I sit for a while and enjoy the smell of rambling roses hanging over the wooden fence. Mavis also tips her head backwards sniffing like a mad dog searching for perfection with a nose that divines the beauty of sweetness. We both roll around on the odorous mixture of roses, lilies, jasmine, gardenias, and sweet pea, a riotous aroma battling for our attention. The flowers look brightly at the sky as though planted by the moon at night while we were sleeping. They house many secrets and only let us in on their mysteries when we appreciate the glory of what they have to offer. Mavis knows this instinctively. I learned it one flower at a time. Life doesn’t get any better. Except sometimes, I think I want a man in my bed.

Then suddenly the reality of hanging fancy silk on my naked body loses its appeal. Perhaps, the beauty of the flowers reminds me of what I have lost with time. I once enjoyed walking the beaches wearing nothing but a couple of bikini strings, later stripping down for a man to enjoy everything I had to offer. Now, I dread the reflection staring back at me, taunting me with the sad droop of arms dangling at my sides with nothing much to say, except maybe some embarrassment when exposed among the crowd of taut and pretty arms. I no longer go to beaches. Instead, I walk along the creek beds hidden under a flannel shirt tucked in blue jeans, wearing boots that hold me steady on the ground, to keep my mind from wandering further than my feet. Life often loses its joy when leaving my backyard.

Staring at all the neglected underclothes too fancy to wear for every day, I feel myself sink into a depression and wonder what I was thinking. Do I really want to crawl into bed and lay next to a man after years of sleeping comfortably with my dog? Do I need professional help or would all the dog lovers rally by my side and say they understand?

I glance into the tall oval mirror and notice my lovely hair, a light shade of gray falling loosely to my shoulders. My face defies my age of almost-seventy while my body screams from sad neglect. Maybe I need a man. One that would reassure me I am still easy on the eyes, a statuesque woman bringing presence to any room. The thought reassures me my new neighbor Calvin might be the one to replace all the others laying by the roadside of past dreams and regret. I hear myself sigh and then I hear Mavis sigh along with me. She picks up a lacy pair of panties and runs with them dangling from her mouth.

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