Jesse, his neighbor, has invited him to dinner. Closer to him than his own mother, Mike knows he can tell her anything. She knows he’s had a woman over, even though she’s blind, by sniffing the scent of Deidre’s perfume.
“Well, it was only kissing. She’s almost ten years younger. In fact, I’ve dated her mother.”
“Somewhat. Bit of a schoolgirl crush. Nice kid. If things were different, Jesse, I’d be real tempted.”
“You’re already tempted,” she said in that all knowing tone she gets when she knows she’s right. “But there again, you’re too much of a gentleman.”
“She is a sweet kid. The important word being kid,” I emphasized for my own benefit.
“You need a woman, not a child. I think you were right to tell her no.”
“How do you know I was the one declining?”
“Because your voice if full of regret. Only a couple things put a tone like that in a man’s voice, and the most common is having to tell a woman why he won’t bed her.”
“Miss Jessamine, how did you get to be so damn smart?”
“Years of practice, Grasshopper.” She patted my cheek, sounding like the old priest in Kung Fu. “Now, those coals smell about right. You go on, throw those steaks on for me.”
“Yes, ma’am!” I saluted and she smacked me.
“I know you didn’t just salute me like I’m in the Army.”
“I swear, you know things you shouldn’t be able to, Jesse.”
“Just like I know you’re making a face at me like I give a care. I swear, child, you are one feisty ass boy tonight. You must have had a real good time with that young lady last night.”
“Hella good,” I called as I walked outside with the steaks.
Jesse was right as usual, the coals were perfect. She also told me when she thought the steaks were done just by smelling them from indoors. There again, she was right. I didn’t even bother to cut into them to check.
“We should open a steakhouse,” I told her. “I’d cook and you’d tell me when they were done.”
She had laid out all kinds of side dishes she had prepared. She’s an amazing cook. I don’t know how she does it. I can see perfectly and I can’t do anything as efficiently as she can without her vision.
“So tell me about the young woman last night. What can you remember?”
“Well, she was fairly tall with a great build. Full busted, narrow waist, great a. . . . Um, anyway. . . .”
“She was well put together.”
“Yeah. Very. Long, dark hair. I know that because I found a few in the bed.”
“Anything else? Her voice—was it deep, high? Did she have an accent?”
“Her voice was about medium. Not too low, not too high. I don’t remember her saying much to me, so I don’t know about an accent. Off hand, I’d say no.”
“I suppose remembering eye color would be asking too much.”
I laughed, nodding since I had just taken a bite.
“I can’t see you nod, Michael.”
“Yes you can. All these years, you’ve been faking,” I said with my mouth full.
“Would that were true. I could see what a handsome boy you are.” She patted my cheek. “You lack confidence, my child. You are such a wonder, yet you can’t settle down to anything. It’s often like that with exceptional people. Until you find your niche, you’re going to have that problem.”
“What do you think my niche is, Jesse?”
“That I don’t know. There are so many possible ways to go.”
“Hmm. . . Perhaps my niche is preparing delicious steaks for public consumption. I don’t know what you marinated these in, but they’re fantastic.”
“Why thank you. I’ll show you next time.”
“Thanks. I know. My niche is making love to mysterious, beautiful women until they scream my name.”
“Did she do that?”
I chuckled seductively. “Ohh, yeah. More than once.”
“You are coming perilously close to telling me details, Michael.”
“You keep asking me, Jessamine.”
“And you’re so proud of yourself, you can’t stand it.”
I laughed, not answering that one. She was right, I was proud of myself. I did better last night than I had in years. Not since Mrs. Travers those six glorious months we spent together. I had the stamina of an ox back then. What I lacked in control, I made up for in frequency. Last night was a combination of the two and I was pleased as hell.
© Dellani Oakes 2014