Appearing five to eight years younger than I am has had its advantages. At eighteen, I’d hop on the public buses of my then hometown of Lawrence, MA and pay fifty cents. That was the price for a seven to twelve year old but I wasn’t ashamed. Instead I forgoed the lipstick, put my hair in ponytails and even considered thrashing my body against the floor to keep my cheap ass ride.
When I turned twenty-one, I wanted to hop on men instead of buses. Wearing short shorts and mid drifts, I strutted around Lawrence during Semana Hispana (Lawrence’s poor mans version of the NYC Dominican & PR Parade) hoping to meet a Latino man. Instead I got a movie invitation by a fourteen year old and a “Diablo mami, tu si a buena!” by a twelve year old Dominican boy in Macho Man Training. I turned around and yelled, “I can be your momma!” before walking away.
Since then, little chicks have tried to huddle up against my body for warmth and even a little nipple action. I hated it at first (the youngins not the nipple action) but then I decided to emulate Ivanna Trump (post Trump). I would be the best damn cougar I could be just like I was the best damn Merrimack Valley Regional Transportation Authority fair robbing rider.
Enter Double Duce. I was 29 and a half and he was 22 and one eighth. I was ready to crack that egg and did exactly that even after Susie’s disappearance. But only because Double Duce apologized for the debacle and agreed that I didn’t kill Susie. Then I was turning 30. Momma hen, pick up the chickadees from school, marry a rooster 30. The age weighed on me and my relationship with The Duce. I felt I was wasting time with a man who, despite his IV League education and lounge-owning status, was a boy in no hurry for commitment. But then he asked the question. My Blackberry buzzed while I was in the middle of teaching ESL class. I viewed the screen discretely as my students worked on a project.
“So where do we stand?”
I brought my cell closer to my face. The shock of the bluntly asked question made me indifferent toward my now watchful ESL girls.
“So where do we stand?” I read again to myself. It seemed he was asking about our relationship status. I paused, unsure of how to respond. From the very beginning, Double Duce and I had decided to “flow”. Due to that unanimous decision I rarely called him and we only hung out 2-3 times a month. So why ask this question? I walked to the back of the small, pink classroom and sat at my desk while my students worked. Was this Double Duces’ way of asking for more or less? He couldn’t possibly want less. If he wanted less we wouldn’t have shit. So maybe it was more. But do I want more? I bit my lower lip and began typing:
“We decided to flow and that’s what I’m doing. Flowing. But to be honest I’m not sure where this can go. I will be 30 soon and you’re 22. I want a physical, mental and emotional connection and as of now we only have the physical and mental. So where do we stand? We can continue to flow and see what develops. But know one thing. If our emotional connection doesn’t deepen we should go our separate ways and just end.”
I reviewed the text and felt satisfied with my answer. I knew Double Duce wasn’t the man for me. It had been 6 months of our off and on dating and the flame was only semi-ignited. I pressed “Send”. Seconds later, my phone vibrated. I opened his message and read:
“I don’t want to think of it in those terms. We can continue flowing but if nothing else develops I don’t want to just end. You’re an intelligent, positive force and I want you in my life regardless of where this relationship goes.”
I smiled before closing the text and pushing my Blackberry back into my back pocket. It seemed this young chick wasn’t just interested in keeping this mother hen around for suckling; he appreciated this mother hen for who she was: a witty and wonderful 25 year old or younger looking woman who was full of life and exuberance but was no spring chicken.