The Great Lover gently brushed back Sharon’s ruby hair off her forehead. She snored gently in The Great Lover’s arm crook behind her head. The Great Lover was too warm under the blankets on Sharon’s bed. He tried to adjust himself so at least one leg was out from under the heavy comforter but the way Sharon and he were wrapped up around each other he just couldn’t get comfortable. Sharon’s bare leg was wrapped like a boa constrictor around his. The physical ability to do this was perplexing to the Great Lover. He knew many things about a woman’s body; how to please her, make her moan, give her shivers, make her hair stand on end, but he didn’t understand how her leg bones seemed to be bending around his like a serpent.
Sharon cooed as The Great Lover attempted to settle himself in her lumpy bed. It was probably a very old mattress, handed down over and over through her family. He imagined some lost relative carrying the lumpy mattress to Ellis Island amid the throngs of immigrants, all shouting and spitting and speaking in curious tongues. He imagined this lost relative holding the mattress up against the railing of the ship carrying them to the new world. He imagined the relative pointing to the Statue of Liberty as they sailed by saying, “See that-a mattress, that’s-a where-a we’re-a gonna live-a.”
The Great Lover scratched his upper thigh and wondered where he’d flung his underwear in Sharon’s darkened bedroom. Things moved quickly, as they usually do for The Great Lover, from the bar to Sharon’s bed room. It didn’t take too much to move Sharon away from her small group of after work ladies and get her alone at the bar and caress her already weakened sobriety with another martini. The Great Lover was a master at seduction, creating the aura of mystery yet confidence, with his charm. He also knew the secret of women. He knew that in order to get what he wanted, he had to love them.
The Great Lover did. He would fall in love with every woman he wanted. He would look into their eyes and see the potential of their lives together, growing old, grandchildren, retirement communities, great grand children. He could feel the butterflies in his stomach as he gazed deeply into each woman’s soul, and yet, after it was all over; after the beds, counters, bathrooms, sofas were messed, he fell out of love. He broke up with them in his mind without the women being any wiser of the lifetime they had lived in his imagination.
The Great Lover’s arm had fallen asleep and felt the pins and needle tingling his finger tips. He delicately and with practiced grace slid his arm from under Sharon’s sleeping head. She snored a little louder but relaxed once she was resting on the thin pillow. The Great Lover then carefully unwound Sharon’s leg from around his. She hardly noticed. She was spent from the two hour love fest he had provided for her. It was clear that she hadn’t been involved in quite some time so The Great Lover felt he had done something wonderful for her.
He gingerly got off the bed and searched the floor of Sharon’s bedroom for his underwear and the rest of his clothes. He was deft at maneuvering in the dark after so many nighttime liaisons. He found his underwear hanging on the edge of Sharon’s dresser. He smiled at his Zorro like ability to toss his underwear with such amazing dexterity. He dressed with a smile on his face and crept silently into the living room. Soft music was still wafting from the stereo. Sharon’s unfinished glass of red wine was back-lit by the one candle she had lit when they arrived. The shadows were soft in the flickering candle light. The Great Lover found his shoes at the end of the couch and quickly slipped them on. Loafers were always his shoe of choice since they were easy to kick off and easy to slip on. He grabbed his light Burberry trench coat off the lounge chair and moved to the apartment door. He quietly opened the dead bolt and opened the door. The Great Lover stepped into the bright hallway and closed Sharon’s apartment door behind him. He exhaled with relief the he was now in the clear. “Good-Bye, Sharon,” he thought, “I cannot love you.”
The Great Lover walked to the elevator and took it to the ground floor. He exited the apartment and realized the early morning birds were chirping and the sun would soon be up. He turned west and started walking toward the train.
Sharon woke to find Gary was gone.
“Oh thank god,” she said to her bedroom.
Sharon threw her covers off and grabbed a large tee-shirt from off the top of her dresser. She walked with it to her bathroom where she went pee and then cleaned herself up. She washed off her make-up and brushed her teeth. She couldn’t get the garlic taste of Gary out of her mouth.
“Ugh, he tasted like he bathed in garlic olive oil,” she said to the mirror.
She put the tee-shirt on and went to her living room, turned off the stereo and grabbed her wine glass and brought it to the kitchen. She was not satisfied. She practically threw herself at Gary and had to almost beg him to come back to her place. She couldn’t figure out what his deal was. He was so aloof and weird. He was nice enough but his act was so cheap and reeked of insecurity. Sharon dumped the remaining wine from her glass into the sink. She heard the morning birds chirping outside her window.
“Damn it,” she thought, “Another wasted night.”