The tiny Vietnamese restaurant is dimly lit, just a few tables, fewer people. The two of us, old friends, scan the menu, order spicy noodle soup.
She lives alone. “I’m okay with that,” she has often said. “I can’t give myself over to one demanding man, I won’t let anyone take over my life.”
Yet, it has been a long dry spell for her—no romance no lovers, none of the physical contact that she craves. She had become increasingly resentful that the world of men render women in their 50s invisible. That resentment may be the reason that I sometimes feel the rug pulled out from under my male feet. It may be the reason why some men hesitate to cast an amorous look in her direction.
But today is different. Today, she sports a hint of a smile and even a few giggles, a sound that I usually associate with teen girls. Soup arrives and she announces: “I have a lover, met him several weeks ago.”
Lust is running strong, I think to myself. Good for her. We slurp the spicy noodles, our foreheads beading with sweat.
“It may be love, I don’t know, I don’t care,” she says. “I’ve jumped off the cliff.” Her eyes are sparkling.
"Maybe we should treat ourselves to a dessert in celebration of the plunge," I say.
I think to myself, but don’t say, “I hope it’s a long way to the bottom.”
published in Haiku Harvest, Fall & Winter, 2005