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"Maggie's Midlife Fling"
creative nonfiction micro-story
Mostly my grandparents respectfully adored and cared for each other from their differently independent ambitions and diligently achieving shared stance intimately and socially. They would not give up sleeping together in the same room, opening wide to its own comfortably cushioned mini-lounge, despite gramps developing floor-shaking snores later and with advancing years. In her 50s-correct twin bed, sensually-sensitive Nana stuffed her ears with cotton secured by a patterned band furled from under her neck to the tie atop her netted hair. Face swathed in Elizabeth Arden cremes and swatches to prevent unromantic wrinklings, she was a formidible sight swishing in silks that caressed emigre' exotics of hand-loomed oriental rugs from China and India in the fading nights' light through drawn-lace windows. Gramps joked and teased in hearty delight.
The image fissures to Nana playing Reno tables for garish Nevada neon bromides aside Hal, a dashingly addictive gambler of boom-to-bust midwest businesses. To her dying day Nana spoke kindly with nostlagic loving in tender whisps from lost longing for Hal, who "couldn't keep it together" from regretful ruin on a debtors' bet. We could only take $10 each with us to the track from sorrowful warning whisperings still across the fields and years from beautiful Hal. With her daunting daughter scooped to security from gleefully flagrant freefall failure in an upscale Missouri finishing school, Nana tooled on to the Pacific for Hal to bottom out irretrievably in San Diego stakes and star-struck Dorothy to lure the USAF vet husband she'd landed in Vegas to busy streets north in the city of angles, where she named their daddy-diva daughter after her favorite film actress dancer-singer. Driven back to the Atlantic by my father's sweatily screaming nightmares of crashing planes and dying buddies, she bound us in a luxurient 1945 traincar to her paternal relatives in Connecticut, enticing Nana back to the East Coast and rapprochemont with Gramps who'd bachelored lavishly for the patient duration into a single second-floor room at his men's club for golfing and diving into the outdoor pool.
The circle having mended, we were back in Newton Massachusetts and within the post-war year into a new old house with the mystical Dawes paintings of western deserts to wonder from our walls.