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Is She Happier Without Me?

Man runs across ex on internet dating site.
If you recall from my various tales of romance won and lost, I became a newly divorced man at the age of 45. It was quite liberating after nearly twenty years in what turned out to be a relatively boring marriage. My newfound freedom no doubt went to my head a bit and I soon found myself with a 23-year-old girlfriend and a red sports car. I hate to use the phrase 'mid-life crisis', but a more accurate descriptor eludes me at the moment. After a while I began to realize that although Joyce looked hot in the passenger seat with the top down, we really had little in common. In a relatively rare moment of sober thought, I decided to ditch the trophy date and decided to find someone I perhaps had something in common with. Someone I could actually have a decent conversation with. Someone maybe a bit closer to my own age. I did however, decide to keep the red sports car.

It was initially quite a relief relieving myself of Joyce. I often felt more like a father figure to her than a boyfriend. One look at her naked on the bed though usually caused those feelings to pass. But, I really did need to move on and so I did. It's just that I was starting to get lonely.

I offset the loneliness by filling up my time. Keeping busy usually seems to work. I spent more time playing my guitar and hitting the gym. I briefly tried the bar scene, but soon came to my senses. Anything I picked up there I probably didn't want. Hopefully nothing a little penicillin couldn't cure. I did manage to meet a few women at this time, but none that really struck my fancy so to speak.

One day at the gym a new site caught my eye. A very attractive and shapely middle-aged girl was working out on a treadmill. Something about an attractive woman sweating it up in tight exercise clothes that always gets my attention. Not sure what it is. Anyway, I would say she was about 40, I mean 39. Perfect, I thought to myself.

I paused for a moment to take in the view before me. A tight butt in tight clothes was the main focus of my gaze. Sporting a set of headphones across her stylishly cut short blonde locks, you could see her mouth the words to the songs as she jogged along. She seemed completely lost in the rhythms of the music in her head. I was completely lost in the rhythms of her shapely legs pounding the rubber belt on the treadmill.

I gathered my thoughts as I planned my next move. I had to think this through very carefully. Somehow, I felt like Eisenhower planning the invasion of Normandy and in my mind this mission was no less important. After weighing my options carefully, I decided on the old 'help me I'm a dumb guy' routine.

I moseyed up to the treadmill next to hers like John Wayne entering a saloon. She really didn't seem to notice. She just continued her jog apparently too absorbed in her music to notice me. I pondered the forbidding looking machine before me like a scientist examining an alien spaceship. After what seemed like a long eternity, she finally cast a glance my way.

"Excuse me." I started, "But do you know how to work this thing?"

My inquiry seemed to fall on deaf ears.

"Excuse me." I tried again, "Do you know how to work this thing.?"

She lifted one side of the headphones off her head as she continued her jog, never missing a step. I repeated my question for the third time.

"Just get on and hit the red button." She answered with a smile as she continued on her way.

I got on and did what I was told. The cursed machine started to move under my feet.

You have to understand if there is one thing I hate, it's treadmills. I mean, why not just go for a walk? I don't mind working out and I will gladly watch women in tights on treadmills for days on end. But getting on one myself I consider a form of severe torture that should no doubt be banned under the Geneva Convention.

As I continued on my walk to nowhere for what seemed like days, I thought about the lengths I was willing to go through in my attempt to get laid. Aerobic exercise? Jeez...with any luck I'll be getting plenty of aerobic exercise tonight and it won't be on a treadmill.

Finally, after muttering every curse word I knew and then some, she stopped and gracefully dismounted the machine. I took this as my cue to do the same.

As soon as my feet were on firm ground I casually said something about what a great workout that was. She just sort of gave me a funny look and then smiled. I think I then went into some sort of extended diatribe about the benefits of every machine in the place and how healthy it is to exercise and how everyone should do it and God knows what else. She just gave me another funny look and then grinned.

"You really didn't come over here to use the treadmill, did you?" She smiled as she spoke.

"OK, no. But it was a good workout." I said sheepishly.

"You were on it for about three minutes." She informed me.

"Seemed like three days." I replied.

"I take it you don't really care for treadmills?" She observed quite accurately.

"Actually, I was thinking of getting one so I could walk the dog on it in the winter." I replied.

I proceeded to make small talk while gazing into her big blue eyes. She really was quite pretty. Since it was approaching lunch time I figured I would ask her to join me for a bite.

"Would you be willing to join me for lunch?" I asked cautiously, "I mean, you do eat?"

"Yes, I eat." She replied with a smile, "And yes, I'll join you for lunch."

I always figured inviting a girl to lunch was pretty safe. I mean if you have dinner together it is officially a date. If you are having breakfast together, it means you've already had a couple of dates. But lunch is pretty innocent.

We exited the gym and got into our separate cars. We met at a local outdoor cafe that had good food and a decent selection of beers on tap. My type of place.

We seated ourselves at an outdoor table which was in a prime spot for people watching though the only person I cared to watch sat directly across the table. The waiter brought us our menus and took our drink orders. I ordered a Guinness and Lynn ordered a glass of white wine.

Lynn. Yes, that's what she said her name was. Lynn and I took our time as we sipped our drinks and perused the menus. When the waiter eventually returned, Lynn ordered some sort of shrimp on top of pasta thing and I ordered the grilled tuna special.

Again we sat and talked enjoying the fine afternoon weather and each other's company. Lynn told me she was recently divorced. From her conversation I gathered the ink was still wet on the divorce papers. She had only relatively recently moved out from her ex and was staying with a female friend of hers in town. She had only recently joined the health club, which explains why I had never seen her there before.

Our conversation seemed so natural from the start. It seemed we had so much in common. She too had been married nearly twenty years. She too had two kids around the same age as mine. Time passed so quickly in conversation with Lynn.

The waiter soon appeared with our plates. It was fun to watch Lynn as she ate her pasta. She had this habit of catching the pasta with her right index finger as it dangled from her lips. She would then lift it to her mouth and suck her finger quick as dimples formed on her cheeks. She caught me staring a couple of times, but just gave me a big smile.

When lunch was over we parted our separate ways but agreed to meet for dinner the following evening. Our next date proved as satisfying as the last. Once again the conversation was natural with rarely a lull. As always Lynn looked beautiful and had a natural charm that was practically contagious.

Over the next few weeks Lynn and I saw each other on a regular basis. On weekends our kids would often join us and we all seemed to get along like one happy family. It was our time alone together that I really prized though. Lynn and I had quickly become like best of friends. Our thoughts and movements often seemed in sync. It was not unusual for one of us to complete the other's sentences. We walked hand in hand for long walks, our stride forming a natural rhythm. We made love like we had known each other for a lifetime, always knowing exactly how to touch each other to bring pleasure. Delicate kisses led to sensual caresses which gradually gained in intensity as our arousal increased. Our lovemaking sessions always seemed to end with us coming together in an explosion of sheer pleasure which left us pleasantly spent and feeling like we were the only two beings in the Universe.

After a couple of months of what seemed to me to be a rather blissful relationship, Lynn informed me that she had to move from where she was staying with her female friend. I made a suggestion which I thought quite natural. I suggested that she move in with me. I was rather stunned at her response.

Lynn explained that she did not want to move in with me. She was simply not ready for any kind of committed relationship at this time. She was only recently separated and divorced and she wanted to explore her possibilities. The news was a surprise, but I took it fairly well.

In retrospect, I understood her feelings. I had been divorced for well over a year at this time and separated for even longer. I had been through the dating scene as a divorcee but realized it was something new to her. I respected her feelings as a human being. Shortly after, we amicably parted ways.

My life returned to the dating scene once again. On the bright side, I had more time for my hobbies. I also had more time for the gym. Every time I stepped in there I expected to see Lynn working out on the treadmill but it never happened. Apparently, not only did she leave me, but she left town as well.

This is not to say that there were not other girls. There were friends of friends, a couple of girls I met at a local singles bar and even another girl I met at the gym. It just seemed none of them were quite as comfortable to be around as Lynn. The other girls and I just didn't seem to have as much in common. Our thoughts were not in sync, our moves lacked that natural rhythm, by comparison our lovemaking seemed almost forced.

I often found myself thinking about Lynn. I wondered what she was doing. I thought about the close moments that we shared and the loving words we spoke so often. I often wondered how I let her slip away. Should I have been more assertive? I felt I had to respect her feelings, yet I thought of her so very much. I wondered if she ever thought of me.

One day while shopping at the local supermarket I saw sight that made my heart jump. Leaning over the frozen food section was Lynn. I could recognize that rear view with her short blonde hair and perfect butt a mile away. Racing up to her as casually as I could, I proceeded to make conversation.

"You still eat I see." I said stating the obvious.

"Yes, I still eat." She answered with a smile.

We made casual small talk as I looked into her big blue eyes. As I stood there captivated by her charms, a flood of distant emotions rushed through my brain. I asked her if she was seeing anyone and she replied a bit hesitantly that she was. Though I was somewhat curious, I really did not want to pry. After a few more minutes of small talk, we once again parted ways. Still, I could not help but wonder, is she happier without me?

My life returned once again to more of the same. I dated other women but somehow it just seemed like I was going through the motions in unfulfilling relationships. I longed for Lynn more than I cared to admit. I could not get her out of my mind.

As much as I longed for Lynn I had to be realistic. She was gone out of my life, most likely never to return. Even if we did get together again through some unlikely turn of events, would it really be the same? There was no guarantee that the old passions could ever burn with the same intensity. The loving thoughts that surrounded our relationship belonged to what now seemed like a distant past. Time marches on, never to return. It was not just a matter of would it be the same, but could it be the same? But still I wondered.

In the ensuing weeks I tried to clear my mind of Lynn as much as possible. The usual routine of keeping myself busy and absorbing myself in my hobbies seemed to be working. Spending time working out helped, though I decided to switch gyms. I also tried to spend more time with old friends that I had been neglecting. One of my old friends suggested I tried internet dating. He told me he had had some luck with it and it was a way to meet a lot of woman. I agreed to give it a shot. What did I have to lose?

My initial experiences with internet dating were fairly positive. I found a popular site that had various search options. Heck, I could find a date anywhere in the country. Soon, I was going out with a rather nice girl who was around my age.

Although we got along well and had a fair amount in common, I could not help but compare her to Lynn. Paula and I never achieved that certain familiarity. We never completed each others sentences, our lovemaking often seemed contrived. The sheer spontaneity and naturalness I had found with Lynn was missing. Still she was fun to be with and I really did enjoy her company.

Paula and I became inseparable as the weeks turned to months. We spent time together with our kids on the weekend and with each other whenever possible. We really had become somewhat of an item. So, when she informed me that she had to go away for a few days on business, I really did miss her company.

I once again filled my time in the usual way, getting more into hobbies and exercise. I too had work related projects, which kept me busy on my computer.

During a break from my company project I decided to check out the internet dating site. Since going out with Paula, I really had not been on it much. Just a couple of times, mostly because I enjoy looking at all the pretty women, not because I was really looking for a date.

Going through the many pages of profiles of girls in my area was really quite a feast for my eyes. There really are quite a few good-looking women out there off all ages, colors and sizes. After about a half hour of perusing the site, I suddenly came across a sight that made my heart jump. Staring at me on the web page was a short-haired blonde with big blue eyes. It was Lynn.

I took a few minutes to compose myself. I pondered the situation.

I recalled Lynn telling me at our chance meeting at the supermarket that she was going out with someone. But that was many weeks ago. If she was available, why did she not call me? She could not have been aware of my situation. There is no way she could have known about Paula since we really did not keep in contact with any mutual acquaintances. I wondered if she really did not find our relationship to be anything special. Perhaps she really was happier without me. I had to find out.

I went into my profile on the internet dating site and deleted the pictures. I edited my profile to make it a bit more nondescript. There was not much there to give away my identity save for my age and height, but that was hardly unique.

My next step was to send her a private message. I basically stated I found her photo and profile attractive and I would like to get together since we lived in the same general area. I sent it off and went to bed that night thinking about Lynn. By the next day, hopefully I would have a response.

The next night arrived and I checked my inbox on the internet dating site. Sure enough, there was a message from Lynn. She stated very clearly that she did not go out with any guys who could not supply a photo. There was some brief statement to the effect that she keeps herself in shape and would appreciate the same in a potential mate. Definitely Lynn.

That night I sent her back another message. I made up some story about not being good at computers and not knowing how to upload a photo. I also told her I kept in shape and went to the gym regularly. I even told her I knew how to use a treadmill, presumably for something other than walking the dog. I also mentioned I liked long walks on the beach and mentioned that I liked a certain outdoor cafe. The same place I took Lynn for lunch on our first date. It had become a favorite of ours during our time together. In addition, I mentioned a couple of other things I knew she enjoyed.

I was a bit concerned and somewhat disappointed when I did not get a response the following day. I went to bed that night realizing that perhaps it was just not meant to be. Nothing I could do could change that.

The following evening I checked my inbox more out of routine than anything. My heart practically leapt out of my chest when I saw a message from Lynn. I clicked on it with nervous anticipation. You can imagine my delight when I read that she had agreed to meet me the following night for dinner. At our favorite outdoor cafe, of course.

That night I put on a shirt Lynn had bought me for my birthday. I also wore her favorite cologne. I stopped at a florist and bought a bouquet of Orchids, which are her favorite flower. I got ready and left the house early.

I showed up a bit before our agreed upon time and had the hostess seat me at our favorite table. I sat there and ordered a drink. I left the orchids displayed prominently on the table.

Lynn showed up about a half hour later at our scheduled time. She was looking quite hot I might add. She looked quite startled upon seeing me but her look of surprise soon gave way to a big grin.

"I see you still eat." I said.

"Yes, I do." She responded with a grin.

She seated herself and when the waiter came around she ordered a glass of white wine. A while later we ordered our food. Lynn ordered some sort of shrimp on top of pasta thing and I ordered the grilled tuna special just as we did months before.

We sat there at our favorite table outside under the stars and had a leisurely meal. After all, we had a lot of catching up to do.

It turns out we both felt the same way about each other. She kept it inside because she felt bad about wanting to 'explore her possibilities' and I never really had the courage to come out and tell her how I really felt about her. It is amazing how two people can feel the same way and never know it. Unspoken words left unsaid.

That evening we made love like we never had before. The old fires started to burn with a newfound heat. It all seemed so natural as we knew exactly how to touch each other to bring pleasure. Delicate kisses led to sensual caresses which gradually gained in intensity as our arousal steadily increased. We explored each others bodies like we had never met before with a spontaneity and passion that burned hotter than the sun. Our bodies melded together in an explosion of sheer pleasure that left us pleasantly spent in a way that neither one of us had ever experienced with another human being. When it was over we felt like the only two people in the universe, because to each other, we were the only ones that mattered.

After that night, Lynn and I got together and remained together for some time. We did eventually separate, perhaps because any fire that burns that hot must someday burn out. I still wonder sometimes though, could she really be happy without me?

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © All stories, poems and plays copyright Alan W. Jankowski.

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