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This is the story of how, as a man of 63, desperate and bereft after my wife died, I was eventually was solicited by and paid our 22-year old neighbor for sex. It’s a story that in some ways is pathetic, but to me it’s also erotic. I’ll tell you right now that I came to love her, even though I don’t think she ever loved me. She had affection for me, and I think came to really like me, and I know I made her come several times. But the reality is that she wouldn’t have done the things we did together if it wasn’t for the money. But Miriam may have saved my life. She was and is an amazing, complicated, and even now mysterious woman to me, and so it will take a while to tell our story—or at least my side of it. Like many things in life, our story was as much about the journey as the destination.
I was a professor of history for more than 30 years, and my wife, Helen, was a high school teacher. We fell in love in grad school, worked hard and got our degrees, struggled and then succeeded in finding jobs in a new city, had a boy and a girl, both now grown and with careers of their own far away. We had ups and downs of all sorts in life and marriage—and then suddenly, before I was ready (and thought I’d go first, somehow), it was over. As simple and as complex as that, one day my wife keeled over and died of a heart attack.
I was pretty depressed, and in fact still struggle with it on a day to day basis. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have retired early, even though the house and the cars were paid off, and at that point I was somewhat burnt out on my job and tired of my colleagues. Many professors, as you can probably guess, can be royal pains in the ass. And I include myself in that. Even though I didn’t like the seemingly endless faculty meetings and committee meetings, and was finding publishing a bit of a challenge, I still loved the teaching. But the students kept getting younger and younger, and the tough truth was that I was beginning to lose my touch with that as well.
Travel, hobbies, and that historical novel I always said I was going to write called. Before we’d gotten to do much of that, though, Helen was gone. And then it was just a struggle to keep going day by day, and I didn’t feel like doing much of any of that stuff I’d planned. I felt like I was going to die of a broken heart, and maybe I was starting to. The daily loneliness was often a lot to take.
This story begins six months after Helen’s death. Our kids were no longer visiting much, I was still going to therapy and had my prescription for anti-depressants (that I didn’t take, because I was worried about the side effects), and was still just trying to figure out how to survive.
It was when I was out walking my dog, and she was doing the same with hers, that I met her. My little rescue poodle Fluffy loved people, but wasn’t so good with her own kind, and tended to bark as part what might be called her Napoleon complex. But suddenly this beautiful brunette with slightly longish nose that I hadn’t seen before was smiling at me and my dog with amusement, and her sweet and patient golden retriever seemed to almost have the same reaction. She looked a lot like Natalie Portman in her early 20s, although taller and not quite as “perfect.”
“Are you Mr. Benson?” She asked, as our dogs sniffed and wagged at each other, and Fluffy once-in-a-while barked. She was dressed in blue jeans and a medium blue form-fitting t-shirt, and I could see she wasn’t wearing a bra, because her nipples and the entrancing shapes of her perky medium-small breasts were making themselves known through the fabric.
Looking at her liquid brown eyes, which were sparkling with amusement (I’m pretty sure she’d caught me admiring her breasts for a half a second), I said, laughing a little, “Yes—you must be a mind reader. But I’m afraid my powers are weak. I have no idea who you are! You can’t be a former student, because then you would have called me ‘Professor Benson.'”
“Well,” she said, bending down to pet my dog and make funny faces at her, “if this is Fluffy, then I guess I am a mind reader.”
I could only laugh for a second in amazement, as this beautiful young woman worked her charms on me and my dog. And I realized it had been a while since I’d laughed.
“I’m amazed at your powers, young witch,” I said, trying to keep up with her, and added, “Are you a recent graduate of Hogwarts?”
She smiled at what was a clichéd cultural touchstone for both of us, but played along, and said, with an Emma Watson-ish British accent, “You’ve discovered me! But you must never tell.”
“I won’t,” I replied, and I couldn’t keep from smiling broadly as I got down to pet her dog as she petted mine. And then she finally said, as we looked at each other between the wiggling dogs, “I recognized you because of your dog. My parents told me to look out for a distinguished-looking gentleman walking around the neighborhood with a little, white poodle.” As she got up, she said, “They told me who you are, and asked me to look out for you.”
I had felt younger for Ankara escort brief while as this lovely young woman, seemingly from nowhere, flirted with me a little, but now suddenly I felt old again. I was “distinguished.” An old man who had lost his wife and was being looked out for. A widower. I stood up.
Miriam saw what must have been a look of pain and weariness cross my face, and looked concerned.
“Are your parents the Ottingers?” I asked, trying to smile politely.
“Yes!” She answered with too much enthusiasm, but going back to her British voice: “You’re a mind reader too! Did you learn Legilimency from Professor Snape himself? Or perhaps you taught him?”
“Yes. I taught Snape,” I said in my faux British accent, rather like Alan Rickman’s snide voice, which is something I did sometimes to amuse my American students, “Or, Severus, as I always called that little snot!”
She laughed, which was a sound like mischievous angels, or classical music mixed with alternative rock. She was genuinely amused and surprised, but I could sense she was also playing it up a bit to make me feel good.
“Well, I’m Miriam, their daughter,” she said, holding her lovely, tanned, and slightly hairy arm sideways with her elegant hand out, almost as if she were inviting me to kiss it. I resisted the temptation (what would the neighbors say if they saw?), and gently but firmly shook her hand instead, saying, “It’s very nice to meet you, Miriam. Your always parents speak very highly of you.”
“Not always, I don’t imagine!”
It was true that her parents, who’d invited me over for dinner shortly after my wife’s death, had mentioned that their daughter was academically gifted, and a very hard worker, but also a bit wild. At the dinner, since I was still in the raw part of grieving, and had trouble keeping up my end of the conversation, they’d rattled on about their daughter a little too much, and a little too honestly. I knew, for instance, that she had lots of boyfriends, one girlfriend they’d been introduced to, and also that once she’d been busted for pot by the campus cops at her elite liberal arts college. With the legalization of pot in some parts of the country this seemed more amusing to them than awful, and I tended to agree.
“Anyway,” Miriam continued, as I was clearly lost in thought and not sure what to say, “my parents asked me to look out for you so that we could invite you over for dinner again. Is there any day this week that would work?”
“I should check my calendar, but I’m afraid to say that I think all the evenings this week are free. I have symphony tickets at some point, but I think that’s next week. Or the week after that. Anyway, please thank your parents and tell them I’ll give them a call.”
She smiled, and said again in her British accent, “I’ll tell them, Professor Benson. And may I say it’s been *such* a pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure’s mine,” I said in my regular voice with a genuine smile, “but please call me Rick.”
The dinner was good. Sarah and Michael Ottinger were both good cooks, and the food was delicious. But I had to keep myself from staring at Miriam, who was wearing a black, elegant and yet slinky, somewhat low-cut dress. The tops of her perky breasts were on magnificent display, and I had to be very conscious to maintain eye contact, and honestly when I thought no one was looking I sneaked a peek a few times. She was a knock out and she knew it, but why she was dressed like this for an old man like me, I couldn’t figure. I guess when you’ve got a figure and a face like hers, and an outgoing personality to match, it’s a case of “if you’ve got it, you flaunt it.”
Finally, Sarah got around to asking me a serious question of how I was coping. As I’ve already said, I was pretty depressed still, and although I tried to hide it, the topic just didn’t help conceal that.
“Well, tomorrow,” I said, trying to be chipper, “I’m going to call up a woman recommended by my therapist, and set up at appointment so that I can pay her to help go through my wife’s things in order to help me get rid of some stuff.”
“Oh, Richard,” Sarah said, “that must be so hard.”
As I thought of the dresses, the letters, the papers, and even the underwear that I had to get rid of, I couldn’t help but choke up.
“Yes,” I almost croaked.
“How much are you paying this person?” Miriam asked.
“Miriam,” Her mother said, looking at her sideways and using a warning tone.
“No, it’s fine,” I said with an attempt at a smile, “She charges $25 an hour. But it’s not just for dealing with my wife’s stuff, which is going to take a while. She’s also supposed to do some light cleanup, check that I’m taking my meds, might share a cup of tea with me, or even cook a meal and share it. It’s basically paid house help with a dollop of companionship—or at least that’s how my therapist described what she does. She’s supposed to come two or three times a week for three-hour sessions each time. But I have to say that the idea of going through Helen’s Ankara escort bayan things with a complete stranger sounds much more painful and embarrassing than helpful at this point.”
“Yes,” Michael said, sympathetically, “I can imag—”
“For $25 an hour, I’ll do it!” Miriam interrupted.
“Miriam,” her mother said again, sounding exasperated, in what I guessed was an oft-used tone.
Michael broke in and tried to explain, “She makes about $12 an hour at Starbucks, and can never get enough hours anyway, and so double that no doubt sounds good to her. And, as you can tell, Miriam sometimes has expensive tastes in clothes.”
Now it was Miriam’s turn to be exasperated.
“As a lawyer, you should know to keep clear of other people’s business,” she said, somewhat more politely. “If Professor Benson wants to hire me instead of some strange woman, that’s his call.”
“Ah, well. Miriam,” I said, hemming and hawing, “I think I’d feel embarrassed to have you helping clean up my kitchen or going through my wife’s things.”
She fixed her brown eyes on me, and leaned a little over the dinner table toward me, since I was across from her. This had the effect of pushing her stunning breasts out even more, and she said:
“But you just said it would be painful and embarrassing with that other woman. I bet it’ll be less so with me. Wouldn’t you like to try? If it doesn’t work out you can just call her up instead—no hurt feelings and no harm done.”
While she was saying this, I couldn’t help but glance down for a fraction of a second at her amazing breasts, or what I could see of them anyway, and as she detected this I saw a tiny look of victory in her eyes.
I looked down at my plate to keep myself from more slip ups, and said, “Well, sure. I’m afraid it’ll be terribly boring work. But if you’re willing to give it a try, I’d be grateful. Even though you never knew Helen, your parents did a little, and…”
I felt like I might choke up again, at least a little, and then Miriam stepped in and said quietly, “It’s all settled then. Shall we start tomorrow at three o’clock?”
“So how’s my favorite retired professor today?” Miriam said, while petting Fluffy. And then she added in a different voice while my poodle snuggled her with licks and wags, “And how is my favorite little Fluffy?”
Miriam had pulled back from the elegant and sexy glamor of her dress, make-up, and earrings of the night before, but in her shorts and t-shirt she was just as entrancing to me. She was too pretty to be described as “goofy,” but there was something whimsical, playful, and hippie-sh about her. And her nose, which as I’ve mentioned is a little larger than the norms of classical beauty, was one of her most attractive features to me—in part because it kept her from being too “perfect.” As some men know, actually talking with a woman who looks exactly like the cover of a beauty magazine can be difficult without stuttering and making a fool of yourself. Miriam had what I guess is called “approachable beauty.” Miriam’s legs were long, muscled and tanned, and I noticed she didn’t shave. She was only a couple of inches shorter than me, and I’m 5′ 10″.
But I perceived all that in just a second, and immediately said, smiling:
“Better, now that you’re here. And thanks for doing this, Miriam.”
She said with a grin, “I’m glad to help. And, as my Dad said, you pay better than Star-fucks.”
“What?” I was somewhere between surprised and just not sure I’d heard right, but then I just laughed. She had a way of doing that to me.
She looked pleased with herself, and said, “What? Don’t tell me you’re a prude, Rick.”
“No. Unfortunately not,” I managed to say, suddenly feeling embarrassed, because I felt she could read my mind, since I couldn’t help myself from quickly looking her up and down again. As I mentioned, yet again she wasn’t wearing a bra, and I struggled to keep eye contact as her nipples poked at the fabric of her old, pink t-shirt that had holes in it that showed teasing bits of skin underneath.
“OK, what’s first?” she said, getting us down to business, although she had a sly smile that acknowledged and seemed OK with the fact that I’d just been checking her out.
I tried to get back to being business-like, and said,”Well, I’ve thought about that, and I don’t think I’m ready to tackle the clothes yet. What about we start with Helen’s desk? I still haven’t really touched it since…”
I could feel my expression fall, as I went from laughing to gloomy in just a minute. Those kind of swings, high and low, but mostly just swinging through levels of the latter, had been happening a lot to me.
“Lead the way,” Miriam said, with another dazzling smile, looking right at me with her sparkling liquid browns, clearly trying to keep me upbeat and distracted. She didn’t have any make up on, but had a natural beauty that made her even prettier to me than the night before when she’d been made up.
Looking at her once in a while left me almost Escort Ankara speechless with attraction and awe, and this was one of those times as I just stared at her for half a sec. And from her pleased and amused expression, she seemed to like that effect she had on me.
But I snapped out it quickly, and brought Miriam up to the joint study that I’d shared with my wife. My desk was on one side, while my late wife’s was on the other, left cluttered with papers almost as it had been when she’d died.
“This is—was—her desk,” I said, working to keep an even keel as I stared at it with some discomfort. I knew it was past time, but it felt almost like a little betrayal to have an almost complete stranger go through my wife’s things. But the reality was that so far I hadn’t seemed to have been able to face this job all by myself, and so steps had to be taken.
Continuing, I said, “I don’t think there’s much that’s essential here, since we kept the important tax records and wills and stuff in my desk. But there are perhaps some family photos, letters, and some records that maybe I should take a closer look at. And, you know, maybe there are even few things I could pass on to the kids. But I don’t want to burden them. In other words, even though I’ve been tempted just to throw it all out, I’d like to find some middle ground to see if there are a few things that maybe should be saved. But my bottom line is more or less this: ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ Here’s the round file, and then this box here is for possible keepers. And let’s not even try to get it all done today. Maybe an hour on this, and then we’ll maybe go on to something else?”
Miriam didn’t looked phased in the slightest by all this, and said, “Sure. I just had to clean out my room and desk at the apartment I had at college. I’d say the throw out rate was about 70-80%, but I had to look through everything to make the call. Does that sound about right?”
“Yeah, that sounds about right. Thanks again, Miriam. I think I’d better get out of your way, both because it’s too distressing for me to watch, and I’m likely to want to talk with you about nothing, which won’t get the job done. But in a while I’m going to make some English Breakfast tea. Would you like some?—caf. or decaf?”
“Sure. Caf. And while you’re at it can you pour a shot of whisky in there for me?” She smiled, but looked serious at the same time.
“I’m sorry,” I said, genuinely apologetic, “Most of the time I don’t keep any alcohol in the house. Being alone all the time, I just decided…well, that it wasn’t a good idea. I just get a bottle of wine on special nights when someone’s coming over, which is rare.”
“Sure. I get it.” She nodded, and looked thoughtful, and then added, “That’s cool. And I admire your self-restraint.”
Miriam now looked sensitive, no longer joshing, and then said:
“But we need to do something about you being alone all the time. We need to get you together with your friends more. And get you to join some clubs or something. And one of my other goals is to try and set you up on a date. Or get you to join a dating service.”
“Oh,” I said, “I appreciate the thought, Miriam. Really. But I just… I don’t think I’m ready.”
But I was desperately lonely, and my therapist had worked to make me more open minded about this possibility already, and so I added, “But we can talk about it.”
“You should talk about it with me, Mr. B. I think I can help you a whole lot more than that woman your therapist recommended. I bet she isn’t an honors student from a top liberal arts college like I am!”
“Probably not. Although I feel like I’ve just became a ‘senior’ project for you,” I said—lamely making a double meaning out of it.
She smiled weakly at that. That’s another thing I liked about her. She wasn’t fake.
I hesitated, and then added, “But…well, I know I’m just saying the obvious here, but it’s going to be a awkward for me to talk about my total lack of dating with a beautiful woman, who no doubt is getting asked out on dates all the time.”
“Ahh, you think I’m beautiful! Thanks, Mr. B!” She said in a playful, but slightly condescending way, and smiled. She seemed genuinely flattered, yet at the same time took it as self-evident.
She continued, and was trying to be diplomatic, but took it too far by saying, “You are kinda cute too, for an old guy.”
I winced. But middle age was over.
“But, I’ve already got a boyfriend,” She said.
“You do.” I said flatly.
And, as much as I tried to prevent it, my expression might have slightly betrayed me. It was utterly absurd, but somehow the craziness of my lonely and pathetic life already made me a tiny bit jealous, and I couldn’t quite hide it.
“Yeah, Mr. B, I do. But he’s not much to write home about. He’s cute, but just a fellow slave at Star-fucks. But, back to what you were saying before, working there most of the time for me it’s more like I’m getting hit on by customers and co-workers, instead of getting offers for real dates—although once in a while that happens too. But yeah, I get that it’s going to be tough for you talking about dating at your age. And even tougher doing something about it. But as you’ve already discovered, life is tough.”
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