will be called in no particular order, but rather at random. When called, you are to come forward,” motioning to the microphone, “and recite up to three of your writings. Total time, though, is not to exceed seven minutes, and you will be timed!”
Also, once you recite, we’d like you stay put,” motioning toward the audience, “because we do not want the last of you speaking to an empty hall, because it just isn't fair.
There will be a number of breaks throughout the day and we’ll have an hour for lunch then we’ll begin tomorrow morning at eight-thirty to hear whoever hadn’t recited today.
There will be a panel of three judges, including myself that are not affiliated with any of the participating Web sites, and you will be judged not only for the words written, but also the presentation of those words.
The winner will be announced tomorrow and we should have all of you heading back to your homes by no later than noon.
One other thing: the winner must be present or the award will be given the runner-up.”
Sitting for hours, clapping weakly for the endless jumble of words, the meaning in many... most cases of which I could not even imagine. Clapping a bit harder for what was comical, or risqué or what was presented with a bit of theatrical technique. Then there was all that transcendental crap that I don’t think even the author knew what the hell he or she was talking about, and every now and then I would receive a gentle nudge when I dozed off and my head dropped onto my chest.
But my thoughts, actually, during these seemingly unending, boring hours were constantly of Barbara and of me and, why was she here with me?
Why me, a man that’s old enough to be her father and, having a daughter nearing fifty, I actually am old enough to be her father.
Why would two seemingly intelligent people allow themselves to be placed in a situation that – we both knew – will only end in total heartbreak?
If Barbara and her husband shared even a thread of commonality: she an interest, even a passing interest in fishing, he an interest, even a passing interest in her writing, if Barbara and her husband occasionally talked to each other, really talked to each other, and if he were a bit less controlling, would she even be here with me today?
Was the love I had for my wife real? Or is the love I have for Helen real?
Did I ever really love my wife?
Do I really love Helen?
Yet I know, when the time is right, I will marry Helen because, at my age I need someone in my life and, at my age, what are the odds of finding someone that I love – maybe – that really loves me as I know Helen loves me?
How do I know that I would ever find one that loves me that I love, except...
I do know my feelings for Barbara are real!
I do know that I love Barbara and I do know she loves me and yet, due to her marriage – and she says that Hank is really a good man – and...
Barbara has an older sister with Down's Syndrome, and she and her mother, becoming too frail to help care for her daughter, are both living in Barbara and Hank’s very modest home in Levitt Town, New York. The care of both, her mother and sister falling on...
Due to Barbara’s, in my opinion, overwhelming family responsibilities along with the physical distance, to say nothing of our, in my opinion, overwhelming age difference, I know our love can never be more than here, more than now.
I’m an odd duck for a man.
I miss being married.
I miss the warmth of a sleeping woman alongside me.
I do not like coming home to an empty house.
God knows what I would do without, at least, my best friend, my dog to come home to.
I love the emotion of “Chick Flicks” even if, and maybe especially because, occasionally, they cause me to cry.
If I were to say, “Barbara come with me!”
To be continued
©March 14, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman