Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Strange bedfellows

When I glanced out the window in the bathroom on the way to take a shower I noticed him. It's not unusual for the landlady to have guests over and they usually sit on the deck in good weather, like the past few days when the sun is shining and cool breezes soothe away the worst of the sun's strength. He was there again on the deck with the landlady the other day when I brought home the ingredients for the key lime cheesecake, so I decided to stop and say hello. Yes, I was curious. I didn't expect to find out that rag and bone of a man was THE Glen, the love of the landlady's life.

Jeans so faded the blue was more a memory than an actual color hung loosely on his narrow hips and long legs thrust out in front of him. Horny callused feet rested in sandals that had seen better days, his shirt a thin rag of ancient tie-dye where white goat hairs sprouted in wild confusion from the open neck where the remains of buttons could still be seen. Long straggling strands of wavy gray hair stained with a hint of brown hung beneath a bandanna covered with stars and stripes wrapped tightly around his head and knotted in the back. Leathery arm covered with a thick mat of tangled white hair rested on the arms of the chair and his eyes, the only feature with a distinct and piercing color, were clear, bright blue. Mustache and beard blended with the rest of his hair so that it would be difficult to figure out which was which, except for the high thrust of his cheeks and the wisp of a smile that gleamed through the sparse wiry mass.

The landlady and Glen looked comfortable together with an ease born of decades of rubbing along together. He was her husband's best friend and I knew she had met him the first time when she had been married two years, rocking her to her core with a deep sense of recognition, a profound connection as of lifetimes past spent living and working together as a unit. Still, as I remembered all the stories she told me of Glen, I couldn't reconcile the man sitting on the deck with the handsome hunk that stole her heart. There were more surprises in store.

Last night I took two pieces of cheesecake down to the landlady, as promised. We stood talking for a few minutes and I mentioned Glen. "That's Glen, THE Glen, the one you told me about?" I should have recognized the wicked gleam in her eyes; I know it's in my own eyes when I think about a certain man that has always sent my stomach on a rollercoaster ride, just not about someone so ragged.

"Oh. My. God. Yes." For the first time since I moved into this house, the glimpses of passion I had seen were a full raging fire that seemed so alien to this short, sturdy little Bavarian woman with the short spiky cap of grayed strawberry blonde.

She launched into a quick retelling of her history with Glen. What amazed me the most is the blatant sensual aura that glowed around her as she mentioned Glen's sexual prowess. "I've always been attracted to that kind of man. Everyone thinks I'm one way and they don't know the real me."

I had seen the real her last October when she shared a Samhain ritual with Michael, Nel and me. The real her was a little bit drunk but not so drunk she wasn't able to tell Michael, nearly twenty years her junior, how good she was in bed and how happy she'd make him now that he was no longer her tenant -- if he'd only give in. I got another dose of the real landlady last night when she told me she had had several sexual encounters with Glen during her marriage. I wondered if her husband knew but decided not to ask. Evidently, Glen wasn't the only man she'd cast her marital eye on. She told me that, too.

Glen is the antithesis of her career Army husband with his short cropped hair and neatly ironed and properly creased clothes, a rare feat with T-shirts and crisp blue jeans. The landlady's husband fit her image -- the public one, anyway. What a clash, the ramrod straight retired Army man and Glen's comfortably splayed limbs in what once resembled clothes.

The landlady and her husband finally signed the divorce papers after living separate lives for more than eleven years. She will soon be legally free to do whatever she wants with whomever she wants and she boldly told Glen (as she recounted to me) that she didn't want a long term relationship unless sex was the main attraction. What she actually said was, "I told Glen I wanted a f**k buddy." Now that she is soon a free woman and no longer legally married to Glen's best friend, I expect he'll frequently make up from Alamagordo, New Mexico to the deck outside -- and the bed inside. He can no longer have any qualms about putting horns on his best friend, something I find quite strange in someone who has drunk from the landlady's watering hole many times over the decades. I guess the noise level from downstairs is about to rise and Pastor will get yelled at in German less often since the landlady is about to come into a wealth of tension and stress relieving sex.

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