It was supposed to be different. People talk about it as if it would be so different. Her age, so much older. She having lived through everything — a marriage, a daughter, motherhood, divorce, and all the other men long before that. Me, as she says sometimes, and it pisses me off, with all of that ahead of me.
And it wasn’t different. I think about the first time we kissed, in the back room at the cafe. It was almost an accident, at least when it happened, although I had been thinking about it for a long time, and I’ve thought about it ever since. Slowly coming together, her lips, my lips, that first moment when they touched, almost glancing, as if we still weren’t sure we were doing this. She hesitated, then she was there. Just our lips touching, warm and wet, for just a moment, a moment we held long. A moment I’ve held even longer in memory.
I had my eyes closed, and so did she. Our lips parted but I looked her in the eyes. We just stood there. I had one hand on her shoulder, lightly, and one on her waist. I hadn’t even known. Her eyes were warm and open. There was a clank of dishes out in the dining room and we both started a little. She smiled. I must have smiled too. Her eyes were bright. We slowly moved away from each other lest someone should come in, my hands lingering, sliding across her shoulder and her waist as long as they could.
It was different from anything, from any kiss we ever had after. I know it was different because I remember every detail. But it was the same too, like the first time Laura and I kissed, in her barn in the winter, with snow starting to come down outside. That same slow lingering, and the same kind of interruption, a noise at the door, her father coming to tell me I had better head home before the roads disappeared under the snowfall. The same slow parting.
Age means nothing. Two people find each other and they’re drawn together, by light, by something. It’s like a mystery. I remember it in all the little details, all of the small feelings of her lips when mine first brushed them. Her eyes so bright as they looked at me in the shadows. Something drew us, the same drawing together I have known from before. It didn’t matter than she is almost fifty, or that Laura was almost sixteen. The mystery is bigger than that.