An Affair of Words

Excuse me she said, but don’t I know you?  Aren’t you an author?”  I stopped, then turned.  My familiar story may have started there but it ends here.
In 1979 I laid down my first line of my new novel.  It was a very good line.  It opened many doors.  The rest of the story was crap, but that’s history
By the time you sign your name two hundred and ten times, you are ready to cry out “enough!  Until another person tells you of your power.
“Who do I autograph this for?”  “Me silly man, surely you haven’t forgotten.”  I looked up.  The fog of time cleared and an old familiar ache rushed in.
She sat across from me, legs tucked under, watching.  I poured the wine.  Her perfume, as tantalizing as the memories she had awakened.
Young and foolish taking chances, we meet for drinks.  It’s exciting.  Her touch on my leg is inviting.  I touch back and the game is on.
I awake to church bells.  Fuzzy headed; too much wine.  She shifts; her skin, hot with passion hours before is cool and smooth to my touch.
Hot coffee chasing greasy bacon, eggs and buttered toast.  Sneaking out, I landed here.  Cell buzzing, it’s her.  I let it go to voice mail. Eventually I have to call.
“Sorry I left without saying goodbye.  I had an early flight and I didn’t want to wake you.   It was great.  No.  I’ll call soon.”  I lied.
The reviews “Void of passion.”  True.  I had worked hard to kill her memory from my head. In turn I killed the passion on every page.
Kissed the wife, hugged my son.  I will call when I land.  I will be back before you go this time.  Take care; you only have three weeks to go.
Plane delayed.  I sense her first.  Gorgeous legs set in Giovanni heels, slender waist and a face that invoked the image of The Madonna.
The airlines put us up in the Charlton Arms.  The snow storms lashed the east coast with every trick in its book.  It was to be a long night.
The drinks flowed, but I retire to my room at 11.  Hell of a way to spend a Saturday.   The knock came softly at 11:25.
My daughter was born at 3:00 AM Sunday morning.  I didn’t hear the phone.  It was left vibrating in my jeans pocket now lying crumbled on the floor a top of her shoes.
“All these calls to Boston,” she asked.  “Who are you calling?  You don’t have a publisher there any longer and you haven’t written anything in the last 11 months.
I don’t lie very well when confronted.  My solution was to feign surprise and anger.  I had always been told – deny, deny, deny.
It’s cold here.  The walls stripped bare, void of any life.  Closets empty, only her scent left.  There was a note.  I already knew the words.
New York Times broke the news first.  Fox crucified me in print and TV.  From number three to not even on the best sellers list overnight.
I came out again.   New pen name, new location, new publisher, swearing to leave the old me behind.  Not succeeding. A ream of useless crumbled paper litters the floor.
I felt the touch on my shoulder.  Excuse me she said, but don’t I know you?  Aren’t you .  .  .? “

No; not me, he died five years ago.

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