An excerpt from Absolute Submission...
By M. J. Rennie
In my work as a policy analyst, I must attend conferences in various parts of the state, sometimes in other states. Three years ago this past July, I attended a conference in Slateville-St. Johns, where I thought I might see Veronica again after many years.
What do you know? There she was. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first when I saw her at the State Professional Diversity Conference. I stood stock still in the hotel lobby, looking at her from a distance while she talked with another woman.
As is usual in these situations, I just stood there, too nervous to make a move.
Veronica did make a move, however. When she saw me, she walked across the lobby to say hello, putting her hand out. I took her hand and shook it gently. It felt warm and strong.
“You are looking very well,” I said.
“So are you. Very well indeed.”
“I’ve been following my own health plan.”
“I eat right and exercise. I also try to make improvements in the world around me. I’ve never given up on anything.”
“Sounds like a worthy method,” she said. “Coincidentally, I feel pretty much the same way.”
“I’m not surprised.”
We talked about the conference in a general way, making the kinds of guarded statements required in those situations. Then words came out of my mouth that I had not originally intended to speak.
“What are you doing for dinner?” I said.
“As a matter of fact, I don’t have any plans.”
“There is a good Italian restaurant a few blocks from here, in the shopping mall. Would you care to join me?”
Veronica smiled, showing off the beautiful teeth she had kept in perfect condition, always a sign of class.
“I don’t see why not.”
In the afternoon, I called the restaurant for a reservation. They assured me that seating for two in a quiet booth would be no problem.
However, when we arrived that evening, the place was crowded and I was told by the hostess we would have to wait.
“That is, unless you guys wouldn’t mind being seated in the bar,” the hostess said.
I looked at Veronica.
“It’s all right by me,” she said.
She seated us in a dimly lit booth with a view of the huge TV screen. Monday Night Football was on and the Giants were playing the Lions. After a brief glance upward, I never looked at the game again. We ordered a carafe of white wine and started talking.
“I’m so glad you didn’t make a fuss about the reservation.”
“What would be the point?”
“My ex-husband would have pitched a fit.”
“I could’ve pitch a fit. I simply choose not to. I’m being on my best behavior.”
“So tell me everything you have been doing,” she said.
Above: The Vulva. External female organs of generation. From Grey's Anatomy page 1008.